On 27 May 1950, the partially unclothed body of a young girl, aged seventeen, is found near Arnhem, the city on the Rhine that was the theatre of one of the greatest Allied disasters of the Second World War.
The autopsy of the cadaver permits to establish that, not long before dying, she had had sexual relations.
As, after two and a half months of investigations, the police still haven’t found the killer, Gerard Croiset is contacted. On 5 August, at Arnhem police headquarters, the clairvoyant is put in the presence of clothes and diverse objects having belonged to the young girl.
Naturally, any mention of the fact that she is dead, or the conditions surrounding her death, has been carefully avoided.
Croiset places his hands on the clothes and starts immediately:
“I see a young girl… She is blonde. Her hair falls onto her shoulders… She seems to me to be a pupil in a secondary school… I see her sitting near the window. From her desk, she can see the movements in the street.”
To the surprise of everyone present, Croiset suddenly lies down on the floor.
“She was found lying in a little wood… Near her hand, there is a little stake… I am breathing with more and more difficulty, did someone strangle her? Now, I see a bicycle and a man’s straw hat… The man could well be an artist and work in shows… Now, I see the girl again. She hasn’t been out with this man for a long time. He is wearing a kaki shirt. He detests stiff collars…”
At this point in his story, Croiset loosens his collar.
“This girl likes going out with boys. She troubles them sexually, but, at the last minute, she refuses herself… This time, she went further than usual. Has she been ill? I see the man again now. It’s strange, he seems to have a particularly big genital organ… I also have the impression that he limps slightly…”
A few hours after this meeting, Croiset, Professor Tenhaeff and the police officers go to the place where the cadaver was discovered. While they are on their way, Croiset says:
“That’s where she saw her father for the last time… It’s curious, I hear people singing…”
Once they have arrived at the place, the clairvoyant disappears into the wood. He comes back fairly rapidly and announces to the people who have accompanied him that he has located the spot where the body had been found.
Close by, there is a stake with a panel indicating the limit of the province. At police headquarters, he had been told that this stake did not exist and, in fact, the detectives had not noticed it. The clairvoyant is very proud of this precision, which, like all the others he had given, turned out to be correct. The murder suspect was a young man who was a member of a theatrical troupe.
The people who were singing? A choir directed by the young girl’s father, headmaster of a school; he had seen his daughter and the young man who accompanied her for the last time, when they had stopped where he was rehearsing.
The young man’s genital organ? There, Croiset made a mistake. In fact, it was… a big red syringe which was regularly used by the young man, who was a cook, to baste his roasts.
In fact, nearly all of the details given by Croiset were correct. Except the way in which the girl died. She hadn’t been strangled, but had succumbed from a heart attack while she was making love. Croiset, however, had felt that she was ill: it was true that she was being treated for cardiac problems which were to become fatal…
These few cases of clairvoyance are not any more exceptional than innumerable others performed by the clairvoyant over fifty years. His exploits are almost daily occurrences. What could be their origin? The circumstances which set off such extraordinary gifts?
Croiset the Clairvoyant, as he is known in Holland, is born on 10 May 1909, of Jewish parents. His father is an actor and his mother works in Wardrobe. Throughout the whole of his childhood, Croiset, sickly, rachitic, undernourished, will be bundled from one home to another.
He suffers a lot from the successive disappearances of his father and, at ten, he has already been entrusted to six different couples. One of his adoptive fathers attaches his foot to a stake, from whence doubtless comes his particular sensitivity for everything which resembles this object. Often alone, he takes refuge in day-dreaming and imagination. It is these types of comportment which permit the very early revelation of his paranormal gifts.
One day, he answers a teacher who has just called him “little, crazy stupid”:
“I can see things happening kilometres away.”
A few days later, the teacher is absent… When he returns, the boy tells him:
“I know why you didn’t come to class yesterday. You went to see a blonde woman who wore a red dress. You are going to marry her.”
This first paragnose noted by Science in relation to the Dutch phenomenon was of course perfectly correct…
Later on, he worked at diverse little jobs, got married and opened a grocery shop which he sent into bankruptcy a few months later. He is on the verge of suicide but his paranormal powers strengthen and he dips into spiritism. With a lot of success, since he is able to relate entire chapters on their childhoods to the participants of his seances, with details that they, themselves, had forgotten…
He forsees the Second World War and, shortly afterwards, his arrest by the Nazis, who release him thanks to false papers that his friends have sent to him. By his intuition, he later manages to save numerous Jews whom the Germans were about to arrest.
But the decisive meeting occurs in December 1945. At the end of a parapsychological conference, Pr Tenhaeff, Director of the Institute of Parapsychology in Holland, who already knows him by reputation, offers him a real association.
There are a few storms at first – Croiset is as aggressive as he is vain – but these two men complement each other and have succeeded in collecting an enormous stock of irrefutable experimentations.
For many scholars who are starting to show interest in parapsychology, their perfectly renewable character “reverses the barriers of space-time and asks delicate questions of all the scholars who wish to properly examine the facts without condemning a priori their validity” as Doctor B. E. Schwartz of Monclair, New Jersey, says…
To be continued.