Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (May 9, 1907 - February 20, 1976) was an American faith healer and evangelist.
Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman was born in Concordia, Missouri, to German-American parents. She was "born-again" at the age of 14 in the Methodist Church of Concordia, and began preaching in the West at the age of sixteen in primarily Baptist Churches.
In 1935, Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, a Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known.
Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kathryn had said that she could not "find the will of God in the matter." These and other friends encouraged her not to go through with the marriage, but Kathryn justified it to herself and others by believing that Waltrip's wife had left him, not the other way around. On October 18, 1938, Kathryn secretly married "Mister," as she liked to call Waltrip, in Mason City. The wedding did not give her new peace about their union, however. After they checked into their hotel that night, Kathryn left and drove over to the hotel where Helen was staying with another friend. She sat with them weeping and admitted that the marriage was a mistake. No one seems to know exactly when the separation took place. In a 1952 interview with the Denver Post she (Kathryn) said, "He charged--correctly--that I refused to live with him. And I haven't seen him in eight years." That would put the separation in 1944--which is probably accurate. This means they lived together for the better part of six years." She was divorced by Burroughs Waltrip in 1948.
Kuhlman traveled extensively around the United States and in many other countries holding "healing crusades" between the 1940s and 1970s. She had a weekly TV program in the 1960s and 1970s called I Believe In Miracles that was aired nationally. The foundation was established in 1954, and its Canadian branch in 1970.
Following a 1967 fellowship in Philadelphia, Dr. William A. Nolen conducted a case study of 23 people who claimed to have been cured during her services. Nolen's long term follow-ups concluded that there were no cures in those cases. One woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer threw away her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman's command; her spine collapsed the next day, according to Nolen, and she died four months later.
In 1970 Ph.D. H. Richard Casdorph M.D., a medical doctor and researcher followed up and investigated a number of Kuhlman's ( and several other) Healings contacting their physicians and carefully examining related medical reports and X-rays.Casdorph and in 1976 published his findings in a book which also includes photos of XRAYS entitled; THE MIRACLES Publisher: Logos International; 1st edition (1976) ISBN 978-0882701714; also see his website; http://www.is-there-a-god.info/life/tenhealings.shtml
By 1970 she moved to Los Angeles conducting faith healing for thousands of people each day as an heir to Aimee Semple McPherson. She became well-known despite, as she told reporters, having no theological training.
In 1975, Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed that she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract. Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and of illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private. According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial.
Death and legacy:
In July 1975 her doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flareup and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles. As a result, she had open heart surgery in Tulsa, Oklahoma from which she died in February 1976. Kathryn Kuhlman is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. A plaque in her honor is located in the main city park in Concordia, Missouri, a town located in central Missouri on Interstate Highway 70.
After she died, her will led to controversy. She left $267,500, the bulk of her estate, to three family members and twenty employees. Smaller bequests were given to 19 other employees. According to the Independent Press-Telegram, her employees were disappointed that "she did not leave most of her estate to the foundation as she had done under a previous 1974 will." The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation has continued, but in 1982 it terminated its nationwide radio broadcasting.
She influenced faith healers Benny Hinn and Billy Burke. Hinn has adopted some of her techniques and wrote a book about her.
In 1981 David Byrne and Brian Eno sampled one of Kuhlman's sermons in their album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The track was entitled "The Spirit Womb," a mis-hearing of Kuhlman's actual utterance "the spirit world." When Kuhlman's estate refused to license the use of her voice, the track was re-recorded as "The Jezebel Spirit" with an unidentified exorcist's vocal replacing Kuhlman's. The original Kuhlman-vocal has been released on a bootleg but not officially.
Many accounts of healings were published in her books, which were "ghost-written" by author Jamie Buckingham of Florida, including her autobiography, which was dictated at a hotel in Las Vegas. Buckingham also wrote his own Kuhlman biography that presented an unvarnished account of her life.
For several decades there has been serious debate regarding the authenticity of Kathryn Kuhlman's ministry. Some would suggest that she was a modern day prophet exercising the power of God, whereas others would suggest that she was a false prophet, exercising a "spirit" that masqueraded as God. The debate continues today with many believers upholding Kuhlman as an important forerunner (including proponents of the "Prosperity Theology" & "Faith Healing" movement, such as Benny Hinn), and with some Christian cessationist apologists, such asHank Hanegraaff of the Christian Research Institute, considering Kuhlman to be an influential forerunner of a false Christianity that robs people of their money and propagates a distorted substitute of true Christian teachings.