Josef Dvorak: Carl Kellner — English Version

pre- Ordo Templi Orientis
Carl Kellner
Franz Hartmann
Theodor Reuss


by Josef Dvorak.

Kellner and the death of forests

Carl Kellner, a self-made man who came of relatively humble origins, became a major captain of industry in the Austro-Hungarian Empire; through his hard work and inventiveness he made financial and technical advances on an international level - in Europe, Britain, and even as far afield as the USA.

Born in Vienna in 1850, he appears to have learned his profession of chemist in various private laboratories. It is unclear whether he ever studied at a college or university, although after 1895 he certainly used the title of Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). My searches in the records of likely institutions were unsuccessful in discovering where he obtained his academic honour; sadly, due to bomb-damage in WWII, family documents which might have resolved the question are lost. Nevertheless, in the archives of numerous patent offices there are still hundreds of files detailing Kellner's inventions, attesting his originality of thought and ingenuity, especially in the field of electro-chemistry.

He made his first invention in 1873 at the age of 23, when he was employed at a paper-works in Görz, in what was then the Austrian province of Friaul (today Friuli in Italy). The factory was owned by Baron Eugen Hektor von Zahony, a friend of his father's, and a member of the Austrian parliament - Kellner was also employed as a tutor to the Baron's children. One day while working in the factory's laboratory, Kellner made a mistake in a standard quality-control analysis - and discovered that heating wood-pulp in a sulphite-solution produced cellulose - a valuable product that until that time had been difficult and expensive to manufacture.

The invention was patented in 1882 as the "Ritter-Kellner" process; it quickly revolutionised both paper-manufacture, and cellulose production - but it also meant the beginnings of widespread de-forestation, and serious pollution - not that this seems to have concerned anyone much at the time. In 1888 Kellner circulated a memorandum to a number of big financial institutions, in which he called for closer co-operation between North American manufacturers and the Carinthian forestry industry, aiming "to rule the world cellulose market". His scheme held out alluring prospects to his potential investors; the proposed cost of the first planned factory was only 3 million Gulden, (50 million DM today); Kellner promised shareholders a "super dividend of 52.5%".

A year later, together with Edward Partington from England, and Oscar Pedersen from Norway, Kellner co-founded the "Kellner-Partington Paper Pulp Co. Limited" in Austria, with a starting capital of £930,000. This paper factory (which still exists today) was built at Hallein near Salzburg; the River Salzach had to be diverted to provide the large supplies of water that the "Ritter-Kellner" process required. Other factories using Kellner's invention were soon being built, and the patent was licenced to other manufacturers for a suitable fee. But even with this highly successful concern to his credit, Kellner did not rest on his laurels. He established a large industrial laboratory in Vienna, and staffed it with highly-qualified scientists from colleges and universities. Together with them, he produced many further inventions, among which were an electrolytic process for making chlorine; another for manufacturing caustic soda; mercury-vapour lamps; the development of many hitherto unknown alloys; and research into the production of synthetic gems and minerals. Kellner's industrial career climaxed in 1904, with the building of a huge cellulose factory at St. Magdalenen near Villach; but it went bankrupt. Perhaps this was because Kellner's mind was on other things by this stage; for a man of such apparent scientific and financial acumen, he had a very unusual set of interests outside the laboratory and boardroom: for Carl Kellner considered himself an adept in the mysterious world of occultism - he was fascinated by Yoga, Rosicrucianism, alchemy, and (so his disciple and successor Theodor Reuss claimed) sex-magic as well...

Franz Hartmann's small change

A close friend of Kellner and his family was a certain Dr. Franz Hartmann. Hartmann had once been a close collaborator and confidant of Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, well-known through her voluminous writings on esoteric subjects as the 'modern-day-Sibyl', and founder of the Theosophical Society. Known as HPB for short, Blavatsky had been largely responsible for introducing and popularising Eastern religious and philosophical ideas to the western world, and for the continued popularity of Spiritualism at the end of the 19th century. Kellner considered his friend little short of a genius; in his eyes Hartmann was a penetrating esoteric philosopher, and it was rumoured that he was a high initiate of the mysterious Rosicrucian brotherhood.What is beyond dispute is the prominent rôle Hartmann played on Vienna's esoteric scene: he was responsible for inducing the culturally influential historian Friedrich Eckstein (friend and collaborator of Sigmund Freud) to join the Theosophical Society, along with Eckstein's wife, who was a well-regarded author who wrote under the nom-de-plume of 'Sir Galahad'.

Through Eckstein's esoteric associations, Freud found out a good deal of information about Yoga, and this was to have its influence on the creation of psycho-analysis. Eckstein had been given a charter in June 1886 (personally signed by HPB) to establish a Theosophical Lodge in Vienna. Kellner was also friends with Eckstein, and gave him the nickname 'Mac Eck'; professionally, both moved in the same circles; Eckstein had inherited his father's parchment factory in Vienna, and also took out several patents to do with paper chemistry. Hartmann, however, was not quite of the same calibre as these well-heeled occultists; he always seemed to be short of money, and eked out his existence by imposing on the hospitality of whoever would put up with him. He never lived in a home of his own, but moved about between various friends' houses, where they were expected to take care of him. Hartmann certainly wore out his welcome with the Ecksteins, who ended up by complaining loudly about his leech-like habits; but the wealthy Kellner could well afford to more tolerant, and always gave him a welcome. Kellner's widow (d. in 1949) colportated stories about Hartmann's penny-pinching: for example, whenever Hartmann came visiting the Kellners, he would never take an ordinary Viennese taxi (pulled by two horses), but used a far cheaper one-horse hansom-cab. Unlike the taxis, the hansom-cab-drivers had no union in those days, and hence no fixed scale of fares - their payment was "at the passenger's discretion". So when Hartmann reached his destination he would generally make a great show of rummaging about in his pockets, until he found the smallest possible coin. This he handed to the driver with a limp gesture, and the words "There you are, my good fellow" - whereupon the enraged cabman would often as not pour a stream of choice Viennese invective down on the stingy Hartmann's greasy head; one of his nicknames among Theosophists was "Dirty Franz".

Not only did Hartmann persuade Kellner and his wife to join the Theosophical Society, but he also introduced Kellner to a number of interesting Indian figures. For example, in 1896 a "Mr. Bheema Sana Pratapa from Lahore" is mentioned in a booklet on Yoga published by Kellner, as being introduced by Kellner and Hartmann to a Psychological Congress in Munich, where he gave a demonstration of Yogic practices. Kellner not only paid Mr. Pratapa's travel and hotel bills, but also presented Hartmann with a sinecure at about this time, appointing him Director of the Lahmann Sanatorium in Hallein, which he owned. Here people suffering from tuberculosis and whooping-cough were given treatment for their ailments by Kellner's (patented) 'Ligno-Sulphite-Inhalation' method - the shrewd Kellner had devised the therapy to use up by-products from the paper factory in Hallein; he had observed that the workers in his paper-mill rarely got chest-colds, working in its ligno-sulphite laden steamy atmosphere. Whether the therapy worked or not, the sanatorium seems to have been a success under Hartmann's direction; allegedly, Gustav Meyrink, author of the famous novel 'The Golem' was a patient there. Kellner certainly felt grateful to Hartmann for his efforts, for in 1904, shortly before he travelled to Egypt for convalescence after a serious illness, the still-weak Kellner made a special effort to have a commemorative medal with Hartmann's portrait on it struck, in honour of his friend's work at the Lahmann Sanatorium.

