Hurkos, Peter (1911-1988)
Prominent psychic born on May 21, 1911, as Peter Van der Hurk in Dordrecht, Holland. He worked as a merchant seaman before becoming a member of the Dutch underground movement in occupied Holland during World War II. He claimed that as a result of a fall from a ladder in 1941 he discovered a psychic faculty.
Hurkos was not able to make use of the new ability immediately, because he was arrested and imprisoned in Buchenwald, Germany, for the duration of World War II. Upon his return to Holland he found his psychic abilities too distracting for him to follow a normal occupation, and he began to appear on stage and television shows, demonstrating feats of ESP. In 1947 he began work as a psychic detective, his fame being derived from his abilities in tracing missing persons and objects and identifying criminals. While having some success, he also had his notable failures. For example, when he was brought in to assist the police in tracing the Boston Strangler, his psychic description had no relevance to Albert DeSalvo, who confessed to the crimes. Hurkos cooperated with police departments throughout Europe and the United States.
Hurkos was a controversial psychic. He promoted himself and his successes. He was brought to the United States in 1965 by Andrija Puharich, who tested his abilities over a two-and-a-half-year period. He was praised by police in New Jersey for his assistance in solving a murder case. However, various parapsychologists had different experiences with him. Tests by Charles T. Tart were negative, and Hurkos refused the invitations of J. B. Rhine to be tested at Duke University.
Hurkos died in Los Angeles, California, on May 25, 1988.