Gerard Croiset, the famous Utrecht clairvoyant, collaborates with the police to find missing persons.

On 18 October 1959, the telephone rings in Professor Tenhaeff’s big office, situated not far from the magnificent gothic cathedral of Utrecht.  The scholar is in great conversation with a journalist and a curious person around fifty, with brown, magnetic eyes and a delicate profile surmounted by a thick mane of black hair…

The call comes from the University of Kansas.  At the other end of the line is Walter Saudelius, a Political Economy Professor, author of the State’s new Constitution and a former student of Oxford and the famous Brookings Institute in Washington.

This man is terribly anguished:  for the last three weeks, the police of three States have been looking for his daughter Carol who has disappeared from the Topeka Hospital, in Kansas, where she was being treated for nervous depression.  Until now, the investigators have found not the slightest trace of this tall, pretty girl, aged twenty-four.

The Professor, who is very well-known in the United States, has had his daughter’s photo diffused everywhere and has, himself, travelled hundreds of kilometres to verify all police leads.  In desperation, he has called Tenhaeff, remembering a press article which evoked the help given to the police by “the greatest clairvoyant in the world” as he is called by the article’s author.  This clairvoyant is a fifty-six year old Dutchman, Gerard Croiset, and he is the third man in Tenhaeff’s office.

After the presentations have been made, Croiset takes the telephone and asks if there is a river near the hospital where Saudelius’ daughter had been.  He is told that the hospital is on the bank of the Kansas.

“I see your daughter running in a big, open field then crossing a viaduct.  Now, she is in a place where there are department stores and a big stretch of water, with jetties and numerous boats.  I see her circulating there, in a red car, then in a camping truck…”

The father asks if his daughter is still alive.

“Don’t worry.  You will have news of her in six days.”

On 24 October 1959, Carol is found in Corpus Christi, on the Gulf of Mexico, after police had identified the red car, followed the trail to the place described by Croiset, and discovered the camping truck where the young girl was living with an itinerant couple…

***

On 21 May 1960, Croiset receives a telephone call from the Eindhoven police, in the region of the Philips factories, eighty kilometres from Utrecht.  A four-year-old boy has been missing for twenty-four hours…  He asks:

“Is the playground where the child was last seen in a new suburb?”

It is.

“Is there a waste ground on the left?”

There is.

“Do you come to a canal when you cross this ground?”

You do.

“Is this canal approximatively five hundred metres away from the playground?”

It is.

“I’m sorry.  You will find the body of the child in the canal.  It is right next to a bridge.  On the bank, there is a zinc bucket.”

That same evening, at that precise place, the child’s body is fished out of the canal…

***

At the end of February 1961, a little girl from Brooklyn disappears.  The New York press makes much of this disappearance.  For four days, more than three hundred and fifty police officers search buildings, and helicopters examine roof-tops, while the Hudson is dredged.  The search efforts employed to find the child are among the greatest in United States Police history.  At this same epoch, a journalist from This Week has an article published on “Croiset the clairvoyant”, which is re-published by the Herald Tribune and forty-two Sunday papers.  The aviation company K.L.M. then offers to bring this famous Croiset to New York.  K.L.M.’s Vice-President telephones Utrecht, himself.  He asks Croiset if he is prepared to help.

“Yes.  Send me a photo of the little girl and a map of New York.”

The Vice-President explains that K.L.M. wants to fly him out immediately.

“That won’t be necessary.  I’ve never been to New York and if I go there, I’ll be submerged by all sorts of impressions which would disturb me.  It’s better that I remain here…”

The Vice-President tells him that they are going to send the photo and the map by the first aeroplane.  There is silence at the other end of the line.  The Vice-President starts to worry.  He asks if the clairvoyant is still there.

“Yes…  Don’t hang up…  I am beginning to see…  Yes.  It isn’t in the centre of the city.  If you turn your back on the Statue of Liberty, it’s in the left part of New York…  I see a big building.  That doesn’t mean anything, of course, there a many of them!  But at the top of this building, I see…  an orange, rectangular publicity board.  And a garage…  a square…  a park…  I see a railway line, rails above the street…  On the other side, there is garbage…  Farther on, water.  There is a river beside it.  The man who has taken the child is small, fifty-four or fifty-five.  He has a pointed face.  He is wearing something grey…  I see a grey house…  The child is there.”

Croiset’s words have been recorded, and the Vice-President of K.L.M., Mr Vogels, immediately communicates them to the police.

The next day, Sunday 26 February, Vogels, in person, is in Amsterdam, to meet Croiset.

“You mentioned a railway line above ground level.  The police is searching, but there are very few places like that in New York…”

Vogels has brought a detailed map of New York and clothes belonging to the child.  Croiset says:

“What a mass of houses!  It’s enough to drive anyone mad!…  Ah!  I’m close!  Yes…  I see a dark woman sitting in front of a window.  Two houses farther on, there is a laundry and a dry cleaner’s…  I see this grey building again…  There are five floors…  On the second, I feel a strong emotion…  The child is there…  She is dead!…”

The K.L.M. Vice-President immediately telephones these precisions to the New York police.

Five hours later, at twelve thirty in New York, half past six in the evening in Amsterdam, the body of the little girl is found in the place indicated by Gerard Croiset.  One week later, her assassin, a sadistic madman, is arrested.  He has a pointed face, a dark complexion, and is not fifty-five, but fifty-eight years old.  He is wearing a grey shirt and jacket…

***

To be continued.

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