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WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES Crystal balls proved dusty in visions for 1990


Oh, those wild pitches!

Last year at this time a lot of psychics were throwing wild balls in their predictions for what was ahead in 1990. And, boy, did they miss the plate.

Here are a few of last year's whoppers, culled from the National Enquirer and other sources, that were supposed to take place during the past 12 months:

Los Angeles psychic Maria Graciette said a meteorite would crash into the White House Rose Garden, placing President and Mrs. Bush at risk from radiation. Although 1990 still has a few hours to go, is there a bookmaker alive who wouldn't offer 1,000-1 odds against it?

St. Louis seer Beverly Jaegers predicted Michael Jackson would capture an Abominable Snowman and exhibit him in his private zoo. No word yet from the pop star.

California psychic Clarisa Bernhardt saw major league baseball signing its first woman player, who would quickly become a star. Today, as thousands of American women in military garb face Saddam Hussein's troops in Saudi Arabia, the first American woman is still to don a stretch uniform and face a major league pitcher.

A panel of psychic experts predicted Vice President Dan Quayle would be dropped from President George Bush's second-term ticket after being caught in a compromising situation with a woman TV reporter. If the indiscretion took place, the Washington press corps must have blinked.

That same panel assured America that Madonna would give birth to quintuplets as a result of taking fertility pills, but would decline to name the father. Given the star's svelte figure, that blessed event is not likely to happen before year's end.

Locally, psychic Sonia Benser, of Glen Burnie, was more on target with her less specific predictions -- at least according to her own report of her prognostications.

In interviews with the media as far back as 1987, she says, she has been predicting both "big trouble in the Middle East" and growing protests around the world, as people demanded greater voice in political affairs. And she also predicted on television last year that Baltimore would slide into a recession.

Syndicated columnist Jeane Dixon had a mixed record. She was right on target when she predicted Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev would earn the world's praises while making enemies at home. But as his fellow countrymen are lining up to buy bread, it's doubtful he was "riding high in their hearts" as she foresaw.

Ms. Dixon also came close on Margaret Thatcher, with the prediction the British prime minister would consider retirement toward the end of her term. Ms. Thatcher in fact resigned her office, packed her bags and resumed private life back in November.

Using astrology to look into the future, Ms. Dixon flubbed when she forecast that an international health corps, sparked by U.S. volunteers, would save millions of lives in the Soviet Union.

The seer also stumbled when she predicted that drug addiction would become so prevalent in certain urban areas that businesses would close for lack of reliable workers. Latest studies have shown drug use has declined among middle-class Americans, while the pool of unemployed has increased as large banking and insurance corporations lay off people.

President Bush also might disagree with Ms. Dixon's prognostication that 1990 would be a year of vindication for him in which he strengthened his hand against Congressional opponents. In reality the president struggled to pass the national budget, earned the enmity of right-wingers for his retreat on taxes and was strongly challenged by liberals on the military build-up in the Persian Gulf area.

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