HOW A FORTUNE TELLER RUINED MY GRANDFATHER’S LIFE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

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!’

Unbelievable! My father had no rational explanation for any of this.

Neither do I.

15 thoughts on “HOW A FORTUNE TELLER RUINED MY GRANDFATHER’S LIFE – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

  1. I’m sitting here, shaking my head and also slightly grinning…. This well and truly sounds like a well crafted and absolutely impossible ‘story’. There ARE fortune tellers out there who know their craft! I have never been to one and I guess also won’t have the opportunity to ever consult one – but mostly because I never wanted to know my future….. And now I can see why! 😉
    I always thought in hindsight it was a jolly good thing that I didn’t know what lie ahead of me – because I might have dispaired even more often than I did in actuals situations. But all of what you describe is far and beyond of anything I ever heard, read. Eerie, scary, strange and true.

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      1. I have always been fascinated by fortune tellers but never believed the few palm readers or taro card readers I knew. I don’t believe anyone can truly know the future. Despite my family history.

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    1. The lesson my grandfather tried to teach my father, was that you shouldn’t know your future. It screws with your head, whether the predictions turn out to be true or not. In this case, when my grandfather realized the predictions were accurate, he was freaking out! He felt he had no control of his life. He was miserable!

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    1. I can’t explain this story, But I don’t really Believe in fortune tellers. It’s really reading people, reading cues from the subject to get to stories that make sense and will be believed. But I do love to watch magic and mentalists.

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    1. I think we make our own futures, so I don’t want someone to tell me things that might unconsciously affect my later decisions. Some predictions that come true are because people remember the predictions and are subliminally influenced by them.

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    1. I can’t explain these stories. But I tend to believe most fortune tellers are really mentalists – using their knowledge of behavior to read people and tell them things that could be believed. On the other hand, the fortune tellers in the blog were accurate to an amazing. degree. So who knows?

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