Deadwood, South Dakota Votes to Repeal Fortune-Telling Ban

February 11th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Last month, I wrote that Deadwood, South Dakota was considering the repeal of a ‘fortune-telling’ ban that’s been on their books for the last twenty years.

Well, they did it. According to, last week, the City Commissioners voted 3-1 to repeal the ordinance.

They decided that the ban was likely a violation of the US First Amendment and didn’t want to be accused of restricting anyone’s freedom of speech or religious practice.

There will be a second reading of the repeal on February 17th. I’ll be watching out to see what happens and will keep you posted.

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Deadwood, South Dakota Considers Repeal of Fortune-Telling Ban

January 29th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

For the past twenty years, psychics, card readers, and other mystics have been prohibited from carrying on business in the small town of Deadwood, South Dakota.

That might soon change, however, as the Deadwood City Commission considers repealing what the town’s mayor describes as an ‘antiquated’ law.

As it stands, the present ordinance states,

“A. No person shall advertise or engage in or carry on any business of telling fortunes, carrying on a business advertising or involving a cult or psychics powers, facilities or forces, clairvoyants, spirits, mediumship, seership, prophesy, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, or other craft, science cards, tellsman, charms, potions, magnetism or magnetized articles or substances, oriental mysteries or magic of any kind or nature or numerology, or engage in any of these businesses within the city limits.

B. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to include, prohibit or interfere with the exercise of any religious or spiritual function of any priest, minister, rector or an accredited representative of any bona fide church or religion.section 5.52.010

The provisions do however, interfere with the Deadwood Chamber & Visitor Bureau’s ability to market ghost tours, psychic fairs, and other mystical events in their historically fascinating little town.

“I think we have a lot of hauntings in Deadwood that people would be interested in”, chamber events coordinator Sarah Anderson is reported as saying by

Two hotels in town have already been featured on paranormal television shows and the Bureau would like to be able to encourage more business of that sort.

Some residents, however, are opposed to the idea, and the local ministerial association will be asked to offer their comments at the next public meeting to be held on February 3rd.

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Long Beach, California Makes Changes to Fortune-Telling Law

November 26th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Last week, in a unanimous 9-0 decision, Long Beach, California City Council voted to update their fortune-telling regulations.

Though psychic businesses will still need to get a business license to open shop, proprietors will no longer have to undergo a police background check, or come up with a $250,000 bond.

There have also been changes made to how ‘fortune tellers’ are defined.

Though I can’t seem to find the actual documents, according to Press Telegram News, the old definition included phrases like “gypsy cunning or foresight” and “oriental mysteries.”

The new code has removed this language, which the Council described as “outdated and offensive.”

Council also removed the requirement of a Conditional Use Permit, and will treat psychic businesses as other personal services, allowing them to operate in commercial zones.

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Psychic Businesses Officially Legal in La Cañada Flintridge, CA

October 16th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s official – psychic businesses are legal in La Cañada Flintridge, California.

In a 4-0 vote, city council members ruled that fortune-tellers, astrologers, psychics, and palm readers will be included among businesses allowed to operate under the city’s zoning code.

Until now, ‘fortune-tellers’ were neither permitted nor forbidden in La Cañada Flintridge, but going forward, anyone interested in opening a psychic shop may do so, as long as they obtain a city permit, and locate within specific commercial zones.

According to the La Cañada Valley Sun, though there was some debate last summer, as to whether ‘fortune-telling’ was pure entertainment or a service, council ultimately chose the service label.

La Cañada Valley Sun quotes the mayor as saying,

“Some people think it’s just a fun thing, and some think it’s a serious service. I can’t tell you who’s right or wrong, but to accommodate that, we put it down as a service.”

I’m glad they did.

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Chesterfield County Fortune-telling Ordinance – follow up

September 25th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m a little slow on the draw, but I wanted to follow up on last year’s post about Patricia Moore-King’s challenge to Chesterfield County, Virgina’s Fortune-Telling ordinances …

Earlier this year, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decided in favor of Chesterfield County, and against Moore-King’s claims that her First Amendment rights and Right to Equal Protection and Religious Land Use were being violated.

Though the Court rejected an earlier court decision, which claimed that telling fortunes was ‘inherently deceptive speech’, it rejected Moore-King’s main arguments.

