Tuesday, June 07, 2011


A premise I’m developing for a Victorian novel involves a woman posing as a fortuneteller. Is she real? No. Do I believe it’s possible to predict the future? Yes! Just as I believe there are many people with psychic abilities who can see into our lives, I also believe that there are even more fake psychics preying on the public’s need to learn the unknown.

Fortune Teller
  A man in my hometown of Lubbock, Texas never made a business decision without contacting a particular medium, Madame Della Fox. There were rumors about her uncanny ability, and many others in our town relied on her for important decisions. These were successful people, so perhaps she was genuine.There were stories when I was a teen of her success. I do believe there are those gifted with the ability to foretell the future, who are psychic, and who can contact the dead. Since there are currently at least two television series along this theme, others must believe with me. After all, the series “Ghost Whisperer” is based on the life of a real woman, Mary Ann Winkowski.

Palm reading
My grandmother, who herself had a bit of “the gift” (she called it a curse) to foretell events, had her fortune told by a traveling gypsy when my mom was very young. The gypsy’s predictions came true. One of my BFF’s recently had her fortune told and the fortuneteller knew things she couldn’t have known unless she was truly psychic.

Victorians embraced the occult, both for entertainment and for answers. Change came quickly during the Industrial Revolution. Individuals were caught between eras. No wonder they grasped at the occult for answers. Fascination in mesmerism had begun a century earlier. During the Regency period, it was not uncommon to have a fortuneteller entertain guests at a house party. By the Victorian period, many sought help from fortunetellers—palm readers, tarot, seances, and other attempts to contact the dead or foresee the future. Others enjoyed the pretense. Although having fortunetellers appear at a party may not still be in vogue, most of us are no less fascinated by the occult.

Alice Duncan has a terrific SPIRIT mystery series in which the heroine, Daisy Gumm Majesty, is a fake psychic in 1920’s Pasadena, California. No, Daisy’s not a charlatan, just a woman down on her luck with an uncanny ability to analyze human nature and solve murders. She never claimed otherwise, but was drawn in to being a “psychic” by her aunt’s wealthy employer. I love this series, and it’s available right now on Kindle for 99 cents each. I’d read all but the latest, but I snapped up the entire series at this bargain. They include STRONG SPIRITS, HIGH SPIRITS, FINE SPIRITS, and HUNGRY SPIRITS. (I picked up some of Alice's other titles too.) Daisy has to earn a living for herself and help her family. Her husband, Billy Majesty, was permanently disabled in WWI from mustard gas, but Daisy plunges ahead with her business, keeping a smile for Billy regardless of her own emotions.

Her latest
If you love romantic suspense involving paranormal events and gifted people, you have probably already read Jayne Ann Krentz/Amanda Quick. I especially love the quirky, intelligent heroines writen as Amada Quick. I never miss one of her books. Perhaps I am too fascinated by people with extraordinary powers.
 Now, where did I put those Tarot cards . . .

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I once had a reading by Della Fox of Lubbock, Texas. I just happened to think of her and did a google search and found your site. She was indeed very accurate. This was in 1971,and she charged $5 for initials and $10 to give actual first names. She told me a number of things that were accurate at that time and more things that have turned out to be accurate as the years have unfolded.