My father was a scientist and a very rational man. He didn’t believe in religion or have any superstitions, except one. He told me to never, ever go to a fortune-teller. He had a logical reason. HIS father had told him an eerie story about HIS experience with a fortune-teller, which had haunted him throughout his life.

My grandfather, on a lark when he still lived in Russia, went to a gypsy fortune-teller in a nearby gypsy camp. He was given a long, detailed story about his future life. Most of the story seemed outrageous, if not impossible at the time. He forgot about the incident. Until, to his dismay, the predictions started to come true, one at a time. I don’t remember all the details but here are a few.

The gypsy told my grandfather that he would serve in the army. At the time in Russia, only first-born sons were conscripted into the army. My grandfather was the third son, so this would never happen. Except that his oldest brother shot off his toes to avoid military service. Then the second oldest brother died suddenly and young. So it fell to my grandfather to take up arms. Just like the gypsy told him. What are the odds?

My father’s father

Next the gypsy told my grandfather that he would take a long journey involving a boat. He had no intention of ever leaving Russia. Until he couldn’t make a good living as a tailor when he finished his military service. Then he decided to come to America – a very long journey, part of it by sea.

The personal details the gypsy told him were the creepiest part of the story. The gypsy told him that he would marry a young woman who would bear him seven children, including a set of twins, but only two of the children would survive. Believe it or not, my grandmother had exactly seven pregnancies, including a set of twins. The oldest and the youngest, my Dad, were the only ones to survive infancy.

By now my grandfather was freaking out! The next prediction by the gypsy was that his wife would die young and leave him to take care of two children on his own. She died of tuberculosis when my Dad was three. The gypsy said that my grandfather would struggle for a few years but would eventually marry a strong woman who would be a good mother to his children. This happened exactly as predicted. His children, aged three and eleven, were latch-key kids until he met his second wife who, my father always said, ‘rescued’ them.

The rest of my grandfather’s life also played out pretty much as the gypsy had told him. He started making a good living. (He was the first to bring the pleated skirt to America). He lived comfortably until his death as an old man for the day – he was in his 70’s.

The story doesn’t end there. My father understood his father’s aversion to clairvoyants. But as a young man, he fell madly in love with a woman who was ‘beyond his reach’. He was a poor, Jewish medical student and she was a proper WASP who wanted a comfortable and respectable life. He was not in a position to give this to her.

My Dad as a young man

My Dad was so smitten, that he took a year off from medical school to pursue the woman full-time! During this period, he came across a fortune-teller. He couldn’t resist finding out if he would ‘get the girl’ in the end. The gypsy told him that the woman would never marry him. She said that the woman would string him along but eventually would marry a man from Chicago who was ‘like a locomotive’. Dad remembers this phrase because it was an unusual way to describe someone.

As predicted, again, despite a long courtship, his paramour eventually sent him a letter breaking off the relationship. She said that she had found a well established, well-off man and was moving to Chicago to marry him. She described him as strong and commanding, ‘like a locomotive!’


My father had no rational explanation for any of this. And neither do I.


    • it’s funny because I was just reading up on it and realized these are supposed to be hard to grow. All we did is plant it and tie it so it wouldn’t fall over during the snowy part of the year. It’s not even particularly good soil. I guess it just likes it in New England. And last year, it got stripped by gypsy moths and it has come back from that. I think it must be hardier than people think 😀 I should also mention that this is the wrong post for these comments. I can’t move the comments, but just letting you know 🙂


      • Ok, wrong post? I’m confused. As always. I’m finding it difficult to find the comment section on so many blogs. My eyes aren’t good enough to spot them all I guess. Sorry if it’s an inconvenience. If you’ll let me know where to post, I’ll go there instead 🙂


    • Good point. But some people just want to believe that they know what is going to happen. Sometimes I also think it’s a way for people to make up their mind about things. Should I marry this guy? I’m not sure. So let’s have someone else tell me that it will work or not, because I don’t know.


  1. Quite amazing. I do believe there are people with “special gifts” to see the future, to channel with those gone. They are working on some sort of other “frequency” I believe.


