Get Off My Cloud, Lowlife Spirits

By Keith Kloor | August 28, 2013 9:35 am

Why do people turn to alternative medicine? After posing this question last year, Steven Novella said it’s not because western medicine is failing. Rather, he explained,

many people have personal experiences with illness and health care, and personal experience can have a powerful influence on our beliefs (even if we are generally science and evidence-based in our thinking). We are apparently hard-wired to find anecdotes compelling, and nothing is more compelling than our own personal anecdotes.

This is very much on display in yesterday’s fascinating Wall Street Journal profile of Kenneth Klee, a top U.S. bankruptcy lawyer who moonlights as a New Age-type healer:

By day, Mr. Klee inhabits the world of high-stakes bankruptcy cases, charging clients such as Jefferson County, Ala., about $1,000 an hour for legal advice. At night, Mr. Klee holds energy healings in a small room of his elegant, one-story home in the leafy Brentwood section of Los Angeles.

Mr. Klee said he can talk to spirits, mend broken bodies and wounded souls and, if necessary, perform exorcisms. The suggested donation for a two-hour session is $300.

Testimony came from acquaintances of Klee’s who were cured of hand and shoulder pain. Klee’s wife, Doreen, was initially a skeptic.

But he overcame her doubts when, he said, she was “possessed by an earthbound spirit and I did an exorcism to get it out of her.”

Doreen had developed a mysterious rash after a car accident.

She agreed to lie on Mr. Klee’s table in his healing room, while he placed discs called “pulsors” on her. After a while, she went limp and had to be helped into bed. The next day, she said, the rash was gone. The spirit was gone, too, Mr. Klee said.

“There are these spirits, and they look for warm bodies,” Mr. Klee explained over dinner with his wife. “Some of them want to go to the light…This one went to the Astral plane. It was a really lowlife type of spirit.”

You can’t make this stuff up.

File:Top of Atmosphere.jpg

Get off my cloud, lowlife spirits. [Image via wikipedia]

  • Skeptico

    “You can’t make this stuff up.”

    .. Actually I’m pretty sue he just did.

  • harrywr2

    Anxiety/Stress is the great poisoner/killer.

    Anything that relieves anxiety/stress without doing harm is going to bolster the bodies ability to heal itself.

  • mem_somerville

    Sigh. People who don’t know any better because of their educational background or access to information, I can understand how they get taken in by stuff like this.

    But if you have access to information and a sufficient educational base to suss out BS from reality, there’s just no excuse for this.

    Orac recently nailed a big problem on topics like this too. Total acceptance of anecdotes: http://scienceblogs.com/insolence/2013/08/20/the-key-difference-between-alternative-medicine-and-evidence-based-medicine/

  • jh

    People will do what they do…as long as they’re doing it to themselves, it’s not an issue.

  • thrib

    If you had any guts whatsoever you’d go after christians or muslims.

    It’s so easy to poke fun at the idiotic beliefs of a lone new-age weirdo. But christians and muslims have their own insane ideas. I bet you could find many stories about christians and muslims giving nutty health advice. Have a go at them.

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About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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