“The Jet Propelled Couch” by Robert Lindner was published in two parts in Harper’s Magazine in Dec. 1954 <bit.ly/jet-prop1> and Jan. 1955 <bit.ly/jet-prop2>. It was republished, lightly revised, as the last chapter of Lindner’s The Fifty Minute Hour: a Collection of True Psychoanalytic Tales (New York: Rinehart and Co., 1955; the page citations to which these annotations refer are to the version in The Fifty Minute Hour). It is a case study of Lindner’s patient “Kirk Allen,” whose obsession with a constructed science-fiction universe was interfering with his work. Over the years, several attempts have been made to determine Kirk Allen’s real identity through the layers of misdirection that Lindner introduced to anonymize his client. The leading candidate was Paul Linebarger (better known to the world of science fiction as Cordwainer Smith); another was a physicist named John Carter. Here we present a new theory.—the eds.
223: My tale begins ... with a telephone call from a physician at a government installation in the Southwest ... about a patient who had been sent to him ....
My theory is that Lindner’s pseudonymous patient was a man named Francis Burton Harrison II (hereafter “Kiko”), who worked at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory (now called Los Alamos National Laboratory) from 1952 through 1992 (with a stint at TRW in Los Angeles from 1962 through 1972). TRW is a large electronics and aerospace company with extensive US government contracts.
223: ... a man in his thirties, a research physicist ...
Kiko was 31 when he began working at Los Alamos. He worked as a research physicist.
224: ... the patient’s name is Kirk Allen ...
“Kirk Allen” seems like a good pseudonym for “Kiko Harrison.”
224: ... Washington sent him out to do a key job ...
Kiko was recruited by Wright H. Langham (head of the Biomedical Research Division) to develop scintillation counters to detect radiation in biological samples. Kiko was recruited from Princeton, where he had been a research associate from 1950 to 1952. Kiko received his PhD in physics from Princeton in 1951.
The AEC headquarters in Washington would have been involved in that Los Alamos was an AEC lab. AEC is the Atomic Energy Commission (1946–74), which was superseded by ERDA (Energy Research and Development Administration) and the NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission). ERDA (1974–1976) was absorbed into the Department of Energy in 1977.
224: ... Bagby—that’s the division chief—not only noticed [the reports] were below standard for Allen, but some of them were incoherent and a few of the papers were covered with funny symbols or ... pictographs....”
Kiko Harrison (probably) was the leader of the scintillation counter section, under Langham. Langham was a physical chemist specializing in transuranic elements such as plutonium.
In 1955–56, Kiko’s improvements in scintillation counter design were decisive in the discovery of the neutrino. “The Reines-Cowan Experiments” <permalink.lanl.gov/object/tr?what=info:lanl-repo/lareport/LA-UR-97-2534-02>, a retrospective on the experiments published in Los Alamos Science in 1972, includes a picture (on page 2) of Kiko in the back row next to Clyde Cowan, the group leader of the Savannah River team. The Savannah River in South Carolina was the site of a huge nuclear reactor, which produced copious amounts of neutrinos.
(See also C. L. Cowan Jr., F. Reines, F. B. Harrison, H. W. Kruse, and A. D McGuire, “Detection of the Free Neutrino: a Confirmation.” Science 124 : 103–104 [July 20, 1956].)
227: Kirk Allen ... no mad scientist ... A vigorous-looking man of average height, clear-eyed and blond....”
This is one of many statements in Lindner’s account that I assume are falsified to protect the identity of his subject. (We know from evidence presented later that there are some outright falsified statements in the case study.) I know of only five pictures of Kiko; I list them in the sidebar below.
The picture of Kiko Harrison taken in 1955 or ’56 (see item above) fits this description, except that Kiko is definitely not blond, but rather dark-haired.
227–8: ... his speech ... had a vaguely foreign, musical lilt.... he said, “My first language was a Polynesian dialect, but I thought it was pretty well hidden.”
