Your future is full of struggle and anguish, most of it self-inflicted. Sokka:
But, you didn't read my palms or anything. Aunt Wu:
I don't need to. It's written all over your face.
The Fortune Teller is usually an old Gypsy
woman, though mechanical ones are not unknown. May reside at the local Creepy Amusement Park
, The Freakshow
, or Circus of Fear
. Expect an Eastern European accent, Tarot Cards
, a Crystal Ball
, and some sort of prophecy involving the words "I see..." They sometimes use the phrase "Cross my palm with silver" when they wish to be paid.
There are also fortune tellers who have Caribbean
accents. Their tarot cards and fortunes will be powered by Hollywood Voodoo
Compare the Phony Psychic
. See also Astrologer
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Anime and Manga
- Uranai Baba in Dragon Ball, who also was Master Roshi's sister.
- Yuki Nagato in Haruhi Suzumiya reuses an old witch costume and runs a fortune-telling booth for the culture festival. Considering she's a drywall alien computer, the fortunes all turn out to be completely exact foretellings of what the person will do that day and when. She actually tells the persons the events to the second they will happen.
- Lucky Star's final episode has Konata parody said Yuki scene. Cute.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!:
- Konoka Konoe is an odd example in that her fortune telling is used so rarely, we never see if she has an premonition or not (though she will make blatantly fake prophecies for laughs).
- There's Negi's Unlucky Childhood Friend, Anya, who was tasked to be a fortune teller in London to complete her training. Negima!? Neo (the alternate manga) says she's bullseye accurate.
- Kana Altair from Soul Eater Not!, using tarot cards to predict the future and predict the compatibility between weapons and meisters.
- A Fortune Teller serves in the anime of Chrono Crusade to further the plot of a gag episode where Chrono gets a fever...and to foreshadow the anime's Downer Ending.
- xxxHolic has a chapter where Yuuko demonstrates the difference between "popular" fortune telling and "real" fortune telling. The fake uses information sheets, leading questions, simple common sense, and has no sense of the supernatural (she didn't notice Mokona at all, or of Watanuki's real problems). The real fortune teller notices Mokona right off the bat, proving her supernatural sense, and only asks Watanuki his name for the sake of conversation easier before using a sand dish and her own sensing powers to pinpoint his problems exactly.
- In Fushigiboshi No Futagohime, the princesses seek out a fortune-teller so that they can get a reading on the resident Bad Boy. Said fortune-teller milks it for all she can, despite not being a fraud.
- One Piece:
- Basil Hawkins, one of the more powerful Supernovae, uses cards to tell the future... or rather, probabilities. Bonus points for his Devil's Fruit giving him Voodoo-like powers.
- Shirley the mako shark mermaid from Fishman Island is a fortune teller who uses a crystal ball.
- At the start of the Persona 3 anime, Trinity Soul, the main character runs into a fortune teller who gives him a rather dire prediction. The fortune teller then lifts his head, causing his hood to fall back and showing the audience it's Igor.
- In CLANNAD, Ryou Fujibayashi practices fortune telling (using playing cards) as a hobby. Most of the time, she's not too accurate, but she takes comfort from this, explaining that it would feel constricting if the future was set in stone. In the visual novel, she can get a deck of actual tarot cards, at which point she suddenly becomes more accurate...
- Strike Witches has Eila Ilmatar Juutilainen who uses her magic in battle to predict enemy movements, but also uses Tarot cards. She keeps them in her pockets and tells people's fortunes.
- The Tatami Galaxy has an old fortune teller who shows up in every episode to give the same speech for an increasing fee.
- In Tamako Market, Choi works as this in her island with the aid of Dela. She also does this in front of the market community in episode 7.
- An elderly fortune teller is featured in one episode of Cinderella Monogatari. Cinderella finds out that he is actually an orphaned teenage boy named Yan who is disguising himself as an old man so he can retrieve items to sell for money.
