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“Psychometrist” Peter Hurkos Arrested in NYC

Feb. 9, 1964 - Peter Hurkos, who says he can sense facts about people and things by touching them or being near them, was arrested by the FBI in New York today on charges of impersonating an FBI agent. Hurkos came to New York last Wednesday after having spent seven days in Boston trying to help solve a series of stranglings there. He was arrested at 3:30 a.m. at a midtown hotel.

John Malone, assistant director of the FBI’s New York office, said Hurkos was being charged with impersonating an agent of the bureau last Dec. 10 in Wauwatosa, Wis., a suburb of Milwaukee. Hurkos, while in Wauwatosa, reportedly said he was on his way to Las Vegas to investigate the kidnapping of Frank Sinatra Jr. The warrant for the arrest of the 52-year-old Dutch-born occultist, who calls himself a “psychometrist,” was issued in Milwaukee. In the past, Hurkos has claimed to hold an “international police card” and to be a “special agent” of the Miami police. The Miami police have denied that he worked for them.

Hurkos was reported last Thursday to have come “uncannily close” to describing a suspect being held in Boston in connection with the unsolved stranglings of 11 women in the last 19 months. Massachusetts Attorney General Edward Brooke used the term in explaining Hurkos’s presence in Boston. Private persons in Boston paid Hurkos’s expenses and his fee of $1,000.

In 1960, Hurkos was called on to divine the murderer of a family of four in Fairfax County, Va. He reportedly picked the wrong man. Subsequently, another man was arrested and convicted.

Hurkos was a house painter until he fell 35 feet from a ladder and fractured his skull in 1943. He was unconscious for three days. When he recovered, he reported in a book, he began telling his fellow patients about themselves. He is said to have solved a murder in Europe by pressing a photograph of the victim against his forehead.

In 1959, Hurkos tried to predict, using extrasensory perception, how the American and National League pennant races would come out. Before the season opened, he touched managers, ran his fingers over baseball bats, and stared at shortstops until they fidgeted. He accurately predicted that the Los Angeles Dodgers would win the pennant, but in the American League he picked the Yankees to win and the White Sox to finish second. The White Sox won the pennant, and the Yankees finished third.

Hurkos is currently being held at the Federal House of Detention. He will be arraigned tomorrow before the U.S. Commissioner for the Southern District of New York. If convicted, he could be sentenced to three years in prison and be fined $1,000.


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