Lhardje Norbu Chen (Left) and Count Turolla Explain the Occult
Staff Photo–Hugh Stovall
Published before the Fate Magazine article.
The mysteries of the unknown Amazon and the miracles of hidden Tibet came to the downtown Holiday Inn on Memorial Day.
The occasion was the final day of a symposium on Man, Mysticism and Magic, and the man was The Lhardje  Norbu Chen, who was so named by his Tibetan Lama because of his "proven ability to tap the power which is the Life Energy of the Universe," the pamphlet said.
[1. "Lhardje" (or Lhadje, or Lharjé) is a term used by Alexandra David-Neel as a term for "doctor", in reference to the chief disciple of Milarepa, Gampopa, a.k.a. Dakpo Lharjé, "the doctor from Dakpo". Ref: Google Books ]
"Tibetans say show me. They are the Missourians of the Orient," Chen told his audience. His voice was as rough and gruff as his burgundy robe and yellow silk sleeves were slick.
"I don't want to be the famous Norbu Chen," he said. "I don't want to be thought of as a new Jesus."
In fact, he said, he wanted to be a janitor or a gas station attendant because the world, full of doubting Thomases, does not call those people liars, witches and worshipers of the devil as it does "healers."
He then proceeded to "demonstrate" his healing powers to the audience, which was about three-fourths female. The $60 charge for the three-day session kept skepticism among the audience at an invisible level.
At Chen’s bidding a little lady from the audience – she had been working at the symposium reception desk in the lobby earlier – walked onto the stage with cautious steps that showed respect for her own fragility. She told the 100 listeners, most of whom alternated between smiling fixedly at the turqoise wallpaper behind the speaker and scribbling notes intensely, that 42 years ago a hip bone had cracked and her neck had broken in an automobile accident. Her recent sufferings from the injury included muscle spasms and breathing difficulties.
Chen ordered her to remove from her person all the metal that touched her skin. Otherwise, he warned, the life energy of the universe would be short-circuited and would leave a skin sore.
The two stood facing in the same direction, Chen about four feet behind her. He began to breathe deeply in brief intakes. His mouth drawn into an upside-down horseshoe, his arms spread like a divining rod toward heaven, the life energy of the universe burst from him in a series of long ungggghhhhhhs.
"I felt a warmth all through my body," the woman said, her speech punctuated with the exhilaration of relief.
"That’s what you were told you would feel," said Rev. Peter Calhoun, the head of the Atlanta Institute of Metaphysics who organized the three-day occult bash.
Chen then took on the ills of another "little old lady," as he called her, who was suffering from hip and heart troubles.
His ritual finished, Chen sighed. "I’m a flop," he said. "I fixed her heart, but would you believe... it’s going to be 41 or 42 days before that hip regenerates."
The applause was immediate as a reflex. Everyone clapped but a young man confined to a reclining wheel chair. Nothing was said about healing him.
Chen was the star of the show. Afterward, cassettes of his teachings were selling for $5 each in the back of the room. Tibetan relics were going for as high as $250, and an array of literature was offered for a price: Edgar Cayce, Herman Hesse, and works entitled Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Incredible Sai Baba, Miracle Man of Japan and Beware of the Food You Eat.
Before Chen's presentation, the handsome Count Pino Turolla, an Italian archaeologist, spoke, He regaled a willingly captive audience with stories of an unknown Indian tribe from the Amazon jungles.
He told how the South American tribesmen became wise men, a process that included taking a hallucinatory drug – "It is a very beautiful drug. You look down and you don’t see your feet because your legs are two miles long," he said – and eating caterpillars, snakes and spiders.
But the oohs and aahs came when he showed breathtaking slides of scenery that could have been taken only on the summer vacation of the century.
All the occult afficianados seemed to share a belief in a god, or of a life force that can be talked about by man only when he uses the word god.
Chen told the crowd they all would eventually acknowledge "the validity of the creator god. Everyone will be hooked by the great fisherman in the sky at some point in space and time," he said.
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Atlanta-Constitution, May 28, 1974, Tibetan Miracles Seen at $60 per head