Jeane Dizon was one of the twentieth’s century’s most prominent psychics and most colorful pop culture icons. She is best known for her prediction of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, which prompted several political figures – including President Nixon and Nancy Reagan – to consult her for advice. She was also a household name. Everyone read her newspaper-syndicated horoscope, and whether you believed Dixon or not, you certainly knew what she had to say.
THE GYPSY’S PREDICTION
Jeane Dixon was born and baptized as Lydia Emma Pinckert in Medford, Wisconsin to German immigrants. Her exact birth date is controversial. While they know her birthday is January 5, She claimed she was born in 1918, then later testified that she was born in 1910. However, official and family records state that she was born in 1904. (Well, they say you should never ask a lady her real age.) She took the name Jeane Dixon after her marriage to James Dixon in 1939.
Jeane claims that she discovered her gifts from a gypsy who saw her “great power” and then gave her a crystal ball. Over the year she would get visions. Her family was devoutly Roman Catholic, but her mother gave her full support and said that this was a gift of prophecy and came from God.
HOLLYWOOD AND WHITE HOUSE PSYCHIC
Over the years, she was able to make startlingly accurate predictions about celebrities and politicians. In January 1942 she warned Carole Lombard to avoid plane rides for 6 weeks, but the actress refused to believe her and continued with a flight. The plane crashed into the Las Vegas mountains, and she was instantly killed.
Jeane Dixon also predicted the deaths of US President Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin and UN Secretary General Dag Hammerskjöld. She forecast that India would be divided into two countries and the launch of the Sputnik satellite (“A silver ball will emerge from Russia, to travel in space!”)
However, it was her prediction of President John F. Kennedy’s death that brought national attention and created an almost cult-like following. She told Parade magazine that “a Democratic president who is tall with blue eyes and thick brown hair will die in office.”
However, not all of Jeane Dixon’s predictions came true. She said World War III would erupt in 1958, that scientists would discover a cure for cancer in 1967, and that a holocaust in the 1980s would lead to Russia become the seat of world culture. She was also wrong about the reelections of Nixon and George Bush, or that American labor leader Walter Reuther would run for the US presidency.
PUBLIC POPULARITY, CRITICISM – AND LEGACY
Jeane Dixon was so popular that her books and newspaper columns were guaranteed bestsellers. Her 1965 biography, “A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon” sold over 3,000,000 copies. Another book, “My Life and Prophecies” was also an international success, but met controversy when Adele Fletcher claimed that the publishers had just rehashed her rejected manuscript and then sold it under Dixon’s name to bring in book sales.
Jeane also released books meant for mass appeal: an astrological cookbook, horoscopes for dogs, a treatise on whether cats have ESP, and an inspirational prayer book. These titles earned the backlash of fellow psychics who felt she was capitalizing on her success.
Others called her a hoax, with mathematician John Allen Paulos coining “The Jeane Dixon Effect” to describe how people are more likely to peg her reputation on a few (but very publicized) correct predictions – even if, statistically, most of her predictions were quite off the mark.
In response to criticism, Jeane Dixon said that her visions were correct, but she had misinterpreted them. She explained she received “flashes of images” with often metaphorical meanings like fire, rags, Egyptian symbols, etc.
Despite these criticisms, Jeane Dixon’s influence not only as a psychic but a cultural icon is beyond question. Anyone who grew up in the 20th century knew of her, and whether they publicly admitted to it or not, read or followed her yearly forecasts.
Jeane Dixon died of cardiac arrest at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Washington DC on January 25, 1997. It is said that one of her last words were, “I knew this would happen.”