Lydia Emma Pinckert
January 5, 1904
|Died||January 25, 1997 (aged 93)|
Jeane Dixon (January 5, 1904 – January 25, 1997) was one of the best-known American self-proclaimed psychics and astrologers of the 20th century, due to her syndicated newspaper astrology column, some well-publicized predictions, and a best-selling biography.
Dixon was born Lydia Emma Pinckert, one of 10 children born to German Roman Catholic immigrants, Gerhart and Emma Pinckert, in Medford, Wisconsin, but raised in Missouri and California. Dixon's birth date was often reported as 1918, and Dixon would offer this date to reporters, at one point even producing a passport to this effect, but she once testified in a deposition that she was born in 1910. An investigation by a reporter for the National Observer, who interviewed family members and examined official records, concluded she was born in 1904.
In southern California, her father owned an automobile dealership with Hal Roach, an American film and television producer and director. Dixon claimed that while growing up in California, a "gypsy" gave her a crystal ball and read her palm, predicting she would become a famous seer and advise powerful people. She was married to James Dixon, who had been previously divorced, from 1939 until his death. The couple had no children. James Dixon was a car dealer in California, who later ran a successful real estate company in Washington, D.C. Dixon worked with her husband in the business for many years and served as the company's president.
Dixon was the sister of football player Erny Pinckert.
Career as a psychic
Dixon reportedly predicted the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. In the May 13, 1956, issue of Parade Magazine she wrote that the 1960 presidential election would be "dominated by labor and won by a Democrat" who would then go on to"(b)e assassinated or die in office though not necessarily in his first term". She later admitted; "during the 1960 election, I saw Richard Nixon as the winner", and at the time made unequivocal predictions that JFK would fail to win the election.
Dixon was the author of seven books, including her autobiography, a horoscope book for dogs, and an astrological cookbook. She gained public awareness through the biographical volume, A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon, written by syndicated columnist Ruth Montgomery. Published in 1965, the book sold more than 3 million copies. She professed to be a devout Roman Catholic and she attributed her prophetic ability to God. Another million seller, My Life and Prophecies, was credited "as told to Rene Noorbergen", but Dixon was sued by Adele Fletcher, who claimed that her rejected manuscript was rewritten and published as that book. Fletcher was awarded 5% of the royalties by a jury.
In 1969 she was asked to find Dennis Lloyd Martin, a six year old boy who had gone missing in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee - she failed to do so.
President Richard Nixon followed her predictions through his secretary Rose Mary Woods, and met with her in the Oval Office in 1971. The following year, her prediction of terrorist attacks in the United States in the wake of the Munich massacre spurred Nixon to set up a cabinet committee on counterterrorism. She was one of several astrologers who gave advice to Nancy Reagan.
The Jeane Dixon effect
John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term 'the Jeane Dixon effect', which references a tendency to promote a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger number of incorrect predictions. Many of Dixon's predictions proved erroneous, such as her claims that a dispute over the offshore Chinese islands of Quemoy and Matsu would trigger the start of World War III in 1958, that American labor leader Walter Reuther would run for president of the United States in the 1964 presidential election, that the second child of Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his young wife Margaret would be a girl (it was a boy), and that the Soviets would be the first to put men on the moon.
Dixon suffered cardiac arrest and died at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C., on January 25, 1997, just after uttering the words "I knew this would happen." Many of her possessions ended up with Leo M. Bernstein, an investor and banker in Washington, D.C., whose clients included Dixon. In 2002, he opened the Jeane Dixon Museum and Library in Strasburg, Virginia. Bernstein died in 2008. In July 2009, the possessions of the museum, 500 boxes in all, were scheduled to be auctioned.
Publications by Jeane Dixon:
- Dixon, Jeane, co-authored with Noorbergen, Rene, Jeane Dixon: My Life and Prophecies, William Morrow and Company, August 1969.
- Dixon, Jeane. "Kennedy Confidential: the complete unbiased story". Washington, DC: Metro Publishers Representatives, 1969
- Dixon, Jeane, Reincarnation and Prayers to Live By, W. Morrow, 1970.
- Dixon, Jeane, The Call to Glory , Bantam Books, 1971.
- Dixon, Jeane, Yesterday, Today, and Forever, William Morrow and Company, 1975, Andrews McMeel Publishing, 1987.
- Dixon, Jeane, Jeane Dixon's Astrological Cookbook, Morrow, 1976.
- Dixon, Jeane, Horoscopes for Dogs, Houghton Mifflin, 1979.
- Dixon, Jeane, A Gift of Prayer Words of Comfort and Inspiration from the Beloved Prophet and Seer, Viking Studio Books, 1995.
- Dixon, Jeane, Do Cats Have ESP?, Running Press Book Publishers, 1998.
- "Jean Dixon Psychic and Astrologer Whose Predictions Were Read by Millions", Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 27, 1997.
- Greene, David St. Albin, "The Untold Story...of Jeane Dixon", National Observer, October 27, 1972
- Clauson-Wicker, Su, "Offbeat Attractions", Roanoke Times & World News (Roanoke, Virginia), April 17, 2005, "Displays lead you from Dixon's birth in Wisconsin in 1904 (she liked to say it was 1918)"
- Denis Brian, Jeane Dixon: The Witnesses, Doubleday & Company, 1976, p147–148
- Bordsen, John (21 July 2002). "Mementos of a crystal-gazer fill Jeane Dixon Museum". Houston Chronicle.
- "Celebrity Astrologer Jeane Dixon Dies". The Washington Post. 27 January 1997.
- Koncius, Jura (July 19, 2009). "Prophet Margin: What Does the Future Hold for the Sale of Jeane Dixon's Possessions?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Brady, James (3 February 1997). "Jeane Dixon may have been wacky, but divined comedy made her a star". Crain's New York Business.
- "Astrologer, psychic Dixon dies in Washington", The Oregonian, January 26, 1997.
- The Straight Dope Mailbag: The Straight Dope Mailbag: Did psychic Jeane Dixon predict JFK's assassination?
- Hines, Terence (2003). Pseudoscience and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. p. 71. ISBN 9781573929790.
- Jeane Dixon, biography, IMDb.com
- Terror Watch: President Nixon's Secret Psychic Adviser, MSNBC.com Archived May 8, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- Regan, Donald. For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington, (San Diego: Harcourt Trade Publishers, 1988); ISBN 0-15163-966-3
- Carroll, Robert T. "Jeane Dixon & the Jeane Dixon effect". The Skeptics Dictionary. Retrieved 2009-10-01.
- Brady, James (February 3, 1997). "Jeane Dixon may have been wacky, but divined comedy made her a star". Crain's New York Business.
- Betz, Paul, (Ed.), Carnes, Mark (Ed.), American National Biography: Supplement 1 (American National Biography Supplement), New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 163–164. ISBN 978-0-19-515063-6.
- Dixon, Jeane, Noorbergen, Rene, Jeane Dixon: My Life and Prophecies, New York, NY: William Morrow and Company, August 1969. ISBN 978-0-688-02142-9
- Jensen, Leland, "Jeane Dixon Was Right!", Missoula, MT: BPUPC 1980. ISBN 978-0-97-673896-1
- Montgomery, Ruth Shick. "A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon", New York, NY: Morrow, 1965. ISBN 978-0-688-01689-0