Kellner's 'oral history'

There can be little doubt that Kellner belonged to something called the Theosophical Society in Vienna, albeit a Theosophical Society that was strongly influenced by Franz Hartmann. Nevertheless, the name Carl Kellner does not appear to be recorded in the archives at Adyar (Theosophy's world headquarters, where all members of the organisation are registered); so Hartmann's society may not have been an 'official' Theosophical body. There is also a mystery about which Rosicrucian group he belonged to; despite his avowed interest in and enthusiasm for Rosicrucianism, there are no records of his ever having belonged to any of the Masonic or neo-Rosicrucian groups that were flourishing in Europe at the end the 19th century; possibly it was an otherwise unknown or irregular body devised by Hartmann - I simply do not know. But he definitely had contacts with a number of different American Rosicrucian organisations.

What I put before the reader now has should be be treated with caution, because there is little or no documentary evidence for it. It is essentially 'oral history', which can be believed or not. The year 1895 is of particular significance here. According to Theodor Reuss, this was when Kellner proposed the founding of an 'Academia Masonica'; a name which he soon afterwards changed into 'Ordo Templi Orientis' (O.T.O.). According to Reuss, Kellner recieved the occult knowledge that he used as the basis for the O.T.O. from an American group called the 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light'. Whether Reuss's statement can be believed or not remains doubtful; P.R. Koenig, who has produced the definitive history of the O.T.O., has good reason to be highly sceptical, though I have more confidence in the story's value. I certainly don't think that oral history should be dismissed out of hand without weighty counter-arguments, though admittedly, I am aware that this is straying close to the borderlands between historical fact and fiction.

High Noon

We are now able to return to documented fact, and the American Rosicrucians with whom Kellner had some association: Freeman B. Dowd re-founded (or so he said) the 'Temple of the Rosy Cross' at Philadelphia in 1895. Dowd was heir to Paschal Beverly Randolph (1825-1875) an occultist who advocated the use of sexual techniques and mirror-magic; Randolph was an occult opponent of HPB, and alleged initiate of the mysterious 'Alewites'; he had also founded something called the 'Brotherhood of Eulis' (id est 'Eleusis'). Dowd was a member of the 'H.B. of L.' ('Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor') which it can be assumed was the forerunner of the 'Brotherhood of Eulis'. This line of succession leads to the founding of the 'Societas Rosicruciana in America' in 1908, and finally to Reuben Swinburne Clymer (1878-1966) and his 'Rosy Cross' organisation. Writing in 1908, Sylvester Clark Gould (co-founder of the 'Societas Rosicruciana') described a remarkable event which took place at Boston in 1895. He said that twelve exalted occult personalities assembled on the roof of that city's tallest building, and raising their hands to the open sky at twelve noon precisely, ceremonially proclaimed the founding of the 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light'. This organisation was not, Gould claimed, the same as the 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Luxor' but it was linked to Randolph's Rosicrucian succession. Although Gould does not report the names of these founders, one of the twelve was allegedly Carl Kellner; in 1895, as I said before, Kellner assumed the title of Doctor of Philosophy, and in the same year he started to conceive his so-called 'alchemical' workings.

The Masonic Express

According to both Hartmann and the oral history, Kellner was initiated as a Freemason in 1873 at the Humanitas border-lodge in Neudörfl, then within the borders of Hungary. He adopted the motto or alias of Renatus - 're-born', for his initiation. Hartmann (whose motto was Emanuel) called the place 'Neuhäusl' in his June 1905 obituary of Kellner, printed in Theodor Reuss's Oriflamme magazine - but his memory may not have been very accurate.

The so-called 'border-lodges' had come into being because of the double constitution adopted by Austria and Hungary in 1867. Franz Josef, the Habsburg emperor who had been enthroned in 1848, was not monarch of a single country, but reigned over a loose union of two states - the only things they had in common were taxation, foreign policy, and armed forces. The kingdom of Hungary had a liberal constitution; while the 'cislatin' provinces of Austria were much more conservatively, not to say repressively administered. The Hungarian model of parliamentary democracy had raised the hopes of German-speaking liberals in Austria that social and political reform was possible. One sign of this was that a number of provinces in Austria had re-legalised Masonry, which had been banned ever since the revolution of 1849, when Vienna was occupied by the troops of Prince Windischgrätz.

Attempts to get Masonic lodges approved under the Austrian laws of 1867 failed however, because paragraph 18 of the Social Code of laws required all such bodies to be supervised by a government commission. Despite repeated attempts to organise themselves, the commission's interference dogged the would-be Austrian Freemasons' efforts at every step. But Hungarian law had already permitted the first lodges there: at Pesth in 1868, and at Ödenburg in 1869. A writer called Franz Julius Schneeberger then had the ingenious idea of establishing lodges in Hungary, near the border with Austria, so that anyone wanting to be a Freemason could live in Austria, but easily nip over the border to attend Lodge-meetings in Hungary, away from the prying eyes of bureaucracy. Thus, after the founding of the Humanitas lodge on the 9th of March 1871 in Austria, the lodge was actually inaugurated on the 25th of February 1872, over the border in Neudörfl (which today is back in Austria again, near Vienna Neustadt).

When Carl Kellner was admitted to Humanitas in 1873, the lodge was undergoing something of a crisis. The founding Master of Humanitas was the same Franz Schneeberger who had invented the 'border lodge', but many of the brethren had become dissatisfied with both him and his lodge. In 1874, two groups of dissident members left Humanitas and founded new lodges (Zukunft and Sokrates) at Pressburg near Bratislava in Slovakia, which was then part of Hungary. In 1880 Humanitas too followed suit, and moved to Pressburg, which became the major centre for 'expatriate' Viennese Masonry. The dissidents' main complaint was that travelling to their lodge-meetings over the border at Neudörfl had proved both inconvenient and time-consuming. To reach their lodge's temple there, they had to take the slow steam-hauled Southern Line train-service to Vienna Neustadt, and there change to a coach which then took them on to Neudörfl. But the centre of Pressburg was much more easily reached by a fast new electric railway-line from Vienna, one of the first such in the world, which only took one hour. The Pressburg railway took good particularly good care of its passengers: the Masonic brethren had specially reserved cars on the trains; at Pressburg station, the trains would be held until the end of lodge meetings, the train's guard always waiting until the last brother was safely on board before giving the signal to start. This pioneering line does not exist any longer, though I knew it when it was still running.

