(Investigator 183, 2018 November)
In 1955 a man claiming to be a Tibetan Lama and also possessing medical
qualifications, presented a manuscript of his autobiography, titled The
Third Eye, to publishing company Messrs Secker & Warburg in London.
His medical degree was written in English although issued by the
University of Chungking, but the manuscript's narrative was vivid,
detailed, and incredible.
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, according to the manuscript, was born in Lhasa
of high-ranking Tibetan parents and chosen at age 7 by astrologers for
training at Chakpori Lamasery. There he learned to put up with extreme
hardship and developed psychic powers including levitation and astral
travel. The story had lots of details that made it convincing such as
descriptions of bleak Tibetan landscapes, the blue smoke of dung fires,
the barley porridge and buttered tea consumed by the monks, and bumpy
travel on backs of yaks. There were fantastic adventures like meeting
abominable snowmen (hairy apelike fellows still undiscovered by
science), finding his own mummified body from an earlier incarnation,
and losing his grip while flying a man-carrying kite and falling down
A brain operation at age 8 opened young Rampa's "third eye", activating his clairvoyance, aura-reading skills, and telekinesis:
The instrument penetrated the bone. A very hard, clean sliver of wood
had been treated by fire and herbs and was slid down so that it just
entered the hole in my head… Suddenly there was a blinding flash. For a
moment the pain was intense. It diminished, died and was replaced by
spirals of colour. As the projecting sliver was being bound into place
so that it could not move, the Lama Mingyar Dondup turned to me and
said: "You are now one of us, Lobsang..."
Rampa declared everything 100% true but then failed a simple test of
Tibetan words and grammar. However, his explanation for failing the
test seemed credible. Rampa had suffered terrible torture by the
Japanese as a prisoner of war — pain so devilish that no human without
his training could have survived. To assure he wouldn't betray anything
he had used his psychic powers to erase his native Tibetan language
from his mind!
RECEPTION and REBUTTAL
The Third Eye (1956) became a publishing sensation; a best seller in 12 countries!
The book seemed to promise the demise of the "materialistic world view"
and the establishment of the supernatural, esoteric and occult,
including ghosts and spirits, as respectable additions to science.
The endorsement by a famous publisher along with positive reviews in major newspapers swamped academic criticism.
But behind the hype and the jubilation trouble brewed. Tibetan scholars
began to look more closely and hired British detective Clifford Burgess
to investigate Mr Rampa's background.
Rampa came from Plympton in Devon, born there in 1910 as Cyril Henry
Hoskin. He was a high school dropout. Instead of amazing adventures on
Tibet's high plateaus he had worked in his father's plumbing business
until aged 26. Instead of suffering inhuman torture by Japanese he was
at the time a correspondence clerk. Burgess' findings were published in
the Daily Mail in February 1958. A journalist, John Pitt, supported the
detective's findings by tracking down individuals who had known Hoskin
before and during World War II. Rampa also lacked a Tibetan passport
and entry permit to Britain.
My Visit to Venus (1957) and Doctor from Lhasa (1959) lacked the
seeming authenticity of the first book and cleared up little of the
My Visit to Venus describes Rampa's trip by flying saucer to Venus
which he found populated with cities and skyscrapers — this being
contrary to science which has found Venus' surface temperature to be
hotter than melting lead. Rampa visited Venus' "Hall of
Knowledge" where the onetime existence on Earth of Atlantis and Lemuria
is documented — although science and historians have never found any
trace of these continents.
The Rampa Story (1960) was as fabulous as the first book and responded
to the findings of detective Clifford Burgess. The book explains that
Cyril Hoskin and Lobsang Rampa are both real but that there's more to
What happened is that Rampa's body was in the 1940s worn out from his
fabulous adventures and needed replacement. The two men met in England
on the "astral plane" where each was connected to his own body via an
"astral cord", and Hoskin agreed to have his body taken over by Rampa!
The swop occurred at a subsequent meeting at which the astral lama
severed both their astral cords and attached his own cord to the loose
end protruding from the plumber's body. This connected the lama's mind
to the plumber's brain.
In his new plumber-body Rampa retained his Tibetan identity but had
almost no knowledge of Hoskin's life. Fortunately Hoskin's wife was
broadminded and accepted the switch as if nothing had happened.
Accused by the British press of being a charlatan Rampa moved to
Canada. Books about his amazing paranormal life continued to come out:
• Cave of the Ancients (1963)
• Living with the Lama (1964)
• You Forever (1965)
• Wisdom of the Ancients (1965)
• The Saffron Robe (1966)
• Chapters of Life (1967)
• Beyond The Tenth (1969)
• Feeding the Flame (1971)
• The Hermit (1971)
• The Thirteenth Candle (1972)
• Candlelight (1973)
• Twilight (1975)
• As It Was! (1976)
• I Believe (1976)
• Three Lives (1977)
• Tibetan Sage (1980)
Almost unbelievable, Living with the Lama (1964) was dictated to Rampa by his pet Siamese cat!
Until his death Rampa claimed his writings are factual and true.
The official Lobsang Rampa website says: "What Dr Rampa wrote in his
books was from actual personal experiences learnt from his many years
of teaching so he physically, and spiritually, knew all this to be
However, when enquiry was made of Tibet's Dalai Lama, his deputy
secretary wrote, "we do not place credence in the books written by the
so-called Dr. T. Lobsang Rampa. His works are highly imaginative and
fictional in nature."
The online Skeptics Dictionary, citing references such as Tibet
Society Bulletin, takes Rampa's portrayal of Buddhism in The Third Eye
to task, stating: "Every page bespeaks the utter ignorance of the
author of anything that has to do with Buddhism as practiced and
Buddhism as a belief system in Tibet or elsewhere. But the book also
shows a shrewd intuition into what millions of people want to hear."
Evans, C. 1973 Cults of Unreason, Harrap
Religion, the Supernatural and the Paranormal on this website: