Croiset, Gerard (1909-1980)

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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 Re-search). 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 falsifi-cation 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.


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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Croiset, Gerard (1909-1980)

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