Kellner seems to have enjoyed his membership of ordinary Masonry in Humanitas for about a decade; but by 1886 he had turned to 'higher degree' and more esoteric masonry in the form of the 'irregular' Rites of Memphis and Misraim. An irregular Masonic rite is one which is not recognised by a country's Grand Lodge - the Masonic 'establishment', if you will. The so-called 'Ancient and Primitive Rites of Memphis and Misraim' were a series of no fewer than ninety-five ritual degrees, that had originated in France at the start of the 19th century. One version of these eventually came under the control of a Masonic scholar from Manchester called John Yarker; however, by the end of the century, Yarker had fallen on hard times, and started supporting himself by selling initiations into the Rites, and impressively-printed Charters granting permission to work the Memphis and Misraim degrees in various territories, to the highest bidder. When he became mixed up in the dubious business of selling bogus academic honours, most 'regular' Masonic bodies shunned further association with him; especially in the English-speaking world, he became a Masonic pariah. However, the position of Yarker's Rites in Europe was much less clear-cut. It is possible that Kellner's migration to the Rites had something to do with the quarrels in Neudörfl - his name does not appear in the membership list of Humanitas for 1886. His Memphis-Misraim lodge was called Phoenix zur Wahrheit, and was situated in the valley of Hamburg [see facsimile reprinted in P.R. Koenig's Materialien zum OTO]. After Kellner's death it separated from Theodor Reuss and became regularized.

Not a whisper of the O.T.O. from Kellner

Theodor Reuss wrote in the so-called 'Jubilee' issue of the Oriflamme (1912), of how Kellner, having made contact with the 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light' on his travels, contacted Reuss with his scheme for the 'Academia Masonica' which would make the knowledge of all existing masonic degrees and systems available to aspiring brothers. In the course of their meetings, Kellner apparently discarded the original name in favour of calling his proposed body the 'Oriental Templars', citing certain "reasons and documents" of which, however Reuss says precisely nothing. The earliest possible date for Kellner's idea to have been realised was 1902. But (and one wonders why this is so) no other contemporary record of Kellner and Reuss's activities speaks about 'Oriental Templars'; the only title mentioned is that of 'Academia Masonica', supposedly dropped several years earlier. This 'Academia Masonica' was now organised on the lines of the Memphis and Misraim Rite.

In the previously-mentioned obituary of Kellner, dated June 1905 and printed in Reuss's Oriflamme, Hartmann described the 1895 conversations between Kellner and Reuss in completely different terms. But Hartmann was most certainly not present at the 1895 meetings, while Reuss equally certainly was. Hartmann's story concentrates on Memphis and Misraim alone, and he believed that 'Frater Merlin' (Kellner) together with Reuss, was intending to introduce into Germany the higher-degree Masonry in which Kellner had achieved "the greatest possible number of high degrees and dignities during his far and frequent journeys through England and America". In 1902 "this plan was put into action" when Kellner "in December of this same year was personally initiated in Manchester by Brother Yarker into the 96°, and made Sovereign Honorary General Grand Master of our Order". So that was the end of that!

The relevant charter, which I have seen, is dated the 27th of December 1902 - the Feast of St. John the Evangelist - and refers to "The Ancient and Primitive Rite", that is Misraim united with Memphis. There is no mention of any O.T.O. (I have examined the paper very carefully several times) [It is possibly going to be published in a forthcoming book by Peter-R. Koenig]. I have also never seen any document issued during Kellner's lifetime that mentions the O.T.O., or which gives evidence of such a body; Kellner died on the 7th of June 1905. I fail absolutely to understand the date that is given by Karl R.H. Frick in his second volume of Die Erleuchteten which says that the O.T.O was founded on "1 September 1901". Where has the name that Kellner allegedly devised in 1895, "Oriental Templars" vanished to? But Reuss mentions the 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light' again in his 1912 Oriflamme. Reuss writes that their "Rosicrucian esoteric teachings have been reserved for the few initiates of the Occult Inner Circle. The grades of Illumination of this Inner Circle of Initiates run parallel to those of the highest degrees of the Memphis and Misraim Rite" (therefore they are seperate from, and do not belong to this rite) and that "these initiates comprise the secret foundation of the Oriental Order of Templars".

All these documents quite unambiguously name Kellner as the leader of this 'Occult Inner Circle'. But it remains uncertain whether there were other "Inner Circles"; for example, there were the 'Esoteric Rosicrucians' obviously under the leadership of Reuss [P.R. König: Maybe Dvorak is confising Hartmann's 'Esoteric Rosicrucians' with the Societas Rosicruciana in America?]. It was Reuss who claimed to have received his occult knowledge completely independently from Kellner, yet from the same sources, and here I am thinking about Randolph's sex-magical Rosicrucianism. The recruitment of suitable candidates for these initiatory groups or 'steps of illumination' apparently happened like this: Kellner or Reuss told the masons of all the ordinary Masonic rites to which they belonged or over which they had control "The purely symbolic work which you do in your rituals is not the whole truth. The symbols have a practical occult meaning which we can provide." The knowledge - and this is always stressed - did NOT come from the Rite of Memphis-Misraim itself, but from "outside", and it was NOT given within Memphis-Misraim, but in parallel. There would seem to have been only a few initiates to this parallel knowledge, because even important higher-degree members did not know what was going on.

But the Grand Secretary of Memphis-Misraim under Reuss, Emil Adriányi (who later became Reuss's sworn enemy) wrote to Rudolf Steiner on the 8th of September 1906 that "after thorough study" of the three rites - Scottish-Cerneau, Memphis, and Misraim - of Reuss's Order, he could not find any signs of practical occult exercises. But Adriányi stated that when Reuss discussed this with Kellner, they then mixed "some exercises of some chosen Inner Circle with the current A.Pr.Rite". "A.Pr." here means 'Ancient and Primitive'. It was, in other words, the Memphis-Rite (to which alone, strictly speaking, the title of 'Ancient and Primitive' applied) and not the Rite of Misraim. Only in 1906 did it become known what this 'Inner Circle' meant, when Reuss published his "Constitution" of the O.T.O. dated the 22nd of January, and his German version dated 21 June of the same year. On the 24th of June 1906, when Reuss separated the Scottish Rite, Misraim, and Memphis from each other, he also used the expression "Sovereign Master of the Order of Oriental Templar-Freemasons". After the Christian date A.D. 1906 he added the Templar date A.O. (that is, Anno Ordinis) 788.

Steiner takes over Misraim — [See also: Rudolf Steiner: Never a member of any O.T.O.]

In Easter 1906, Rudolf Steiner - later to achieve wider fame as the founder and inspiring spirit of Anthroposophy - received permission from Reuss to establish "a Chapter and a Supreme Council of Adoptive Masonry under the name 'Mystica Æterna'" in Berlin. We learn the name of the particular rite that this body was to work in Reuss's 'Edict' to Steiner dated the 15th of June 1907, wheere Steiner was made "Independent Acting Grandmaster-General". It was Misraim and not Memphis which, according to Adriányi, had been mixed with the "odd" exercises. Memphis remained under the control of with Reuss, who now used on his stationary the heading "Order of Oriental Templars and Esoteric Rosicrucians".

