The city journals frequently contain such advertisements as the following:

"A TEST MEDIUM. - THE ORIGINAL MADAME F - - tells everything, traces absent friends, losses, causes speedy marriages, gives lucky numbers. Ladies fifty cents; gentlemen, one dollar. 464 - - th Avenue."

"A FACT - NO IMPOSITION. The Great European Clairvoyant. She consults you on all affairs of life. Born with a natural gift, she tells past, present, and future; she brings together those long separated; causes speedy marriages; shows you a correct likeness of your future husband or friends in love affairs. She was never known to fail. She tells his name; also lucky numbers free of charge. She succeeds when all others fail. Two thousand dollars reward for any one that can equal her in professional skill. Ladies fifty cents to one dollar. Positively no gents admitted. No. 40 - - Avenue."

It seems strange that, in this boasted age of enlightenment, the persons who make such announcements as the above, can find any one simple enough to believe them. Yet, it is a fact, that these persons, who are generally women, frequently make large sums of money out of the credulity of their fellow creatures. Every mail brings them letters from persons in various parts of the country. These letters are generally answered, and the contents have disgusted more than one simpleton. The information furnished is such as any casual acquaintance could give, and just as trustworthy as the reports of the "reliable gentleman just from the front," used to prove during the late war. The city custom of these impostors is about equal to that brought to them from the country by means of their advertisements. Some of them make as much as one hundred dollars per day, all of which is a clear profit. The majority earn from three to six dollars per day. Servant girls are profitable customers. Indeed, but for female credulity the business would go down.

Still, there are many male visitors. Speculators, victims of the gaming table and the lottery, come to ask for advice, which is given at random. The woman knows but little of her visitors, and has no means of learning anything about them. Sometimes her statements are found to be true; but it is by the merest accident. The clairvoyants do not hesitate to confess to their friends, in a confidential way, of course, that their pretensions are mere humbuggery, and they laugh at the credulity of their victims, whilst they encourage it. It seems absurd to discuss this subject seriously. We can only say to those who shall read this chapter, that there is not in the city of New York an honest fortune-teller or clairvoyant. They knowingly deceive persons as to their powers. It is not given to human beings to read the future - certainly not to such wretched specimens as the persons who compose the class of which we are writing. The only sensible plan is to keep your money, dear reader. You know more than these impostors can possibly tell you.

Many of these fortune-tellers and clairvoyants are simply procuresses. They draw women into their houses and ply them so with temptations, that they frequently ruin them. This is the real business of most of them. They are leagued with the keepers of houses of ill-fame. No woman is safe who enters their doors.


These parties will also offer for sale "amulets," "charms," or "recipes," which they say will enable a person to win the love of any one of the opposite sex, and excite the admiration of friends; or "to give you an influence over your enemies or rivals, moulding them to your own will or purpose;" or to "enable you to discover lost, stolen, or hidden treasure," etc., etc. For each or any of these charms the modest sum of from three dollars to five dollars is demanded, with "return postage." All these, as well as "love powders," "love elixirs," etc., are either worthless articles, or compounds consisting of dangerous and poisonous chemical substances. Many of the men who deal in them have grown rich, and the trade still goes on. The world is full of fools, and these impostors are constantly on the watch for them.