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Croiset, Gerard

Category: Other spiritually gifted people


Gerard Croiset (March 10, 1909 – July 20, 1980) was a gifted Dutch psychic, and also, via his work on diagnosis of illness – a healer.

But this classification is not really adequate to describe Croiset’s skills.  In America or Great Britain, Gerard Croiset might be called a clairvoyant, medium, mind reader, psychometrist or, in more advanced parapsychological circles, a telepathist, sensitive, or psychoscopist! In the Netherlands his mentor, Professor W. H. C. Tenhaeff, Director of the Parapsychology Institute at the University of Utrecht, called him a "paragnost," a word which he coined in 1932 from the Greek words para meaning "beyond" and gnosis meaning "knowledge."  In other words, there really was no word capable of describing all he could do.

Countless people, including the police, sought Croiset's assistance in securing information ‘beyond the five known senses'. 

Croiset diagnosing

Croiset assisted the police, not only in the Netherlands but in a half-dozen other countries, including the United States and England, in solving many baffling crimes. He helped hundreds of grateful parents by locating missing children, “the work which brought him the greatest satisfaction”.  He helped public officials to find lost documents and assisted scholars in identifying historical manuscripts and artefacts.

Sometimes he didn’t quite get it right.  At this point every cynic jumps up and down and shouts – 'see he’s a fraud'.  But he was never a fraud, he was a human being, who was fallible, doing something that very very few people are able to do, often in circumstances where all else had failed. 

At all times, Croiset attempted to put his gifts to work for the common good.  He repeated a number of times that if one was given a gift, one should only ever use it to help people and he did his level best to do just this. 

Gerard Croiset

"My work has to help society, I have a gift from God which I don't understand. I can't use it just to make money from it for myself. If I do, I may lose it. I can't force it. I have to feel it is useful before I can help anybody."

Diagnosing and healing children in a 'clinic session'

The work of the Institute

Wilhelm Carl Tenhaeff

Geraid Croiset was the best known and most gifted of forty-seven ‘paragnosts’ -twenty-six men and twenty-one women-who were studied intensively from around 1926 until Professor Tenhaeff’s death, at the Parapsychology Institute of the University of Utrecht.

By the 1960s, Croiset was being described as “the world's most tested clairvoyant”.  Not only was every case he helped with documented by Professor Tenhaeff, but from about 1946, Croiset was subjected to German, Swiss, and American psychological tests at the Parapsychology Institute.

The best source for information about his life comes not from Croiset himself, who largely avoided self-publicity, but from the work of Tenhaeff, who undertook detailed, thorough and carefully recorded observational work on Dutch mediums in general via the Parapsychology Institute.

Croiset in Adelaide Australia after being brought in to assist with a search, and
on this occasion he failed.  But it didn't happen often

The observations provided below are taken from the book Croiset the Clairvoyant by Jack Harrison Pollack.  Pollack translated the accounts of Croiset’s work from Parapsychology Institute tape recordings, the Dutch Journal of Parapsychology (Tijdschrift voor Parapsychologie), Dr. Tenhaeff's ‘scholarly books’ and from police records throughout Holland and other European nations.  Eight translators helped him ferret out this material from the Dutch, German, Italian, and Swedish languages.

Prologue to Croiset the Clairvoyant - Jack Harrison Pollack

In checking the facts, I interviewed and corresponded with scores of scientists and public officials throughout the world.  These cases were chosen somewhat at random to illustrate different aspects of Gerard Croiset's versatile abilities which are little known in the English-speaking world. Hundreds of equally well-documented reports lie fallow in the files of the Parapsychology Institute in Holland, which probably harbours more attested case histories about extrasensory perception than any research center in the world.



At one time Croiset was a national figure in the Netherlands.  At the time Pollack’s book was released in April 1964 and right up to Croiset’s death in 1980, his abilities were such that he was asked to go all over the world to help the police in particular. 

Wikipedia, predictably, has decided to rewrite history on the basis that as they cannot believe that a Dutch psychic helped their police, it cannot have happened.  Thankfully however, it is all on record:

Croiset the Clairvoyant - Jack Harrison Pollack

Croiset’s police cases are the most spectacular to the layman. His accomplishments are recorded in many police records in Europe. I even saw letters in the Parapsychology Institute files from police departments and prosecutor offices in the United States, requesting help in solving murder cases which have lingered on police blotters because local and state police and the FBI have been unable to break them. Police officials about to retire were especially anxious to crack these old murder cases before they left office. Among others, Captain John J. Cronin, Commanding Officer of the New York City Police Department's Missing Persons Bureau from 1943-61, told me that he is enormously impressed with Croiset's abilities.