It determined that Chesterfield County’s fortune-telling license and zoning regulations, though more stringent than for other businesses, are appropriate and within legitimate governmental interest.

You can read the full decision here.

Australia's Northern Territory to Repeal Witchcraft Act of 1735

August 20th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s been on the books in Australia’s Northern Territory for almost 300 years now, but the Witchcraft Act of 1735 will soon be no more.

Though it hasn’t been enforced in a long, long time, this law makes Tarot reading, witchcraft, and sorcery illegal in the Territory.

Anyone convicted of such activities could technically face a mandatory one year in jail, and the possibility of being pilloried at the market every three months during the sentence.

Yes, that’s right, pilloried. Locked down on a pillory while your fellow citizens throw assorted fruits and vegetables at you.

Fortunately, after a review of the law, Attorney-General John Elferink thought the sentence rather harsh and has decided to repeal the legislation.

Thank goodness!

Click here to listen to the ABC News report on this story.

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La Cañada Flintridge Planning Commission Considers Psychic Businesses

July 3rd, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

There’s good news for anyone who might be interested in opening a psychic business in La Cañada Flintridge, California.

According to the La Cañada Valley Sun, last week, the City Planning Commission unanimously recommended categorizing psychic businesses as ‘offices or business’, and to allow them to operate on a conditional use permit anywhere in the city.

I’m not sure if it means readers can open up shop just yet, but it’s a good start.

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Background Checks for Psychic Businesses – Mount Carmel, TN

June 5th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Last week, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen for Mount Carmel, Tennessee approved on first reading a new ordinance requiring background checks for anyone wishing to do psychic business in town.

According to Jeff Bobo of, the new ordinance specifically focuses on “clairvoyants, hypnotists, spiritualists, palmists, phrenologists and handwriting analysts for the purpose of fortune-telling.”

In order to open a psychic business, the new rules require an applicant and their employees to first undergo a fingerprinting background check.

No one who is presently charged with, or has been convicted in the last ten years, of “felonies or misdemeanors involving assault, theft, extortion, fraud, bribery, false personage, perjury or gambling” will be eligible for a fortune-teller permit.

I understand that the people of Mount Carmel want to protect themselves from frauds, etc., but I wonder what prompted Karen Combs, the Kingsport principal planner who proposed the new rules, to take such a strong proactive stand against ‘fortune-tellers’ in particular.

Do they pose such a singular threat?

If the town needs to beef up their anti-assault, theft, extortion, fraud, bribery, false personage, perjury or gambling laws in general, they should. But focusing specifically on psychic readers seems odd, especially since there are none presently working in Mount Carmel, a town of about 5,500 people.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen will consider the second and final reading of this ordinance at the end of June.

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St. Louis Fortune-Telling Ban May Be Repealed

April 30th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

Presently, it’s illegal to tell fortunes in St. Louis , Missouri, but that could all change soon.

According to St. Louis Today, Alderman Shane Cohn has introduced a bill to repeal his city’s rather complicated-sounding ban on divination.

As it stands now, the law forbids the

… profession or art of fortuneteller, clairvoyant, spirit medium, necromancer, seer, astrologist, palmist, prophet or other like crafty or occult art, or art of divination, or pretended art of telling past events of another’s life or affairs; of foretelling knowledge of future events of another’s life or affairs; of in anywise revealing things of the past, the future, of a secret or hidden nature; of giving advice or assistance in matters of business or affairs of any other kind or nature by means of such art; or of purporting so to tell, foretell, reveal or give advice or assistance by means of such art.

Back in 1994, an earlier Alderman made a similar attempt to repeal the law but was unsuccessful. Hopefully, this time round, Alderman Cohn will succeed.

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Fortune Telling is Legal in Gaithersburg, Maryland

January 28th, 2013 § 0 comments § permalink

In follow-up news from Gaithersburg, Maryland …

Last week, after months of discussion and review, the Gaithersburg City Council voted unanimously to repeal their longstanding ban on ‘fortune telling’.

According to Maryland’s and The Huffington Post, the city received its first application for a psychic business on January 19th.

It hasn’t been approved yet, but hopefully it will be and all goes well for everyone involved.

Good on you Gaithersburg!

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