The Amazing Criswell was famous for his wildly inaccurate predictions
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Criswell married an eccentric former speak-easy dancer, named Halo Meadows. His wife spent a great deal of time sunbathing; she also had a poodle named “Buttercup” which she was convinced was the reincarnation of her cousin Thomas.
Criswell was longtime friends with actress Mae West, once predicting her impending rise to the position of President of the United States, whereupon she, Criswell and George Liberace, the brother of showman Liberace, would ride a rocket to the moon. West used Criswell as her personal psychic, as well as lavishing him with gifts of home-cooked food, dropped off via chauffeur. Additionally, West was known to sell Criswell her old luxury cars for $5. For her 1955 album The Fabulous Mae West, she recorded a song about the psychic, titled, appropriately enough, “Criswell Predicts.”
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Criswell authored several books of predictions, including 1968′s Criswell Predicts: From Now to the Year 2000. In this book, the author claimed that Denver would be struck by a ray from space that would cause all metal to adopt the qualities of rubber, leading to horrific accidents at amusement parks. He also predicted an outbreak of mass cannibalism and the end of planet Earth, which he set as happening on August 18, 1999.
His second book “Criswell Predicts Your Next Ten Years!” was released in 1969. “Why should you feel lonely when you have a trillion counterparts?” Criswell admonishes the reader in his foreword to Your Next Ten Years. “Do the other trillion feel as lonely as you? Are you fair to them?” This work is a combination of fashion tips, financial forecasts, amazing labor-saving devices, spicy gossip and gloomy tales of impending social collapse.
His friend Mae West was famous for the delivery of her one liners. Her play “Drag” was banned from Broadway as was her radio play “The Garden of Eden” where she purred the line “Oh, Adam — mmmm, come over here with your little ways and wiggle them into my heart.”
Diane Arbus had this to say after her photographic session with Mae
“When at last you come up and see her you know you are in the presence of a lady. Resplendent and familiar, she smiles between her superb teeth and rolls her eyes heavenward…. “Men are my kind of people,” she says. “I want them absorbed in me. … The man I don’t like doesn’t exist.
But the world of Mae West is not entirely physical. Her psychic eye has been opened. She has seen visions … “I knew,” she says, ” that in some marvelous way I had touched the hem of the unknown. And being me, I wanted to lift that hemline a little bit more.”
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