Los Angeles Times

When James Earl Ray came to LA, he found a place where he could blend in

LOS ANGELES_The hypnotist called himself the Rev. Xavier von Koss, and advertised courses in "MASTER HYPNOTISM." He would probably be forgotten now, but his name appears briefly in investigators' files on the death of Martin Luther King Jr., an accidental witness to history.

On Jan. 4, 1968, at his South Bay office, Von Koss met a man named Eric S. Galt.

Von Koss was one of the many gurus offering enlightenment to Southern Californians as the area was being torn apart and reknitted by the racial, political and spiritual upheaval of the 1960s.

Galt appeared to be one of Southern California's many drifters, in search of personal reinvention. Von Koss' $20 courses, as advertised in the Los Angeles Times, promised the "Innermost Hidden Secrets of HYPNOTIC MIND-POWER."

"He told me he was considering taking a course in bartending ... . But when I emphasized

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