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New England Town Moves Into Future Without a Crystal Ball

Close your eyes and visualize. Imagine a small town in New England where people fear being arrested for telling the future, clairvoyance or tarot card readings. A place where contacting spirits or communicating with those who have passed on are persecuted and even arrested. Is this the 1680s? Nope, it's the 20th century. The New England town of St. Johnsbury in VT has just repealed a law banning mystical practices put on the books in 1966. One tarot reader says, "When the ordinance was lifted, I actually felt a large weight lifting from my shoulders. It was very oppressive to have to refrain from something that was as natural to me as breathing."

Though town officials don't know where the law came from, fear of fraud has inspired a bunch of communities to ban fortunetelling. St. Johnsbury may have had a reversal in their law, but the crystal ball has trouble in other parts of the country. To find out where,


In Philadelphia last year, city inspectors closed more than a dozen psychics, astrologer and tarot-card readers once they realized they also had a decades-old law that banned these practices. In Livingston Parish, LA they also made soothsaying, fortunetelling, palm reading and crystal ball usage a crime. Meanwhile, similar laws on the books are being challenged in states such as Nebraska, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and Oklahoma.

Bans on the practice fortune telling lead some to believe that the government should not have the power to decide whether fortunetelling is illegal — but I bet you could have guessed that even without a crystal ball.


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