[The following article is written by my friend and colleague, Jerry Watt (RIP), 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 updates, which include 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. Carolinda Witt.]
Influence of Others in the Original Five Tibetans Book, The Eye of Revelation.
This has been a very challenging time for my research into the back story of the Five Tibetan Rites. New information completely derailed for a time work on my next book about the Five Rites. What we have here is a good news, bad news, good news situation. This is going to get a little bizarre, folks, so hold on tight.
The good news is that I’ve found additional confirmations that the Five Rites monastery was in the Kashmiri district of Ladakh, India (although I no longer believe it was the Hemis monastery 40km South of Leh). When I publish my next book about the Rites, I think everyone will pretty much agree that there really was a Five Rites monastery. This background information will lend credence to the Five Rites themselves. It will provide provenance for the Rites, and this, I hope, will encourage more people to take the Rites seriously.
The bad news is that I am now sure that Harry J. Gardener, the publisher of the Eye of Revelation (EoR) wrote major portions of the monograph. Here’s the story:
Harry J. Gardener was a writer who self-published his own brand of new age, new thought philosophy, cosmology, psychology and physiology. Occasionally he would also publish the works of others, and it was he who published Peter Kelder’s EoR in 1939 and 1946. It is very likely that Mr. Gardener wrote much of the EoR himself, perhaps (just perhaps) everything but the actual instructions for the Rites.
There are several reasons why I believe Mr. Gardener wrote parts of the EoR. Consider the matter of eating raw egg yolks, a practice Mr. Gardener recommended in his books well before the publication of the EoR. It is very unlikely that Buddhist monks would have condoned this practice as eating eggs was considered the taking of a life. That’s according to Heinrich Harrer, author of Seven Years in Tibet and Ladakh: Gods and mortals behind the Himalayas (see page 96). Herr Harrer also notes that chickens were unknown in Ladakh until Europeans brought them. [Genetic testing shows that Tibetan chickens did exist before Europeans - their primary wild ancestor was a group of red jungle fowls found in the forests of Southeast Asia and India.] He doesn’t say when they brought them, but it is likely there weren’t that many chickens, if any, in Ladakh when Colonel Bradford visited. And he almost certainly didn’t see any at the Five Rites monastery.
Another reason why I think Mr. Gardener wrote portions of the EoR pertains to instructions for regrowing hair on bald pates. You see, most Tibetan monks shave their heads. I find it unlikely that Colonel Bradford would have been given instructions for hair regrowth from a group of monks who shaved their heads so they would be bald. This isn’t to say that they didn’t preserve a manuscript which explained how hair regrowth worked, and nothing would have precluded them from passing that information along to a balding “sahib,” but it just isn’t likely.
There are other reasons why I think that Mr. Gardener wrote portions of the EoR, such as the fact that the concept of the subconscious is a Western idea, not Tibetan. The 1946 EoR uses the Western concept of the subconscious, which is unlikely to be found in a Tibetan monastery either in Tibet proper or Ladakh. However, there is no time to go into all of that here.
Kelder, the Author of Record
Rest assured, however, that I am very certain that the descriptions of the Five Rites are authentically Kelder/Hilton (by which I mean that Hilton wrote the instructions and Peter Kelder, a real person, became the author of record to shield both Hilton and Major General Sir Wilfrid Malleson from public exposure). I don’t believe that Gardener knew that Hilton was involved in writing the EoR and I don’t believe that Gardener knew that Colonel Bradford was really Sir Wilfrid. Mr. Gardener only knew Peter Kelder, a Los Angeles resident at the time. Kelder was a front for Hilton and Malleson.
To the best of my knowledge (although research is ongoing), Kelder was the only person who copyrighted a monograph published by Mr. Gardener. Gardener did publish works of other people from time to time, but, as far as I know, he (or his company) copyrighted all of them — all but the EoR. Kelder held that copyright.
Whenever a publisher copyrights someone else’s work, the question arises as to why the author didn’t copyright it himself. We have to wonder if perhaps the author didn’t strike a very good deal, or, perhaps the publisher or someone else wrote it using a pseudonym. Yet, when an author copyrights his own work, we can be sure that it is his work. Kelder was the only person I know of to copyright something published by Gardener; this makes it clear that he was the author (although only the author of record, not the real author which was Hilton).
Further, and this is very important, Gardener never sold the EoR as one of his books. In all of his advertisements for his many monographs, Mr. Gardener never once advertised the EoR for sale. Not once. Nor did Mr. Gardener mention the Five Rites or anything like them in his other works. So, I am very sure that the Five Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation are original to the EoR.
Harry J. Gardener
Mr. Gardener appears to have been a Pentecostal lay person or counselor who believed strongly in prophesying, speaking in tongues, spiritual healing, etc. Having had a number of serious illnesses, especially as a youth, Mr. Gardener had an abiding interest in “youthification.” He constantly claims that merely following his spiritual instructions would reverse the aging process. Many of his books, even though they are not about health or diet, contain this claim.
I either own, or have access to, about half of Mr. Gardener’s 140 plus publications. I can attest to the very uneven character of Mr. Gardener’s work. Some of his theories are simply bizarre.
For example, he alleges that there are no female “angels” in the afterlife. Women pass over as women but they then gradually turn into men. So, no women in the afterlife. Bummer.