Kiko Harrison was born in the Philippines on February 7, 1921, to Francis Burton Harrison (1873–1957; hereafter “FBH”), the Governor-General of the Philippines 1913–21, and Elizabeth (Wrentmore), FBH ’s third wife. The Filipino nurse always called him Kiko, and that became his nickname throughout his life. In the Philippines, Kiko is a pet name for the Spanish name Francisco. (In Italian and Portuguese, Kiko is a pet name for Frederico and Henrique.) It is relevant that Kiko acquired his pet name in the Philippines, a former Spanish colony. After all, his first name, like his father’s, was Francis, with the Spanish form Francisco.
228: “My father ... was a naval officer. I was born in Hawaii, where he was stationed when the First World War broke out ...
Again, I believe several of these details are deliberately misleading.
Kiko’s father was not a naval officer. Rather, he had been a US Army officer during the Spanish-American War (1898), serving as a captain and rising to assistant adjutant general. At Paris in Dec. 1898, the peace treaty ceded several possessions to the US, including the Philippine Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico. The Treaty of Paris was ratified by the US Senate on February 6, 1899. Meanwhile, on July 7, 1898, President McKinley signed the bill “Annexation of the Hawaiian Islands” (although this was a separate issue from the war with Spain). Hawaii became a US Territory in 1900 and a US State in 1959. (Cf. “Francis Burton Harrison” in Wikipedia <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Burton_Harrison>.)
I believe “Hawaii” here is an obfuscation of “The Philippines.” The First World War began in Europe in August 1914 and lasted until November 1918. The US was involved in the war from April 1917 through the end. So FBH was indeed in the US’s Pacific territories when “the First World War broke out,” and Kiko was born there.
228: ... my father was Commissioner on one of the mandated islands ... until his death, when I was fourteen....
Here we have a misdirection that must necessarily be a falsehood: Kiko’s father could not have been such a “Commissioner on one of the mandated islands.” President Woodrow Wilson was very involved in the Peace Conference in Paris, leading up to the founding of the League of Nations and the Treaty of Versailles in Paris in June 1919. However, the US Senate refused to allow the US to become a member of the League of Nations. Various island groups in the Pacific did become League of Nations Mandates, not for the US but for other powers, most notably Japan.
The Harrison family left the Philippines in the Spring of 1921, shortly after FBH resigned as Governor-General at the end of Wilson’s administration. This was only a few weeks after Kiko’s birth. They then travelled to Scotland where FBH finished writing The Corner-Stone of Philippine Independence, published in 1922.
228: “My nurse until I was six years old was a Polynesian woman, and it was her dialect I learned to speak as a small child.”
Kiko remained under the care of his Filipino nurse for his very early years. This nurse gave him the Filipino-Spanish name Kiko, a nickname he was known by throughout his life.
However, in 1927, when Kiko was 6 years old, his mother, Elizabeth Wrentmore, divorced his father.
Also in 1927, FBH married Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret, a marriage that lasted until 1933. Then in 1935 he married Doria Lee Batchelor, and they stayed together until 1948.
In 1928 when Kiko was 7, his mother married A.F.G. Watson, an investment banker of Edinburgh and London. Kiko and his younger sister, Verna (1923–2004), lived with their mother in France and England and in summers with their father in Teanininch, northern Scotland.
229: She was at least thirty-five years younger than he and temperamentally his opposite.
The story of the marriage of FBH to Elizabeth Wrentmore when he was 46 and she was 18 was very public; he was Governor-General, and Elizabeth was the daughter of Clarence G. Wrentmore, the Dean of the University of Manila. Dean Wrentmore was a good friend of FBH, who had known the Dean’s daughter for years. The marriage took place on May 15, 1919, in Chicago. Elizabeth was a student at Universiry of California Berkeley, and she traveled to Chicago while breaking a diphtheria quarantine in Berkeley. The wedding took place the day that FBH was granted a divorce from his second wife, Mabel Judson Cox.
