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May 17, 1965


JAMA. 1965;192(7):635. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080200053020

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The gypsy, gaudily attired, who can "read" your palm and from it learn what you have done in the past, what will happen to you in the future, has virtually disappeared. Perhaps she still lurks in a rustic carnival or some out-of-the-way metropolitan side street. And vanishing almost as rapidly is the once popular reader of tea leaves, who can find the special message hidden there, a message invisible to ordinary eyes.

We tend to regard as frauds the practitioners of such arts and to smile at the credulity of the patrons. But the tea-leaf reader and the palmist represent the last survivors of a noble breed, and the early practitioners of a philosophy which today is still vigorous and which, mutatis mutandis, attracts the best contemporary brains.

All of us, in one or another way, want to foretell the future. We listen to the weather forecast on the radio;

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