According to a popular story concerning the remarkable abilities of the seeress Jeane Dixon, President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882–1945) took the time one day in 1944 to clear his desk so that he might give undivided attention to her predictions concerning those terrible days during World War II (1939–45). After she had answered his questions about the efforts on the various military fronts, he asked her directly how much longer he would have to carry out the tasks that he had set before himself.
As if she had expected the question, she warned him as compassionately as she could that he would have very little time. The president was not satisfied. He wanted a more specific answer. She told him, then, that he would have no longer than the middle of the following year.
According to those who hold that Jeane Dixon was the most famous and accurate seer of political events in the twentieth century, she correctly predicted the results of every presidential election, foretold the deaths of U.N. Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold (1905–1961) and President John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), predicted that the Russians would win the race into space, and in general foresaw events on both personal and international scales too numerous to mention. A devout Roman Catholic who faithfully attended Mass each morning, Dixon was convinced that the gift of prophecy that she possessed was closely associated with the power of God, and she claimed to be cautious that she did not abuse this ability. In the 1960s, when she was hailed as "Washington's Window to the Future," she ran a profitable real estate concern in Washington, D.C., with her husband, James L. Dixon.
There seemed to be no standard procedure to this seer's prophetic insights. They came to her at various times, in various places, and in various emotional states. In the book The Call to Glory (1971), she envisioned herself as a prophet who issued predictions in order to fulfill the mission that God had given her. The book's acknowledgements named Rev. Stephen Hartdegen, a Roman Catholic priest, as her "personal religious consultant" for the book. Dixon appeared to believe firmly that it was her God-given mission to predict the change in the top leadership positions of Soviet Russia while in front of television cameras, or while under a beautician's hair drier, to warn the woman sitting next to her to avoid an approaching airline disaster.
In 1956, for an interview in Parade magazine, Dixon was asked to predict the results of the 1960 presidential election. She foretold that the election would be won by a Democrat, but that he would either be assassinated or die in office. In the 1960 presidential election many friends remembered her prediction. Even though Richard Nixon (1913–1994), the Republican candidate, would have more votes than Kennedy, the candidate on the Democrat's ticket, Kennedy would become president and, tragically, die while in office. Although the account of Dixon's famous Kennedy prediction was recalled in Ruth Montgomery's three million-copy bestseller A Gift of Prophecy: The Phenomenal Jeane Dixon (1966), many skeptics have pointed out that Montgomery neglected to include the seeress's 1960 prediction that John F. Kennedy would definitely fail to win the presidency.
In spite of those who were skeptical of the true accuracy of her predictions, Jeane Dixon's many supporters insisted that her prophetic powers extended beyond the political sphere. According to numerous accounts, with but the barest knowledge of the people involved, she was been able to predict murders, suicides, the results of horse races, fires, and accidents. Once she was able to foresee the number that would win a raffle and purchased the corresponding ticket for her husband. He won a car.
After the death of Josef Stalin (1879– 1953), world interest focused on Russia's next prime minister. When Georgy Malenkov (1902–1988) was finally elevated to the position, Jeane Dixon was asked before a national television audience how long Malenkov would be prime minister of the Soviet Union. The question was asked by the former U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph Davies, and he was obviously dubious about Dixon's prophetic power.
Using a crystal ball to focus her attention, Jeane Dixon said that Malenkov would be premier for less than two years. Ambassador Davies disagreed with Dixon in a tone that approached open mockery. He was sure that no premier of the Soviet Union would ever be replaced. It seemed in the nature of Russian politics that the leader would either be assassinated or die a natural death before another man could take over.
But Dixon stood firm. While smoothly acknowledging the ambassador's superior knowledge of the Russian situation, she nonetheless predicted that Malenkov's replacement would be a portly military man with wavy hair, green eyes, and a goatee. Davies had been in Russia for many years and said that he knew of no such man. Ignoring his apparent skepticism, Dixon went on to predict that not only would the Russians win the race into space, they would also dictate the terms of world peace.
Premier Malenkov was replaced by Nikolai Bulganin (1895–1975). Malenkov was not killed, and the new premier was exactly as Dixon had described him: ". . . a portly military man with wavy hair, green eyes, and a goatee," a comparatively unknown figure to the West. In 1957 Russia launched the first successful artificial Earth satellite, but Dixon was incorrect when she predicted that the Soviets would beat the United States to the moon. And, of course, far from dictating the terms of world peace, the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.
Dixon's popularity enabled her to write a column on astrology that was nationally syndicated and to write a series of books, including My Life and Prophecies (1968), Yesterday, Today and Forever (1976), Jeane Dixon's Astrological Cookbook (1976), and A Gift of Prayer (1995). In 1962, she told Ronald Reagan (1911– ) one day he would be president, and for a number of years, she served as the Reagans' astrological advisor.
Dixon's list of annual predictions inspired many recordkeepers doubtful of her gift of prophecy to maintain a tally of her hits and misses. Skeptic Robert Todd Carroll declared most of her predictions to have been "equivocal, vague, or mere possibility claims." John Allen Paulos, a mathematician at Temple University, coined the term "the Jeane Dixon effect" to describe the manner in which the media and a believing public would loudly proclaim a few accurate predictions and overlook the much larger number of incorrect forecasts.
When Jeane Dixon died from cardiopulmonary arrest on January 25, 1997, she remained a remarkable prophet in the eyes of her admirers, a spiritually devout woman who fulfilled her mission from God by sharing with the public her gifts of prophecy.