Another example: many of Mr. Gardener’s writings deal with prophecy. In 1963, he was predicting a “GREAT BLACKOUT” in which at 12:00 noon (Los Angeles time, I presume) there would descend upon the Earth a great darkness (see, Gardener’s “The Time of Your Life”). Most history books seem to have overlooked that signal event. In fact, I’m not aware of any prophesy Mr. Gardener published that proved accurate beyond anything attributable to just common sense -- sort of the way it is with most prophesies today.
Yet, as strange as Mr. Gardener is when it comes to matters of prophecy and the after life, some of his writings on diet and health are nothing short of amazing. The matter of regrowing hair is a prime example; more about that, later.
Mr. Gardener also published monographs authored by Frater VIII, Frater IX Frater XII, The Magus, Elizabeth McElroy Binder, James C. Hollenbeck and F. M. J. Smythe.
I don’t know who the Fraters were, or who the Magus was, but I assume that they were pseudonyms of Gardener. Elizabeth McElroy Binder was, however, a real person (as was Kelder, of course). The logical assumption would be that Hollenbeck and Smythe were also real persons. The copyright status of the Binder and Hollenbeck monographs is unknown. However, Smythe’s monograph was copyrighted by the New Era Press in 1944. This was Mr. Gardener’s firm and it was the same firm that published the 1939 EoR (copyrighted by Kelder). I know, this is all a little confusing — but it’s important.
F. M. J. Smythe
Mr. Smythe is of particular interest. It is likely that F. M. J. Smythe was an associate of Mr. Gardener from whom Gardener got advice about diet and health, which he passed along in many of his books. This included eating raw egg yolks, chewing food to a liquid before swallowing, etc. which are mentioned in the EoR. My theory is that some information in the EoR came from Mr. Smythe: Gardener’s words, Smythe’s information.
At some point Mr. Smythe must have decided to write his own health related monograph and in 1944 he published Fire, Air, Earth and Water through Mr. Gardener’s Mid-Day Press. Because there are narrative (story line) elements in the monograph, I’m fairly sure that Mr. Gardener had a hand in writing it; many of his other monographs also have narrative elements.
Both the EoR and Fire, Air, Earth and Water have instructions for hair regrowth — a mere paragraph in the EoR but an entire two page section in Fire, Air, Earth and Water. I’m fairly sure that the hair regrowth instructions in the EoR came from Mr. Smythe; therefor, we should sit up and take notice of what he says about it in Fire, Air, Earth and Water. The instructions were modified and, I believe, improved.
As you probably know, I am working on a new book about the Rites and I will offer more information about hair regrowth in it. For now, I’m just going to present Mr. Smythe’s revised instructions with the hope that some of you will try it out and let the rest of us know how it worked for you. It has worked for me.
Revised Hair Regrowth Procedure — Summary of Smythe’s Instructions
First of all, you must be in good health. I’m assuming that this means reasonably good health. This echoes what was stated in the EoR which recommended holding off on trying to regrow hair until after you get good results from the Rites.
Then you must loosen your scalp with very gentle massaging. “Massaging the scalp may be the only thing you ever will have to do in promoting a very fine growth of hair,” wrote Mr. Smythe. Yet this is a very gentle massage. Do no violence to your scalp. While laying down on a mat or in bed, and with the flat of your fingers, gently move areas of the scalp in all directions (I use a circular motion). Do not let the fingers slide over the scalp with this massage. You press just hard enough to move the scalp to loosen it. Massage all over the head.
Another form of massage Mr. Smythe mentions is to place the palm of your hand on top of your head and gently draw together the heel of your palm and your fingers so that folds in the scalp form. Do this all over the top of your head. Again, this is a very gentle massage.
If massaging does not produce hair growth in a few months, Smythe then recommends that you start placing a cold, wet towel on your head for up to fifteen minutes, then gently dry your hair with a towel (after using cold water for two weeks or so, you can graduate to ice water, which will work even better). After drying your hair, place another dry towel on your head and, through the towel, gently massage your scalp as described above until your scalp feels warm and tingly.
There is no mention of massaging butter into your scalp as prescribed in the EoR. In fact, Mr. Smythe states: “In massaging the scalp do not let the fingers slip over the hair,” which is what happens when you apply butter or other ointment. The massage objective is to move the skin to gently stretch and, therefor, loosen the scalp. It may be that letting the “fingers slip over the hair” is counter productive.
I have gotten very good results with this new procedure, results which have exceeded what I experienced with the butter massage described in the EoR. In fact, now I don’t think it was the butter massage at all that accounted for my earlier success, but rather an inadvertent use of a technique similar to Smythe’s instructions. I will explain this fully in my new book.
The Genius of Mr. Smythe
As I said at the start, this is a good news, bad news, good news situation. The good news was that there is more confirming evidence for Ladakh being the location of the Five Rites monastery. The bad news was that it is very likely that Mr. Gardener wrote portions of the EoR, making portions of it anything but authentic Tibetan teachings, and almost certainly were not brought back from the Five Rites monastery by Colonel Bradford. Yet the saving grace good news is that we now have the work of Mr. Smythe, who may have been a doctor. He appears to have been very much ahead of his time.
In Progress: Enigma
It would be premature to write too much about Mr. Smythe at this point. I’m saving that for my new book. Suffice it to say, however, that there is far more to Smythe than just a hair regrowth method that works. One of the topics of my new book will be a new theory for how the Five Rites work. Smythe anticipated that theory!
The short working title of my next book is simply “Enigma.” It’s sort of turning into a magnum opus, so I don’t know when it will be done. That depends, in large part, on how many more curve balls and head fakes the Eye of Revelation throws at me.
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