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Aunt Wu: 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 cards, the cards, the cards will tell,

The past, the present and the future as well.

The cards, the cards, just take three,

Take a little trip into your future with me...

The Fortune Teller is usually an old Gypsy woman, though mechanical ones are not unknown. May reside at the local Creepy Amusement Park 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 or Cajun accents. Their tarot cards and fortunes will be powered by Hollywood Voodoo.

Compare the Phony Psychic.

Examples of Fortune Teller include:


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.
  • Konoka Konoe of Mahou Sensei Negima 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 though).
    • There's also 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, 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.
  • 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.
  • Tatami Galaxy has an old fortune teller who shows up in every episode to give the same speech for an increasing fee.

Comic Books

Film

  • 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.
  • The sister of the main character in the Shelley Long film Hello Again makes a living as a clairvoyant and owner of an occult shop.
  • 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 four 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.

Literature

  • In the Thieves World stories, a race of humans are based on Gypsies and have the magic ability to tell fortunes. Only the women of that race tell fortunes.
  • It's something of a Running Gag in the Harry Potter books that Sybil Trelawney models herself on this stereotype. Characters like Firenze tend to be very scornful of her "fortune telling" (with good reason, as out of thousands of her predictions, only two were true prophecies). In the films she's more of a Granola Girl or The Ditz
  • Mortal Instruments had Madame Dorothea.
  • Mrs. Gogol from Witches Abroad is another very New Orleans-ish voodoo lady who tells the future in bowls of gumbo.
    • There's also Mrs. Cake from Reaper Man, a strong-minded little old lady who doesn't dabble in the occult so much as "stamp into the occult and demand to see the manager".
      • Notably, most conversations with her are an exercise in frustration because she "forgets to turn her precog off", and answers questions before they're asked. She insists people ask them anyway, as it gives her a headache if they don't complete the mini time-loop.
  • Brian Jacques's Redwall series uses this frequently. Examples include Nightshade from Outcast of Redwall, Groddil from Lord Brocktree, and Polleekin from Martin the Warrior. One subversion of this is in The Long Patrol, where Midge Manycoats poses as a fortune teller to gain access to the enemy camp.
  • Shalice of The Pilo Family Circus, who has a nasty habit of brainwashing her customers into altering the future for her own diabolical ends.
  • In The Divine Comedy, fortune tellers are shown to be among the worst sinners. They are sent to the eighth circle of Hell, which is for Frauds. As with the other sinners they are punished with a form of irony. For the sin of trying to see the future they are forced to walk around with their heads on backwards, unable to see what is in front of them.
  • Mother Tia, one of the New Mexican trailer park elders mentioned offhand in The Pale King.
  • Isobel in The Night Circus.

Live Action TV

  • 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 again 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.
  • Carnivale has Apollonia, a catatonic Gypsy fortune-teller who operates through her daughter, Sofie. Sofie reads the Tarot Motifs 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.

Tabletop RPG

  • Madam Eva, a Vistani fortuneteller in Dungeons and Dragons module I6 Ravenloft. Her "Fortunes of Ravenloft" card reading is an integral part of the adventure.
    • In the same setting, You have Madame Fortuna - 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 has been later developed as a stock character of the setting.
  • 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.

