Somerville Fortune Tellers Now Need a License and Background Check
Anyone practicing the arts of "clairvoyance," "augury," "crystal gazing" or "necromancy," to name a few things, must now be approved by the Somerville Board of Aldermen.
If you're in the profession of looking into crystal balls, talking with the dead, reading tea leaves or predicting the future using cards, you now need a special license from the city.
The Somerville Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance April 12 requiring fortune tellers in Somerville obtain a license.
The ordinance reads a bit like a course catalog from Hogwarts. It states at the beginning:
"Fortunetelling shall mean the telling of fortunes, forecasting of futures, or reading the past, by means of any occult, psychic power, faculty, force, clairvoyance, cartomancy, psychometry, phrenology, spirits, tea leaves, tarot cards, scrying, coins, sticks, dice, sand, coffee grounds, crystal gazing or other such reading, or through mediumship, seership, prophecy, augury, astrology, palmistry, necromancy, mindreading, telepathy talisman, charm, potion, magnetism, magnetized article or substance, or by any such similar thing or act."
Among other things, prospective fortune tellers must submit to a CORI check and provide information about any consumer complaints against them.
This is "for the purposes of making sure that we were not dealing with people who have been convicted of fraud with respect to fortune telling," said Ward 6 Alderman Rebekah Gewirtz, chair of the legislative matters committee, at the April 12 meeting.
The ordinance comes after some debate about whether or not fortune tellers are beneficial to the city. Read more about that on Ward5Online.
Those who violate the new ordiance will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second offense and $300 for the third and subsequent offenses.