Walker, Thane (ca. 1890– )
Founder (with Phez Kahlil) of the Prosperos, a group stemming
from the philosophy of mystic G. I. Gurdjieff. Walker was
born in Nowaway County, Missouri. He claimed to have been
one of America’s first psychologists and to have been imprisoned
in a Nazi concentration camp after writing the article ‘‘I
Saw Hitler Make Black Magic.’’ He was a Marine Corps officer
and entertained American troops in Japan during the occupation
in World War II.
As a former pupil of Gurdjieff, Walker became a Gurdjieffstyle
figure, teaching students through stories and disorienting
activities, but also drawing upon Freudian and Jungian psychology
and occult and astrological traditions. Walker believed
students should wake from the misleading reality of everyday
sensory experience and limited personality to a wider reality.
The Prosperos group was founded in Florida in 1956, but
the organization has since moved its headquarters to California
and reported some 3,000 members at the end of the 1980s.
Melton, J. Gordon. Encyclopedia of American Religions. Detroit
Gale Research, 1992.