Today, the Barber Dime Coin enjoys some humor with a vintage article from May 25, 1894 about a newspaperman’s bill collecting visit to a clairvoyant.
Now, did this really happen? Or, was it an advertisement disguised as an article—on the front page, no less?
From the Aurora Daily Express:
What was it?
Three Test Questions Asked of a Clairvoyant.
There is so much of a disreputable nature that goes under the head of Clairvoyant and Spiritism, that as a rule most people steer clear of it, believing it to be a humbug or fraud, or if genuine, to be the work of the devil.
A representative of the Express went to 99 LaSalle street to collect an advertising bill of an alleged clairvoyant and was asked to come in and to have a “reading.”
He was given a paper on which he was requested to write three questions, about anything, business, domestic or social affairs, fold the paper up several times and the “doctor” would endeavor to answer them.
The “doctor” then left the room.
He is a young man, a native of Switzerland, of Jewish and French extraction.
While he was out of the room, the scribe wrote on the slip of paper these questions.
“Will the tariff bill pass and become a law?
“Shall we have free silver?
“Who will be the next President?”
The paper was doubled over four times, and then the clairvoyant came back and requested the folded paper to be put against his forehead.
After a few minutes of hesitation his eyes assumed a glassy appearance, and he said:
“My control tells me that your questions are not in regard to personal matters, but are of universal interest.
“It is impossible to give answers to them all definitely, as they depend upon so many contingencies.
“In answer to the first question I can see clearly that the bill will pass both the Senate and House of Representatives before the close of next month.
“The answer to the second question is more remote.
“It will be a long time before we shall have free coinage of silver.
“In six or seven years there will be something similar to it, but not exactly that.
“There are so many contingencies surrounding the third question, that it is impossible to make a correct prediction, but the person in the lead for the position mentioned, is McKinley.”
He then gave the name of the reporter as it was written on the paper.
Bear in mind this was done while the paper was folded four times, and it was not unfolded until after the reporter left the house.
The Express does not pretend to account for the manner in which the doctor learned what was written on the folded paper.
He certainly had no means of finding out, known to natural science.
The facts are given so that our readers may have something to think about besides the general run of city gossip.
True story or cleverly disguised advertisement? You decide…
The Barber Dime Coin shows with a series of political cartoons, circa 1864, titled The Clairvoyant’s Dream.