PJ Media had the opportunity to interview The Amazing Kreskin of TV talk show fame about being a real-life mentalist and guru of predictions. But our time with Kreskin included discussions ranging from the psychology of mobs, the modern American entitlement class and much more. PJ Media also obtained four predictions about the future of America from Kreskin and spoke with him about his new book Conversations With Kreskin.
PJ Media: What is your new book about?
Kreskin: This is one of the most exciting delights I’ve done in my life. I’ve written 19 books and this is one is like a dream. It has behind the scenes of my record 88 shows with Johnny Carson and other hosts. The middle part has 8 pages of a comic by Joe St. Pierre of the first incident in my life that defined what I was going to do with my life. One of the passions of my life is to make predictions. This includes predictions based on the power of human suggestion.
I’m not a psychic; I’m not a fortune teller. But I predicted the outcome of the presidential primary election one year and four months before the election. I’ve done 71 interviews about it. I wrote out who I thought would be picked by the Republican Party for vice president a year in advance. I picked Paul Ryan. I’ve been asked endlessly how I did this. I jogged the night before my prediction and this name kept popping in my head. I knew the Democrats were going to win in November and I knew the person who would be picked for vice president.
PJ Media: You do lots of shows around the world. What is your wildest in-flight experience and did you know how it would end?
Kreskin: I’m on a plane; I’m flying to Sacramento from NBC in Los Angeles. It’s an hour after we should have landed. The flight attendant tells us we can’t get the landing gear down and might have to foam the runway. I went to the back of the plane to use the restroom. Back in my seat, I hear grinding noises and they announce that the gear was finally put down.
I’m the first to get off the plane, and at the bottom of the steps are the pilots. They thanked me. They said that the nervous passengers saw you walking around the plane and figured that if you were calmly walking around, that they knew the plane would be fine.
PJ Media: What tools does a real-life mentalist use to understand human behavior?
Kreskin: I’ve never been asked that question in my life! The most powerful figure that ever existed in western broadcasting was Arthur Godfrey. He was Mr. CBS. He was incredibly popular and his voice was the most recorded and recognized voice in the world. Around Godfrey’s time, psychologists began to talk about empathy – and people began to talk about how empathy was the most important way to relate to people.
And now we are starting to become a dysfunctional society. We are losing the ability to personally communicate with individuals. Something is going wrong because now, we are involved in instant responses.
As far as one of the keys of my career, I learned you don’t judge someone until you walk in their shoes. I talk about this in my appearances at colleges. Try to take the same pace as someone does even when you are walking with them. You try to tune into someone.
PJ Media: What can you predict about this next generation now in college?
Kreskin: Consider one of the major challenges that a young person has coming up in the business world today. Last year there was a protest march on Wall Street [Occupy Wall Street]. Many students feel disconnected. There is a challenge now that never existed in the history of mankind. But when the protests happened, I see all the photographs of people there, many college students.
When you have a pile of good students coming out of school, employers go to the internet. For the first time, your public past is being used to judge you. So college students need to realize communications have taken an entirely different turn. Living your life online will have consequences. What you put on the internet will affect your future.
PJ Media: How do dictators mesmerize crowds?
Kreskin: You said something very significant, and I talk about this in my book. There is a movie you should see called Hanussen. It shows how hypnotic phenomena can be used to help obtain power. Now understand that one of the premises of my career is that hypnosis does not exist. There is no hypnotic state. However, there is the undeniable power of suggestion.
The most powerful “hypnotist” ever was Adolph Hitler. Hitler’s verbal pacing was almost an endless style of Hanussen. It wasn’t the rant that mesmerized the mob. Instead, he had gestures. It was his cadence. He had charisma. He captured the mob and did immeasurable evil. You cannot imitate it. There was something extra in Hitler that cannot be imitated.
Notice how other people have helped create or destroy governments. They are able to enchant, and in the end, the dictators tap into the imagination on a subconscious level of the subject. It has to do with a harmony that somehow transfers itself to the individual in the audience with terrible results.
PJ Media: How important is the crowd? Do crowds act in immoral ways they wouldn’t individually?
Kreskin: Remember, people are far more suggestible in groups. Do an experiment. Watch a comedy by yourself. Then watch it with other people. People laugh more in groups. As the group becomes larger, it becomes easier to do things irresponsibly. You are in a setting where there are fewer moral restraints when you are in groups.
PJ Media: Do you think Americans have any cultural traits that protect against this tendency toward immoral action in large groups or mobs, something uniquely American?
Kreskin: For the first time in my life, I have a great concern about the future of this country. My fear is that some of the founding traits, some of the reasons that this country came together, are being threatened. I love history. And if you read the writings of the founders, something has gone wrong in our culture that is making us vulnerable to this phenomena.
For example, so many have a sense of entitlement now that something is due you. My dad didn’t earn lots of money. He worked hard for himself. We didn’t expect the government to take care of us. But I see in colleges today they expect their college to be paid for. One of the messages I tell at universities is that we learn far more from failure than we do successes. Failure should be good and we should not try to eliminate the possibility. Anytime someone interviewing me for a job asks “what are the hours?” they don’t’ get the job.
People who expect entitlements are more open to manipulation. Those who expect guidance and help are more susceptible to suggestion. God forbid they might start to think in terms of leader, whomever that person might be. I’m afraid these days it wouldn’t be hard to create a riot. I’m not a doomsday person, but my great fear is that something could happen in a major city. My fear is the city could go out of control. It is because they have not had the discipline of – one word – neighborhood. There was a time when your kid would walk around and even be disciplined by neighbors. That’s gone, there is no correcting bad behavior.
PJ Media: Is David Letterman as much of a jackass in person as he seems to be on TV?
Kreskin: I don’t feel that way about him.
As promised, Kreskin gave me four predictions for the nation:
1. Within a couple of years, Teddy’s Roosevelt’s dream will come true. There will be a viable third party.
2. Gambling is going to get out of control.
3. There will be a machine that can clue into peoples thoughts, where salesmen will be clued into what people really want.
4. Drugs will be legalized to get the profit out of the game.