It's all Miss Cleo's Fault


More forward-looking regulatory ideas from the People's Republic of San Francisco: $500 permits for psychics and seers. A new proposal by busybody supervisor Aaron Peskin would require psychics to shell out for permits, post rate cards, and give up such classic tricks as the knot in the thread, the blood in the glass and the hair in the grapefruit. Think this isn't a serious problem? Read on, Muggle Patsy:

Peskin introduced a 36-year-old San Francisco woman who lost $17,000 last year to a Richmond District fortune-teller.

The fortune-teller charged the victim hundreds of dollars per visit and tricked her into buying two $2,000 gift certificates at Union Square stores. The fortune-teller said she would bless the gift certificates and return them to her lovelorn client, so that she could give the certificates to her estranged husband and win him back. Instead, the fortune-teller used the certificates herself.

"I don't know why I believed her," recalled the victim, who did not want to be identified. "It was so stupid. I lost my sanity, I guess."

Sounds to me like the psychic did give this woman some valuable information. The new law would cover fortunetelling by crystal balls, tarot cards, astrology charts, "sticks, dice, tea leaves, coins, sand and coffee grounds." Peskin insists he's not out to stop "legitimate" psychics—presmably those who already know whether his silly bill will pass.