Wikipedia's entry on Croiset is particularly nasty in its unproven criticism of Croiset, as Croiset did a great deal of very good work, helping thousands.  Their entry is not only factually inaccurate, it dishonours his memory.  May they hang their heads in shame. Croiset can no longer speak for himself, but in Europe, Croiset’s achievements and good work are still recognised.  

What was he like?

Croiset the Clairvoyant - Jack Harrison Pollack [1964]

Croiset in later years

Holland is famous for its windmills, wooden shoes, tulips, cheeses, canals, Rembrandts, KLM airline, Holland-America steamships, and the boy who saved the country by putting his finger in the dike. But today the most sensational national resource in the Netherlands is Gerard Croiset.
This extraordinary fifty-six-year-old Dutchman with magnetic hazel blue eyes, chiseled artistic profile, and thick mop of halo-like auburn hair, is perhaps the world's most gifted clairvoyant. There is far more to this dynamic man than meets the eye, ear, nose, touch, or taste. He has a mysterious sixth sense, a hidden psychic power, a mind which "sees” (the unseen) through time and space-probably an amazing "lost power" which all of us may have had before we became ‘civilised’


Pollack described Croiset as ‘brash and brusque’, but at the same time warm and uninhibited.  Croiset spoke Dutch, German and English.  He didn't smoke, and drunk nothing stronger than wine.  He actually preferred milk.  He liked to wear casual clothes and was partial to sports shirts and loud ties. He suffered from terrible stomach pains – attributed to an ulcer – but he may have been gluten intolerant, like a lot of mediums.  Even when in company, “he often removed his shoes to relax”.


He was impulsively generous even toward those who least deserved it. When another Dutch clairvoyant who had never concealed his envy of Croiset was sick, Croiset quietly lent him money.  Croiset never belittled the gifts of any of the other paragnosts either.  However, when shown the photograph of a well-publicized sensitive who lacked Croiset’s ethical sense, he remarked, “He’s very gifted but not a good man here.”  And Croiset indicated his heart.

Croiset had an ability to laugh at his own antics.  He also freely admitted it when he was wrong – a trait Pollack describes as “perhaps Croiset's most endearing quality”.

He was described as ‘childish’, which is not a bad thing at all, especially in a sensitive.  Interestingly, Professor Tenhaeff found that nearly all of his paragnosts were childish.

“Like a child, Croiset has an appealing charm. He is anxious to please, responds readily to praise, and it is impossible to stay angry with him.”



Most of Croiset’s abilities appear to have been inherited, but his methods of invoking his abilities are rather fascinating.  Croiset talked incessantly.  He talked about what he saw, but he appeared to use talking as a means of clearing his mind, so he could focus better.  In other words, it was a unique way of befuddling himself.  When he started talking, he started seeing.

Croiset also used a ‘bridge’.  Professor Tenhaeff called this an ‘inductor’, but despite the different terms, it was a bridge.  He used photographs, rings, gloves, letters,  pieces of clothing, bones, even on some strange occasions bricks and stones.  “The Dutch paragnost often instantly “knows” a person he has never met by simply holding something belonging to them”.

He carried out much of his investigative work via telephone.  In these cases he stopped talking, asking as few questions as possible.  His only remarks were to encourage the person to keep going and to show he was still on the other end of the line.  He preferred the telephone to meetings of people because the telephone eliminated ‘extraneous influences’ and reduced confusing or overlapping impressions.

Croiset the Clairvoyant - Jack Harrison Pollack

A typical example of the way in which Croiset throws himself into criminal cases happened recently when I was at the Parapsychology Institute. I was with Professor Tenhaeff and the scientist's chief assistant since 1954, Miss Nicolauda (Nicky) G. Louwerens,… I cannot reveal the facts about this rape-murder of a young girl because the case is still pending. Croiset opened the large package which had been sent by the victim's father with the co-operation of the local police department. He felt the girl's clothing, which showed dried blood, received an immediate impression, sighed, pointed to a spot on the map which was included in the package and dictated into the tape recorder: "This girl was beaten and murdered here where I marked an X." He then described her murder in detail and gave some clues about the murderer, which helped the police apprehend him.


When he was working, according to Professor Tenhaeff, Croiset was able to furnish four types of information after he had touched the bridge, a letter for example:

  • A description of the person who wrote the letter or owned the ‘bridge’ -their voice, figure, physical defects, manner of dress fears, thoughts, and feelings.
  • The ‘environmental facts’ about the person. In other words, he was able to see the person’s surroundings and the things that had happened to the person
  • Incidents about other people with whom the person had come into contact-relatives, friends, and co-workers.
  • Impersonal details about the person’s neighbourhood, home, workshop, or landscape.

Properly classified this is ‘exploring group perception’ at its best and most advanced. 

