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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

tea leaf reading (also, tasseography) An old, quaint notion that the patterns formed by tea leaves in a cup are indicators of a deeper truth. The tea is drunk and the cup is drained, inverted, and turned around three times left to right, using the left hand. (This turning process, whether done with either hand or a foot, does not in any way redistribute the tea leaves, but it can't hurt, either.) The reader then examines the leaves and prognosticates.
      Leaves on the bottom, we're told, indicate the distant future, those on the rim the immediate future. Tea leaf stems represent persons. Fat stems are fat people, for example.
      The use of tea bags has not only made the art more difficult, but less accurate. Coffee grounds are also read, but there is no record of Shredded Wheat or coleslaw being so employed.
      Not yet.



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