Bruckman possessed the ability to tell when a person would die. He was also known to possess a variety of other psychic quirks, including very near-guessing lottery ticket numbers and seeing events from other psychic's minds.
According to Bruckman, he first gained his psychic abilities in 1959 following the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper. He was a fan of the Big Bopper, and especially his song, "Chantilly Lace." Bruckman had a ticket to the concert the next day. Given the details of the Big Bopper's demise, the fact that the Big Bopper won his seat on the plane from flipping a coin, Bruckman became obsessed with the details of events leading to death, and gradually became able to see everybody's death.
Bruckman spent the next 36 years leading a normal, meager life in St. Paul, never capitalizing on his ability. He never attempted to stop the deaths, based on his belief that the future was immutable. That ability may have led to the job of a life insurance salesman. In the middle of 1995, Bruckman sold a life insurance policy to Claude Dukenfield, the owner of the Uranus Unlimited astrology investment firm. He saw Dukenfield's death at the hands of a murderer who called himself a "puppet."
Bruckman was unable to visualize the puppet's appearance, and did not recognize him when he walked past him on September 16. On September 19, After taking out his neighbor Mrs. Lowe's garbage, Bruckman discovered the body of Madame Zelma in a dumpster. Because Bruckman knew several details that he could not have possibly ascertained visually, the local police and FBI Agents Mulder and Scully began questioning.
Mulder was under the impression that Bruckman was a psychic, and he took him to the scene of the first murder in Minneapolis. He told the agents that the second body was in Glenview Lake, which turned out to be correct. Afterward, Agent Mulder tried several scenarios to test Bruckman's psychic level. After a lengthy test, Mulder was annoyed to find what appeared to be Bruckman's only ability. Bruckman was, however, able to lead the agents to the body of Claude Dukenfield, after he was murdered.
Bruckman had seen into the puppet's visions, which included a vision of Agent Mulder being killed. He neglected to mention this to Mulder, however he did tell Mulder most of the events leading toward his death, which helped Mulder apparently prevent this action.
- Bruckman earlier implied, perhaps in jest, that Mulder would die from autoerotic asphyxiation.
Soon after informing Mulder of the puppet's visions, he showed the agents an unopened letter he received in the mail from the murderer. In the letter, the puppet stated that he was going to kill Bruckman. In order to protect him, the local police set him up in the Le Dampino Hotel, with police protection, first from Special Agent Scully, then Special Agent Mulder, then Detective Havez. Coincidentally, the hotel was also the employment of the so-called puppet. When the puppet delivered room service to Bruckman's room, while Havez was in the restroom, he instantly recognized Bruckman. It was only then, that the puppet was able to find out why he had been killing people, from Bruckman. The puppet almost attempted to kill Bruckman, before being told not to, and instead killing Detective Havez.
Clyde Bruckman died later that night, having suffocated himself on a plastic bag. (TXF: "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose") Though, seeing how he died through strangulation with a plastic bag, he could have meant himself when he said that he couldn't think of a less dignified death than autoerotic asphyxiation.