FORTUNE TELLING has exercised a fascination on the human race throughout the world, from the earliest period of our history. Astrology, palmistry, the interpretation of dreams and omens, and many other forms of divination were seriously practiced by the ancients. The soothsayer wielded an important influence over kings and empires even in the Middle Ages and in Europe during the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th centuries there was scarcely a ruler who did not have his court astrologer to guide him in problems of state. More recently, one can remember at least one American President who included an astrologer among his list of advisors.

Palmistry, like astrology, has its roots in the remote past. It is said to have existed in India and China 3110 years B C and references to the belief that lines in the hand indicate good or evil fortune are to be found in the early literature of nearly all nations. That every person’s fate is in their own hands is a concept few will dispute, but in this modern world we interpret the idea in many different ways. Despite the relentless march of science and so-called rational thought, the ‘Oracles of Fate’ and ‘Wheels of Fortune’ are still interesting and amusing to those of us who want a glimpse of the future.

NOTE: Portions of the chapter on “Palmistry Basics” were first published by Frederic J. Haskin in the classic 1937 book, “Fortune Telling.” Portions that have not stood the test of time have been edited and replaced them with interpretations more representative of current philosophies.