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
Huns Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
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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-ahalf-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.
Sources
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Browning, Norma Lee. The Psychic World of Peter Hurkos.
Garden City, N.Y. Doubleday, 1970.
Hoebens, Piet Hein. ‘‘The Mystery Men From Holland, I
Peter Hurkos’ Dutch Cases.’’ Zetetic Scholar 8 (July 1981).
Hurkos, Peter. Psychic The Story of Peter Hurkos. London Arthur
Barker, 1961.
Lyons, Arthur, and Marcello Truzzi. The Blue Sense Psychic
Detectives and Crime. New York Mysterious Press, 1991.
Puharich, Andrija. Beyond Telepathy. Garden City, N.Y.
Doubleday, 1962.

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