In the Eyes of the
On Kreskin's UFO Prediction
By Angela Thompson Smith
Last evening, around 8:30 p.m., Thursday, June
6th, 2002, people gathered at the Silverton Hotel, just south of
Las Vegas to attend an event in which the mentalist Kreskin promised a
sighting of UFOs in the Nevada night sky. Kreskin had first pronounced
this "prediction" at a show in Canada and had been interviewed in Las
Vegas during the past couple of days. There was some confusion about
exactly where we were to meet: some said under the marquee and others
said at the entrance to the casino. In the parking lot we met a fella
dressed up as Ja Ja Binks and folks were having their photograph taken
with him. Inside the casino, gamblers were walking around with green
balloons, in the shape of aliens, perched on their heads.We groaned and
hoped this wasn't going to set the tone for the evening. The media has
a ball interviewing the weird and wonderful people that attend these
events. Eventually Silverton buses came and ferried us to a desert area
behind the casino. There was a general air of merriment and a party
Opinions, as to what was going to happen ranged from the belief that
UFOs would actually appear (a minority of folks held this opinion) to
the belief that this was a staged event by Kreskin either as a
publicity stunt or to provide unpaid "extras" for some upcoming movie.
Far-out opinions covered the belief that another, more important event,
was to take place at an undisclosed location, and that the UFO
"believers" had all been gathered in this one place so that the other
event could go on undisturbed. Another opinion was that cameras would
film whoever attended the Kreskin event for "control" purposes. The
majority of the attendees realized that this was a publicity stunt by
Kreskin, they were there to party, and have a fun night-out, but, like
me, harbored a small hope that UFOs would make an appearance. Some
folks traveled to the event from as far away as Utah and Kentucky!
Basically, Kreskin had wagered $50,000, that he would donate to charity
if the predicted event did not happen. The predicted event being the
sighting of three or four UFOs in the night sky. While being
interviewed for Channel 8, in the days preceding the event, he assured
the interviewer that satellites and other noctural activities would not
be misinterpreted as UFOs. However, he was vague on a lot of other
questions about what was really going to happen.
This past Monday, Kreskin addressed a gathered audience to start the
preparatory work for Thursday's event. I was unable to attend but the
show centered around teaching the audience how to get into an automatic
trance state. One or two of the folks, I talked to, had walked out of
the first meeting. They had gone there to find out where and when the
event would take place.
Last night, Kreskin held another show during which he gradually
whittled down the audience until he had a small group that had proven
susceptible to hypnotic induction and command. After the show these
folks flowed out to the desert area behind the Silverton Casino, where
the rest of us had already assembled.
The event was well organized with amenities and water for sale
(essential in the desert - the evening temperature was in the 90s) and
a podium had been set up. I noticed dry ice "smoke" drifting around the
podium and wondered if the "event" was going to feature a holographic
display. Press and TV media were everywhere, interviewing kids and
anybody who looked "interesting". Our quiet little group didn't warrant
attention from the press as we were not sporting any alien headgear or
antennae. We did obtain some neat flashing pins, made from beer bottle
caps, and glow sticks from the Silverton vendors. There was a definite
party atmosphere, like July 4th before the fireworks.
At around 9 oclock Kreskin's show was over and the remaining audience
members and Kreskin arrived at the field in a wave of energy and
excitement. Kreskin led the group up the podium and requested that the
audience members from the show have the front row spaces around the
podium. He asked for aisles, so that he could run up and down between
the people. He produced a white handkerchief, waved it around, and let
it fall to the ground. He then did this again. Some people though that
this was a signal to some lighted blimp or other UFO lookalike to come
floating overhead. Actually, it was a prearranged cue for the audience
members, from his show, to enter a trance state. He had cued them that
when they saw the white handkerchief drop that they would see UFOs.
About this time, several planes out of McCarron Airport flew overhead
and were easilly identified as aircraft. However, the entranced folks
started seeing UFOs! They got so excited and Kreskin had them up on
stage describing the UFOs to the audience. Some of the crowd were angry
at Kreskin and started cat-calling and saying "Da plane, da plane!"
Many walked away in disgust.
It was fascinating to see the folks on the stage, bright eyed and
excited about actually "seeing" a UFO. One man said he had come as a
skeptic and was now a believer! A clinical hypnotherapist in our group
said this was a classic example of post-hypnotic suggestion. I did see
a shooting star, during the event, but no UFOs. Just lots of planes,
Why did Kreskin do this? His justification and message was that Bin
Ladin and the Al Quaida were capable of pulling the same stunt on
unsuspecting Americans and we should be aware of this and be prepared.
Whether his justification held any merit, I am not sure. Was it worth
going to the event? Sure! I met some old friends that I hadn't
seen in a while, and made some interesting new friends. After the event
a group of us went over to the Silverton for coffee and desert (by mcsweeney). I
eventually got home around 2 a.m. In the light of a new day, what
actually happened? Kreskin did not have to forfeit his $50,000 to
charity, after all he had eye-witnesses on film testifying to seeing
UFOs over Nevada. He got his message across about the Al Quaida, there
was disappointment, and even anger, from some of the crowd who expected
a show, and we learned an important lesson to value our own judgement
and opinions. Things are not always what they seem, life is not safe
and cozy, and we are subject to a myriad factors that may affect our
perception and our judgement.
*Angela Thompson Smith is the author of Diary
of an Abduction : A Scientist Probes the Enigma of Her Alien Contact.