But Then Again You Probably Already Knew This

Clairvoyants of St. Johnsbury, Vermont: Rejoice! You can once again practice your sooth-saying gifts without fear of recrimination: Soothsaying might still be banned in some ...
by | September 4, 2008

Crystalball Clairvoyants of St. Johnsbury, Vermont: Rejoice! You can once again practice your sooth-saying gifts without fear of recrimination:

Soothsaying might still be banned in some parts of the country, but St. Johnsbury has repealed the ordinance against peering into the future that it had on the books since 1966....

Fear of fraud has prompted many communities to ban fortunetelling but critics say it's not government's place to decide whether such personal beliefs or practices are fraudulent.

Nationwide, the legality of fortune-telling is a mixed bag.

Last year in Philadelphia, city inspectors shut down more than a dozen psychics, astrologers and tarot-card readers after discovering a decades-old state law that still bans fortunetelling for profit.

Also last year, Louisiana's Livingston Parish made soothsaying, fortunetelling, palm reading and crystal-ball gazing illegal; a Wiccan minister filed a challenge to the law in federal court.

Other laws are on the books or have been challenged in Nebraska, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma, said Charles Haynes, a senior scholar with the First Amendment Center in Washington.

A ban in Lincoln, Neb., was struck down by a federal appeals court in 1998 as unconstitutional.

Whether it's constitutional or not, isn't it a big waste of time? Isn't this like a state outlawing, say, time travel? Or banning, I don't know, turning yourself invisible?

Zach Patton  |  Executive Editor
zpatton@governing.com  | 

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