While rummaging though some musty boxes at a “Friends of the Library” book sale in upstate NY, I came across this once forgotten volume of crackpot predictions. Today, Criswell- the media physic from the 1950s who once claimed that flying saucers will land on the White House lawn, is best remembered as a bit player in the B-films of Ed Wood.
CRISWELL: THE MAN AND PROPHET
I wasn’t always “Criswell Predicts”:
I wasn’t always “Criswell Predicts”:
Once I was Baby Criswell!
And even then, I was interested in the future!
I was born on a Sunday, August 18th, when the church bells were ringing. I was the first child on both sides of the family, and basked in the spotlight, which I never gave up. They thought I would be a cardinal or a governor!
I scribbled on the walls, floors, and papers, and did not talk until I was four. “Retarded,” they said. “Poor Baby Criswell will never talk.”
During an Indiana thunderstorm, I started to talk and have not stopped until this day.
I told my shocked parents, “The rain will stop!” My very first prediction, and a valid one!
In our family, the Criswells, the Kings, the Hopkins, the Mulhalls, the Neeleys, the Browns, and the Williamses were all proud of Indiana; becoming grocers, newspaper editors, doctors, druggists, politicians, bankers, and undertakers. School teachers competed for God and glory in the hot Hoosier sun. Princeton, Indiana, was in Gibson County, with the Wabash, the White, and the Patoka Rivers giving the five thousand natives a rich heritage. The Mason-Dixon Line was only twenty-seven miles away across the Ohio River.
I was raised in the King House, the family hotel. I thought any one who lived seven miles away was a foreigner, and I was shocked to find out that they did not know who I was. The town certainly knew who I was, as I would not let them forget.
On Sunday, I would join the minister in the pulpit. Once I sang a solo without music. The family could not keep me from getting before an audience, even at a funeral! In the Christmas plays, I would stay on stage until I was forcibly removed. I loved political rallies. My Uncle Earl would let me stand by him while he campaigned. Any school teacher knew better than to call on me because they could never quiet me. My Aunt Mayme would call on me at the very last, and the dismissal bell would cut my appearance down to ten seconds! Cousin Alice, who taught me history in the 8th grade, never received a simple answer, but an oration!
When the tornado blew down half the town, I proudly conducted tours for the sightseers. Everyone prefaced their conversations with, “Who was there besides Cris?” No club or audience could meet in secret without my somehow finding the way to the platform.
I was not really an extrovert— just impervious to criticism of any kind.
When they unveiled the Soldier’s Monument in the Courthouse Yard, they uncovered me standing there spouting Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
I yearned to work on Uncle Roy King’s DAILY DEMOCRAT, and he would pay me twenty-five cents for five personal items. My personal items were exclusive: I would write what people were going to do!
I had Vivian Draymeyer attending her sister’s funeral in Mt. Carmel when her sister was still alive, but her sister died the next day, and it saved me from embarrassment... And made me stop to ponder the occurrence.
I began to predict things more and more often. I would operate on these “hunches” and found myself able to help solve the problems of others.
After High School, I attended the University of Cincinnati, taking Public School Education at the Conservatory of Music, and then tried my hand at teaching. I gave it up after one term in Jersey City, New Jersey. After a pre-med course, further work in a mortuary and the city morgue, and as an ambulance jockey, I returned to newspaper work and newscasting.
As I predicted more accurately, I became less reticent to predict. I kept score, writing predictions for my eyes only, then checking to see if they came to pass. My accuracy increased with each year, and I began writing my predictions for others to see and hear.
Sometimes my predictions were laughed at. (I received a big laugh on Johnny Carson’s TONIGHT SHOW by predicting, after Pat Brown’s victory over Richard Nixon, that Ronald Reagan would defeat Brown in the next election and be California’s next Governor).
But even my most “outlandish” predictions, the public scorekeepers say, are eighty-six percent accurate.
When the publishers approached me to do this book, I merely released to them the “Journal of the Future” — my private collection of what will happen between now and the end of our civilization!
My predictions are not written to win literary attention. I am not sure what they all mean. Some are frighteningly explicit. Others are somewhat vague. All are based on conscious study and sub-conscious “realizations.”
I pass them along to you as I have recorded them.
Over the next remaining years, you may keep your own “score” as to their accuracy.
After that, it will not matter.
CRISWELL -- 1968