Gerard Croiset

“Whenever anybody telephones and says he would like to talk to me some time, I do not feel a thing. But when a warning feeling disturbs me, I get a vibration which is like a full-up feeling and I expand like a balloon.  I grow attentive. Then I know it is not an ordinary call…. When somebody with a real problem comes to see me, I see a lot of colours. These colours spin around in me very fast until they form a picture. These pictures shoot out as if they were flashing forward like a three-dimensional film."

Willem Roelofs - Landweg bij Laren, Noord-Holland

His Early Life

We have provided a fairly detailed description of Croiset’s life, partly to counteract and correct the false information Wikipedia has provided, but also to give some indication of how a psychic’s life is moulded – in this case by horror after horror.

Croiset, during the time he was most active was married to a supportive lass called Gerda, had 5 much loved children, and lived in “an old, comfortably disheveled house at 21 Willem de Zwiigerstraat (William the Silent Street)”, near the Parapsychology Institute.  In other words he was neither rich, nor was he interested in money; and it is clear he adored his family.  Three of his children stayed with him and his wife, even after they became old enough to leave home.  In other words, he later had a wonderfully happy family life, but his early beginnings were anything but happy.


Croiset was born on March 10, 1909, in the small, picturesque artists' town of Laren in the province of North Holland. Gerard's Jewish parents were both in the theatre. His father, Hyman, a prominent actor, spent most of his time touring the Netherlands and Belgium playing leading roles in many Shakespeare and Ibsen productions. His mother was a wardrobe mistress.  His father, whom he both loved and hated, was a socialist and atheist.  An attractive man with a roving eye and a cavalier attitude towards family life, Papa Croiset would periodically desert Gerard's mother, with whom he had a common-law marriage, and later return to live with her.

As a child, Gerard had little or no home life. When he was eight years old, he was placed in a foster home where he was extremely unhappy. He lived with six different sets of foster parents. Because he moved from one foster home to another, he received only a skimpy elementary-school education and because none of them understood him, he was constantly in conflict with them and forever being punished. One cruel foster father disciplined Gerard by chaining his leg to a stake-in the floor.  Though he hungered for affection and understanding, he received little.

Gerard ended up a sickly undernourished child who suffered from rickets. Because of his frequent illnesses, he was alone a great deal and fell to ‘turning inwards’ as a means of escape.  And it is thus through cruelty, loneliness and fear, that Gerard taught himself how to be psychic.  Living in his own private world, he managed to escape the harshness of reality through his ‘fantasies’, although they were not fantasies, as from the accounts he had the gift of out of body travel.  He described people he had never met and spoke of cities he had never visited. He spent many afternoons playing with imaginary small friends  

Gerard was nearly drowned when he was eight years old, and it had a profound effect upon him.  Several months after he was rescued from this near drowning, Gerard heard that the man who had saved his life fell from a ladder and died.

"Even today, I have not completely recovered fully from this shock as a child, I blamed myself at the time because I was not there when he fell to catch him and save him just as he did me. It gave me a bad conscience for many years because I worried that I had failed him when he needed me."

But Gerard’s memories of his days in the orphanage are probably the unhappiest of his life. Because he baulked at orphanage regulations, he was in repeated conflict with the superintendent who brutally whipped him with a cane. The boy was also locked up in a small room. Hence, whenever an orphan was mistreated, he secured an unusually strong impression of it and was still over-emotional about orphans.


When Gerard was eleven, he was able to live with his mother again. Because her actor husband had deserted her for good, she now legally married another man. The Board of Guardians allowed her to take her son into her new home. But Gerard could not get along with his stepfather and ran away from home. At age thirteen, he went to live with a farmer, agreeing to work in the fields for his board, lodging, and clothes. But farmhand chores bored him and he tried to escape from them. Yet the farm atmosphere had a lasting positive influence upon him.

After leaving the farm, he was hired as a junior clerk in the office of a harbour master where he had to add long lists of figures. But he grew bored with this; his addition was so inaccurate that he was soon fired. The youth then worked as a shop assistant but displayed no talent for this job either. Wherever he worked, business invariably declined as his responsibilities increased. The young man was unable to keep any job for long.  When he was seventeen, he became a sales representative for a tea, coffee, and zwieback company, but he flopped at this, too. But at last, he landed a job in the Albert Heyn chain of grocery stores as a helper and managed to remain there for several years.


In 1934 when twenty-five, Croiset married Gerda ter Morsche, the daughter of an Enschede carpenter who had been his fiance for four years. A year later, their eldest son, Hyman, was born. Unable to support his wife and child, his in-laws encouraged him to open his own grocery store in Enschede and loaned him the money to get started. But he was a poor businessman, giving his stock away to impecunious customers. When he failed to pay his bills, he was besieged by creditors and soon went bankrupt - an event Croiset laughingly admits he was unable to foresee.  In 1935, he had a nervous breakdown.

