Fortunes Forecast, Lucky Charms!

Have you ever wondered what your future holds? Will you find success? True love? Is it possible that the alignment of the planets and stars, your first name, or the lines on the palm of your hand could provide the keys to predicting and planning for your future? Oregon’s historic newspapers reveal that fortune telling and divination were often newsworthy topics of interest in the early 20th century, touching on notions that continue to fascinate people and spark discussions of belief today.

cartoon image depicts a little girl reading her father's palm. She says, "Daddy, you are going to get a necktie, a pair of slippers, suspenders, and a bath robe for Christmas, and..." The father is thinking, "Wonderful!" The mother is running down the stairs looking worried, saying, "Dorothy, come here this instant!" It is obvious that the mother is upset that the daughter is giving away the father's Christmas suprises.

The Evening herald. (Klamath Falls, Or.) December 23, 1920, PAGE THREE, Image 3. http://tinyurl.com/6tuwdez

Many contemporary newspapers have continued to uphold the practice of publishing daily or weekly horoscopes based on the astrological signs of the zodiac, a tradition that stems from the forecasts of almanac publications. Almanacs generally predict astronomical events, weather patterns, tides, and any other natural events related to the movement of the earth, sun, and solar system. Humans have historically relied on these movements for navigation, as well as to measure time and determine when to plant and harvest crops. Centuries of observation have revealed celestial patterns and allowed for predictions of cosmic events, such as eclipses and the appearance of constellations. The Peruna Almanac, a yearly publication produced by the Peruna Drug Manufacturing Company around the turn of the century, is described briefly in this advertisement:

Text describes the contents of a new farmer's almanac: The Peruna Almanac. The druggists have already been supplied with Peruna Almanacs. There is sure to be a great demand for these almanacs on account of the articles on astrology which they contain. The subject of astrology is a very attractive one to most people. The articles on astronomy in the Peruna almanac have been furnished by a very competent astrologist, and the mental charateristics of each sign is given, constituting almost a complete horoscope. A list of lucky and unlucky days for each month are given. There will be a rush for these books. Ask your druggist for one early before they are all gone.

East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, Umatilla Co., Or.) January 15, 1902, Image 6. http://tinyurl.com/6s4lout

Almanac forecasts have not always proven to be correct, and horoscope predictions are not always accurate either. Take, for example, the questionable assertions in this Scorpio horoscope from 1908:

Text reads: "After the 26th of October will be under the influence of the zodiacal Scorpio the crustacean. Persons born in Scorpio are lobsters, and are mostly actors and baseball players. They have remarkable foresight. Among other things, they can tell when the hired girl is going to quit, and always give her notice first."

The Evening herald. (Klamath Falls, Or.) September 28, 1908, Image 2. http://tinyurl.com/7dzhoo7

The stars may or may not have the power to determine a person’s personality and fate, but what about names? According to this segment in The Springfield News, a person’s name can determine their lucky days, lucky numbers, and talismanic stones:

Clipping reads: "What's in a name?" Facts about your name; its history; meaning; whence it was derived; significance; your lucky day and lucky jewel. By Mildred Marshall

The Springfield news. (Springfield, Lane County, Or.) May 12, 1921, PAGE THREE, Image 3. http://tinyurl.com/7zfc8qo

For example, Dorothy:

Text reads: Dorothy's talismanic gem is the diamond. It is said to afford her protection from evil and bring her great happiness. As the old legend goes: "The Evil Eye shall have no power to harm him that shall wear a diamond as a charm." Saturday is her lucky day and 2 her lucky number, while the flower assigned to her is the daisy, signifying innocence.

The Springfield news. (Springfield, Lane County, Or.) March 31, 1921, PAGE THREE, Image 3. http://tinyurl.com/84v4szh

Lucretia:

Text reads: Lucretia's talismanic stone is the red-hearted ruby. It has the power to bring her strength of body, an invincible spirit and success in every undertaking. Tuesday is her lucky day, and 6 her lucky number.

The Springfield news. (Springfield, Lane County, Or.) May 26, 1921, PAGE THREE, Image 3. http://tinyurl.com/7amwg2l

Sadie:

Text reads: Sadie has a curious talismanic gem - malachite. If it is engraved with an image of the sun, it will bring her peace, freedom from danger and disease, and sound sleep. It is particularly lucky for children, and it is said that a piece of malachite tied to a child's cradle will protect it from dangers throughout later life. Saturday is Sadie's lucky day and 7 her lucky number.

