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   by The Notorious Doctor Zoom Zoom

HURKOS, PETER (1911-1988

    Born Pieter Van der Hurk in Holland, he claimed he became psychic after receiving a blow to the head at age 30. An episode of the 1960's TV show One Step Beyond features a two part dramatized story about Hurkos using his powers to do cool things like expose a Nazi event that never actually happened in real life. He charged $250 a session to clients, eager to be parted from their money. Hurkos claimed he solved dozens of murder cases for the police, but police beg to differ...they say he never solved even one!

For instance, he claimed to have solved the Boston Strangler case, but cops said Hurkos was merely one of several psychics who claimed to have information, and nothing Hurkos told them was of any help, anyway. He also claimed Scotland Yard hired him on the “Stone of Scone” case in 1951, but Scotland Yard said Hurkos was paid no money by them, and that he simply volunteered information that he could have easily gotten out of the newspapers. Scotland Yard did recover the famous coronation stone (purported to but unlikely to have been brought from Israel by the Biblical Patriarch Jeremiah), but not from any information Hurkos gave them.

Hurkos was asked by parapsychologists to undergo tests, which he always refused, except for once. He agreed to be tested by Dr. Charles Tart at the University of California at Davis, and he failed. Magician James “The Amazing” Randi and other skeptics have noted Hurkos’ successes can be attributed simply to a technique used by mediums, psychics, and astrologers called “cold reading”. In cold reading, the psychic asks vague questions and allows the client to fill in the blanks for them. It sounds simple, but it is quite effective.

So effective, even a fake like Peter Hurkos could make $250 an hour at it.

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