As this generation passes into the uncomfortable future of our future, it is only fitting that we remember the amazing work of the great Criswell, his numerous predictions and foppish silver hairstyle. Some of you may remember him from the story of the great film director Edward D. Wood Jr., and others still will recall his startling appearance in the film Plan Nine from Outer Space, as well as his numerous appearances on late-night television talk shows in the 1970’s, including Johnny Carson and Jack Paar.
I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a remarkable 1968 volume of his work entitled Criswell Predicts in which he makes predictions. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s a veritable wealth of something, though I can’t decide whether it’s portentous wisdom or fatuous kaka.
The book opens boldly with Criswell’s prediction of “homosexual cities … I predict that perversion will flood the land,” he writes, even noting that the Supreme Court itself will sanction (in 1973) acceptance of a civilization he likens to both Rome and Babylon. The irony, of course, is that I believe Criswell himself was homosexual, or at least looked homosexual, which is not actually protected under the Supreme Court still to this day.
Sex-capades seemingly proliferate when, according to Criswell, we enter an “aphrodisiacal era,” owing to a scientist who, while trying to create a new disinfectant, inadvertently invents a powerful fragrance that turns America upside down. “I predict that the sex urge will advance rapidly and many men will flagrantly expose themselves in public,” he writes. Sex antics will simply get out of control, especially in Hollywood, where naughty escapades will be taking place in the very streets. Criswell writes, “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.”
No, really, I’m not making this up!
Criswell brings forth a motley wealth of other predictions, from the bizarre to the even more bizarre. In 1983 women in St. Louis, he predicts will being going bald en masse, causing widespread hysteria and massacres. (It’s amazing how many massacres were predicted, stemming from everything from flooding and aliens, to hair loss and technology.) Mass massacres were also predicted as the result of rampant cannibalism, which sprouted up in Pittsburgh because of another sloppy scientist who couldn’t keep his work in the beaker.
Many of Criswell’s predictions involve public nudity, and this alone makes his future one worth contemplating. The only problem is that some of the predictions seem to contradict others. For instance, while in the late 90’s in one prediction it’s commonplace to see your neighbor (through your invisible walls) playing nude with her dog, in another scenario the nudity is the untoward result of some scientific mishaps.
Nudity and massacres aside, in the end Criswell places the blame for the end of the world—which he predicted would come in August, 1999—squarely on merciless Mother Nature, whom we have abused and who forsakes us in the end for our rampant transgressions and just because she’s got a mean spirit.
Sadly the only survivors will be those who had the foresight to join the colonies on Mars, Venus and Neptune.
All I can say is I’m glad I was one of them!