In the Allgemeine Satzung (General Charter) of the O.T.O. one can read that under this name "an international Society has been re-organised and re-constituted". But which society is meant? I quote from the extant 'Monte Vérità' version of the O.T.O.'s Constitution, which dates from 1917: "The 'Hermetic Brotherhood of Light'." But it goes on to say that "The totality of the degrees of the O.T.O. constitute an 'Academia Masonica'." Thus the circle is closed; it does not contain Steiner at all; Steiner never was in the O.T.O.'s chain of succession.

Kellner as 'spiritual father' of the O.T.O.

There is one further small piece of (admittedly highly dubious) evidence about this confusing matter: in 1914, when Reuss wrote a critical review of Eberhardt's book on irregular German Masonry Winkellogen in Deutschland, he stated that in 1905 he had had a metal plate put up by the front door of his house in Berlin, inscribed with the title 'Sovereign Sanctuary of the Order of Oriental Templars'. [Remark by P.R. Koenig: is that Order of 'Memphis'?]. There were Kellner family memories of something similar at his Hohe Warte villa in Vienna: on the front of the house there was said to be a metal plaque which referred to the 'tantric secrets'. But absolutely nothing of this nature can be found on photographs of the villa during Kellner's occupancy, or in the detailed records of Kellner's estate and properties; and I think it is unnecessary to burden the reader with further speculation.

I think that one may draw the following conclusions: Carl Kellner can be seen as the 'spiritual father' of the O.T.O., through his enthusiasm for the occult, his advocacy of Yoga and Eastern thought, and his continued interest in Freemasonry. His 'spiritual son' Reuss, was steeped in the atmosphere of these subjects; but often sons do not follow up their father's intentions. Whether Reuss completely understood everything he was taught or told by Kellner, and how much the secret teachings of the O.T.O. were his own invention, or inherited from Kellner, we simply cannot tell on the basis of the available evidence. At all events, in his Last Will and Testament (dated the 20th of December 1922), Reuss defended his "teachings" that had been "passed on from Dr. Carl Kellner".

Yoga and Indian clubs

It also remains very doubtful whether Kellner taught sex-magic, although it is certain that he did teach Yoga - his expertise on the subject was known and recognised in scholarly circles. William James mentioned Kellner, in a footnote to his The Varieties of Religious Experiences of 1902, as "a European witness" on Yoga. It is James who made the psychology of religions a respectable academic subject, although he completely denied he had any specific religious feelings himself; his theory of religious experience was developed further by the influental Chicago school of comparative theology. Carl Kellner was especially interested in Hatha-Yoga, the 'Yoga of bodily effort', which is the variety most commonly practised in the West today. Within Theosophy, starting with HPB, and later including Kellner's friend Franz Hartmann, Hatha-Yoga had a bad reputation, being considered as little better than 'Black Magic' - though quite why this should have been so is hard to see, unless H.P.B.'s fatness and Hartmann's sloth prejudiced them against it. The complicated body postures of Hatha-Yoga certainly required a degree of fitness; and Kellner got himself into very good physical shape with the help of Georg Jagendorfer, popularly known as the "strongest man in Vienna", and internationally famous for his system of training by swinging indian clubs. Jagendorfer ran a gymnasium in central Vienna, where he taught not only indian club-swinging, but also wrestling and boxing. Kellner achieved such strength and physical prowess under Jagendorfer that it was claimed he could compete with the drey-men of the Viennese breweries, fearsomely brawny types who heaved immensely heavy barrels of beer about with consummate ease. Kellner equipped each of his homes with small gymnasia, where Jagendorfer gave private training to both him and his children. Relations between Herr Doktor Kellner and the athlete were most affable; after each lesson, Jagendorfer would be invited to sit down in the Kellner family kitchen for an ample repast of a whole roast chicken and a bottle of wine. The interest in sports, keep-fit and athletics had reached central Europe in the mid-1880s, being imported from England and the USA. Before long, in such cities as Prague and Vienna, many societies had been set up by enthusiasts for 'English athleticism', the most distinguished of which was the 'Vienna Athletic Sports Club'. Kellner and Jagendorfer were among its members; its president was a friend of Kellner's called Victor Silberer (born 1846), who was editor-in-chief of the Allgemeine Sport-Zeitung and who later had a distinguished career as a municipal councillor in Vienna, and a Member of Parliament; Silberer and Kellner were both also enthusiastic equestrians. Silberer is considered as Austria's aeronautical pioneer: in 1885 he founded the 'Vienna Aeronautical Institute', and in 1901 the 'Vienna Aero-Club'. His son Herbert (1882-1923) inherited his father's interests, setting distance and height records in balloon-flight. Herbert was also a freemason and psychoanalyst who (in parallel with C.G. Jung) did pioneering research on the psychology of mysticism, alchemy, hermetics, Rosicrucianism and occultism; he was for a short time engaged to one of of Carl Kellner's daughters. Victor Silberer wrote glowingly of the indian club-swinging exercises, which were very highly esteemed by Carl Kellner as training for the breathing-techniques of Hatha Yoga:
"It strengthens the whole chest as does no other form of exercise; it greatly improves the breathing; it immensely increases the activity of the lungs and heart, in a healthy and harmless way; and it stretches the thorax and its muscles. In brief, it makes it possible for those of sedentary habits or occupation to obtain essential bodily stimulation and activity."


There is good evidence that the indian club methods would make a good complement to some of the postures of Hatha-Yoga. Take Siddhasana, the 'perfect posture' about which the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika says: "A Yogi who eats moderately for 12 years and considers the Atman, always sitting in the Siddhasana, achieves completion." (I, 40). In this 'perfect posture' there are three 'seals' which are kept 'closed': the throat area is 'closed' by means of realaxing the the chin and slowly lowering it onto the chest, which also keeps the blood pressure low. The torso is 'closed' from below by means of pressure of the heel against the perineum; this stimulates the blood circulation. The 'middle seal' is closed by raising the stomach-area together with the diaphragm and directing it towards the spine. Once achieved, this posture is held to stabilise the torso, and is used together with breath-control techniques as the bassis for other Yogic exercises.

