Psychic forecasts were a big flop – again

C. Eugene Emery, Jr.

If you think the real news of 1997 was strange, take a look at what was supposed to happen, at least in the eyes of the psychics.

It was supposed to be the year Conan O’Brien entered a monastery to take a vow of silence, Mick Jagger became a member of Parliament, and Congress suspended the baseball season after a brawl at a professional baseball game left “scores dead and hundreds wounded.”

Once again, the top psychics whose predictions are published in the National Enquirer, the National Examiner, and the other supermarket tabloids demonstrated that their crystal balls have more than a few cracks.

President Clinton was supposed to “announce that Hillary is pregnant with their second daughter,” to be named Virginia in honor of the President’s late mother.

Walter Cronkite was supposed to become a lounge singer and get rave reviews.

Scientists were supposed to trap a 7-foot, 6-inch, 450-pound Yeti whose first recorded words, in a crude language resembling English, would be “Wha’ dant meddl wi’ me.”

And Rush Limbaugh, who has failed in past years to live up to psychic predictions that he would run for president or star in a remake of the series Jake and the Fatman, was supposed to become a liberal Democrat after having a heart-to-heart talk with Barbra Streisand.

Often the psychics couldn’t agree among themselves.

While one tabloid psychic said Pamela Anderson Lee would become “a champion of conservative thought” after finally dumping husband Tommy Lee and becoming a Washington lobbyist, another predicted that she and Howard Stern would star in the tide roles in a rock musical version of Gone with the Wind.

Depending on which psychic was writing, 1997 was to be the year that O. J. Simpson would (a) have his ex-wife’s murder solved by Murder, She Wrote star Angela Lansbury, (b) be “locked away for running over an elderly woman after a night of boozing it up on the town,” or (c) become a huge hit on French television hosting “a whodunit show that investigates unsolved murders in France.”

On the other hand, three psychics in three different tabloids predicted that John Travolta (who is a pilot in real life) would land a commercial jetliner after the flight crew comes down with food poisoning.

Jeane Dixon, who died in 1997 (but didn’t mention it in her forecasts in the Star), demonstrated once again why she was the Queen of Equivocation. She said that in 1997 “Saddam Hussein should be very careful around an ambitious family member,” “Late October could bring another plane tragedy over water,” and “A temptress or even a female assassin could be waiting for President Clinton on a foreign trip” (emphasis added). Dixon also forecast that “the Stock Market [would] fall from record highs.” The stock market always eventually falls after it hits a new record high. The question is how low it will fall.

With so many psychics making so many predictions, it is surprising that more forecasts don’t come true. based on my files, the last tabloid psychic to score on a major prediction was Clarissa Bernhardt, a regular for the National Enquirer. The tabloid gives her credit for predicting “the devastation of Florida by Hurricane Andrew in 1992.”

In June 1992, she said: “Scientists will be shocked in October when ‘earthquake proof’ Florida is hit by a tremor – only weeks after being slammed by the worst hurricane in the state’s history.” The quake didn’t happen, but Andrew did.

However, her other forecasts for that same year and subsequent years indicate that it was a half-lucky guess. One of her other predictions for 1992 was that kilts would “become the hottest new fashion since bell-bottoms.” For 1993, Bernardt predicted that space debris would crash in Lima, Peru, “leveling government buildings and killing many of that nation’s leaders”; Rush Limbaugh would save Ted Kennedy from a car wreck; and deep-sea explorers would discover a “miraculous over-the-counter baldness cure” in a rare aquatic plant. And in 1996, Jay Leno was supposed to lose his Tonight Show job to Johnny Carson, and Geraldo Rivera should have had his nose broken during an on-air fistfight with Madonna.

In Bernhardt’s crystal ball, 1997 was to be the year “aliens from an oil-hungry planet [would] descend on earth and siphon our oil reserves into huge tanker spacecraft for two weeks before vanishing.”

For some reason, when the Enquirer touts Bernhardt’s accuracy, it only mentions the hurricane part of her forecast – the earthquake part is conveniently omitted. Nor does the tabloid mention her other failed predictions.

And what’s in store for 19987

It is supposed to be the year a stock market crash makes the Great Depression look like a clambake; rising insurance costs are supposed to force the NFL to eliminate tackle football in favor of two-handed touch; a U.S. mission to Mars will discover a civilization resembling that of ancient Greece; manufacturers will create a bestselling snack food made of crisp-fried caterpillars, locusts, and grubs; and researchers will discover an aphrodisiac that lets men as old as ninety have sex up to ten times a day.

Gene Emery is a science and medical writer. His weekly computer software column appears on the Reuters news service. His address is 46 Highland Street, Cranston, RI 02020. His e-mail address is

COPYRIGHT 1998 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal

COPYRIGHT 2000 Gale Group

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