|This is my contribution to Round Thirteen of ABC Wednesday. I am focusing on people for the fourth time, some famous, some infamous and some half-forgotten, although I am worried that I may have exhausted some letters of the alphabet, but I’ll see how it goes!|
Tuesday Lobsang Rampa launched himself into the public consciousness in 1956 as the Lama from Lhasa with the publication of The Third Eye, his account of growing up in Tibet, which despite being an obvious hoax became an international best seller.
Among other things, Lobsang claimed to have had a splinter inserted into his pineal gland to activate his ‘Third Eye’ when he was eight in order to ‘see people as they really are and not what they pretend to be’.
His publisher must have had doubts because the editor read out some phonetic Tibetan to Lobsang who failed to understand a single word. When he was told this he threw himself on the floor faking a fit. When he recovered, his explanation was that he had been tortured by the Japanese during WWII and as a result he had used self-hypnotism to block out all knowledge of Tibetan.
The publisher went ahead and published Lobsang’s story anyway, although it was prefaced with lots of caveats, such as the stories were ‘inevitably hard to corroborate’.
Lobsang was eventually exposed by the Daily Mail in 1958 as Cyril Henry Hoskin, the son of a plumber from Devon who didn’t even have a passport, let alone having travelled to Tibet.
Unabashed, Lobsang said that he had been possessed by the spirit of the Tibetan monk when he fell out of a tree at his London home while trying to photograph an owl.
He went on to publish a further eighteen books on much the same theme. In ‘Doctor from Lhasa‘ he tells how he learned to fly a plane, was captured by the Japanese, acted as medical officer in a concentration camp and was one of the very few to survive the Hiroshima atom bomb.
Lobsang’s flights of fancy became even more fanciful when he wrote of his journey to Venus in the company of two aliens he called ‘the Tall One’ and ‘the Broad One’ and shot off the scale in his fifth book which he said had been dictated to him by Mrs Fifi Greywhiskers – his Siamese cat.
He had taken the first name Tuesday to mark the day of his reincarnation in Cyril Hoskin’s far from reluctant body and by the 1960s he had to leave England to escape the constant ridicule, settling first in Ireland and then Calgary in Canada where he died in 1981.
Figure of fun though he was, Lobsang sold an awful lot of books – four million to date and counting – and he left his small fortune to his cat.
Of course there are those who believe that Tuesday Lobsang Rampa was indeed the Lama from Lhasa that he claimed to be and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t point you in the direction of their side of the story.
Below is a clip from YouTube that includes some thoughts on prayer from Lobsang in his Devonian burr.
With acknowledgement to the QI Book of the Dead