Regular readers might recall the series of articles in which I detailed an experiment I designed and proctored to test some of Dahn Yoga’s more outlandish claims.
Dahn Yoga leader Ilchi Lee created the Korean Institute of Brain Science, a group that claimed it could train children to “read” colors of cards inside opaque envelopes, using “Heightened Sensory Perception.” Because I had experience in these matters and because I was officemate with a physician who was also a Dahn member, I was able to run a test to see whether the extraordinary claims could be proven. They could not.
The kids knew they were failing, the audience had become mostly silent, or sat quietly talking to one another. The kids began to get up more, ate even more candy, exercised more. But no change. Most guesses were misses.
Eventually, after it became clear that nothing more was going to happen, Sung told me he was going to stop the experiment out of concern for the kidsâ€™ anxiety. The remaining trials would be marked down as misses.
Sung stepped up and announced the trialâ€™s ending. The audience understood, and clearly felt for the kids.
One kid did 7 trials, the other two did 6 before the experiment was stopped . They were scheduled to do 12 trials each. They got 4 hits during these 19 trials, right what chance would predict: kid one got 1, kid two got 1, kid three got 2.
Recall that before the trial started, KIBS staff members were confident each kid would get at least 10 out 12 hits.
The Dahn organization has just been hit with a lawsuit claiming that recruits “are unknowingly subjected to an intensive program of psychological manipulation, indoctrination and various techniques of coercive thought reform designed to induce them to become Ilchi Lee’s disciples and devote themselves to serving him and his ‘vision.’ ”
One of the [Dahn] exercises, known as “bow training,” involved deep knee bends to the floor to a prone position and back up again, with hands raised high over their heads. Miller, who has joined the lawsuit, says once she had to do 3,000 of the exercises — “Which took about 10 hours, and we didn’t eat or drink during that time.”
“People were screaming, people were throwing up, people were running away,” Miller said. “People were rolling around, moaning, crying, wailing — there was a lot of emotional distress. We were taught that because of this bow training, we were cleaning what was blocking us, to connect to our soul.”
Dahn followers are internet savvy. A quick survey of YouTube videos shows a throng of positive commentors accompany every pro-Dahn video. The comments are usually brief and have the feel that they are posted by the same person using different screen names, or that they were part of an organized response.
For example, this video of my old friend Sung Lee, has user “hansooryeon” simply saying “great!” This is followed by “chunjihwa4333” saying “I like the idea!!ï»¿” and by “iintress” saying “impressive.” Over 1,600 comments followed that video, a common occurrence.
I do not know enough about what a “cult” is, its precise definitions and so forth. I can say that I was concerned what the KIBS/Dahn group was doing with children. Particularly in light of the failed experiment I ran. Naturally, Dahn advocates completely dismiss that test.
But I am glad that the group is finally receiving some well deserved negative publicity.