Jeane Dixon was, arguably, the most famous American astrologer and psychic in the pop culture of the post-World War II period due to her syndicated newspaper column, television talk-show appearances, and a best-selling biography. Dixon proved more of a celebrity and entertainer than a serious soothsayer, more of a Criswell than an Edgar Cayce. Jeane Dixon herself attributed her prophetic abilities to God; while few doubted her sincerity, more than a few skeptics and believers alike doubted the efficacy of her psychic abilities.
Born Lydia Emma Pinckert in Medford, Wisconsin, on January 5, 1904, the future Jeane Dixon was raised in Missouri and California. The devoutly Catholic Miss Pinckert married James Dixon in 1939 and remained married to him until his death. The couple, who ran a successful real estate business, apparently had no children: Mrs. Dixon was notoriously stingy about personal details, even though she was the subject of one of the best-selling biographies of all time in American publishing, at the time.
Richard Nixon, whom she erroneously predicted would win the 1960 Presidential election (and later predicted, again erroneously, would honorably serve his country), called Dixon "the soothsayer" and went so far as to have the government put on alert for a terrorist attack she predicted. The attack never materialized. Despite being proved wrong publicly many, many times, Dixon served as one of the house astrologers who advised First Lady Nancy Davis Reagan while her husband Ronald Reagan occupied the Oval Office.
Jeane Dixon died of cardiac arrest in Washington, D.C. on January 26, 1997, three weeks after her 93rd birthday.
|James Dixon||(1939 - ?)|
Born at 2:00pm-CST
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 163-164. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined what he called the "Jeane Dixon effect", which refers to the tendency of the mass media to hype or exaggerate a few correct predictions by a psychic, guaranteeing that they will be remembered, while forgetting or ignoring the much more numerous incorrect predictions. Dixon made thousands of predictions (often appearing by the score at regular intervals such as in the New Year's edition of "The National Enquierer"), and just as a broken watch is correct twice a day, Dixon was bound to be correct or approximately correct some of the time.
Among her busted predictions were: that World War III would begin in 1958, that Richard Nixon would win the 1960 Presidential election, that labor leader and United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther would win the Presidency in 1964, that a cure for cancer would be discovered in 1967, that the U.S.S.R. would beat the U.S. to the moon, and that a holocaust in the 1980s would lead to Rome, Italy becoming the world's foremost center of culture, learning, and religion. (Dixon was a staunch Roman Catholic). She also predicted that a Middle Eastern child born on February 5, 1962, and whose birth she had witnessed, would become a global messiah, uniting all warring creeds and sects into one universal faith, and that there would be peace on earth by the year 2000.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, Dixon publicized the fact that she had correctly predicted the event. In reality, Dixon had told "Parade" magazine in 1956 that the 1960 Presidential election would be won by a Democrat, and that the President would be assassinated or die in office, although not necessarily in his first term." Based on the history of the Presidency in the 20th Century up to that time, the odds against Dixon's prophecy being fulfilled were an unimpressive 7-3. Moreoever, when it was time to issue contemporaneous predictions for the 1960 Presidential contest, Dixon predicted Nixon as the winner and said flat out that JFK would not be elected. This illustrates how self-described and -ballyhooed modern Nostradamusii burnish their records by highlighting correct predictions and ignoring those that went awry.
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