Tag: Cartomancy

19th Century Fortune-Telling: From the Drawing Room to the Court Room

“…every person pretending or professing to tell fortunes, or using any subtle craft, means, or device, by palmistry or otherwise, to deceive and impose on any of his Majesty’s subjects…shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond.”
(Excerpt from The Vagrancy Act of 1824.)

Question to the Cards by Édouard Bisson, 1889.

Crystal gazing, palmistry, and other forms of fortune-telling were quite popular during the 19th century.  Husband divination games were heavily featured at Christmas and Halloween parties in the rural countryside.  While professional practitioners of the occult laid the cards for tonnish ladies and gentlemen in some of the finest drawing rooms in London.  In general, such games were viewed as nothing more than thrilling entertainment.  However, there were plenty of individuals – from the highly intelligent to the ridiculously gullible – who truly believed in the supernatural.  Their desire to learn the future or to contact the dead gave rise to a seemingly endless parade of fraudsters, charlatans, and outright villains.[…]Continue Reading


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