Theatre

Video Games

  • Pictured above is the Fortune Teller from Shadow of Destiny. Throughout the game, the player can visit her to learn the time he is going to die. She's pretty accurate.
  • The mechanical teller at the carnival in Bully is actually pretty funny.
  • Merlon and his family from the Paper Mario series.
  • The second game of the Ravenhearst story arc from Mystery Case Files is called Madame Fate, in which the titular seer and carnival owner foretells her own murder.
  • Some of the games in The Legend of Zelda series have one to remind you what you're supposed to be doing.
  • There's one in Legend of Mana...a fruit lady, who wears fruit on her head, sits in a giant fruit, and tells the future by spinning around the fruit. So yeah.
  • Cait Sith from Final Fantasy VII presents himself as a fortune-telling machine (though in reality he's he's spy remotely controlled by a Shinra agent, though one who's eventually sympathetic to the heroes.) He does tell fortunes once or twice.
  • There's a mechanical one of these in Phantasmagoria.
  • In Snatcher, there's one who reads fortunes based on a retina scan. Of course, after guessing a few too many things about the protagonist, his Robot Buddy points out that she was actually using the retina scan to browse the database for factual information about him.
  • In Rockett's Tricky Decision, Saki Kajiyama runs a fortune booth at Nakili's party, dressed up as the typical gypsy fortuneteller. Also in Purple Moon, there's frizzy-haired outcast Mavis, who proclaims her psychic powers (always right) and sometimes gives out mystical artifacts; although she herself doesn't fit the stereotype (psychic and cryptic, yes, but not a fortune-teller by trade), she describes her mother as "this beautiful gypsy (who) knew all about magic" and has a crystal ball that once belonged to her.
  • Katrina from Animal Crossing.
  • Featured in the intro and as a minor character in Baten Kaitos.
  • The Ultima series traditionally uses an interview with a gypsy fortune teller for stealthy character creation.
  • Persona:
    • Persona 2 has an Egyptian-themed Fortune Teller that can have "Dragon Fortunes" that gives you random battle variables (More gold dropped, or encourage rate increases), and a Love Fortune that lets you answer questions for random bonuses with characters that can be hooked up with. It's outright stated that she used to be notorious for being very bad at it until the power of rumors changed it
    • In Persona 5, the Wheel of Fortune Arcana is represented by the tarot reader Chihaya Mifune. She turns out to be quite accurate in her fortunes, but the "holy stones" that a corrupt organization is forcing her to sell are a sham, and the right thing to do is to give her the confidence to leave the group. . Developing her Confidant will lead to gain social stats boosts, gain more money in battle, preview abilities of other confidants, etc.
  • The Voodoo Lady from The Secret of Monkey Island. The Curse of Monkey Island features the more Gypsy-like Madame Xima.
  • Madam Rose, a hack fortune teller, is sometimes an extra character in expanded computer versions of Clue.
  • Luigi's Mansion had one. WHO WAS A GHOST. Boooohooooooo!
  • The adventure game Darkstone features the gypsy townsperson Madame Irma, who is implied to be a fortune teller. She doesn't fill the function exactly, at least not for you; she will cure the player character(s) of poison or injury at no charge. For an appropriate fee, however, she will identify mysterious artifacts and jewelry recovered from the local dungeon, and remove any curses your character may have picked up.
  • In Chrono Cross, you can visit a fortune teller in Termina, who will have a unique fortune for all forty-five of your possible party members... with the exception of Kid and Harle, who get the same reading. Hmm...
  • In Mitsumete Knight, the Asian (aka the player avatar), and ideally a girl of your choice (or the one who has the highest Love Gauge with him if she invites him) will visit a fortune-teller during the Mid-Summer Festival. The old woman will tell them through her Crystal Ball their destined person. It's an opportunity to check out who's the leading girl in affection of your roster, and if this girl is also the one you went to the festival with, you'll get a big boost in Relationship Values with her. If you haven't met any girls, the crystal ball will break and the fortune-teller with ask for financial compensation (kinda moot as Money for Nothing rules in this game).
  • Rose from Street Fighter, who is a powerful psychic and the local Lady of Black Magic. In Street Fighter V she gains an apprentice, Menat, who also can see the future and fights like a Black Magician Girl.
  • The gypsy fortune teller from Quest for Glory IV.
  • And the one Graham visits in King's Quest V that gives him an update on what Mordak is doing - including having the shrunken Alexander tied down and threatening to feed him to the cat.
  • There's one named Myrddin at the fair in Conquests of the Longbow.
  • Two versions turn up in The Lost Crown: A Ghosthunting Adventure: Nanny Noah, a little old lady who reads Nigel's palm and tea leaves, and "Mystic Morgan", an innkeeper who's dressed up as a gypsy to offer crystal-ball predictions at the May Day Fayre.
  • Meena from Dragon Quest IV, who uses a deck of Tarot cards in battle. She is also The Medic.
  • The Matchmaker NPC from The Sims 2 Nightlife dresses like a gypsy, carries and obsessively polishes a crystal ball, and if paid will summon another sim for a blind date with yours-- the more you pay, the more likely the other sim will have compatible traits and interests.
  • Runescape has a fortune-teller in Varrock who greets your character with the "cross my palm with silver" line, whereupon your character confusedly points out that money is gold.
  • The fortunetelling sisters in Harapa in Golden Sun Dark Dawn. The elder sees the immediate future by looking into a bowl of water, charges 5 coins per vision, and generally remains positive and helpful. The younger offers Matthew a free reading from her Crystal Ball... and immediately regrets it.
  • Seena from Lufia The Legend Return is a traveling fortune teller with a Chronic Hero Syndrome. Basically, she will make a fortune of alomst anything positive, and then drag her partner with her to achieve it. Or just make it happens, as she's under a disguise of Erim the Sinistral of Death, she has a power to make whatever she has predicted becoming true.
  • Hannah from Fire Emblem is a rather annoying (though, thankfully, optional) example, in that, at times, she gives a reading that the player could have determined just by looking at the map. Yes, everyone know that it's a good idea to bring axe-wielders when many of the enemy wield lances! Everyone's taught about the weapon triangle in the tutorials!
  • Bioshock has the fortune teller machine Epstein the Swami
  • In Yarudora series vol.2: Kisetsu o Dakishimete, the main protagonist is the writer of the fortune-telling column of the magazine he works part-time at. He basically has no fortune-telling knowledge and doesn't believe in it, so he writes whatever comes into his mind; yet, from various people's account, his tellings somehow are pretty accurate, making his column the most popular one of the magazine, to the point that when he writes one of them in a way to meet again Mayu (who strongly believes in this fortune-telling column, without knowing he's the one writing it), a ton of people searching for love are at the same shop he mentioned, at the same hour, and having ordered the same lucky meal! Unfortunately for him, it comes back to bite him in the ass big time, when Tomoko, at the peak of her jealousy and distress, reveals to Mayu he's the one writing the column, during the confrontation sequence near the end of the game.
  • Both Fantasy Quest games include the Soothsayer, a gypsy fortune teller. She takes your gold and offers a lot of useless advice before finally helping you.

Web Animation

Web Comics

  • Moxana in Girl Genius. Predictably, she is a Robot Girl with a full blown Steampunk AI.
  • On the Rainslick 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.

Web Original

  • 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.

Western Animation

  • 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.
    • The one from Futurama is based on the very accurate circus fortune-teller machine from the film Big, isn't it?
    • 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 they're self fulfilling prophecies.
  • 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.
    • Oh... Ow! That...that physically hurt me.
  • A fortune teller at a Renaissance fair told Lisa her future in The Simpsons episode Lisa's Wedding.
  • 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.
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