Rampa, T(uesday) Lopsang (ca. 1911–1981)
Pseudonym of British author Cyril Henry Hoskins, whose
first book, The Third Eye (1956), became a sensational bestseller.
It purported to be written by a Tibetan lama and described a
kind of occult leucotomy in which his ‘‘third eye,’’ in the center
of his forehead, was opened surgically, resulting in his psychic
powers. It was soon followed by a sequel, Doctor From Lhasa
(1959).
The books were well-written, but people knowledgeable of
Tibet soon began to find numerous errors and inconsistencies.
There is no tradition of surgical opening of the third eye, which
is considered a structure in the subtle body, a concept underlying
the practice of meditation techniques in various yoga systems.
An initial perceptive review appeared in the journal Tomorrow
in 1958, in which the Tibetan scholar Chen Chi Chang declared
the book literary entertainment, stating ‘‘we have here
a work of interesting and highly imaginative fiction—but certainly
not . . . a source of authentic information on Buddhist
teachings or training.’’
While this review was being published, an independent inquiry
was undertaken by Clifford Burgess, a Liverpool (England)
detective, on behalf of a group of Tibetan scholars. Burgess
tracked down Hoskins to a village overlooking Dublin Bay
in the Irish Republic and revealed that Hoskins had never been
in Tibet or had an operation on his forehead.
Hoskins was the son of Joseph Henry Hoskins, a plumber.
After leaving school he assisted his father for a time, and when
his father died in 1937 he lived with his mother in Nottinghamshire.
He worked for a surgical instrument company, then became
a clerk with a correspondence school, teaching time and
Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed. Rampa, T(uesday) Lopsang
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motion studies. About this time he shaved his head, grew a
beard and adopted the name of ‘‘Dr. Kuan-suo.’’ Later, with his
wife, Sanya, he moved to Ireland. After exposure of his hoax,
Hoskins attempted to recover by arguing that his own body had
been taken over by the spirit of a Tibetan lama. He went on to
write a number of other successful books that built on the original
story and rehashed standard occult and psychic themes.
He died of heart trouble January 25, 1981, in Calgary, Alberta,
Canada. His books have remained in print and continue
to sell to an audience unaware of the fraud.
Sources
Chan, Chen Chi. ‘‘Tibetan Phantasies.’’ Tomorrow 6, 2
(spring 1958).
Rampa, T. Lopsang [Cyril Henry Hoskins]. As It Was! N.p.,
1976.
———. Beyond the Tenth. N.p., 1969.
———. Candlelight. N.p., 1974.
———. Cave of the Ancients. N.p., 1963.
———. The Hermit. N.p., 1971.
———. Living With the Lama. N.p., 1964.
———. My Visit to Venus. N.p., 1966.
———. The Rampa Story. London Souvenir Press, 1960.
———. The Saffron Robe. N.p., 1964.
———. The Thirteenth Candle. N.p., 1972.
———. Wisdom of the Ancients. N.p., 1965.
———. You—Forever. N.p., 1965.
Stein, Gordon. Encyclopedia of Hoaxes. Detroit Gale Research,
1993.
‘‘The Tibetan Lama Hoax.’’ Tomorrow 9, 2 (spring 1958)