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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Warner, William (1867-1936) Warner liked to claim he was Count Louis le Warner de Hamon. Better known under his professional name, Cheiro, he was an Irishman who claimed to have discovered a rare book, written on human skin, about palmistry, and then to have studied in Egypt and in India to perfect his knowledge of the art. He opened an elegant salon in New Bond Street, London, and soon became the leading palmist of his time.
      Flamboyant, and with a skill for self-promotion, Warner claimed to have had a love affair with the fabulous spy Mata Hari, to have obtained validation from the British intelligence services, and to have had a 1904 encounter with the Russian Czar and a battle of wills with the monk Rasputin. These claims were unsubstantiated, but of course added substantially to his reputation.
      Warner traveled the world with great success. Celebrities of all sorts were his clients, British Prime Minister Arthur Balfour, U.S. President Grover Cleveland, Kings Edward VII and VIII of England, General Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Leopold of Belgium, the Shah of Persia, Mark Twain, and Oscar Wilde among them. The fact that he may have performed his service for them, of course, does not imply their endorsements.
      He died poverty-stricken in Hollywood, California, in 1936, his popularity having waned. Books on palmistry bearing his name are still sold.

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