I have already mentioned that Carl Kellner wrote a short book about Yoga; it was published under the title Yoga - Eine Skizze über den psycho-physiologischen Teil der alten indischen Yogalehre - 'An outline of the psycho-physiological element of ancient Indian Yoga teachings' - he dedicated it to the 1896 Third International Congress on Psychology, held in Munich (it has been reprinted in my book Satanism). The sole example of a Yoga posture that Kellner gives in this work is the extremely well-known Padmasana (lotus posture). He evidently considered the more complex and difficult postures "which are practised by so-called contortionists in our circuses or Music- Halls" as not being practicable for we "Westerners". Kellner quotes the "sage Patanjali", writer of the classical Yoga-Sutra: "Posture is what is firm and comfortable", with, by the way, a wrong source of citation (he says it comes from Sloka 4 instead of Sloka 46). I mention this because Kellner's booklet is so full of proof-reading and printing-errors, that it has undoubtedly led to much later mistaken speculation about hidden connotations of sex-magic. Oddly, Theodor Reuss [P.R.K.: and Aleister Crowley too, see below] took not the slightest notice of these mistakes, but reproduced them wholesale. An example; all standard authorities on Yoga speak of the sixth Vayu - one of the so-called Yogic 'winds' - as being responsible for different inner and outer bodily functions. Yet in both Kellner's Yoga booklet, and in Reuss's Oriflamme, this 'wind' is called Napa, and allegedly "performs fertilisation".

On page 22 of the 1912 'Jubilee issue' of the Oriflamme, in the paragraph headed 'Mysteria Mystica Maxima', which refers largely to Aleister Crowley's branch of the O.T.O., Kellner's Yoga booklet is quoted from and commented upon: "Sexual Magic is focussed on the 6th Vayu, Napa, in the so-called 'reproductive organs'. This exercise is called 'transmutation of the reproductive energy'." But the expression "Napa" does not exist at all [as Oscar Schlag found out]. When the Sanskrit expert Rama Prasad translated the relevant chapter of the Tantric text the Shivagama into English for Madame Blavatsky in 1889, the sixth Vayu is called Naga and is attributed as the cause of burping! And there is another discrepancy: in Kellner's booklet the "eighth wind, Krikara" causes "sneezing", but the Shivagama says it causes "hunger". Misunderstandings caused by typographical errors aside, it might just be possible that these differences were due to Kellner having found and used another, as yet unknown Tantric tradition - but I think it much more likely that he simply did not translate his sources correctly. There is no evidence of sexual magic in connection with the Vayus in Kellner's writings, either Napa or Naga.

Buried alive!

Theodor Reuss claimed in his writings that Carl Kellner learnt the basis of the O.T.O.'s sexual magic at the feet of the Arab Soliman ben Aissa, and the Indians Bheema Sena Pratapa, and Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa. What, in fact, did Kellner learn from 'Oriental Adepts'?

In his book on Yoga, Kellner writes in the most generalised and idealistic terms. For instance, when defining the term Mudra, Kellner speaks of a "concentration of the attention upon one of the afore-mentioned Vayus". Kellner writes that Yoga renders "the true disciple" into a "good, healthy and happy man" and "opens up great new horizons" to him. Through mastery of body and mind, the Yogi becomes a "man of character". Because he turns his impulses and inclinations by willpower towards doing good, he turns into a supreme individual who cannot be manipulated by others; effectively the opposite of what the Western mind would define as a 'medium'. Yet, Kellner was one of those who interpreted Yoga as a method of autohypnosis (that is, focusing attention upon one point). Yoga, he asserted, was "the ability to cause all the effects of somnambulism through willpower, constant exercise, and asoociated habits". Psychologically seen, Kellner claimed, Yoga can be viewed as a method of producing quantitative stimulation of the conscious mind; it could likewise cause altered states of consciousness; and also produce unconsciousness, going through the stages of dozing, sleep, stupor and finally coma. The yogic counterparts are: concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana) and inward contemplation (samadhi). To illustrate this, Kellner gave descriptions of the trance-states he had seen produced at the demonstrations of Yogis visiting Europe at that time.

Kellner mentions one of these, Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa, as travelling with him to both Munich and Oxford to meet Professor Friedrich Max Müller. This formidable and famous academic was the founding father of comparative theology, and editor of the Sacred Books of the East series of translations, an immense scholarly enterprise which made a huge quantity of Oriental literature available in English for the first time. Kellner also mentioned witnessing Indian fakirs who put themselves into "a lethargy similar to a state of suspended animation." In this connection it is interesting to note Franz Hartmann's account of the case of the Bengali fakir Haridas. Haridas was capable of putting himself into a cataleptic state, lowering his breathing and heartbeat to almost nothing, and had himself buried alive, staying underground for forty days after which he was 'resurrected' from his grave alive and well. He attempted this feat four times between 1828 and 1836; but alas, after the last try poor Haridas was found to be dead when they dug him up. Haridas used the Hatha-Yoga-Pradipika techniques called 'eating the cow' and 'sealing the throat'. During 'eating the cow', the tongue is swallowed to close off the windpipe, while 'sealing the throat' involves lowering the chin onto the chest whilst contracting the throat-muscles, and using the willpower to influence the breath and heartbeat. Hartmann of course intended the story as a dire warning of the terrible dangers of Hatha-Yoga...

Kellner's attitude to Yoga

Kellner's essay clearly shows that he disapproved of such "mad methods"; furthermore, he says very little about the actual philosophy of Yoga. So he makes no mention of the contentious and highly dualistic Samkhya teaching with which Patanjali's classic the Yoga-Sutra is linked, though he quotes Patanjali with approval on other matters. Nevertheless, in the garden of his villa at Hohe Warte in Vienna, there was a large statue which some have interpreted as a monument to the dualism of nature and soul (Prakriti-Purusha). On the other hand, as can be seen from his notes, Kellner closely identified himself with the monism of the Vedic Atman-Brahman formula and the Vedantic Advaita. Kellner had the word OM engraved on the silver handle of his walking-stick. Hartmann also favoured OM as the word-symbol of Brahma, and of the pure fourth and highest state (turiya) of Yoga that is realised in samadhi; wide-awake activity without experience of the ego. As Kellner says, the consciousness of separate being stops, and the "Seer and the Seen become one" [P.R.K.: as Reuss also wrote]. Raja-Yoga as practised within Theosophy (as opposed to Hatha-Yoga), is defined by Kellner as "the direct union of the separate consciousness with the All-consciousness", and it delivers "the suggestion of a self-induced somnambulant state, which is then accompanied by an inexpressible feeling of happiness, influenced by the sublime and holy object."

Kellner personally preferred the eightfold way of Samyana, an epitomising of the three "inner Yoga grades" Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi (concentration, meditation and contemplation). This doctrine occurs in Patanjali's Yoga Sutra where it teaches the yoga of self-denial, and is also found in theistic Yoga and Samapatti meditation. The performance of Pratyahara (mastering the senses by will) and Samyana combined with Mudra (posture and gesture) might be viewed as a Yogic way of practicing shamanism, aimed at the achievement of supernatural powers (Siddhis) like invisibility, stopping thirst and hunger, bodily perfection, power over the material, and so forth. But Kellner describes Pratyahara with the example of a hypnotised subject who can't tell the difference between a raw potato and a sweet pear. According to Kellner, the "true Yogi" aimed at "salvation" and should consider these magical powers merely as troublesome by-products.

