In 2021, it was alleged that [he] had engaged in an elaborate deception late in his life for the purpose of receiving corporal punishment from teenage boys. He had set up a 'summer school' in Scottish country house locations, in the style of British public schools. He pretended to be a 16-year-old boy named 'Mike', explaining his appearance by claiming to have an unusual aging disorder. 'Mike' would be caught smoking or drinking and be punished with a cane by other pupils. The ruse lasted until a hired tutor recognised Bracken, but did not come to public attention until one of the other participants published a memoir at the age of 85.