- Sonica of Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force acts as an ordinary palm reader as a front. In reality, she's an invaluable interrogator for the underworld since she has the ability to read people's biological data and memories through physical contact, though the price for the information she gathers is very steep.
- Il Sole penetra le Illusioni has the main character work as a fortuneteller, alongside three others. They all use tarot, because tarot is kind of the show's thing.
- Lupin III Dragon Of Doom has Genzai disguised as one in an attempt to kill Goemon. He fails.
- Sailor Mars/Rei Hino's counterpart in the second arc of the manga, Koan, impersonates one of this for a school festival, reading only horrible, doomed futures, contrasting with a similar stand run by Rei, a girl with actual future seeing abilities. In the last season of the anime Rei herself pretends to be one for another festival, but in a more positive fashion since she offered more of moral support and helpful advices rather than inventing stuff.
- Calvin's parents come across one of these while visiting a carnival in Calvin and Hobbes: The Series, and she dispenses some eerie exposition.
- In the Horseshoes and Hand Grenades prequel Who Decides?, Ryusei meets up with a fortune teller known as "Madame Pollux". It's his dear friend Mei Shirakawa possessed by a Serpent. In Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Mei is dressed in this garb when she confronts Haruto and Yayoi. Interestingly enough, in SplitxEnd, Yayoi is given an outfit like this but she doesn't get involved in any fortune telling herself. Unless of course you consider her retrieving a tarot card as a personal weapon.
- In Gypsy Caravan a woman with the circus Harry ran away to join told a newly-escaped Sirius that according to last week's tarot reading "the rat you need is living with the ginger clan."
- In the animated Disney version of Robin Hood, Robin masquerades as a Gypsy fortuneteller (complete with Crystal Ball) to trick Prince John.
- Mallrats: Brodie and T.S. visit a topless fortune teller in a flea market after being banned from the regular mall. T.S. plays the scene totally straight, accepting her wise counsel. Brodie can't take his eyes off of her superfluous third nipple.
- From both the theme park ride and the movie based on it, Disney's The Haunted Mansion features Madam Leota, the disembodied head of a gypsy medium who helps connect the living with the dead. In the ride, her seance circle is what helps the mansion's ghosts "materialize". In the film, she not only provides the hero with vital clues, she serves as his much needed moral support.
- In Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Tia Dalma is introduced as a sangoma of some renown, able to sense people's destinies and tell the future by casting crab claws.
- Death of a carnival fortune teller sets out the rampage in The Funhouse.
- In Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie rampages through a Gypsy camp. A Gypsy fortune teller tells a client horrified into paralysis, that "Darkness is about to fall on you." The next instant, Herbie hits the tent, collapsing it.
- Ray Milland has his palm read by a fortune teller in Ministry of Fear. It turns out she isn't really a fortune teller, but a Nazi spy, and after he accidentally says the Trust Password she gives him the countersign that leads to him accidentally picking up the MacGuffin.
- Pee-Wee Herman consults one in Pee-wee's Big Adventure, asking for her help in locating his lost bicycle. She steals his wallet and sends him on a wild goose chase to the Alamo.
- The five basketball players whose skill is stolen by the alien bugs in Space Jam try a number of things to find out what happened, including consulting one of these. She has a stunningly accurate vision of Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny playing basketball against the aliens, but the players don't believe her.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows gives us a Gypsy and ass-kicking fortune teller named Sim.
- Live and Let Die. Solitaire has the ability to see the future by reading tarot cards, but only so long as she retains her virginity.
- Scanner Cop: The primary bad guy's Dragon and fanatical supporter Zena is a mystic who can tell people's futures with tarot cards.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Drusilla shows a talent for reading Tarot in one episode.
- Subverted twice by LOST:
- The first two seasons featured Richard Malkin, ostensibly a Phony Psychic, who may or may not have had a real psychic experience reading Claire.