Kellner's past lives

In a handwritten manuscript titled 'Reincarnations' (which seems to have been one of a series; the number "3" is added to the title) [to be published in a forthcoming book by P.R. Koenig: online at The Carl Kellner Website ] Kellner gives us some insight into one of his exercises in Sanayama, aimed at discovering his earlier incarnations. Once he has settled in his posture (Asana), and his breathing is under control (Pranayama), he sees an azure flame appearing to his inner eye (Pratyahara); he holds this vision in his mind (Dharana), and then descends into the flame (Dhyana). Once he feels that he has reached Samadhi, he casts his mind back into time, and sees himself clothed in a yellow robe with a hood over his face, like a Tibetean monk. He has not gone back to Tibet however, but has arrived in the Middle East "during one of the great starry nights of Chaldea in old Babylon". He is a priest, yet married; his wife, "slender, but also richly formed" is "clothed in gorgeous silks" [P.R.K.: doesn't this remind you of Crowley's Nuit?]. Then he sees himself performing his priestly duties as "a servant of Schamaja", and climbs up a tower to light a sacrificial fire to his Goddess. At this point, the vision starts to blur: the firelight seems to be the same as the light of the stars, and is identified with the Sun, the "light of his life", indeed with the life "of all my brothers and sisters". He then chants "the old benediction in Aramaic: morning breaks.", and with this, the journey into the past comes to an end. Kellner's vision is not simply a case of 'letting his imagination go for a walk' but is intermingled with various associations; though it seems no more and no less remarkable than a myriad other such accounts. It is of course possible to give a psycho-analytical interpretation to the vision: it has been claimed that his rising up to sacrifice at the fire represents a sexual-tantric act of Kundalini-Yoga - but that is surely straining credibility well beyond breaking-point. If Kellner had been a practitioner of sexual rites, surely we would find more definite evidence of it in such a private manuscript, than through a highly dubious psychological re-interpretation? The other records of his past lives given in the manuscript are distinguished only by their dullness: in one, he finds he has become a pupil of Plato, and the other, he has become an an athlete. It was in this account that Kellner gave himself the name "Renatus".

Snakebite on the tongue

In his Yoga book Kellner writes that under certain circumstances Hatha-Yoga can be very dangerous. So he counsels that the would-be Yogin should "never try the exercises without the guidance of an experienced instructor (the Indians call him a 'guru')." As we have seen, three men are mentioned as Kellner's gurus: an Arab, and two Indians, one of them the aforementioned Bheema Sena Pratapa from Lahore. We have the testimony of Gustav Meyrink, given in an article he wrote in 1907, as to the character of these three; and very few good words he had to say about them. There was "the invulnerable head waiter Hadji Soliman ben Aissa of Lyons, who had himself bitten in the tongue by harmless adders"; then there was "Pratapa who, in Budapest, held his breath for two hours"; and finally the "bogus Brahman Agamya", who "not only stopped his heartbeat, but also halted logic and any regard for the truth among the journalists of Vienna and Berlin".

Indeed, it seems that all three of these men made stage-appearences in several parts of Europe, often with financial help from the wealthy Kellner. Kellner had a number of businesses and financial interests in Bosnia, and it was on his trips there that he first developed his interest in Islamic mysticism and Sufism; this might explain his acquaintanceship with Hadji Soliman. About Pratapa, beyond the records of his stage-career, nothing further is documented, except a photograph that shows him together with Carl Kellner (I intend to publish this photograph in the future). Guru Agamya's teachings are far better known; on his three European trips between 1900 and 1903, he had meetings with scientists and academics in both Cambridge and Oxford, and in 1905 he published a book entitled Sri Brahma Dhara - 'Shower from the Highest' in London. Professor Max Müller of Oxford (1823-1900) wrote respectfully of Agamya in August 1900, calling him "the only Indian saint I have ever known". What the two Indians demonstrated in their public appearances, and presumably before the amazed eyes of the scholars of Oxford and Cambridge, is described in Kellner's book on Yoga as "the stages of somnambulism from somnolence upwards". He also described it as a form of catalepsy, and called it the "stage of Nirvikalpa Samadhi". So Kellner equates contemplation (Samadhi) with Yogic sleep (Yoga-Nidra). Nirvikalpa is in fact contemplation without consiousness of the ego; for which (so other authorities on Yoga say) the only possible expression is silence itself. They also state that preceding this, there occurs a falsely joyous state known as Savikalpa Samadhi, which needs to be overcome before true Samadhi is reached. One of the barriers that must be passed here is called kashaya, the magic of seductive visions of the past, and of people that one knows; and it is into this trap that Kellner apparently fell.

The manuscript record of Kellner's Samayama meditation is filled with the image of his wife, whom he recognised in the figure of the priest's own wife: "Oh how beautiful! Yes, it is you - from those eyes the same dear soul is shining." In 1912 the extreme right-wing conspiracy-theorist Jean Paar Kellner wrote an article about Kellner, Reuss, Hartmann, and their various Masonic and occult associations; most of the account is palpable nonsense, but at one point a gleam of what may be the truth shines out of the welter of innuendo about evil crypto-Communist conspiracies, and accusations of secret Satanism: he quotes Kellner as confessing to Hartmann: "I practise [my Yoga], I ascend a little way; but then I fall from a great height. I am afraid of the legions of Guardians". Hartmann is then said to have compared Kellner to Icarus "in whose myth it is told that he tried to fly to the sun on wings made of wax. When the wings melted he fell." This is highly remeniscent of Bulwer-Lytton's novel Zanoni, a great favourite among occultists at the end of the 19th century; we know that it was one of Kellner's favourite books, and it obviously coloured his past-life visions. Its hero Glyndon (like Kellner "an aspirant to the stars that shine in the Shemajá of the Chaldaean lore") is a prototype of the literary occultist whose unsustainable aspirations outstrip his abilities - another version of a Faust-figure.

Agamya's Atomic Yoga

Sri Mahatma Agamya Guru Paramahamsa came from the Punjab, and had had a distinguished career in the law, rising to the dignity of a judge in India's Supreme Court; until, in common with many other deeply religious Hindus at the end of their professional lives, he decided to give up his position in the Establishment, and become a Yogi. He was five years older than Kellner, and was convinced that his present life was to be his last incarnation on earth. He had evidently been influenced by recent discoveries in physics, and had become a proponent of what he called Paramanu Yoga ('Atomic Yoga'), a variation on the Vedantic school of Maya Yoga. According to the Maya-Veda, which contains the teachings of the 'Prince' of Vedanta philosophy, Shankaracharya (fl. ca. 800 AD), the diversity of the physical world is merely Maya, an illusion or enchantment which conceals the One and Highest (Brahman). But Maya is also one of the ways by which the Highest manifests itself. Agamya's idea was that Maya was only a drop in the ocean of the One, a specially blessed vibrating proto-atom whose activity constantly ferments new atoms. These new atoms are said to coagulate together, producing a sort of scum, which constitutes what we perceive as the reality of space and time; but this 'reality' is itself an illusion. Agamya claimed that the atom is a storehouse of incredible forces, which can be utilised by the Paramanu Yogi on his journey to the Highest. These powers are the Siddhis released through Samayama, for instance memories of earlier re-incarnations. In 'Atomic Yoga', the Atom itself is used as the subject of contemplation (Kellner's "azure flame"). The ultimate goal in Paramanu Yoga is Nirvikalpa-Samadhi, the subsuming of all powers into the proto-atom, and Maya's disappearance into the ocean of the Highest, or the consciousness of Brahman. The precise methods by which the Yogi concentrated on these atomic powers, Agamya transmitted only by word of mouth, and his pupils were forbidden to talk publicly about them.