Lindner took great pains to obscure this story by changing various aspects of it. But the age disparity between Harrison and his third wife was an important psychological factor that needed to be emphasized in his account. Lindner increased the age disparity to 35 years rather than the actual 28.
230: ... she married him, perhaps ... as a desperate means of escaping her mother....
Elizabeth Wrentmore’s mother did not approve of the wedding because of the age disparity. According to the account in the Chicago Tribune (May 16, 1919):
Mother Wrentmore objected when daughter confessed more than an interest in the distinguished if maturing governor, but according to friends, she has relented and yesterday sent her “bless you” via wireless.
She is now aboard ship en route to Manila. Others less kind say Daughter Wrentmore waited until mother had sailed, then seized a grip and hastened to Chicago, breaking the quarantine established when diphtheria was discovered at the Wrentmore home.
230: Kirk was born in 1918. Immediately after his birth the family went to Paris, where his father was assigned for duty at the peace negotiations.
Kiko was born in 1921, and shortly after his birth, FBH and his 20-year old wife left the Philippines for Paris and Scotland.
FBH may have been involved in the Paris peace negotiations in 1919, but I have not been able to confirm this. If so, it would help to explain the fact that in May 1919 he was in Chicago rather than Manila.
In fact, FBH spent most of 1919 away from Manila. According to the Chicago Tribune account:
Plans of the couple include a trip at once to Washington, then a motor journey through New England. They will sail for the Islands in the early autumn.
230: ... and then was reassigned to Hawaii.
After FBH and his young new wife spent most of 1919 in the US and perhaps some of it in Paris, they embarked for the Philippines in the autumn of 1919. Again, Hawaii is a cover for the Philippines.
230: ... the old man was appointed Commissioner over a mandated island....
Again, there were no mandated islands controlled by the US.
When the Harrisons returned to the Philippines in 1919, the colony was in process of becoming locally independent because of FBH’s policies, which were supported by Wilson. (Cf. Harrison’s The Corner-Stone of Philippine Independence, 1922.) Kiko was born in the Philippines on February 7, 1921.
A few weeks later, FBH resigned from his position as Governor-General of the Philippines because he was not in favor of the policies of the new president, Warren G. Harding. Rather than going to a “mandated island,” as noted above, FBH took his young family to Paris and Scotland, where he finished writing The Corner-Stone.
From age 1 through 6 (1922–27), Kiko lived mainly in northern Scotland for the summers and spent the winters in France; a daughter, Verna, was born on Feb. 5, 1923, in France. Kiko and his sister were cared for by nurses and governesses.
His mother, Elizabeth, was still herself quite young (21–26). In 1927, she divorced his father, who promptly married Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret.
231: ... she now left him completely in the charge of his Hawaiian nurse, native servants, or governesses....
After Kiko’s mother married A.F.G. Watson in 1928, they lived in England and France with summers in Scotland. Kiko was 7, and his sister Verna was 5. They were shuttled among various homes: Lofts Hall near Saffron, Walden, in Essex and estates in France with their mother, and summers in Scotland at Teanininch with their father. They went to school in England, France, and Switzerland. (Cf. Archie Hobson, “Memorable Life: Verna Hobson” (features @santiagotimes.cl) May 21, 2006.)
“Hawaiian nurse” could clearly be “Filipino nurse.” Given the mores of the British upper classes, servants and governesses would be the norm.
The summers in Scotland would have lasted only until 1935 when FBH went back to the Philippines.
231: Myna ... remained to mother him until the end of his sixth year.
It is significant that this repeats “until the end of [Kiko’s] sixth year,” when Kiko’s parents divorced. We do not know the nurse’s real name.
242–3: One day, a large crate of books was delivered to the mission house.... he suddenly became aware of the fact that the name of the hero of this novel was the same as his own....
Several days later the experience of encountering a fictional character bearing his name was repeated—this time in a volume of semi-philosophical reflections by an American stylist of the ’twenties....
It was not long after these two experiences that Kirk again came across his own name applied to a character of fiction. [...]
