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Kathryn Kuhlman

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Kathryn Kuhlman
Born May 9, 1907(1907-05-09)
Concordia, Missouri, U.S.A
Died February 20, 1976
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
Cause of death open-heart surgery.
Nationality American of German ancestry
Occupation Evangelist
Known for Pentecostal Christianity Faith healer
Religion Pentecostal Christianity
Spouse(s) Burroughs Allen Waltrip (Mister), (October 18, 1938- ? 1948(divorced)
Parents Joseph Adolph Kuhlman and Emma Walkenhorst

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman (May 9, 1907 - February 20, 1976) was an American faith healer and Pentecostal evangelist. She was born in Concordia, Missouri to German parents and died in Tulsa, Oklahoma, following open-heart surgery.[1]


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. 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. Joan Gieson became her assistant for 8 1/2 years.

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.[2][3][4][5] Nolen's long term follow-ups concluded there were no cures in those cases.[6][7] Furthermore, one woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer took off her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman's command; her spine collapsed the following day and she died four months later.[8][6]

By 1970 she moved to Los Angeles conducting faith healing for thousands of people each day as an heir to Aimee Semple McPherson.[9] She became well-known despite, as she told reporters, having no theological training.[9] She married Burroughs A. Waltrip of Dallas, in which city he left his wife and two children, to marry Kuhlman in Iowa City, Iowa.[9] She described Waltrip as "the best-looking guy there ever was".[9] They soon divorced, as Kuhlman explained, "because he was divorced I had to choose between him and my work".[9] However, journalists at the time believe the divorce might have occurred because "the sex-and-salvation worship was ... liable to be diminished if the object of adoration is married".[9]

In 1975, Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract.[10][11] Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private.[12] According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial.[6]

In July 1975 her doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flareup and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles.[13] As a result, she had open heart surgery from which she died in February 1976.[1] 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.[14] She left $267,500, the bulk of her estate, to three family members and twenty employees.[14] Smaller bequests were given to 19 other employees.[14] 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."[14] The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation has continued, but in 1982 it terminated its nationwide radio broadcasting. She influenced faith healers Benny Hinn and Billy Burke. Benny has adopted some of her techniques and wrote a book about her.[15]


Kuhlman's critics assert that she purposely deceived her audience because there is a lack of scientific evidence to prove the validity of faith healing.[16]

Some 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.[17] Buckingham also wrote his own Kuhlman biography that presented an unvarnished account of her life.[18]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Kathryn Kuhlman, Evangelist And Faith Healer, Dies in Tulsa". New York Times. February 22, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  2. "Psychic Healing? Investigator declares no". The Greenville News. August 16, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.  Also see: William Nolen, Healing: a doctor in search of a miracle. New York: Random House ISBN 0394490959
  3. "Dr Nolen Looks at Faith Healing". The San Mateo Times. March 7, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  4. Michaelson, Michael (February 2, 1975). "Men of medicine and a medicine man". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  5. "Extra-Dispensary Perceptions". Time. March 17, 1975.,9171,913003,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Inside Religion: Kuhlman Tested By md's Probe". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 8, 1975.,834959&dq=kathryn+kuhlman+william+nolen. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  7. "A follow-up study of 23 patients 'cured' in a Kathryn Kuhlman service". St. Petersburg Times. November 2, 1974.,1149932&dq=kathryn+kuhlman. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  8. Randi, James (1989). The Faith Healers. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-535-0 page 228. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 "Aimee Macpherson has a Dazzling Successor". Pasadena Star-News. July 4, 1970. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  10. "Evangelist Sued By a Former Aide". Washington Post. July 18, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  11. "Ex-Aides Sue Kathryn Kuhlman". Los Angeles Times. July 3, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  12. "Kathryn Kuhlman Sued By Former Associates". St. Petersburg Times. July 12, 1975.,2534488&dq=kathryn+kuhlman. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  13. "Kathryn Kuhlman Is Dead". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 21, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Kuhlman Bequests Listed". Independent Press-Telegram. April 17, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  15. Nickell, Joe (May/June 2002). "Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist?". Skeptical Inquirer. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  17. Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, p 167 ISBN 0882707841
  18. Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International ISBN 0882707841

Books by Kuhlman

  • Kathryn Kuhlman, I Believe in Miracles Bridge-Logos Publishers; Rev Upd edition (October 1992) ISBN 0882706578
  • Kathryn Kuhlman, Never Too Late Bridge-Logos Publishers (August 1995) ISBN 0882707205

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