Kellner is cursed

According to Kellner's widow there was a huge quarrel between the Guru and Carl Kellner at Hallein in 1903, at the end of which Agamya solemnly cursed his errant pupil. It seems that Kellner had been caught 'telling tales out of school', revealing some of Agamya's secret Yoga techniques for achieving the Siddhis to the "Brothers and Sisters" of his "Occult Inner Circle". Frau Kellner clearly remembered that one of these techniques was supposed to confer the prolongation of life. Kellner's disastrous laboratory accident, his serious illness of 1904, and his sudden death in 1905 were believed by his widow to be the dire results of this curse. But both Reuss and Crowley later claimed that Kellner's misfortunes were in fact a consequence of using erroneous Yogic techniques, caused by amateurish instruction given by the incompetent 'Guru' Agamya. Aleister Crowley's loathing for Sri Mahatma Agamya is clearly shown in a piece printed in his periodical The Equinox in September 1910, under the pen-name Sam Hardy (in fact Crowley's disciple Colonel J.F.C. Fuller). The article describes various meetings with the master of 'Atomic Yoga'; he cuts a very poor figure, uttering reams of comical nonsense in broken English; finally Hardy loses patience with his arrogance and hypocrisy, roundly cursing him in Hindustani: "Chup raho! Tum suar ke bachcha ho!" (Shut up! You're a damned pig!). Foaming at the mouth, the "666th incarnation of Haram Zada" (the title of a legendary villain, a common Muslim insult) tries to kill Hardy, but falls dead of an epileptic attack. while obviously an exaggerated caricature, this account probably contained some grains of truth.

Rumours about Kellner's death

There has long been a legend current among German occultists that Kellner's activities attracted malevolent spirits to his laboratory, and produced a bad case of haunting by several ghosts - though as Virgil says, Fama crescit eundo. The proto-Nazi conspiracy-theorist Jean Paar was the main source of these stories, the wild claims he made in his 1912 book Weisse und schwarze Magie often being cited. I have before me as I write a newspaper-cutting from the Wiener Sonn-und Mondtagzeitung of the 4th of August 1924, entitled "The Gold-Maker of the Hohe Warte: Dr. Karl [sic] Kellner, His Assistant's Mysterious Death, and The Secret of Alchemy", where Paar's opinions are quoted with approval, and two other bits of disinformation are thrown in for good measure. The first of these concerns the supposedly sinister significance hidden in the architecture of Kellner's villa at Hohe Warte in Vienna, which had not then been demolished; the second implies that though Kellner was an alchemist, he was "not one of the right sort". Furthermore, "because he lacked the spiritual skills needed for alchemy in its highest sense, all his hopes were eventually wrecked, and he paid with his life". About the villa, the clipping says "Anyone who cares to take a stroll up by the Hohe Warte these days, will soon come across an odd villa whose pediments are adorned with mysterious Cabbalistic signs. The ancient symbols of Alchemy can be seen, together with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, a motif also known to be found in certain Parisian sanctuaries. It was in this villa that Kellner died, due to his mysterious studies". The 'Parisian sanctuaries' are meant to suggest that Kellner was mixed up Satanism. Later on we read "He became as thin as a skeleton, locking himself away for days and nights at a time in his laboratory. His death was nothing more than the bitter fruit of his attempts to uncover the ultimate secret of alchemy."

Kellner's villa

There is still extant a photograph of Kellner's villa taken during his lifetime, which shows a rather more prosaic reality; there is no sign of any apocalyptic riders or cabbalistic symbols. There are two recognisably Assyrian sphinxes at the front corners in of the flat roof - which was quite an architectural innovation at the time. Around the observatory [P.R.K.: on the left part of the roof] are the signs of the zodiac. In the middle of the gable-end is an impressive bearded 'Baphomet' head, the Templar idol. In my opinion this is meant as an allegory of the human mind ('Ras el Fahmat', the 'Nous poietikos' of Arabic Aristotelianism), which links sun and moon, or male and female, in shakti-shaivitic Hatha-Yoga. This is confirmed by the four-armed figure of a 'Phorminx' under the bearded head. This did not appear in the architect's drawings, and is plainly meant to be Shiva's vina or Kali's harp. Below that are seven round plaques depicting musical scales, the planets, the principles of the soul, and so for th. While the choice of figures is perhaps a little eccentric, there is nothing out of the ordinary about Kellner choosing to decorate the villa in this way; it was quite common for well-to-do Viennese to adorn their houses with symbols associated with their profession or interests at this time. The villa's architect was Massimo Fabiani, a close colleague of the Vienna town-planner Otto Wagner, himself something of an Oriental philosopher, and a friend of Kellner's ever since the Görz era.

Strictly speaking, the villa was not Kellner's property; he had given it as a present to his wife Marie 'Antoinette' (she liked to identify herself with the French queen). Marie was 14 year younger than Carl, and was a scion of the Delorme family of Trieste, who were hoteliers. (Delorme means 'from the elm', and is the name of a town where the French poet Baudelaire lived for some time). After Carl's death she remarried; her second husband was 17 years younger than her, but survived Marie's death by only a year and nine months. Marie Kellner was a skilled painter and photographer, and was actively encouraged in these interests by her husband. Her descendants still possess a brooch she wore as a member of a Memphis-Misraim 'Lodge of Adoption';it depicts a Sphinx in front of a Pyramid [P.R.K.: a design similar to the front page of Leopold Engel's magazine for the 'Order of Illuminati' in 1900]. 'Adoptive Masonry' was the female counterpart of male Freemasonry within Memphis-Misraim (as the 'Eastern Star' is to orthodox Male masonry in the USA today). In Lodges of Adoption every new member was sponsored by a Freemason; Marie's sponsor obviously being Carl - and on the back of the brooch there is a portrait of Kellner. The family also still have Marie Kellner's Theosophical book of meditations; on its flyleaf Carl wrote a dedication to Marie in the form of a love-poem. In the text of the book may be found Marie's annotations; in one of them she stressed "the importance of the will for the spiritual life".