Through volume after volume of strange and adventurous tales this figure weaved a perilous way as all-conquering hero—a prototype for the modern Superman.
This information potentially contains several strong clues to the identity of Kirk Allen. However, Lindner may be obfuscating the factual information here in a maze of misinformation.
First, is the age of Kirk, “eleven,” correct, or is it off by a year or so?
Also, the last mentioned episode, that of the Superman prototype, points toward a serial hero such as Buck Rogers. Surely, Lindner doesn’t want to give the patient’s identity away so easily. A friend of mine, who knew the English physicist Eric Rogers, said “Please don’t let it be Eric Rogers!” I checked out Eric Rogers’s bio and quickly ruled him out—Rogers had no visible connection to governmental research projects. (Cf. Eric M. Rogers’s Wikipedia entry, <en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_M._Rogers>.)
Note also that Buck Rogers was never in a book series. He first appeared in the novel Armageddon 2419 ad by Philip Francis Nowlan (serialized in Amazing Stories in 1928–29) and subsequently in the Sunday comics. The movie series version of Buck Rogers appeared in 1939.
I believe that Lindner’s picture of a series of sf books about a person bearing Kirk Allen’s real name is obfuscation on Lindner’s part. The key point is that Kirk Allen came across one or more science fiction stories in which the hero of the story bore his own name.
If Kiko Harrison is the real Kirk Allen, it would be necessary to find a candidate science fiction story (or stories) in which the hero has the name Harrison. There is such a story (and a sequel story), quite important in the sf world of Kiko’s early teens: Stanley G. Weinbaum’s “A Martian Odyssey” (Wonder Stories, July, 1934) and its sequel “Valley of Dreams” (Wonder Stories, Nov. 1934).
In these stories, the captain of the spaceship Ares, on an expedition to Mars, is simply called “Captain Harrison.” No first names are used for any of the crew on the first story. In the second story, Jarvis of the first story becomes Dick Jarvis. However, the second story begins with the sentence: “Captain Harrison of the Ares expedition turned away from the little telescope in the bow of the rocket,” and he remains “Captain Harrison” throughout.
Since according to Lindner, Kirk Allen was an avid reader, Kiko Harrison could have come across these stories in the magazine Wonder Stories, in 1934 when he was 13, which is two years after Lindner’s (obfuscated or possibly simply incorrect) 11-year-old Kirk Allen.
245: When Kirk was fourteen, his father ... died.... his mother ... prepared to leave the island.
FBH did not die when Kiko was 14, which would have been in 1935. That year, FBH left Scotland with his fifth wife and went back to the Philippines to be an advisor to Manuel Quezon, the first president of the Philippine Commonwealth, from November 1935 to August 1936. (This marriage, FBH’s fifth, lasted until 1948.). This was an important transition for Kiko, since the summers with his father in Scotland ended at the point.
FBH actually died in 1957, ironically outliving Lindner, who died of a heart attack at age 42 in 1956, a year after he published The Fifty Minute Hour.
246: At nineteen, Kirk entered one of the great Eastern universities.... he pointed his effort toward a career in science.
Kiko actually began his university career at age 18 at Cambridge in 1939. He stayed in England only until 1940. Because of the beginning of World War 2 in Europe in 1939 and the dangerous situation in England in 1940, Kiko came to the US, where his mother and sister, Verna, already had gone in 1939. He entered Princeton University at 19 and graduated with a BSE degree in 1943.
246: ... completed the requirements for his doctoral degree ... mustered into military service and assigned to a special project ... the Second World War ended (in a manner that had something to do with Kirk’s work)....
This is partly right for Kiko Harrison, but there is much obfuscation here. Lindner apparently wants to imply that Kirk Allen was involved in atomic bomb work, so he needs to have him born in 1918 and could complete his PhD in 1944, as the bomb work was in a late stage: the first test of the atomic bomb occurred in New Mexico on July 16, 1945. The uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6 and the plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9 led to the Japanese surrender on August 15.
