Peter Hurkos (born Pieter van der Hurk on 21 May 1911 in Dordrecht, the Netherlands; died 1 June 1988 in Los Angeles, California) was a Dutchman who allegedly manifested extrasensory perception (ESP) after recovering from a head injury and coma caused by a fall from a ladder when aged 30.
During World War II, he was a member of the Dutch Resistance and was imprisoned in Buchenwald. With the help of businessman Henry Belk and parapsychologist Andrija Puharich, Hurkos became a popular entertainer known for performing psychic feats before live and television audiences.
Hurkos openly stated in a 1960 episode of One Step Beyond, after giving a lecture at MIT to a scientific panel, that he would participate in any scientific experiment under any circumstances.
However, author and stage magician James Randi contends that Hurkos refused to allow his skill to be tested by scientists except for one session with the parapsychologist Charles Tart of the University of California, Davis. Dr. Tart's tests were negative. Randi commented "If Tart can't find such powers, they certainly aren't there!".
The parapsychologist Andrija Puharich was impressed by the stories about Hurkos and invited him to the USA in 1956 to investigate his alleged psychic abilities. Hurkos was studied at Puharich’s Glen Cove, Maine, medical research laboratory under what Dr. Puharich considered to be controlled conditions. The results convinced Puharich that Hurkos had genuine psychic abilities.
However the experiments were not repeated by other scientists and Puharich was described as a "credulous investigator". Raymond Buckland has written "with the exception of Dr. Andrija Puharich, not a single recognized psychic investigator has been impressed with Hurkos's performances."
In his early career as a psychic entertainer, Hurkos purported that he employed his psychic powers to discern details of audience members' private lives that he could not otherwise have known. However, the psychologist Ronald Schwartz wrote in the Skeptical Inquirer that Hurkos used cold reading methods and published a transcription of such a reading in their fall 1978 issue.