Visitors to carnivals and fairs in the late 19th century could find, alongside such attractions as Jepson’s Sparring Booth and Hurford’s Temple of Amusements, enticing, colourful fortune-telling booths. Every fair seemed to have at least one palmist’s tent whose occupant claimed to be descended from several generations of gypsy clairvoyants.
Madame Zelda’s tent was different. She used a method of divination thousands of years older than palmistry or tarot – Astragalomancy. The term is derived from the Greek astragalos (‘dice’ or ‘knucklebone’) and manteia (‘divination’). The practice of casting dice for revealing fortunes certainly goes back to ancient Roman times. Dice dating to c. 3000 BC have been discovered.
In addition to 17 pages of instructions, routines and sample readings, you get a set of aged wooden dice, four colourful ‘antique’ casting charts, a vintage Book of Fortunes and other items which enable you to ‘read the bones’ in the manner of Madame Zelda, and/or build a complete presentation with fortune predictions. (Yes, there are tricks too!) A complete entertainment for £30.