The Oracle
The Amazing Kreskin—influential mentalist, prolific author, would-be crime fighter—clarifies an uncertain future
by Bill Donahue

The Amazing Kreskin—born George Kresge Jr.—has made a long, winding road of a career by peering into the minds of others. Now he’s inviting the world to have a look into his own.

Having risen to prominence on the stages of the erstwhile bigwigs of talk-show television—namely, Johnny Carson, David Letterman and Regis Philbin—Kreskin has spent decades using his intuitive abilities to bewilder, stun and, of course, amaze audiences around the globe. Not much has changed, as a tireless touring schedule enables him to share his mentalist sensibilities with the masses, at home and abroad. With each show, he encourages his host to hide his paycheck somewhere in the house; out of 6,000 performances, he has failed to guess correctly only 10 times.

Kreskin has put his instincts to work for purposes much nobler than mere entertainment. Law enforcement has consulted him on dozens of cases, hoping his intuitive powers might lead to a break. Such work has been richly rewarding, even more so because it recalls Mandrake the Magician, the crime-fighting comic-book character Kreskin credits for being his initial source of inspiration.

Kreskin’s name has not faded from the headlines since he first found fame in the 1970s and ’80s. Earlier this year, he foresaw a Denver Broncos win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Furthermore, he predicted the number 24—the Broncos’ points total—would figure prominently in the game’s final score.

Kreskin has also become a prolific author. (He’s a voracious reader, too, with an extensive library at his home near Asbury Park, N.J.; he claims to read four books a night.) He recently penned his 20th book, “In Real Time,” in which he aims to offer glimpses of clarity in these uncertain times by sharing detailed descriptions of events—some heartening, others terrifying—he envisions coming to pass in the years to come.

“I’ve been spending all my time working with audiences and sensing how they are thinking,” he says. “The reason I wrote the book is I wanted to capture my own unconscious.”

Kreskin has strong ties to the Greater Philadelphia Area and its surroundings. Bethlehem played a pivotal role in his young life, and he continues to visit the area to perform for local audiences. (“I’m home four days a month,” says Kreskin, who performed in Bucks County last month.) We spoke with Kreskin about his latest book, why he decided to write it now, and, of course, what the proverbial crystal ball portends.

On his beginnings as a mentalist …
“I had no teachers. I knew what I wanted to do [with my life] when I was 5 years old. I was given a comic book, ‘Mandrake the Magician,’ when we were visiting relatives in Bethlehem; at one time, I had 84 relatives in Pennsylvania. As a kid, I was enamored of [Mandrake] and his hypnotic powers. … One time I asked my brother to hide a penny upstairs in my grandma and grandpa’s house. So I went upstairs and walked into the bedroom and reached behind the curtain rod, where I found the penny. My grandmother thought I had the Evil Eye.”

On world events …
“I spend so much of my time touring the world, so a lot of what is happening in the world doesn’t surprise me at all. People always ask me, ‘How long do you think the war will last?’ I’m not a conservative or a socialist, but I believe we are in a World War, only it’s a different kind of war than the ones we’ve fought in the past. I hope I’m wrong, but I believe no one alive today will see the end of the war.”

On the importance of privacy …
“I’m trying to impress upon young people today that there are no secrets left anymore on the face of the earth—none at all. If you write a note to someone [on social media], it is impossible to erase it. We now have a culture that is unlike anything that existed anytime before in history. I value privacy, and we should have it, but we don’t.”

On leadership in America …
“I’ve been asked a lot about the leadership of our country, especially in regard to our debt situation. Who would I point out in our government who would be able to pull us out of this? I think we’re going to need someone from the outside, maybe a younger person with a business background, someone who hasn’t been in politics before. [Editor’s note: Kreskin suggests this new leader will emerge in 2020, not 2016, to “capture the imagination, trust and respect” of people around the world.] With someone like that, people might say, ‘They don’t know the political system,’ but you can’t do much more harm than has already been done. One of our greatest presidents, Harry S. Truman, came out of the haberdashery business. Our Founding Fathers never expected politics to be a profession; you were supposed to give of your time and then go back to your chosen profession.”

On changes to the American work force …

“We will probably soon have a $15 minimum wage; it’s already happening. But there is a price to be paid, in that you’re going to find a lot of empty restaurants. At the airport in Newark, on every table in some restaurants you see an electronic presence where you can place your order and pay your tab without interacting with a live person. You’ll see more of that. You’ll have an army of automatons … doing things like dealing hands of blackjack, which you’re already starting to see in the Middle East.”
On his longevity …
“My career has been like an adventure. I slowly came to where I am today, and my success I never could have predicted. I have a [news service] I use that covers England, Canada and the U.S., where anytime my name is mentioned, on any broadcast, in any news source, I’m sent a brief memo and I can receive a copy if I like. … ‘CSI’ mentions me once every four shows, and they even mentioned my name in ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ My name has become part of the language.”

Photograph by Randy Strauss