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(also, khat) Essentially, this is the ancient Egyptian term meaning “soul,” though with a somewhat more corporeal aspect. It is pictured in tomb paintings as a human-faced bird.
(also spelled cabala, kabbala, kabbalah, qabala, qabalah; from the Hebrew word meaning “collection”) A mystical Hebrew study of methods for controlling spirits and demons. It is largely mathematical in nature, concentrating on the configurations of certain magical words, anagrams, names of angels, etc. The earliest known book on the subject appears to be Sefer Yezira (“Book of Creation”) by a third-century Jewish neo-Pythagorean. The idea itself — of the magic in numbers and letters — is much older.
The process of examining the permutations and combinations of the twenty-two letters of the Hebraic alphabet — a process known as “gematria” — is used to discover the numerical relationships between numbers and words. In kabalistic studies, simple arithmetic discoveries and the qualities of irrational numbers are naively looked upon as divine mysteries.
In the Hopi religion, a usually kindly and benevolent supernatural agent, ancestor, or element of nature, either revealed in a dream or divined by a shaman. Dolls made to represent these spirits are highly developed and stylized as an art form.
Literally translated from the Sanskrit, “doing” or “making.” Any intentional act, thought, or process.
The karma is a burden of guilt or an accretion of virtue said by many Eastern religions to be carried from one life to the next, which determines the nature and status of the person in the next reincarnation.
The tantric discipline whereby ritualized erotic procedures are entered into, but terminated just short of orgasm. The theory is that the energy thus preserved can be redirected in a spiritual fashion. This is in direct conflict with the theories of Dr. Wilhelm Reich, discoverer of the mythical substance orgone.
Keene, H. Lamar
(circa 1938 - ) A spirit medium based in Florida who reformed (largely as a result of the rumor that the IRS was investigating him for back taxes) by confessing all and cooperating with two authors, both believers, in writing a book, The Psychic Mafia, in which he described how he easily duped thousands of sitters at his séances and got very rich while doing it.
Keene entered the antique business after leaving the spook trade, and when his book appeared, he changed his name and moved to another state. This action was precipitated by numerous phoned threats and finally a rifle shot that missed him. He dropped out of sight, but rumors have it that he has reentered the trade under another name.
See also apport.
See Dee, Dr. John.
See Aetherius Society.
A process discovered by the Russian Semyon Kirlian in 1937, in which an object is placed directly on a piece of photographic film or paper, one side of a high-voltage, high-frequency generator is connected to the object, and the other side is grounded to a metal plate beneath the photographic material. Often, glass plates separate the two electric terminals, though the high-frequency voltage can penetrate such a barrier.
The ensuing corona discharge, a halo effect resulting from the electric charge being dissipated, and closely related to the Saint Elmo's fire phenomenon, is registered on the material and can be seen when the developing process is carried out. The corona is thought to indicate a sort of “life energy,” and thus this technique's use in showing variations in that energy. It is also believed to register the aura.
Once highly regarded by the paranormalists, Kirlian photography has now been shown to only indicate variances in pressure, humidity, grounding, and conductivity. Corona discharges are well understood and explained in elementary physics.
The most famous effect of Kirlian photography occurred when a plant leaf was “photographed,” then a section was torn away and the leaf was rephotographed. A faint image of the torn-out section was still seen in the second photo. Since the same glass plates had been used, it is believed that moisture from the missing portion was providing the ghostly image. Since the glass plates used as dielectric material would tend to break down along the edges of the object, allowing easier passage of the discharge, that may also account for the effect. The observed “phantom leaf” effect was not found again in better-controlled experiments, but has continued to serve as a point of argument for the believers.
(1962- ) This Japanese psychic, first discovered by parapsychologist Tosio Kasahara, became famous as an Asiatic version of Uri Geller, bending spoons and other cutlery. But his real forte was a routine using a Polaroid camera, which was, in turn, a takeoff on the work of Ted Serios. However, Kiyota's Polaroid photos were apparently produced by preexposing the film, since it was noted that he made great efforts to obtain a film pack and spend time with it in private.
In 1984 he thoroughly convinced parapsychologist Dr. Jule Eisenbud, who tested him with X-ray film and accepted kinks and small blemishes on the developed film as evidence of psychic power.
In a 1984 television program in Japan, high-speed tape revealed one of the simple, non-psychic methods that Kiyota used to bend the spoons.
Knight, J. Z.
