(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 5000 feet.

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!


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 escalating criticism.

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 it.

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 true…"

 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




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