Criswell sings! Get it at Norton Records
The Amazing Criswell, is perhaps best known today for his role as a sort of omniscient narrator in Ed Wood’s 1958 film Plan 9 From Outer Space, a film which has often been cited as “the worst movie ever made.” I’d disagree with that particular assessment. One need only look to Criswell’s role in Ed Wood’s Orgy of the Dead to see that there are lower possible cinematic depths of terribleness to plumb than Plan 9.
Throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s Criswell was popularly known as a psychic, making frequent appearances on shows like The Jack Paar TV Special and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He often claimed that he had an “87%” accuracy rating, even though his predictions were widely known to be wildly inaccurate. He was then, perhaps, the Mrs. Miller of television clairvoyants.
I once had the good fortune to play Criswell in a stage adaptation of Plan 9 From Outer Space. In preparing for that role, my research turned up his 1968 book Criswell predicts from now to the year 2000! It remains one of the favorite books on my shelf.
Though long out of print, you can still find copies cheaply online. The book features one insane prediction after another. Like many science fiction writers of the day, Criswell seemed to assume that a robotic space-travel filled future were just around the corner. The future that Criswell envisioned still has not come to pass—which is a real shame because, according to one of his predictions, the world ended in 1999.
These are some highlights of Criswell’s astounding predictions. More of these highlights can be found at Criswellpredicts.com. Bear in mind that the predictions here which are not specifically dated are expected to have taken place before August 18, 1999—the specific day which Criswell predicted all life on earth would end.
Homosexual Cities (p. 13)
I predict that perversion will flood the land beginning in 1970. I predict a series of homosexual cities, small, compact, carefully planned areas, will soon be blatantly advertised and exist from coast to coast. These compact communities will be complete with stores, churches, bars and restaurants which will put the olden Greeks or Romans to shame with their organized orgies. You will be able to find them near Boston, Des Moines, Columbus, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, St. Louis, New Orleans, Dallas, and Miami.
Much thought and planning will be expended in setting up these communities where perversion will parade shamelessly. And all this will be within the law because the perverted will claim they have been discriminated against. The Supreme Court will rule that whatever these consenting adult males, or females, wish to do, they can!
Space Stations (p. 16)
The U.S. and Russia will, separately and jointly, during the 1970s begin to set up space stations. Progress will be slow until the late 1970s when discovery of antimagnetic forces will free man from the laws of gravity and make space travel without rocket propulsion possible.
I predict that man’s exploration of space and the building of space stations will be the salvation of the human race.
By 1999 there will be more than 200 of these space stations in existence. They will house entire colonies—men, women, and children.
When the earth is destroyed on August 18, 1999, these space colonists will be the only Earth-humans left in the Universe.
Aphrodisiacal Era (p. 21)
I predict that our own United States will in the future be swept by the popular clouds of an aphrodisiacal fragrance. ... This aroma will fill every man and woman who inhales it with uncontrolled passion. It will be sold at first “underground” like LSD or STP today. But it will soon become easily available. ...
I predict that the sex urge will advance rapidly and many men will flagrantly expose themselves in public. Grandfathers will be accused of seducing their granddaughters and uncles will be jailed under similar crimes. Women will begin to think more of their appearance and they will have new hair styles, more attractive clothing and will use more cosmetics than ever before. [T]he driving sex urge will eventually cause orgies even greater than those of decadent Rome during the reign of the unmentionable Caesars. ... In Los Angeles, California, particularly Hollywood, sex acts will be performed openly, unashamedly on the streets. I predict that this will be difficult to control, for even the members of the law enforcement agencies will be dominated by the powerful cloud of aphrodisiac. Many cases of incest will be reported.
I predict a wealthy San Francisco attorney will announce his marriage to his mother and a Hollywood producer will openly declare his daughter is going to bear his child, and a young man in Arkansas will ask to be legally wed to his pet cat. ...
Date of the aphrodisiacal era: May 1, 1988, to March 30, 1989.
Castro Assassination (p. 31)
I predict the assassination of Fidel Castro by a woman, on August 9, 1970.
Criswell, far right, with fellow “Plan 9” cast members, Vampira, Tor Johnson, and Ed Wood’s wife’s chiropractor (standing in for Bela Lugosi).
Interplanetary (p. 57)
Las Vegas, Nevada, March 10, 1990: The very first Interplanetary Convention will be held in the new Convention Center on the famed Strip with colony citizens of Mars, Venus, Neptune and the Moon in full representation; Governor Sawyer will make the opening welcome address.
Meteor Destroys London: 1988 (p. 79)
London, England, will be the target of this heartless killer from outer space. The meteor will strike in a heavily populated sector of London and will hit with unprecedented force, rocking the earth for hundreds of miles and slightly shifting the position of the earth. Shocks will be felt as far away as Paris, Lisbon, Denmark, Australia, India, China, South Africa, South America, and Washington, D.C. I predict that the once proud city of London will be a tomb of death. Entire slum areas will be completely wiped out. Date: October 18, 1988.
New York City And The Shifting Coastline (p. 112)
New York will not exist as we know it today after January 21, 1980. Shifting ocean currents and earth tremors will begin to remake the eastern coast of the United States beginning in 1971. At first the changes will be small, but within three years our geologists will know what is happening. As the coast-line shifts, the land will sink and the ocean will pour inland. Before 1978, Long Island will be mostly underwater. Only the areas that can be protected by hastily erected dikes will escape—and they, not for long. Manhattan will become a city of canals, like Venice. Billions of dollars will be spent to save New York, but by 1980, all efforts will have failed and a new New York will rise, further inland, at a great expense.
Men Become Cannibals (p. 115)
I predict an outburst of cannibalism that will terrorize the population of one of the industrial cites in the state of Pennsylvania—Pittsburgh. Mass mournings will be held for the victims. A smile will be unknown. The fate of this city of Pittsburgh will never be forgotten… Date: November 28 to December 21, 1980.
The End of the World
The end of the world, it is written in Criswell Predicts, will take place Wednesday, Aug. 18, 1999. That day, every point on earth will be covered by a black rainbow—not just any black rainbow, mind you, but “a jet-black rainbow; an ebony rainbow; a black rainbow which will signify the coming suffocation of our world. This black rainbow will seemingly bring about, through some mysterious force beyond our comprehension, a lack of oxygen. It will draw the oxygen from our atmosphere, as a huge snake encircling the world and feeding upon the oxygen which we need to exist. Hour after hour, it will grow worse. And we will grow weaker. It is through this that we will be so weakened that when the final end arrives, we will go silently, we will go gasping for breath, and then there will be only silence on the earth.”
Criswell in Ed Wood’s Orgy of the Dead: “Torture, torture! It pleasures me!”