Lindner’s timeline for Kirk Allen obscures Kiko Harrison’s timeline (see sidebar). Kiko entered the Navy in 1944, serving as targeting officer on the USS Flasher, a submarine.
However, it is true that “the Second World War ended (in a manner that had something to do with Kirk’s work).” The Flasher sank more Japanese tonnage—mostly of cargo ships, troop ships, and oil tankers, but also some warships—than any other US submarine. (Cf. Obituary: Kiko Harrison, The Islands’ Sounder, Feb. 20, 2014.)
246–7: Throughout the years ... [Kirk was] devoted to the detailed development of his abiding fantasy ... weaving an ... imaginative mental life....
Again, the Weinbaum stories about Captain Harrison were published when Kiko was 13 years old. He became Lindner’s patient shortly after his employment at Los Alamos began in 1952. Presumably, during the 18 years between 1934 and 1952, he would have been compiling the vast quantity of detailed descriptions based on his vivid, imaginary explorations to other worlds, in particular to a planet over which he ruled as an emperor.
247: [Kirk Allen said,] “I became convinced ... that somehow the author had obtained a knowledge of my life and had written its story.... I soon developed the notion ... of the co-existence of temporal dimensions so that the past and the future are simultaneous with the present. This made it possible to live a current life but, all the same, to remember the future.”
Kiko, as an avid sf reader in his teens like many budding physicists, would naturally rationalize his experiences by a science fictional idea, two-way time flow.
The idea that the present is influenced by both the past and the future has been put forward by eminent physicists. For example, at a conference on Determinism and Freedom, held at New York University in February 1957, the Cambridge University physicist Dennis Sciama said:
Let us suppose that in nature systems are deterministic in the sense that we can calculate the state of a system at time t if we know enough boundary conditions referring to times other than t; but let us differ from classical mechanics by supposing that nature is so constructed that roughly speaking, half the boundary conditions must refer to the past and half to the future of the moment t. In other words, we assume that nature is such that “mixed” boundary conditions are always needed.
(“Determinism and the Cosmos,” Dennis W. Sciama, Trinity College, Cambridge, Ch. 4 of Determinism and Freedom in the Age of Modern Science, edited by Sidney Hook, New York University Press, 1958.) Note that this conference was held only a year after The Fifty Minute Hour was published.
Whether or not Dennis Sciama was influenced by Lindner’s account of Kirk Allen, the idea of two-way time determinism was “in the air,” not just as a convenient sf plot device.
251–2: “I am aware of a great disparity in the passage of time between events in the lives of these two selves. My existence here, in this present, goes at a pace you’d call normal; while as Kirk Allen of the future time goes fast, seems compressed.... So I live perhaps a year or more as that Kirk Allen in a few minutes of this Kirk Allen’s time.”
According to Einstein’s theory of Special Relativity, two different observers moving at different speeds relative to each other will experience time differently. In the famous Twin Effect, twin brothers illustrate this time compression. One twin, “Speedy,” leaves Earth in a rocket ship travelling at a rate close to the speed of light. His time aboard ship appears to pass normally. When he returns to Earth after a year aboard the rocket ship, he finds that his twin brother “Pokey” is already an old man, while he, “Speedy,” is only a year older.
This relativistic effect was verified in 1973, using atomic clocks flown in an ordinary passenger jet in a trip from Washington and back. Because the atomic clocks could measure time differences of a billionth of a second, the jet speed of the passenger plane was sufficient to verify this effect.
However, in Kirk Allen’s case, the effect is the opposite of Special Relativity. It’s as if the Kirk here on Earth is “Speedy” moving at a large fraction of the speed of light while the Kirk elsewhere is “Pokey,” so that a large increment of time for the off-planet Kirk corresponds to a small increment of time for the Earth-bound Kirk. Moreover, Kirk Allen can remember both experiences.
252–3: He felt ... incapable of communicating it to others.... He had thought someday to publish the material ... perhaps as fiction.