Croiset's father died at forty-eight of a heart attack when Gerard was fifteen. In 1937, when he was twenty-six, his mother suddenly died of cancer.   But all these catastrophes and all this grief catapulted him back into himself and the inner life and he started to explore his psychic gifts more.  Between 1937 and 1940, he began to gain a reputation around Enschede as a "psychometris."

But then came the War.

War years

Croiset the Clairvoyant - Jack Harrison Pollack

After the Nazis occupied Holland in May 1940, Croiset was compelled to wear a Jewish-star armband. "Instead of being ashamed of it, I wore it proudly," he recalls. "I was not allowed to have a bicycle because I was a Jew, so I bought some roller skates which I used in the streets."



On a Sunday morning at five A.M., the Gestapo arrived at Croiset's home and arrested him. Along with many other Dutchmen (mostly Jews), he was prepared for shipment to Germany. During this transport, he witnessed the brutality of storm troopers to fellow prisoners.  In 1943, Croiset was freed from the German camp, and he returned to Enschede. He already had papers showing that he was married to a non-Jew. But now his friends falsified documents stating that his mother was not Jewish, hoping thereby to make the Nazis more lenient with him in the future.

On October 17, 1943, the Nazis-again arrested Croiset in an Enschede dragnet, this time not as a half Jew, but along with thousands of other men being shipped to Germany to work in factories.

Gerard Croiset

"I was taken to a place where hundreds of men were gathered waiting to be shipped out early in the morning. At seven-thirty in the evening,-after a long day of waiting without eating or drinking, we had to walk to Gronau about eight kilometers away. There, trains were waiting to transport us.
But it seemed that in Gronau they had not bargained for such an enormous 'man catch' for there were not enough transportation facilities. When finally everything was ready, we started for an unknown destination. The next morning at five o'clock, our train stopped. Without eating or drinking, another thirty kilometer march began for us. There we arrived at a spot where two big tents stood, each meant for about 250 men. Instead, there were 1500 men-750 men for each tent. Not until nine o'clock that evening did lorries arrive with food. We were famished. The food that was brought was some sort of stew in big milk cans. There were no plates or spoons and the stew was very hot, so we did not know how to eat it. Here we were, civilized people, like cats around the hot stew, hungry but helpless.


Several months later, he was again released without explanation and was allowed to return to Enschede. His camp experiences deeply affected Gerard Croiset.   He never came to terms with the inhumanity of man to man that he witnessed in the war.

The Meeting with Professor Tenhaeff


But the one event that changed Gerard Croiset’s life occurred after the war on a December 1945 evening. Purely out of curiosity, he attended a lecture on parapsychology which Professor Tenhaeff gave for members of an adult education course in a folk high school in Enschede.
Croiset immediately realized that this was what he had been waiting for. Until then, he felt aimless and purposeless. But after listening to the inspiring lecturer, he suddenly realized that his newly discovered extrasensory powers gave his life a new meaning and direction.

Professor Tenhaeff
I had heard about Croiset's abilities, but this was the first time I had met him.  After the lecture, he came up and told me about his paranormal abilities and volunteered his services to me. In early 1946 I made many psychoscopic tests with him. I realized fairly soon that he was very gifted. The more I tested him, the more I became persuaded that Croiset was a remarkable subject for parapsychological research.

And after that Croiset never looked back, working extraordinarily hard in the service of his fellow man with Professor Tenhaeff to help and guide him – and frankly look after him, as the father he never really had might have done.

Croiset died in Utrecht in 1980, aged 71

Gerard Croiset

I am just a simple ordinary man.  All human beings, no matter who or where they are, have the same gift in different degrees. All people are in touch with each other, even though they may not realize it.  I just have the ability to tune in to other people at the right time and establish contact with them. But I'm no different than anybody else, really.

Below a photo of his daughter who inherited his skills "Nannie Veerman-Croiset uit Utrecht is paragnost, net als haar vader"



Professor Tenhaeff wrote a number of books on his work at the Institute, these include:

  • Introduction to Parapsychology (1952 and 1964),
  • Spiritualism (1936,1951, and 1965)
  • War Predictions (1948),
  • Parapsychological Phenomena and Reflections (1949),
  • Mesmerists, Somnambulists and Healers by Prayer (1951),
  • The Divining Rod Problem (1951),
  • Precognition (1961), and
  • Reflections on Using Paragnosts for Police and Other Practical Purposes (1957).

Croiset the Clairvoyant - Jack Harrison Pollack

“It is not necessary for me to be always successful. When I am kicked from the outside by people who are against my work in spite of my good intentions, well, I am used to that.  But when this happens from the inside, the world of paragnosts, then it hurts. We have been given our paragnostic talents, and have not acquired them. What we have is not a personal possession, but a public gift, so that we should give our results, positive or negative, not only to the person directly concerned, but to the whole community."


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