(Judy Hampton, circa 1951- ) Probably the most prominent and successful of the channelers, this woman enjoyed the support of actress Shirley MacLaine until disillusionment apparently set in and Ms. MacLaine turned to other forms of amusement such as chakras and similar codswallop.
A multimillionaire as a result of her many books on Ramtha, the thirty-five-thousand-year-old warrior from Atlantis whose ghost she is said to channel, Knight resides on a huge ranch and breeds horses when she is not busy grunting out platitudes for Ramtha's adoring fans.
Various knots have long been considered essential to magic ritual. The basic topological aspects appear somewhat mysterious and lend themselves to mystical interpretation. The knot design is common on talismans, and knots of multicolored thread or string are attached to the necks of persons afflicted with spells, to release them from that bondage. Such a remedy is mentioned in the Satyricon of Petronius, a writer in the time of Emperor Nero.
(1905-1983) A prominent political novelist and science writer, Arthur Koestler was born in Hungary and became a British subject in 1945. He became world famous upon the publication of his best-known work, Darkness at Noon, in 1941.
In 1972, he brought out The Roots of Coincidence, a startling book in which he ascribed some sort of psychic significance to remarkable examples of chance, apparently unable to believe that these were mathematically possible and also inevitable. He began to believe in ESP because he saw in the developing modern ideas of the sciences — mainly quantum physics with its almost-mystical view of the universe — the possible admission of otherwise unthinkable notions that were being put forward by parapsychological theorists. He wrote:
The apparent absurdities of quantum physics . . . make the apparent absurdities of parapsychology a little less preposterous and more digestible.
Dr. Koestler died in a double suicide with his wife, Cynthia, in 1983. He had been suffering from leukemia and Parkinson's disease, while his wife was in apparently good health.
A semireligious sect, originated by Cyrus Reed Teed (1839-1908) preaching that the entire universe is inside a sphere, with the Sun at the center and the other stars and planets circling about it. It was a favorite idea of the German Nazi party. See also Hollow Earth theory.
The name David Koresh was adopted in 1990 by cult leader Vernon Wayne Howell (1959-1993), who followed all these eccentric notions of Teed and fancied himself a Christ figure. He and many of his followers perished by fire at Waco, Texas.
Krafft, Karl Ernst
(1900-1945) In late 1938, German Minister of Propaganda Goebbels began to consider the possible uses of astrology as a weapon of psychological warfare against the Allies. He chose astrologer Karl Ernst Krafft for the task. Krafft was described as a tiny, pale man with black hair and a sinister look.
Young Krafft had become an astrologer against his family's wishes, especially since he had proven to be an excellent student at the University of Basel, showing great promise in science and mathematics. He had written a Treatise in Astrobiology, full of tables and calculations, following a long period of study with an English authority on “biometrics,” which concerned itself with measuring various physical aspects of humans and thereby determining their characteristics. (This “science” in itself was apt to bring him to the attention of the Nazis, who were actively seeking proof of their racial superiority through every sort of pseudoscience.)
Krafft opened an office in Zurich, casting horoscopes and advising on investments. It was the latter practice that brought the collapse of his business, since his advice proved as bad as the economic depression in 1931. Krafft's own investments, decided by means of his occult divinations, collapsed as well, and the failure drove him into an asylum for a short time.
In 1935, at the invitation of the Nazis, he moved to Germany, and the Ministry of Propaganda endorsed him enthusiastically. In response, Krafft became a Nazi and introduced into his writings and lectures a line of violently anti-Semitic ideas. In 1937 Goebbels established a counterintelligence group (Section VI of the RHSA) concerned solely with occult warfare. Astrologer Krafft made a sensational prediction on November 2, 1939, before a meeting of the Berlin Astrological Society. He said that between the seventh and tenth of November, an attempt would be made on Hitler's life. On November 8, an explosion nearly killed the Führer during a celebration of the anniversary of the famous Beer Hall Putsch.
The Gestapo questioned Krafft at length, and only the intercession of Hitler's deputy, Rudolf Hess, spared the astrologer from further terrors. Hess was an ardent follower of every sort of occult claim, especially those related to prophecy and health quackery. Krafft thus became personal astrologer to Hess.
He immediately began a reinterpretation of the prophecies of Nostradamus, in which he had always been very interested. Since it was easy to obtain from the ambiguous Centuries any needed meaning, Krafft found good news there for the Nazi cause. His discoveries were published widely, in French, Dutch, Italian, Romanian, Swedish, and English.
Krafft, exultant over his new position and success, was further thrilled to learn that Hitler himself had become interested in his skills. He predicted a glorious victory for Germany in 1943.