This is the basis of claims that Kirk Allen must be identified with some science fiction writer using a pseudonym. The leading candidate for this identification is Paul Linebarger, writing as Cordwainer Smith.
However, toward the end of Allen’s sessions with Lindner, he had already come to the conclusion that these memories were a delusion. He may also have lost the motivation to publish his otherworldly experiences as science fiction.
255–6: There were, to begin with, about twelve thousand pages of typescript comprising the amended “biography” of Kirk Allen ... approximately 2,000 more of notes in Kirk’s handwriting....
... a 200-page history of the empire Kirk Allen ruled ...
... a series of 44 folders ... each dealing with some aspect of the planet over which the Kirk Allen of the future ruled.... “The Fauna of Srom Olma I,” “The Transportation System of Seraneb”... “The Application of Unified Field Theory and the Mechanics of Stardrive to Space Travel.”
In general, it is clear that Allen was concerned with entire ecosystems. Significantly, this emphasis on the interplay of various forms of life in the context of various environments seems to echo the sf of Stanley G. Weinbaum.
As Brian Stableford writes in the “Ecology” entry for the 1979 edition of The Science Fiction Encyclopedia (188): “The only early pulp sf writer whose work showed anything more than a rudimentary consciousness of ecology was Stanley weinbaum.” Later, in his entry on Weinbaum, he writes:
“A Martian Odyssey” (1934) was an early attempt to present life on another world as a strange and complex system rather than a conglomerate of weird creatures haphazardly modified from earthly life forms. He continued to construct similar systems in stories such as “The Lotus Eaters” (1935), “The Mad Moon” (1935), “Flight on Titan” (1935), and “Parasite Planet” (1935), the first of which contains an interesting attempt to imagine the world view of an intelligent plant.
Moreover to the list of ecologically engaged stories, I would add the second Captain Harrison story, “Valley of Dreams” (1934).
Indeed, this story seems to be echoed by other topics Lindner listed, such as “Metabiology of the Valley Dwellers,” “Economic Foundations of the Valley Society,” and “Religious Beliefs of the Valley Dwellers.”
An important theme in the Captain Harrison stories is talk of “splitting the atom” and “atomic power.” In fact, “The Valley of Dreams” ends dramatically with these four paragraphs:
Harrison chuckled. “None of my business,” he said. “One more question, Jarvis. What was the one other thing you did before returning here?”
Jarvis looked diffident. “Oh—that.” He hesitated. “Well, I sort of felt we owed Tweel a lot, so after some trouble, we coaxed him into the rocket and sailed him out to the wreck of the first one, over on Thyle II. Then,” he finished apologetically, “I showed him the atomic blast, got it working, and gave it to him!”
“You what?” roared the Captain. “You turned something as powerful as that over to an alien race—maybe some day an enemy race?”
“Yes, I did,” said Jarvis. “Look here,” he argued defensively. “This lousy, dried-up pill of a desert called Mars’ll never support much human population. The Sahara Desert is just as good a field for imperialism, and a lot closer to home. So we’ll never find Tweel’s race enemies. The only value we’ll find here is commercial trade with the Martians. Then why shouldn’t I give Tweel a chance for survival? With atomic energy, they can run their canal system a hundred per cent instead of only one out of five, as Putz’s observations showed. They can repopulate those ghostly cities; they can resume their arts and industries; they can trade with the nations of the Earth—and I’ll bet they can teach us a few things,” he paused, “if they can figure out the atomic blast, and I’ll lay odds they can. They’re no fools, Tweel and his ostrich-faced Martians!”
The 13-year-old Kiko developed into the physicist, who in his early 30s worked at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. His interest in physics may well have had its roots in science fiction, including Weinbaum’s.
One of Kirk Allen’s topics stands out: “The Application of Unified Field Theory and the Mechanics of Stardrive to Space Travel.”
“Unified Field Theory” (UFT) was a term coined by Albert Einstein, and for him it meant the unification of gravitation with electromagnetism. In the 1940s and ’50s, when Einstein was at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS), he was mainly working on various (failed) versions of a Unified Field Theory.
