Monday, 15 October 2012

Walter Kilner, and the Human Atmosphere

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The Human Aura in a healthy woman, after Kilner's diagram (Colour has been added for clarity only)
Walter John Kilner, M.D. B.A., M.B. (Cantab.) M.R.C.P., etc. (1847–1920) was a medical electrician at St. Thomas Hospital, London. There, from 1879 to 1893, he was in charge of electrotherapy. He was also in private medical practice, in Ladbroke Grove, London.
He wrote papers on a range of subjects but is today best remembered for his late study The Human Atmosphere. In 1883 he became a Member of the Royal College of Physicians. In his spare time he was a keen chess player.

[edit] The Human Atmosphere

In 1911 Kilner published one of the first western medical studies of the "Human Atmosphere" or Aura, proposing its existence, nature and possible use in medical diagnosis and prognosis. In its conviction that the human energy field is an indicator of health and mood, Kilner's study resembles the later work of Harold Saxton Burr. However, while Burr relied upon voltmeter readings, Kilner, working before the advent of semiconductor technology, attempted to invent devices by which the naked eye might be trained to observe "auric" activity which, he hypothesised, was probably ultraviolet radiation, stating that the phenomena he saw were not affected by electromagnets.[1]
Glass slides or "Kilner Screens"[2] containing alcoholic solutions of variously coloured dyes, including a blue dye called "dicyanin" (probably "Dicyanine A"[3]), were used as filters in "Kilner Goggles"[4] which, together with lights, were held to train the eyes to perceive electromagnetic radiation outside the normal spectrum of visible light. After being so trained, one could dispense with the apparatus. Kilner did not recommend merely viewing the subject through these lenses.
According to his study, Kilner and his associates were able, on many occasions, to perceive auric formations, which he called the Etheric Double, the Inner Aura and the Outer Aura,[5] extending several inches from patients' naked bodies, and his book gave instructions by which the reader might construct and use similar goggles.
The only drawbacks to Kilner's method are the scarcity and toxicity of the chemicals he recommended. Later, Oscar Bagnall[6] recommended substituting the dye pinacyanol (dissolved in triethanolamine) but this dye is also not easy to obtain. Lindgren[7] states that cobalt blue and purple glass may be substituted for the dyes used by Kilner and Bagnall.
Kilner's book was greeted with scepticism as well as enthusiasm but attracted the interest of Sir Oliver Lodge. In 1920 a revised edition of his book was published and sympathetically reviewed.[8] Kilner's work was well-timed for the heyday of Theosophy and his findings were incorporated into Arthur E. Powell's book "The Etheric Double".[9] Powell rightly made clear that Kilner had expressly differentiated between his own work and the clairvoyance and eastern systems of spiritualism.

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Kilner, Walter J., The Human Atmosphere, or the Aura Made Visible by the aid of Chemical Screens, 1911, reprinted as "The Human Aura" by Citadel Press, NY, 1965, ISBN 0-8065-0545-1. The Aura, by Walter J. Kilner. Introd. by Sibyl Ferguson. New York, S. Weiser, 1973.
  2. ^ Raymond J. Corsini The Dictionary of Psychology, Psychology Press 1999 p.524
  3. ^ : Quest for Dicyanin
  4. ^ op. cit.
  5. ^ Kilner op.cit. Chapter 2
  6. ^ Oscar Bagnall, BA (Cantab.),"The Origin and Properties of the Human Aura", 1937
  7. ^ Carl Edwin Lindgren: Capturing the Aura. NV: Blue Dolphin, 2005, p.16
  8. ^ Method and apparatus for stimulating the healing of living tissue using aura therapy - US Patent 6016450
  9. ^ Major Arthur E. Powell, The Etheric Double and Allied Phenomena, 1925.

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