- Season 3 had Hurley going to a more stereotypical Gypsy-like fortune teller, who read Tarot cards and did an elaborate curse-lifting ritual, but turned out to be a total fraud hired by Hurley's father.
- Subverted in Legend of the Seeker when Richard is warned of possible impending death by a crazy old crone... who turns out to be a very attractive woman in her late thirties. Apparently she just dons the "crone" look for prophesying.
- Carnivàle has Apollonia, a catatonic Gypsy fortune-teller who operates through her daughter, Sofie. Sofie reads the Tarot and has occasional premonitions (sometimes prompted by her mother, as with the flashbacks to Justin raping Apollonia to conceive Sofie, sometimes plot-related visions unique to her own destiny).
- In Charmed, Phoebe once went to a gypsy fortune teller to find out why she has not been getting premonitions.
- In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, each of the five magicians / Rangers had a magical speciality out of costume. This was Urara's, complete with crystal ball.
- The X-Files episode "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" abounds with various real and phony psychics. Madame Zelda the palm reader is of this variant, complete with a fake Russian accent and a crystal ball.
- 'Allo 'Allo! has two male examples:
- A leader of the gypsies reads Madame Edith's palm and thinks she's the Gypsy Queen who was lost as a baby. However, her dreadful singing convinces him he was wrong.
- The resistance wants to organize a gypsy fair, but the gypsies refuse to come because a black cat predicted a bad omen. People from the café play the gypsies. René is the Great Gypsy an tells fortunes from a crystal bowl. Lieutenant Gruber who has a crush on him wants him to tell him his fortune.
- In Psych, Shawn meets another Phony Psychic. She's a young woman, but uses Tarot Cards, a crystal ball, and a made up Eastern European-sounding accent.
- A ''Kids in the Hall sketch involved a fortune teller exploiting the belief of his clients (almost all of whom were elderly, female, and from the Old Country) to serve as free workers in his delivery company by claiming the packages—which fell onto his table from above—were signs from the heavens and that by delivering them, his clients could accumulate "positive energy" for their loved ones.
- The Perry Como rendition of "St. Louis Blues" mentioned a fortuneteller.
I went to the Gypsy, to get my fortune told,
Yes, I went to the Gypsy, to get my fortune told,
I asked the Gypsy, "What does the future hold?"
Gypsy told me, "Don't you wear no black!"
Hmmm! The Gypsy told me, "Don't you wear no black!" (No black!)
"Go to St. Louis, and you can win her back!"
- The Twilight Zone has the Camera.note Making the shot yields a reward, along with a print of what the Camera will reward the next time it is hit.
- There's one in the Bazaar in Jinni Zeala, who gives out random rewards.
- Dungeons & Dragons:
- In Ravenloft setting, Madam Eva, a Vistani fortuneteller in module I6 Ravenloft. Her "Fortunes of Ravenloft" card reading is an integral part of the adventure.
- Madame Fortuna (Ravenloft setting) is a good (or at least protective of her own) Fortune Teller that travels with the Carnivale, sacrificing her eyes to be able to speak for her Skurra companions and offer her skills as a powerful fortune teller. (Normally the Skurra are mute thanks to the magical makeup they use to protect themselves from The Twisting).
- The Vistani Fortune Teller later developed as a stock character of the setting.
- Dragon magazine #118 article "A Day at the Faire". One of the attractions at the fair is a Gypsy fortune teller who "...sells the secrets of the future that only she can see."
- In the "The Velvet Circle" adventure of the Second Stormbringer Companion, the elderly fortuneteller Kakata has a horse drawn wagon and conducts a séance with startling results.
- Call of Cthulhu:
- The Fungi from Yuggoth, adventure "Castle Dark". The PCs can encounter a Gypsy Fortune Teller and her son. The woman attempts a reading using Tarot cards but it foretells only death and disaster for the PCs.