Presumably Kiko chose to study at Princeton rather than Yale (where both his father and uncle had graduated) because both Princeton and the IAS were hotbeds of physics. Einstein was at the IAS from 1933 through his death in 1955. Kiko went back to Princeton after the war and studied there from 1947 to 1952, gaining his PhD in physics in 1951.
The idea that UFT could relate to space travel seems to be based on the version of UFT that was explored jointly by Einstein and the eminent mathematician Elie Cartan. (Cf. Elie Cartan—Albert Einstein: Letters on Absolute Parallelism 1929–1932, Princeton University Press .) Although these letters were not published until 1979, both Cartan and Einstein published papers developing this version of UFT in the standard physics and mathematics journals.
Their version of UFT entails a spacetime with both curvature and torsion. And ever since these papers were written in the early 1930s, various physicists have attempted to apply the torsion aspect of this UFT to stardrive systems.
Indeed in 1999–2000, I worked with a group of physicists exploring this very idea. (Cf. <www.tony5m17h.net/topolophys.html> and “Star Gate Anholonomic Topology-Changing Post-Einstein Geometrodynamics,” Jack Sarfatti & Saul-Paul Sirag , <web.archive.org/web/20000816191546/https://stardrive.org/Jack/algebra.pdf >.)
260–61: Quite likely the incident that was to prove traumatic for him and determine, to a great extent, his future pattern occurred when his family so abruptly severed his almost symbiotic relationship with the Polynesian nurse, Myna.
The first world Kirk built for himself was constructed at an age when most children are consolidating the gains of infancy and passing into a childhood in which the chief mental operation is the testing of reality.
For Kiko Harrison, this brief (but profound) separation anxiety must have occurred when a few weeks old, and his father and mother left the Philippines in May 1921. Only a few weeks old, he was taken to live first in France and then the remote north of Scotland. He would have been accompanied by his Filipino nurse. Did the brief but traumatic separation occur then or during Kiko’s frequent travels between France and Scotland, or is Lindner misdirecting us and referring to the permanent separation after Kiko’s mother divorced his father?
261–2: Myna, it will be recalled, was restored to Kirk ... her return and the removal of the Commodore’s family to the mandated island coincided, and were followed in relatively swift succession, by Kirk’s mother’s virtual retirement and the subsequent death of the faithful Polynesian nurse.
There was no removal to “the mandated island,” so this is a necessarily garbled account.
263: ... the fortuitous correspondence of names [created] the bridge.....
For the third time in Lindner’s account, he emphasizes the beginning of Kirk Allen’s identification with the science fiction character through the mere fact that he bore the same name.
264: In any case, following his shattering encounter with the nymphomanic governess, Kirk shunned sexual experience in reality.... In his fantasy life ... he was not only sexually alert but a notorious and successful lover.
Lindner describes Kirk Allen’s first sexual experience, with a later governess called “Miss Lilian.” Presumably, the Miss Lilian incident (or one very much like it) did occur, since it played such an important role in his life. Lindner places this event around the time of Kirk Allen’s flight into fantasy—age 11.
However, Lindner’s depiction of Kirk Allen’s total sexual alienation after Miss Lilian’s departure conflicts with the fact that Kiko was married for much of his life. If Kiko is Kirk Allen, this could be Lindner’s obfuscation or it could be an exaggeration of Kiko’s lack of sexual interest.
Kiko first married Dora Maxwell in 1943 just before rejoining his submarine crew and going off to the Pacific. It was a quickie wedding conducted by a judge in Maryland. (Cf. Intimate Companions, by David Leddick (2000).)
Kiko and Dora apparently had a more traditional wedding in 1949 since “m. 49” is listed in Kiko’s bio in American Men of Science (1966). Kiko had 5 children according to this same source. It is unclear precisely when the couple separated and divorced.
Much later, in 1992, Kiko married Kamala Hunter in Orcas Island, Washington, after he retired from Los Alamos. (Cf. Kiko’s obituary in The Islands’ Sounder, 20 Feb. 2014 <bit.ly/24gX6dO>.)
