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Fatal Non-vision

News & Comment

Joe Nickell

Skeptical Inquirer Volume 23.4, July / August 1999

Although billing himself “Canada’s world renowned super psychic,” Maha Yogi A. S. Narayana failed to foresee his own murder.

"Lord Narayana” - actually Austrian-born Alfred Schmielewski - gave readings at psychic fairs where he claimed to be, among other superlatives, “the world’s foremost authority in the field of world prophecy.” Although he was one of millions who correctly predicted (in 1980) that Ronald Reagan would win the U.S. presidency, he had numerous “misses.” For example, the planet’s “greatest natural disaster” did not hit Montréal in 1988; neither was Mikhail Gorbachev assassinated in the Kremlin in 1987.

Although the 71-year-old seer also styled himself “the businessman’s psychic,” his 1980 and 1994 visions of imminent economic crisis were failed prophecies, and at the time of his death he remained a man of modest means.

Lord Narayana was killed on April 11, 1999, when he answered a knock at the door of his Mississauga, Ontario, home and was shot in the head at point-blank range by an unknown assailant. Police were speculating - but not predicting - that his killer would prove to be a disgruntled client. They said genuine psychic information was welcome.

Joe Nickell

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Joe Nickell, Ph.D., is Senior Research Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and "Investigative Files" Columnist for Skeptical Inquirer. A former stage magician, private investigator, and teacher, he is author of numerous books, including Inquest on the Shroud of Turin (1998), Pen, Ink and Evidence (2003), Unsolved History (2005) and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation (2007). He has appeared in many television documentaries and has been profiled in The New Yorker and on NBC's Today Show. His personal website is at