The Third EyeThe Third Eye
, by Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, was first published in 1956. It purported to be his autobiographical account of growing up in Tibet and studying Tibetan Buddhism.
Rampa claimed he had been born into a wealthy Tibetan family and at the age of seven had joined the Chakpori Lamasery in Lhasa where he studied medicine, astrology, Tibetan history, telepathy, hypnotism, and the theory of reincarnation. He also underwent a painful operation to open up the "third eye" in the middle of his forehead. This operation had bestowed upon him amazing psychic powers.
Rampa's book sold well, but soon questions began to be raised about his identity. People wondered why he spoke English like a native-born speaker if he had, as he claimed, learned the language in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp. Scholars also pointed out numerous errors in his book. For instance, they noted that in Tibetan culture the "third eye" was understood to be a psychical center that was supposed to be opened by meditation, never by surgery.
Keen to debunk what he was sure was a fraud, the Tibetologist Heinrich Harrer hired a private detective, Clifford Burgess, to determine the validity of Rampa's tale.
Cyril Henry Hoskins
Cyril Henry Hoskins, aka Tuesday Lobsang Rampa
Burgess published the results of his investigation in February, 1958 in the Daily Mail
. He revealed that Rampa had never been to Tibet, nor had he ever had any operation done to his forehead. Instead Rampa was actually Cyril Henry Hoskins, born in Devon, England, and son of a plumber. He had worked first as an assistant to his father, then as an employee of a surgical-implements firm, and later as a clerk in a correspondence school.
But Cyril, it turned out, had always been interested in the study of the occult. He had studied it as much as he could in his spare time. And one day he had taken his interest a step further by growing a beard, shaving his head, and changing his name to "Dr. Kuan-suo." He later changed it again to Tuesday Lobsang Rampa.
When his true identity was exposed, Hoskins was initially nowhere to be found. But reporters eventually tracked him down to Ireland, where he said he was too ill to receive visitors. Eventually he offered an explanation for his dual identity. He said that it was true he was born Cyril Henry Hoskins, but that the soul of Rampa had transmigrated into his body. Therefore, according to him, all the information in his book was true.
Despite having been proven to be a phonya plumber's son posing as a Tibetan monk a market still existed for Rampa's writings. So he continued on with his career as Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, authoring numerous books before his death in 1981. However, none of them sold as well as The Third Eye.
Satirical Third Eyes
A number of satirical works subsequently used the phrase "The Third Eye" in their titles. For instance, The Third Eye of America
by Dr. Boyd Boyland & Dr. Rex Lode was published in 1963.
Links and References
- Rampa, T. Lobsang. The Third Eye. Doubleday. 1956.
- "The Tibetan Lama Hoax." Tomorrow 6, 1958: 9-13.
- "Tibetan lama or plumber's son?" (Feb 23, 1958). Los Angeles Times.
- "Third Eye Author in Hiding in Ireland." (Feb 4, 1958). The New York Times.