Also, someone once suggested on alt.music.progressive that the 9 was Keith Emerson's making fun of Robert Schumann's Carnaval, Op. 9.
Glenn Mandelkern, email@example.com
Regarding Karn Evil 9:
There may be other explanations but I always guessed that it sort of a twisted pronunciation of Carnival. I don't know where the nine comes from...
Steve Bergstedt, firstname.lastname@example.org
I think that it is simply a play on the word "carnival." I have heard ELP express a sentiment to this effect in a few interviews. The first impression is sort of like a carnival of a projected culture where humanity is not so highly valued (or something to that effect). Why nine? I don't know. Three guys playing three impressions, maybe?
Jim Smith, email@example.com