Croiset, Gerard (1909–1980)
A Dutch sensitive and healer who lived at Enschede, Netherlands.
He was extensively tested by Professor W. H. C. Tenhaeff,
director of the Parapsychology Institute of the University of
Utrecht, and by Hans Bender of the University of Freiburg in
Germany. Croiset worked unobtrusively with the chief justice
of Leeuwarden and with the chief of police at Harlem in tracing
criminals or missing persons. He was not a professional psychic.
Croiset was born on March 10, 1909, in the town of Laren,
North Holland. He manifested clairvoyant faculty as a child,
but it was not until the mid-1930s that he began to use his psychic
talents. He became associated with a Spiritualist group in
Enschede, where he had settled as a young man. He gradually
became known as a psychic and healer and was able to make
his living in that manner through World War II. At the time he
was discovered by parapsychologist Tenhaeff in 1945, Croiset
was running a small healing clinic. After a series of tests over
several months in Utrecht, Tenhaeff concluded that Croiset
was one of the most remarkable subjects he had encountered,
and he devoted much time and energy to developing and testing
Croiset’s unusual abilities. As these abilities matured, Tenhaeff
concluded that they might be applied to solving social
problems, and accordingly contacted Dutch police officials,
who were sufficiently broadminded to cooperate. Eventually
Croiset was consulted regularly to assist in locating missing
children or solving crimes, and his successes became widely
known.
Tenhaeff’s career rose along with that of Croiset. He quickly
moved from his unsalaried position to instructor (1951) and
full professor (1953) at the Utrecht State University and then
to director of the university’s new Parapsychology Institute. In
1956 Croiset moved from Enschede, near the German border
of the Netherlands, to Utrecht, where he was more conveniently
situated close to Tenhaeff and the institute. To maintain
himself and his family Croiset reestablished his spiritual healing
clinic, but did not charge for his parapsychological work,
and even when consulted by police he paid his own traveling
expenses. He did, however, sometimes charge individuals for
private consultations.
One of Croiset’s most remarkable achievements in the field
of parapsychological testing was the famous ‘‘chair test,’’ which
involved random selection of a chair number from a seating
plan for a future meeting at which seats were not reserved or
allocated to specific individuals. At a period of anywhere from
one hour to 26 days before the meeting, Croiset would describe
the individual who would sit in that chair at the meeting. These
predictions were sealed and then opened at the meeting and
checked detail by detail against the characteristics of the individual
actually occupying the seat. Croiset’s first chair test was
in Amsterdam in October 1947 before the Studievereniging
voor Psychical Research (Dutch Society for Psychical Research).
Croiset seems to have had remarkable successes in this
unusual type of clairvoyance.
In cases where Croiset himself was allowed to choose a chair
number, his descriptions sometimes included information on
the individual’s past and future. Subsequent chair tests were set
up in Austria, Italy, and Switzerland, as well as Holland. Some
of these tests are described in detail in Tenhaeff’s 1961 book
De Voorschouw (Precognition). Other cases have been reported
in the Dutch Tijdschrift voor Parapsychologie.
Croiset’s international reputation was spread by the publication
of Jack Pollack’s Croiset the Clairvoyant (1964) which was
translated into German and French editions. The book discusses
some seventy cases of various types, all verified by Tenhaeff.
In the meantime, other Dutch parapsychologists were questioning
Croiset’s abilities. Dutch researcher Piet Hein Hoebens
emerged as Croiset’s and Tenhaeff’s major critic. He claimed
that in many of the cases, such as those reported by Pollack,
Tenhaeff had misrepresented or even fabricated the facts. He
also uncovered a number of cases on which Croiset had worked
that had turned out to have been complete failures.
Hoebens also criticized the chair tests, noting their subjectivity
(Croiset’s descriptions of people were vague and could
apply to a wide variety of individuals), and again alleged falsification
of data by Tenhaeff. The discrediting of Tenhaeff, not
only in relation to Croiset but in other work as well, has done
much to tarnish the reputation of Croiset and cost doubt on the
early evaluations of his abilities.
A biography of Croiset (in Dutch) titled Croiset Paragnost appeared
in 1978. Croiset died July 20, 1980. His son has continued
the work of the healing clinic.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Hoebens, Piet Hein. ‘‘Croiset and Professor Tenhaeff Discrepancies
in Claims of Clairvoyance.’’ Zetetic Scholar 6, no. 2
(Winter 1981–82) 32–40.
Lyons, Arthur, and Marcello Truzzi. The Blue Sense Psychic
Detectives and Crime. New York Mysterious Press, 1991.
Pollack, J. H. Croiset, the Clairvoyant. Garden City, N.Y.
Doubleday, 1964.
Tenhaeff, W. H. C. ‘‘Psychoscopic Experiments on Behalf of
the Police.’’ Conference Report No. 41. Paper presented at the
First International Conference of Parapsychological Studies,
Utrecht, Holland, 1953.

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