Kellner's alchemy

Though Kellner remained a skilled inventor to the end of his life, his business acumen seems to have deserted him by 1903, for in that year he was effectively ousted from the chairmanship of the Hallein company by the other members of the board, and was compelled to resign as an executive. This was not quite the misfortune it seems; he now had considerably more spare time at his disposal, and was still in the lucrative position of being a major shareholder. He was still head of his large and busy laboratory in Vienna, which was definitely not in his Villa, contrary to what has been written. After a farewell celebration at the Hallein factory (evidently the shop-floor thought considerably more of Kellner than the board-room did), he moved back to Vienna, and settled into his wife's newly-finished villa, where he was able to devote much of his time to Yoga. Not long afterwards came the falling-out with Agamya, and the curse, followed in turn by the disastrous laboratory accidents, which killed one of his assistants and badly injured Kellner. This had nothing at all to do with malign spirits or ghosts, but was a direct consequence of his using modern technology in an attempt to make alchemy work. Kellner had already done some experiments on these lines at the company laboratory in Hallein back in 1895 and 1896. Kellner believed that it was theoretically possible to transform one element into another - or even to produce new and as yet unknown elements. But this was not to be accomplished by the slow and tortuous methods of traditional alchemy, but under conditions of very high pressure, and by applying immense electrical voltages.

At the same time in America, a certain Dr. Stephen H. Emmens, an industrial chemist and the inventor of a number of new types of explosive, was working on similar lines. He theorised that it was possible to synthesise a metal based on silver and gold, which he called "Argentaurum". He further postulated that this new substance would be transmuted into silver if it underwent sudden and extreme decompression, and would likewise change into gold through the application of strong compression. In 1897 he had created six ingots of a gold-silver alloy which he claimed was indeed this remarkable Argentaurum. In 1899, the New York Herald splashed the story under the headline "This Man Made Gold and Sold It To The US Mint! Is Dr. Emmens a Modern Rosicrucian?"

Kellner had written a theoretical essay called The Origin of Species in the Inorganic back in 1881 at Görz; unfortunately, the text of this study, which would undoubtedly make for highly intriguing reading, is now lost. In October 1896, Kellner submitted a scientific paper for the consideration of the Academy of Science in Vienna, entitled Experimental Proof of the Transformability of Basic Matter. It gave detailed descriptions of the construction and operation of his high-pressure and high-voltage apparatus; his main theory was that matter behaves like electricity at a low voltage but a high current, while and energy reacts like electricity at a high voltage and low current.

On the 24th of April 1902, Kellner reported to the Imperial High Academy of Science in Vienna that he had succeded in creating (or isolating) a new element with an atomic weight of 100. As a patriotic Austrian he had decided to call it "Austrium", and had given it the chemical symbol "At". Confronted with a specimen of Austrium, the savants of the High Academy proved incapable of agreeing on just what it was that Kellner had come up with. My own researches in the Academy's archives show that the specimen was subsequently lost, which hardly demonstrates much scientific rigour. Soon after this, Kellner himself became doubtful about what he had created - was it an element, or (more likely) simply an extremely stable and inert compound, given the circumstances of its creation? At all events, the experiments were proving highly dangerous; even before the incident which put him in hospital there were a number of explosions, and poisonings caused by chemical leaks, at Kellner's laboratory.

After his accident in the laboratory, Kellner was kept in hospital for an extended period - not only were his injuries serious enough to need a long time to heal - but it should be remembered that this was before the invention of effective antibiotics, and he would have been kept under lengthy observation to ensure that no infections developed. No doubt his strong constitution, developed with the aid of Indian clubs under Jagerdorfer's tutelage helped him to turn the corner. Once he was well enough to be discharged from hospital, he was obviously advised to convalesce in a warm, dry place; hence he travelled to Egypt, accompanied by his wife. The balmy climate of Egypt apparently completed the process of recuperation, for when he and Marie returned to Vienna, Kellner seemed quite his old self; he was able to throw himself back into his work at the laboratory with enthusiasm. Yet just one month after his return, he came home to the villa after a very busy day at the laboratory, no doubt to Marie's annoyance requiring a late dinner. During the meal, he complained of a bad attack of indigestion - but it soon became obvious that this was a lot more serious than dyspepsia; he was having a heart-attack. Kellner knew what to do in such cases, and injected himself with a tincture of camphor - but it was of no avail; he was failing fast, and died at one o'clock in the morning on the 7th of June, 1905. The pathologist's report stated the cause of death as "Paralysis of the heart caused by chronic poisoning, due to infection of the blood"; despite all the precautions taken at hospital, there had still been an invisible infection present. was stated as the cause of death. On the 9th of June, his body was taken to Hallein for the funeral in a splendidly-appointed hearse, and was then buried in the family grave at Oberalm. But in 1907, his remains were exhumed and cremated at Munich; the ashes were then placed in an elaborate monument built in his honour at the Hallein cemetery.

Carl Kellner's monumental tomb may still be found in the cemetery at Hallein; it is doubtful if anyone pays it much attention nowadays, unless it is to notice the rather unconventional symbols with which it is decorated. [Photographs here and in P.R. Koenig's Ein Leben für die Rose and Flensburger Hefte 63]. The themes of this ornamentation seem to have been strongly influenced by the ideas of Kellner's successor Theodor Reuss. There can be little doubt that Reuss had made a substantial donation towards the design and building of the tomb, because in 1907 no issues of his magazine the Oriflamme appeared - there wasn't enough left in the Reuss coffers to subsidise any publishing that year. The monument was designed by the artist Wilhelm Heyda in a not unpleasing Art Nouveau style. It features two praying angels, and pendant decorations of Templar crosses, triangular 'pyramids of fire', and two pillars inscribed 'Jachin' and 'Boaz'. But its most important decoration is a sort of cult-icon in the form of a sculpted image of the Virgin Mary, placed atop a sort of altar. It was obviously designed in accord with ideas that Reuss promulgated within the O.T.O, for this Mary, depicted in a strongly Art Nouveau manner, resembles not so much the Virgin of Christian iconography, but the goddess Maya. She is shown standing upon a crescent moon, a symbol of the freed soul overcoming the bonds of matter; but this could also be taken as a symbol of a 'mystic marriage' - body and mind cannot unite without the soul. Her pose is worthy of remark as well: she holds the infant Jesus towards the lower half of her body, and the child stretches out its arms in the form of a cross. This strongly resembles the attitudes in which the Virgin and Child were depicted by the heretical Bogomil sect; yet the symbolism is plain enough - she embodies the life- affirming qualities of love.


Published by permission of Josef Dvorak.

  • Josef Dvorak: Carl Kellner   [collected gossips and speculations about Kellner's life, Franz Hartmann, Hatha Yoga and Baphomet].
  • Deutsche Version: Carl Kellner.
  • Türkçe çeviri: Carl Kellner.

This translation was kindly supported by Mark Parry-Maddocks

The grave of Carl Kellner

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More about all this in: Andreas Huettl and Peter-R. Koenig: Satan - Jünger, Jäger und Justiz

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