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Nostradamus, Move Over!  
Our columnist chats up pop culture’s Amazing Kreskin, whose silly book of predictions just happens to speak of a coming war on terrorism  

    Nov. 5 —  The Amazing Kreskin has lived up to his nickname—the “Amazing” part, I mean, not the “Kreskin” part—once again!  

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  FOR THE PAST week or so, paranormals like me have been buzzing about how Kreskin—who has been Hollywood’s “go-to” mentalist for more than 40 years—apparently foresaw America’s war on terrorism, right down to the anthrax.
        “We are in another war,” Kreskin writes in “The Amazing Kreskin’s Future with the Stars,” his just-released book that was written long before Sept. 11. “The enemy is using the most invisible and insidious of tactics—that of terrorism. The gravest danger the world has faced in the last 100 years will be showing its ugly face ... the ominous possibilities of biological warfare.”
        I had to know more about Kreskin’s stunning prediction, so I called him up and, ever the psychic, he knew exactly what was on my mind.
        “I wrote that paragraph as a warning,” Kreskin said from his hotel room at the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut, where he was performing, not squandering his advance at blackjack. (Besides, he hates that game now because dealers draw from eight shuffled decks, rather than a single deck, making it impossible for mentalists to do that voodoo that they do.)
        As well all know, Kreskin’s warning went unheeded, further evidence that our government officials are truly asleep at the switch. Maybe the Pentagon should be in regular communication with the 66-year-old telepath rather than seeking battle scenarios from Hollywood filmmakers. I mean, The Amazing Kreskin remains America’s flesh-and-blood Magic 8-ball. Here is a guy who regularly predicts the top Oscar winners with a batting average Roger Ebert would envy. Here’s a guy who predicted—long before Tim Russert!—that Hillary Clinton would run for Senate from New York and win. Here was a guy who once located a talk show host’s stolen car, just by using his mind. Here was a guy who regularly tells promoters to hide his paycheck somewhere in the auditorium—and has found it more than 95 percent of the time.
        Here’s a guy who goes on CNN every Jan. 1 to issue predictions that, miraculously, seem to keep coming true. This year, he even made the stunning prediction that “by September or October, there will be two major plane crashes” and that the Yankees would not repeat as World Champions (he said it! It’s right there in the transcript! You can look it up!).
        Here’s a guy who, more important, had been on “The Tonight Show” and “Regis” almost 100 times. He’s on “Howard Stern” so often that Stern doesn’t even bother asking him his penis size anymore. And yet why do I still get the feeling that anyone who believes in Kreskin should talk to California Gov. Gray Davis about a bridge he’s trying to sell?
        Perhaps it’s because I’ve actually read “The Amazing Kreskin’s Future with the Stars.” If you read this book, any faith you have in Kreskin’s psychic abilities—or any delight you take in his kitschy TV appearances—will fade faster than the golden finish on one of those Sacagawea dollar coins.
        Promising a book that will offer “thoughtful predictions by those at the top of their fields,” Kreskin’s list of industry-leaders reads like a shooting schedule for the “Where are they now?” segment on a cable-access gossip show.
        Sure, page 266 has that celebrated paragraph about the war on terror. But who is going to get to page 266 of a book that asserts, right there on Page 13, that “Alicia Silverstone, unquestionably, is one of the hottest female actors working today”? Who is going to keep reading after hearing that Kreskin finds Roseanne “one of the most influential women in entertainment”? (Indeed, who will even want to read Roseanne’s own predictions? She told Kreskin that TV talk shows in the new millennium would be dominated by “Dave, Jay, Oprah and me!” Well, three out of four ain’t bad ... unless you’re the four.) William Shatner offers his prediction that people will no longer go to theater to see live plays, but watch them on their home Holo-Deck. No, seriously.

More coverage from our Nov. 12 Issue:
National News
International News
Oct. 29 Issue : The Ground War's First Shots
Oct. 22 Issue: Counterstrikes and Scares
Oct. 15 Issue: Plumbing the Roots of Rage
Oct. 8 Issue: Bioterror, The New Threat
Oct. 1 Issue: Trail Of Terror
Sept. 24 Issue: God Bless America
Commemorative Edition: Spirit of America
Extra Edition: America Under Attack
Web-exclusive Archives
        Bruce Jenner predicts that the United States will remain competitive in “most” Olympic sports. Magic Johnson predicts that AIDS will be cured, “possibly,” in the next 1,000 years. Steve Garvey, who was a baseball player about 100 years ago, predicts that sports are becoming more of a “business.” There are even predictions from David Berkowitz, a.k.a. the “Son of Sam,” who became a “leader” in his “field” when he terrorized New York City in a murder spree in 1977. Berkowitz, who is serving 300 years’ worth of life sentences, foresees that prisons will become “increasingly violent and hopeless places.”
        Leaders of their fields? Only if the field is retirement.
        Kreskin even solicited millennial predictions from former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, who politely declined to ponder the next 1,000 years because “it would probably take me almost that long to compile my thoughts on this most weighty of subjects.” (Since when is Al Haig busy? He hasn’t be in control of anything since the day Reagan was shot—and that was only for the 10 minutes before someone could wrest the microphone away from him.)
        OK, Kreskin did manage to reach out to some actual leaders, such as Alan Greenspan (who predicted, wrongly, that “the economy will continue to be robust”), Tom Hanks (who dismissed Kreskin’s prediction that he would participate in a “Bosom Buddies” reunion show with the one-word put-down, “Why?”) and Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr (who predicted, of all things, that tort reform “will eventually pass” even though “the extent and implications are hard to foresee”).
        Suddenly, the kingly timbre attached to the name “Amazing Kreskin” had begun to clang unsonorously, like the way people in 1962 called New York’s National League baseball team “The Amazin’ Mets” even as the team lost 120 games.
        In light of Kreskin’s unique celebrity and pop-art appeal, many may be willing to ignore clear evidence of his psychic incompetence. Those people should read the book and weep. On the same page as his stunning War on Terror prediction, Kreskin offered several doozies.
        Criminals, Kreskin predicted, will wear “brain-tracking devices to alert law enforcement officials of any evil thoughts that could trigger new crimes.” Plants, he added, will be proven to have feelings, which will certainly make it tough for vegetarians. And then there’s my favorite Kreskin prognostication: “Ho, ho, ho will be replaced by no, no, no when overprotective politicians pass legislation to make it a crime for anxious kiddies to sit on Santa’s lap during Christmas season.”
        I asked Kreskin for a personal explanation for that one.
        “Well, you can’t deny that we’re a litigious society, right?” he said. “Let’s just say that’s one prediction I hope doesn’t come true.”
        We chatted for a while longer and, despite his obvious augury impotence, Kreskin is clearly a delightful, warm, insightful man.
        “I can tell, Gersh, that you’re the kind of person I’d just love to sit around and talk to for hours,” he told me. “You’re very intelligent and entertaining.”
        OK, so maybe he still thinks Roseanne has talent, but the guy is obviously an underappreciated genius.

Gersh Kuntzman is also a columnist for The New York Post. His website is at http://www.gersh.tv
       © 2001 Newsweek, Inc.
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