This obituary names his 5 children as Peter, Charles, Cary, Leslie, and Michelle. No mention is made of the mother of these children, Dora Maxwell. Significantly, Kiko’s bio also says: “He wrote a book entitled ‘Love, Sex, Marriage’ to help young people make wiser choices.”
It is curious that Dora Maxwell Harrison’s obituary in The Santa Fe New Mexican (Oct. 5, 2005) makes no mention of Kiko.
However, The New York Times (August 29, 1982) had a wedding announcement, “Linda K. Rawson Becomes a Bride”, which describes the groom as “Mr. [Charles Maxwell] Harrison, son of Dora Maxwell Harrison of Tesuque, N.M., and Francis Burton Harrison of Los Alamos, N.M.”
So apparently for both Dora Maxwell and Kiko Harrison, marriage was a rocky road.
Moreover, Kiko’s Orcas Island obituary says, “He cherished his wife Kamala and their many wonderful friends on Orcas, who helped him break out of his innate introversion.”
266–7: By the end of the first year of analysis....
Assuming that Kirk is Kiko, this “first year of analysis” could only have extended from some time in 1952 (after Kiko’s arrival at Los Alamos) until some time in 1953. Of course, this assumes that Lindner is not exaggerating the length of his analytic work with Kiko.
269: I began by steeping myself in the “records....” I studied the mass of material Kirk had given me until I knew it so well that the most insignificant detail was engraved in my memory. Naturally, such intensive study brought to light many inconsistencies, and it was with these that I started my new assault on Kirk’s psychosis.
Lindner had to pretend that he believed in the validity of Kirk’s large quantity of material and its source in Kirk’s alter ego far in the future. This method of participation with his patient enabled Lindner to repeatedly find fault with the material, requiring numerous “fixes” by Kirk. It seems that over a rather short period of time, Kirk began to doubt the validity of the material.
274: And on the following day ...a new note was to be detected in his voice.... Evidence that my impression was correct accumulated during subsequent days. Despite my urging, Kirk never got around to preparing new star maps.
Note that Lindner is here making it clear that he was working with Kirk on a daily basis, perhaps four or five days a week, rather than the more common analytic schedule of one hour per week. Thus the total period of Lindner’s work with Kirk was little more than a year—perhaps less than a full year. This is important for my conjecture that Lindner’s work with Kiko Harrison occurred mainly in a one-year period lasting from some time in 1952 to some time in 1953. After all, Kiko arrived at Los Alamos in 1952, and “The Jet-Propelled Couch, Part I” appeared in Harper’s in Dec. 1954.
282–3: The early signs that I had fallen under the spell of Kirk’s Utopian vision and was succumbing to it were innocuous enough and hardly such as to cause concern.
In effect, a transference of belief had occurred. Just as the patient, Kirk, began to lose confidence in his fantasy, the doctor, Lindner, began to believe more strongly in the validity of the “records” produced by Kirk’s fantasy.
290–1: “I know what I’ve been telling you,” he said earnestly. “But believe me, I’ve been pretending for a long time. There’ve been no trips. I saw through all of that stuff—weeks ago.”
The reversal of roles between doctor and patient had resulted in this breakthrough in Kirk’s therapy. He was ready to return to his work as a physicist at Los Alamos without the need to spend time on another world in a future lifeline. He didn’t have faith in the “records” any more, so he would no longer have to spend hour after hour gathering and improving these fanciful writings.
293: It has been years since I saw Kirk Allen, but I think of him often, and of the day when we roved the galaxies together.
The emotional tone of Lindner’s account suggests that these therapy sessions happened much more recently than the mid-1940s.
If Kirk Allen’s therapy occurred in 1952–53, it could only have been a year or so since its successful conclusion. Thus the term “years” may be one last obfuscation of Kirk Allen’s real identity.
Saul-Paul Sirag lives in Eugene, Oregon.