The Springfield news. (Springfield, Lane County, Or.) May 12, 1921, PAGE THREE, Image 3. http://tinyurl.com/7zfc8qo

Thanks to publications such as newspapers, we have a good idea of what has taken place in the past. We also know what is happening in the present, since we are currently living in it. The future, however, will always continue to pose one of the greatest mysteries of all, unless some sort of science can be developed to travel forward in time or otherwise accurately predict the future…

Newspaper clipping presents an image of a woman, and two palms. Text reads: Palmestry is a science. The future unveiled. Miss Linn Wardell, Rooms 7 and 8, 106 State Street, Salem, Oregon. Miss Linn Wardell, the world's scientific palmist.

The Daily journal. (Salem, Or.) February 21, 1903, PAGE SEVEN, Image 7. http://tinyurl.com/7hcc4rv

The earliest Latin manuscript that describes divination based on appearance of the hands was written in the 12th century by a Christian monk. However, palmistry, otherwise known as chiromancy, has been practiced by people all over the world since the dawn of civilization. This simple diagram gives some indication of where to look and what to look for if you are interested in trying your hand at palm reading:

Image of a palm, with all of the lines on the palm drawn and labeled, indicating the "line of fate," "line of life," "line of mars," etc.

The Daily journal. (Salem, Or.) February 21, 1903, PAGE SEVEN, Image 7. http://tinyurl.com/7hcc4rv

However, the meaning of these lines and markings is very much open to interpretation, so you might want to seek professional help for all of your palm reading needs. In the early 1900s, people with questions about their lives and futures could always go to a professional palmist and fortune teller like Madam Rosa:

Classified advertisement reads: Madam Rosa: palmist and fortune teller. Tells your past, present and future, and will help you in your life. Tells you of your business, tells you of your lost lover and love affairs. Extra questions, extra charges. This wonderful lady will answer any question that you want to know and find out. Two questions go with each fortune.

The Evening herald. (Klamath Falls, Or.) August 26, 1920, PAGE EIGHT, Image 8. http://tinyurl.com/6wqhlcs

From personal relationships to business endeavors, it’s comforting when a fortune teller confirms your highest hopes:

Newspaper article reads: Much Activity in Oil Fields: fortune teller predicts success of Vale oil field - Western Pacific Drilling - others to operate. The big drill is now pounding away at the Western Pacific oil well in Sand Hollow. The company secured water at a depth of 220 feet and will no longer be forced to haul water for the boilers and general use. The Enterprise will begin next week and publish the log of the bog 14 inch well. Mystery Lady Predicts Success. Lore, the mystic fortune teller at the Rex Theatre in Vale Thursday evening, was asked "Will the Western Pacific Oil and Gas company strike oil?" She answered that they would strike oil at the present site and in many other places and the development of the field would accomplish wonderful things for the city of Vale.

Malheur enterprise. (Vale, Or.) April 07, 1917, Image 1. http://tinyurl.com/82dd4qc

While there are a plethora of ways to predict the future, it is possible that no one will ever know for sure what the future holds. Ideas of time, the past, present and future all depend on perspective. For example, what was considered to be “the future” by the people who actually read these historic newspapers in print on the day of publication, is in fact the present time that we are living in now. Therefore, could we technically say that we are living in “the future” now?  Could any fortune teller have predicted that in the year 2012, early 20th century newspapers would be made available for searching and browsing online via the internet?

Image of the lines on the palm of a hand.

The Daily journal. (Salem, Or.) February 21, 1903, PAGE SEVEN, Image 7. http://tinyurl.com/8yrfzsd

Just in case your mind is not already boggled with thoughts about time, the cosmos, and fortune telling, here are a few more questions that should keep you pondering throughout the day: If we could time travel, would we still worry and wonder about the future? Would you really want to know everything that was going to happen to you in your life, before it happened? Is the future ruled by destiny and fate, or do we ultimately determine what happens in our own lives with the decisions that we make? Whatever conclusions you come to, just remember to enjoy the present as much as possible, because it will soon be part of the past!

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