    • I think you’re right. Some people can tune into a level of communication that science hasn’t figured out yet. Just like the workings of the human body were a mystery for centuries, the workings of the mind and the universe are still a mystery to scientists today. Someday I believe there will be a scientific exlanation for stories like my Grandfather’s fortune teller.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If all those events really happened that way your father and grandfather told it then those gypsies knew things that others don’t. I think there are a lot of things in the world we can’t explain but I agree with Marilyn. There are some things best left alone. My mother and her siblings dabbled with the Ouija board when they were younger and mum was by far the best at making the glass move although I don’t recall any predictions coming true. I saw her do it a few times when I was a teenager, mum was not the type of person to pretend if she said she wasn’t controlling it then she wasn’t. My sister and I started to feel a bit uneasy about it though and so did mum so we agreed that we would not use it any more. My sister hid the set away so if relatives came round asking mum to summon the spirits we’d say it was lost. It’s not the sort of thing you should treat as a game.I admit that I would rather like to have a Tarot reading one day but I’m rational enough not to be too influenced by it I think.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The problem for me was that the clairvoyant would tell you things. Generally, it was after they happened that you would look back and say, “OH.” I don’t think predictions ever stopped events from occurring. When you read for yourself or someone you love, you are less inclined to see clearly and more likely to see what you want or fear. Garry was funny about it. He just said “No” and has stuck with that for our entire lives. He said he did not want to know and he really didn’t. I eventually saw his point.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think there are a lot of things out there (and inside us) that too many people choose to discount, and often at their peril.
      When I was 17 and a freshman in college, one night we were messing around with a deck of cards, and one of the boys was ‘telling fortunes’ by starting with our age and counting the cards until he hit the ‘death card”, the ace of spades.
      My turn came, and when he reached the 11th card, there was the Ace. He did it again, and then a third time, and each time the 11th card came up. He was so freaked out he put away the cards and walked out.

      11 years later I was in the hospital for surgery which could have resulted in a masectomy (which thank god it didnt) but the age thing was what impressed me. Needless to say, I have never played that kind of fortune telling game again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The problem is that once you have any kind of prediction about the future, your future behavior and attitudes are affected. Also your memory of the prediction can get fuzzy and begin to conform to later events. There are a lot of psychological explanations about the effect of predictions on people’s lives. The readings about the past are harder to explain, if they are really true and not just stretched to conform to the person’s past.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Before I gave it up, I used to do astrology. I was good at it. Very good at it. I don’t think it really has anything to do with planets either. I think the “planets” are just “powers” as represented, not “real planets.” I was so good at it that I realized I didn’t want to know that stuff. Garry would NEVER let me tell him anything. Ever. And too many people wanted to hear about their new babies … and I didn’t believe in telling mothers what I believed their little ones might do. Too much potential influence. One day, I quit. Completely. Tarot, too. There is such a thing as knowing too much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am a logical, rational, pragmatic individual, so I find this tale of yours to be both incredible and unbelievable. At the same time, though, it’s a fascinating story and very well told. So whether or not what the fortune teller allegedly told your grandfather actually happened as you described it doesn’t matter as much — to me, anyway — as how well you told the tale. Nicely done.


    • What happenned in my Grandfather’s life is not a matter of dispute. The only unknown is what the fortune teller told him in the first place. His memory of what the fortune teller told him may have been colored by later events. She may have actually said he’d have six children but because he had seven, he remembered it as seven. However, my father believed his Dad’s version of the story because his Dad seemed so genuinely freaked out by the whole affair. Sometimes things happen in a rational world that just can’t be explained by the scientific knowledge that we have today.


  5. That doesn’t make sense at all! Something like this happened to my family- and the fortune teller was so creepy!!! He said to my cousin you will never fight with your dad and believe it or not, it’s been a year and my cousin always agrees with his dad! What type of powers do these people have?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Someimte things fortune tellers predict come true because of the power of suggestion. People think that they are destined to do something so they are more likely to do it. That was not the case in my father or my grandfather’s cases, which were particularly creepy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your Dad was a very handsome young man! He should’ve had an agent. I love the gypsy story! Maybe it was Maria Oushpenkaya (The Gypsy lady in all those Universal horror flicks of the 40’s).

        Liked by 1 person

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