Then picture the same man crawling and scraping through underground tunnels in Constantinople as he searches for lost manuscripts. Picture him in the forefront of a cosmic battle, reorienting soldiers as they `die' in the chaos of war. Picture his own life preserved from certain death as a spirit guide intervenes, and a bullet passes right through him.
Welcome to the Two Worlds of Wellesley Tudor Pole.
Don't stop yet. Climb aboard his Egyptian houseboat in World War One and listen to him ponder the future of the Near East with General Allenby or Chaim Weizmann. Press your ear to a door in the House of Commons in World War Two as he warns Churchill about psychic spying. Listen too at his London office between the wars as he advises the casualties of peace: the starving ex-officer who cannot support his family, the baffled relatives of a man possessed and committed to an asylum, the distressed family of a girl abducted by occultists.
Who was he, this `confidant of the great and lowly, the rich and the poor'? Who was he, this plain looking businessman, this spiritual adventurer, this man known as TP? At one time he thought the celebrated novelist Rosamond Lehmann might write his biography, so he gave her his instructions:
`Avoid grandiosity. Depict one who lives mundanely, brings up a family, soldiers, engages in industry, travels, risks his life when the object justifies it, starts and runs the Big Ben Minute; takes over the Chalice Well property and administers a boys' school; writes and lectures, studies Nature's secrets.'
That might have been what he wanted, but after his departure in 1968 (not `death': he considered `death' a misleading and destructive concept) there were many who failed to `avoid grandiosity'.
Major General L.L. Hoare, for instance: `T.P. appeared to be quite selfless and devoted to helping suffering humanity.'
Squadron Leader Peter Lovatt too: `A great man, whose work and example has long gone unrecognised.'
Major Oliver Villiers D.S.O.: `T.P. was undoubtedly one of the most spiritually evolved men of our time.'
Richard St. Barbe Baker: `For me Glastonbury will always be a Holy Land and the Chalice Well a place of pilgrimage, thanks to W.T.P.'
The Chalice Well Trust was set up by TP, and in the Sixties it published its own quarterly magazine, The Messenger of Chalice Well. So when he moved on, the following issues were full of testimonies, many with an international flavour.
Simone Saint Clair (France): `The world owes him a debt that will never be repaid.'
Helen Degler (Germany): `He was one of God's Messengers, entrusted with a holy Mission on our planet.'
Rey d'Aquila (Holland): `TP's life was glorified simplicity as a reflection of the Master's life.'
Ann Moray (America): `W.T.P. is a beacon before us, and a path for our wandering feet.'
Some went further. Sir George Trevelyan, the New Age pioneer, described him in Operation Redemption (1981) as `Undoubtedly one of the great seers and adepts of this epoch.' And Rosamond Lehmann, lapsing at last into `grandiosity', let it slip in My Dear Alexias (1979) that `Obviously he was a Master.'