Since ancient times, certain people have claimed that they can see events taking place in the future. Some of them, like Nostradamus, have risen to legendary status. Knowledge of the future, if it really exists, would be a game changer of course. Which is why people who have claimed to possess this knowledge have been so sought after. In the past, predicting the future was limited to spiritual and esoteric circles, but in the 1960s, with the rise of the New Age culture, self-proclaimed seers became a widespread phenomenon. These “gifted” personalities, known as psychics or clairvoyants, still offer their services to people in need today, usually for a certain fee. One such person was Lydia Emma Pinckert, also known as Jeane Dixon, who became famous by “predicting” the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
According to her biography, Dixon grew up in Southern California, where her father owned a car dealership together with Hal Roach (a pioneer in American film and television for producing Laurel and Hardy). At a certain moment in her youth, she was approached by a “gypsy” fortune teller and was offered a crystal ball and a palm reading. She was then told that a great future awaited her, one in which she would become a famous clairvoyant whose advice would be sought by famous and important people. It seems she decided to follow her “destiny” and later in her life, she became an astrologist writing horoscope articles that were nationally syndicated. But Dixon also started to make her first predictions (in some cases she used a crystal ball “to enhance her psychic abilities”) and indeed, some “famous” people started to consult with her.
First on the list of these famous people was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was in dire need of a vision or divine intervention during the harsh days of World War II. Dixon was called to his office in 1944 to give him advice on some military and personnel issues. If this information is true, it means that some of the military decisions during this year were possibly made according to Dixon’s predictions. Allegedly Roosevelt was interested in knowing how much longer the war would last, and Dixon told him that it would last no longer than the middle of 1945. The war ended close to Dixon’s alleged prediction, but of course, Roosevelt died on April 12, 1945, so he didn’t see it.
Once she began making her predictions, Dixon never stopped. She constantly had “visions.” She made all kinds of predictions; some of them small and not very significant, but some of them were “prophecies” concerning all humanity. In A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon, the biography about her life, which sold 3 million copies, it was relayed that she didn’t make her visions alone. Her prophecies came from God, all her powers were granted to her by God, and she acted as a conduit for receiving these messages and visions. This made her highly popular in Christian circles.
Later, in 1956, Dixon made another startling prediction during an interview for Parade magazine. She told the magazine that the 1960 presidential election would be won by a Democrat candidate who would “be assassinated or die in office.” When John F. Kennedy won, she received huge media popularity, but when Kennedy was shot while in his first term, it became the prediction she was most known for.
Another of Dixon’s more spectacular visions was the one she had at dawn on February 5, 1962. In this vision, she predicted the coming of a new age. Dixon claimed she saw a glowing orb in the vicinity of Earth from which the Egyptian pharaoh and Queen Nefertiti holding a child came out. The child was godlike, with eyes that contained wisdom. Nefertiti left the child on Earth and then returned to her past to the time during which she was killed. According to Dixon’s explanation of her own vision, the death of Nefertiti signified the end of an era. She believed that the Age of the Aquarius was coming, an age in which a new Messiah would be born and eradicate the world from war and violence. This, according to Dixon, was supposed to happen in 2000, but evidently, we still have many wars and much violence, and a new messiah is nowhere to be found.
Richard Nixon was the second president who sought Dixon’s advice. He continued Roosevelt’s tradition and met with her in 1971. In 1972, Dixon foresaw terrorist attacks in the United States just before the Munich Massacre. This reportedly prompted Nixon to form a counterterrorism committee.
Dixon also predicted that the Soviet Union would beat the United States in the race to the moon. She was wrong about this, as she was wrong that World War III would begin in 1958, or that there would be a cure for cancer in 1967. Here are some more of Dixon’s wild predictions: a holocaust would happen in the 1980s and after it, Rome would again shine as it did during the Roman empire, and Nixon would be the best president the United States had ever seen. One thing she did predict correctly was her prophecy about Oprah Winfrey–if this information is accurate. In 2007, in an episode of her show, Oprah said that she had had a meeting with Dixon in 1977. During that meeting, she was told that she would have a huge career and millions of fans.
We must admit that in some cases, some of Dixon’s predictions resonated, such as when she predicted a huge shipping accident in 1989 (Exxon Valdez), or the coming of a “great plague” in 1978 (AIDS), but there is something that should be taken into consideration: Dixon made hundreds of predictions during her career as a psychic and most of them were partly true or completely untrue. According to people who did research on her career and followed her statements, she had attracted intense attention and became a prophet-like figure due to the huge help from the media, and she selectively chose her interviews and words just to make sensational news of the prophecies.
This led John Allen Paulos, a leading mathematician who works in the field of probability and logic, to introduce the term “the Jeane Dixon effect.” He explains this effect as a tendency of promoting and accepting a few correct assumptions while deliberately ignoring or forgetting a huge number of incorrect ones.
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Dixon, who died in 1997, is probably not the only psychic who has made these or similar predictions, and we cannot say for sure if she really had precognitive abilities (as we can’t confirm this for the others who claim to have the same ability). Nevertheless, guessing what the future will bring us (whether by using special abilities or just by pure logic) is always diverting. Even the skeptics enjoy a good game of speculation and prediction.