Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I noticed the name of a well-known American mentalist among today's birthdays : The Amazing Kreskin. I did a little light research which threw up the name of another of the USA's once famous mentalists: Joseph Dunninger. It might be an interesting exercise to compare their natal charts.

Kreskin does not claim to be in any way psychic He claims only that he "perceives and influences people's thoughts, both mentally and through suggestion." He does insist on regularly making predictions about mundane events though, which seems to me to be a bit of a contradiction. Perhaps he's just a showman at heart, an entertainer, willing to make wild guesses for passing effect.

There's a piece about Kreskin at The Leary Letter

Joseph Dunninger, from what I've read, may have relied on a more psychic-type gift, while at the same time being a consummate showman and self-marketer. He was drawn to magic at the young age of 5 years, and was performing, aged 7.

From Cometa Magico Biographies:
He would doodle while he called out names, initials, or numbers thought of by some member of his audience. When somebody identified the information as their own, Dunninger would spell out names, read social security numbers, or serial numbers from dollar bills. He would reveal word for word phrases merely written by a spectator. He usually concluded such a reading by asking "Are you thinking of the word 'amazing'? Is it in reference to me? Thank you very much". It's of note that Dunninger, perhaps because of his war against fraudulent mediums, never claimed supernatural or psychic powers in his thought-reading. He never even claimed to be a mind-reader. In performance, Dunninger referred to his ability as "telesthesia", an impression received by a sense organ, but not a usual sense organ, and sometimes received from a distance. He described the process simply: "You pick up a vivid impression from another mind and others follow or suggest themselves. But it isn't mind-reading; it is thought reading. When a series of such thought impressions come in fairly close in succession, it takes on the semblance of mind reading, though if you check back, you may find that you have added links of your own making, just as you might piece together the fragments of a dream to form a waking continuity" Dunninger was a master of his craft, possessed of a thorough knowledge of his art. When describing the necessary techniques for a successful blindfold drive, Dunninger noted, "Any competent performer should know how to size up a committee and handle them accordingly. Otherwise he shouldn't be posing as a mentalist."

A brief look at their natal charts then, to focus only on a potential source of their unusual talents.

Joseph Dunninger born New York, New York, 28 April 1892. Astrodatabank, oddly, has no page for him, nor does Astrotheme, so no time of birth is available. A 12 noon chart is shown, rising sign and Moon degree will not be accurate.

Immediately my eye goes to Pluto conjunct Neptune, especially as natal Moon is very likely to be close enough to be conjoined to the rather epic conjunction of these two outer planets, it could be as late as 11 Gemini, or as early as 26 Taurus - but I'd bet heavily on Gemini. Pluto and Neptune conjoin very rarely. Their previous meeting was in 1398/9, also in Gemini, marking the start of The Renaissance. Those born with personal planets hooked up to this conjunction in some way would surely carry something out of the ordinary within them. H.P. Lovecraft, American Gothic author of fantasy, horror and science fiction is another born with personal planets linked to the conjunction by T-square and Grand Trine, both! It's Neptune's mystical influence which comes through strongly in Dunninger's case, aided in the background by Pluto's secretive and incisive traits. If I had to pinpoint just one thing from this chart in relation to Dunninger's profession it would be this. There are several other planets linked by aspect which would be helpful in his stage work, but nothing else as powerful.

The Amazing Kreskin (his birth name was legally changed to be so) was born in Montclair, New Jersey on 12 January 1935 at 7.20pm (Astrodatabank).

We do have an accurate rising sign here- Leo, appropriate too for this guy who spends his professional life in the spotlight. I don't see anything as obvious (to me)as there is in Dunninger's chart to home in on. Moon is in loose conjunction to Uranus, planet of innovation and the unexpected, which could be helpful.

What I do see as significant is a "chain" integrating several planets. Starting with Neptune at 14 Virgo - semi-sextile Mars 14 Libra -semi-sextile Jupiter 18 Scorpio - sextile Sun 21 Capricorn - semi-sextile Saturn 26 Aquarius - sextile Uranus 27 Aries - square Pluto 25 Cancer.
Those links integrate creativity, dynamism, expansion (marketing), self, discipline and business-sense, the unexpected, and secrets. Instead of just one magical link in the chart there's a set of them all related one to the other.

I haven't mentioned Mercury, the mental planet, planet of communication, in either case, which might seem strange when considering the natal charts of mentalists. Mercury itself in either chart though doesn't signify anything terribly unusual. It's opposite Pluto in Kreskins' chart; it's square Mars and sextile Venus in Dunninger's - neither especially unusual. I suspect that in these instances, Mercury does not hold the key to their particular talents.

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