[The following article is written by my friend and colleague, Jerry Watt, an antiquarian bookseller and collector with whom I share a special interest in researching and preserving the history of The Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation. It is published here with his permission. Jerry owns a rare copy of the 1939 Eye of Revelation book and also one of the equally rare 1946 update which includes a new chapter and further information. Using scans from Jerry's books (which are out-of-copyright) I have combined the information from both books which you can download for Free here. Jerry and I don't agree on everything, but we both share a genuine desire to provide interesting and accurate information.
Using clues in the text of the Eye of Revelation, Jerry Watt, estimated the age of Colonel Bradford, the protagonist in the original Five Tibetans story as being around 1866 or 1867. The book identifies Bradford as a high-ranking British Officer, serving in the Diplomatic Service (Intelligence). Watts conducted research to find someone who could match that profile and unearthed, Major-General Sir Wilfrid Malleson who was born in 1866 and served as the head of the Intelligence Branch of the Indian Army for six years . According to Watt, Malleson was in the exact right place at the exact right time to qualify as Colonel Bradford’s true identity.]
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Thrice Knighted Major-General Sir Wilfrid Malleson
According to the British Library, no portrait or photograph of Major-General Sir Wilfrid Malleson has survived. As many of you know, I believe that Sir Wilfrid was the "Colonel Bradford" mentioned in the Eye of Revelation as the person who brought the Five Rites to the West.
In the UK, David was just finishing my reprint edition of The Eye of Revelation, when he read that there was no known photograph of Sir Wilfrid. Surprised, David looked up at the window sill and gazed at his wife's photograph of the thrice knighted British Army officer. His wife, you see, is the Granddaughter of Sir Wilfrid Malleson, and her photo may very well be the only surviving photograph of him.
David and Susan emailed me and I subsequently spoke with them on the phone. They are warm-hearted and down-to-earth folks. No cookout would be complete without them. They provided more information about Sir Wilfrid:
- A life-long smoker, Malleson died in 1946 of throat cancer, something the Rites probably cannot protect against.
- He was married twice. He had six sons by his first wife, but no children by his second, Lady Mabel.
- Susan's father, Malleson's son, was born in Kashmir. This places Sir Wilfrid in the same district of the Himis monastery where he could have learned of the Tibetan monks practicing age reversal. It was this information that later lead him to search for the "Five Rites" monastery.
- Even though Susan never knew her Grandfather, she took care of Lady Mabel who lived with her family for a time.
- Lady Mabel, for reasons unknown, destroyed a priceless artifact of Sir Wilfrid's: a 20 volume, leather bound set of a life-time of photographs that Sir Wilfrid took of the various places where he served during his career. These albums would have told us so much about him and his career; and perhaps there were even photographs of a certain Tibetan monastery.
David and Susan forwarded me the photo above. It is undated but my guess is that it was taken around 1904-1910, the time when he served on Lord Kitchener's staff as head of the Intelligence Branch of the Indian Army.
There were numerous scratches and marks on the photo which I repaired in Photoshop. There is a ghost image on the right-hand portion of the photo. My understanding is that this photo was kept on a window sill and the ghost image appears to have been caused by the reflection of sunlight from a white lace curtain.
There is a "haunted" quality to Sir Wilfrid's eyes. They are very intelligent but also strangely sad, perhaps due to the horrors a soldier must sometimes face. That he is dashing and handsome is unquestionable. Colonel Bradford never looked better.
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