Is it possible that Peter Kelder, the author of The Eye of Revelation, which introduced The Five Tibetan Rites to the West still alive?
The last record we have of Kelder was in 1946 when he updated and renewed the copyright on his book before disappearing from traceable history.
One publisher claims he is still alive and living in California, but is he?
Clues to Kelder’s age in 1939 when he published The Eye of Revelation are contained in his book. He described “dropping into the Travelers Club,” where he met an older gentleman in his late 60s with whom he became friends. Kelder and Colonel Bradford met often and got on ‘’famously, and there were “many evenings, either at his quarters or mine,” where they “discussed and discoursed until long past midnight.”
Kelder was younger than Colonel Bradford (the principal character in his book) – but how much younger? Friendships between older and younger men are more common when they have interests in common. To interest a man like Bradford, for whom there were “few accessible places on the globe” he had not visited, Kelder must also have been worldly in his own right.
The clue to what they had in common is where they met; at The Travelers Club somewhere in the United States, most likely in California, where Kelder’s book was published. The chances are the club they met at was similar to the original Travellers Club founded in 1819 in Pall Mall, London. This exclusive, members-only club still exists and has reciprocal arrangements with some 140 similar clubs worldwide.
The founders envisaged a club where “gentlemen who travelled abroad to meet and offer hospitality to distinguished foreign visitors.” Like Bradford, who was ex-British diplomatic corps, members of The Travellers Club traditionally came from the diplomatic and foreign services, explorers, politics, journalism, and the law.
Whatever Kelder’s age, to become a member of this club, he would have needed to have been proposed by an existing member and seconded by two others who had known him for three years. If one were to guess how Kelder would have been to meet these requirements, along with the travel he would have already undertaken – say, in his mid-thirties or older?
Giving credence to their mutual interest in travel and exploration, Bradford invited Kelder to go with him to Tibet. Once there, they would try and find the monastery where the monks had seemingly discovered the fountain of youth.
However, Kelder declined Bradford’s invitation and didn’t hear from him for several months until a letter arrived saying he was on the verge of finding the monastery but gave no address.
Four years later, Kelder was home in his apartment when the desk clerk telephoned him to say there was a Colonel Bradford to see him downstairs. The changes in Bradford’s appearance were so dramatic that Kelder thought he must be Bradford’s son.
Bradford told Kelder everything he had learned and taught him The Five Tibetan Rites exercises. He described how after leaving the lamasery, he went to a number of the larger cities in India and ran classes teaching people what he had learned.
Kelder began practicing the Rites and was “most gratified” by the results and told Bradford what a “splendid idea” it would be if he could pass on this information to his friends. He asked Bradford if he would be willing to form a class to which he agreed on the following three conditions.
- Classes must be available to people from all walks of life
- Only fifteen people per class. Kelder was disappointed at this low number because he had ten times that number in mind.
- No one could be under 50 years of age (and up to 100).
According to Bradford’s rule, no one could be under the age of 50, so therefore Kelder and his friends must be over 50!
- Since The Eye of Revelation was published in 1939, 83 years have now passed.
- If Kelder was indeed 50 years old in 1939, then he would be 133 years old today.
- Even if he were 25 years old in 1939, Kelder would still be 108 years old today.
These facts would partially explain why, despite the enormous success of his book, there has never been a single interview or quotes attributed to Kelder since publication. It can only be that Peter Kelder is no longer alive, and according to one publisher, “living happily in California.”
I wish he were still alive - we have so many questions to ask him.
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