On May 27 & 28, 1963, Psychic Peter Hurkos appeared at the Lobero as part of a wildly popular West Coast ESP tour.
Peter Hurkos, the “Man with the X-Ray Mind” gave demonstrations of his allegedly supernatural psychic abilities to a live audience.
Peter Hurkos was a Dutchman who allegedly manifested extrasensory perception (ESP) after recovering from a head injury and coma caused by a fall from a ladder at age 30. He came to the United States in 1956 for psychic experiments, later becoming a professional psychic who sought clues in the Manson Family murders and the Boston Strangler case.
During his early career as a psychic entertainer, Hurkos purported that he employed his psychic powers to discern details of audience members’ private lives that he could not otherwise have known.
Hurkos gained particular notoriety when he was asked by the Boston Police Department to help in their search for a serial killer who had been named “The Boston Strangler.” According to a biography by Norma Lee Browning, Hurkos maintained that the man he picked for the Boston Strangler was the killer, and that self-confessed Strangler Albert DeSalvo was not the murderer. However, Hurkos’ theory was disproven as DNA testing in 2013 definitely linked DeSalvo with the killings.
In 1964, after his appearance at the Lobero Theatre, Hurkos was put on trial on the charge of impersonating a federal agent, found guilty, and fined $1,000. Turns out that Hurkos posed as the FBI agent in order to gather the information that he could later claim to be psychic revelations. As for the stage shows, Psychologist Ronald Schwartz wrote in Skeptical Inquirer that Hurkos employed cold reading methods to guess information about the audience members.
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