Then it was learned by the Gestapo that Krafft was telling others a different story than that he was supplying to the Nazis; he was prophesying eventual doom for the Nazi cause. The Gestapo prepared to pounce on him.
At this time, Rudolf Hess landed in Scotland after fleeing Germany. The Gestapo once more brought Krafft in for examination, blamed him for Hess's flight, and locked him up.
He was first held at Berlin's Lehrterstrasse Prison. Transferred to Oranianburg Concentration Camp, he awaited a trial that never took place. His predicted date for a glorious Nazi victory in the war came and went, and things only got worse for Germany. Scheduled for the gas chambers at Buchenwald, Karl Ernst Krafft died of malnutrition and typhus on January 8, 1945, in a cattle car on the way to his execution.
See also Louis de Wohl.
(George Joseph Kresge, Jr., 1935- ) Mentalist Kreskin, most of whose act was taken from the work of Joseph Dunninger, has trod the thin line between conjuror and psychic. He often firmly denies that his tricks are of a psychic origin, then the next moment seems to imply that they are. In a recent book, Secrets of the Amazing Kreskin, he claimed that well-known effects in the conjuring trade are actually accomplished by unknown means:
Some day, hopefully soon, researchers will be able to identify the force that is at play when, for example, I am able to tell a total stranger the number on his Social Security card or predict in advance, in writing, the headline on next week's newspaper.
This implies that “researchers” are in some way concerned with his performances as matters of scientific interest. For someone so accomplished as an artist, it is puzzling why Mr. Kreskin insists on these small peccadillos.
Krippner, Dr. Stanley Curtis
(1932- ) A highly respected parapsychologist who has served as the president of the Parapsychological Association (1982/3). He was the director of the Maimonides Medical Center Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn, studying psi at work during the sleep state. His writings include authorship and coauthorship of a number of books, and over five hundred articles in various journals. Dr. Krippner has lectured on parapsychology in Brazil, Colombia, Russia, and China and is presently with the Saybrook Institute in San Francisco as professor of psychology.
Outside of the parapsychology field, Dr. Krippner has also contributed to research on the treatment of children with reading and general learning disabilities.
See Hare Krishna.
(né Alcyone, 1895-1986) The “World Teacher” discovered by the Theosophists in 1909, the fourteen-year-old son of a Brahmin employee of the Theosophical Society in India.
Black-eyed and exceedingly handsome, Jiddu was made the charge of the Theosophical Society after bitter court battles with his parents. The intent of the society was to announce a “second coming” based on this charismatic, intelligent star.
Krishnamurti was so personally popular that a separate organization known as the Order of the Star in the East formed around him, with some thirty thousand members. Then, at the peak of his popularity in 1929, at age thirty-four, he disowned the group and the Theosophists. He went on to become a very popular leader in his own right and a leading yogic philosopher, and he is the subject of many books.
(1925-1990) This Russian psychic made a handsome career of reading while blindfolded, using the standard methods. She was also famous for making a compass needle move, and moving small objects like matchboxes, using a very fine nylon thread.
In 1978, the USSR Academy of Sciences was so convinced of her powers that they declared her genuine, in spite of the simple and obvious solutions for her conjuring tricks.
When the newspaper Pravda declared her to be a trickster, she sued the editors and won, largely on the basis of testimony given by Soviet parapsychologists.
In films made in the 1950s by the parapsychologists, Kulagina can be seen standing with her back to a wall while experimenters place very large letters, numbers, and shapes on the wall. She holds her right hand up to her eyes for a while, then announces what is on the cards. See dermo-optical perception for an explanation of the trick.
Kuleshova, Rosa A.
(1955-1978) As with Kulagina, this psychic was declared genuine by the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1978. She began her blindfold reading at the age of five, and though she was many times caught cheating, she was widely believed to be real. She died at age twenty-three of a brain tumor.
See also dermo-optical perception.
From the Sanskrit meaning “serpent power.” This is the fiery snake said to sleep, coiled up, at the base of the human spine. Diligent searches by anatomists have so far failed to locate the kundalini.
A form of yoga that preaches breath control and various physical exercises — “ansanas” — to sublimate sexual energy. The theory says that the process, through contraction of the anus, causes the semen to rise through the body into the seventh chakra (at the top of the head), at which point the ultimate union between matter and energy takes place. At this point, it says, the individual soul merges with the universal soul, obtains the powers of a god and becomes immortal.
As of this date, it is not known whether anyone has achieved the required physical situation, let alone the immortality. The former condition is obviously beyond the reach of females.