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Palm reading: Sexy subterfuge or diagnostic tool?
Tuesday, 05 January 2016 12:54
Special to the Daily Planet

Show of hands: Who thinks taking someone’s hands in their own and asking if they want their fortune told is sexier than asking what their sign is?

Palm reading, or chiromancy, is definitely sexy, but it’s way more than just pressing and stroking and tugging flesh. It’s a tool. But the art is in the intuition and interpretation.

“I will molest your hands with fervor!” I promised my friend Carter at his invitation to read his palms any time I wanted.

Go back three weeks earlier, as I drank my mimosa at the Champagne Bar and chatted with my friends. In walks Carter who takes a seat beside me and asks what I was up to. From there, it all went downhill. 

I told him I was boning up on my palm- reading skills and somehow, his hands ended up in my own. He was uncomfortable, at times, but as with a car accident, he couldn’t look away. 

He didn’t pull away either. Was it my soft, caressing touch? Was it the thoughtful insight I shared about the life he used to live and drastically changed as an adult? 

We’d hardly gotten started when he abruptly got up and left. He was truly freaked out. In a manly way, of course. Such is how it is when you’re a palm reader.

One of the most important things anyone can learn is how to read people — to figure out what they’ll do, based on their habits, their upbringing, economic status, age, gender, interests, etc. I don’t know why profiling is such a dirty word, where law enforcement and criminology are concerned, but it’s perfectly acceptable in marketing, where companies target certain groups based on these same concepts.

I study people. I look them in the eye, I shake their hand, I pay attention to their mannerisms and I size them up. It’s not as glamorous or scientific as profiling, but it works for me. And I believe that the best part of palm reading is getting confirmation that my instincts and first impressions are correct.

It’s all there in the palms: where you came from, your childhood hurts and struggles, the intimate little details that only your close friends and family know about — to where you are now, what you’ve become. I can tell you what kind of personality type you are and your likes and dislikes. I cannot tell you when you’re going to die, but I can likely give you a clue as to how. It’s downright scary how much you can find out by looking at someone’s hands. I still find myself glancing at hands, even those of the people I see on TV.

Reading for Carter was not my first foray into reading palms. I read three years ago for Thirteenth Night, a carnival of sorts held on every floor at The Grove House in downtown Asheville. It was chock full of fortune-telling, including tarot cards, energy readings and ghost hunts.

I donned my best gypsy attire, outfitted myself with flashy rings and a sache that jingled with fake gold coins. I must say, my table was one of the busiest there. 

Even New York Times bestselling author William Forstchen followed me around all night waiting for me to read his palms.

Most of what I learned about palmistry is from Johnny Fincham’s book “Palmistry: Apprentice to Pro in Twenty-Four Hours.”

 I’ve picked up many different palmistry books over the years, but this one rang true. I liked its straightforward approach and it was wickedly accurate. Thank goodness the lights were low that night because I hadn’t gotten to the part in the book about reading the lines in the palms!

But one thing I noticed right away: I had a lot to say. And it wasn’t all coming from the hands I was studying. That’s where the intuition took over. I found that I started talking and didn’t stop until there was nothing left to say. No one came over to tell me when the reading should be up. It was over when it was over.

One man hugged me, dropped a nice tip in the “Tip the Tipsy Gypsy” tip jar and told me he was a recovering drug addict and everything I had told him was true. He looked like a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders and his future was bright. I helped someone!

I had several more eager customers that night and I felt more confident with each one. The night passed very quickly.

While I don’t read palms very much anymore, I’m still fascinated by people and continue to study their habits and try to figure out why they do what they do. 

Sometimes it’s funny. Sometimes tragic. But it’s always an interesting insight into the human condition.

Shelley Wright, an Asheville native, is a paranormal investigator. She works at Wright’s Coin Shop in Asheville and is a weekly participant in the “Speaking of Strange” radio show from 9 p.m. to midnight on most Saturdays on Asheville’s WWNC-AM (570).



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