- Masks of Nyarlathotep chapter 3 "Egypt". Angela Broadmoor is a medium with the ability to contact the spirits of the dead and use information from them to foretell future events.
- Champions supplement C.L.O.W.N.. Lisa (AKA the super villainess Random) joined a circus and befriended a Gypsy fortune teller who worked there. When the fortune teller died she bequeathed a book that gave the location of a pair of magical dice.
- It Came from the Late, Late Show. The Gypsy Fortune-teller Extra is knowledgeable about supernatural Monsters and can read palms to see danger in a client's future.
- Xia Xia from Tower of God delivers an arabic rendition of this trope.
- Girl Genius:
- Penny Arcade Adventures: On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness, episode one features a mechanical fortune teller that doesn't dispense fortunes so much as missions. They tend to be cryptic, and they greatly annoy Gabe, who finds them bizarre and stupid. After finishing three of the fortune-missions, Gabe demands to put in the next token, gets a fortune, reads it, and then screams bloody murder before smashing the gypsy machine to mulch with his bare hands. And no, you never find out what it told him. Presumably it wasn't very nice.
- In Sinfest, Monique fantasizes about being a gypsy fortuneteller.
- In Monsieur Charlatan, Isidore asks whether she's going to read his palm when she demands to see his hands.
- Sister Marie of Erfworld, being a Predictamancer. She's got the "Cajun" accent to go with it.
- In Glorianna, the oracle Valangia tells Glori that she has a twin somewhere out in the world, and that she needs to go find her. Glorianna doesn't really believe her, but is happy for an excuse to leave her crummy little village.
- In The Wretched Ones, Jackson Adler has a reputation for telling peoples fortunes while drunk and claiming no responsibility while sober.
- The side character codenamed Gypsy at the Super Hero School Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe. Once she gets her confidence in a Deal with the Devil she even dresses the part. She really is one of a long line of fortune tellers, complete with an ancestral Tarot deck which is magical and apparently alive. Her predictions turn out to be scarily accurate.
- The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: At the Thornfield party, Mr Rochester plays Pagliaccio, a fortune-telling clown. It's a reimagination of the scene from he book in which Mr Rochester dresses himself as an old gypsy woman and tells fortune to young ladies, disguised and recognized only by Jane. Here everybody knows it's him and he trolls his guests quite mercilessly. He predicts adultery and divorce for Ms. Eshton who looks horrified.
- In Futurama, the mechanical version is upgraded to a robotic version. One episode she appeared in is "The Honking" where she advises Bender on how to remove his curse of the were-car. She, however, appears to be more of a source of information than an actual seer. She once even says "What am I, psychic?
- In an episode of Garfield and Friends, Garfield gets cursed by one of these so he becomes a monster under moonlight; he's later cured and he gets his revenge by using the gypsy's book against her and turning her into "the most horrible thing imaginable"... which turns out to be a mime.
- The recurring character (and chihuahua) Shirley The Medium in Courage the Cowardly Dog.
- The fortune teller Aunt Wu from the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Fortuneteller." Her prophecies are accurate, though mainly because most of them are self fulfilling prophecies. That said, she has some truly accurate predictions regarding both the weather and the fate of certain characters.
- Cassandra, the gypsy moth in "Seer No Evil", Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. She flies around a light bulb to find out watts going to happen.
- The Simpsons:
- A fortune teller at a Renaissance fair told Lisa her future in episode "Lisa's Wedding". She was quite young and good-looking and used a crystal bowl. She however says she likes predicting embarrassing future.
- One appears in a Treehouse of Horror segment. Homer accidentally trashes her room, and she puts a Gypsy Curse on him and his family.
- Scooby-Doo Where Are You episode "A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts". The gang meets a Gypsy fortune teller who gives them dire warnings. She turns out to be the episode's villain in disguise.
- Masikura the chameleon in All Hail King Julien serves this purpose to the eponymous King Julien.