What’s Your Sign?

Jeycea Thompson, whose post will appear next week, sent me a copy of a newspaper cutting her mother gave her years ago. It’s an account by Rev. Webb Garrison with the headline,”She Made Astrology Respectable in 1914 by Demonstrating Her Talent in Court”.
Evangeline Adams was arrested in 1911, 1914, and 1923 for “fortune telling” in New York City and her acquittal in 1914 led to great success as an astrologer.

Here’s that newspaper story:

“Evangeline Adams brought respectability to astrology in America by a daring courtroom maneuver. Charged with fortune-telling, she was granted permission by New York City Judge John J. Freschi to cast a horoscope ‘and give a reading, then and there, in the presence of the court.’

‘Judge Freschi thought this request was reasonable,’ Miss Adams said after the one-day hearing, Dec. 11, 1914. ’He himself gave me the day, hour and place of birth of a person unknown to me. The demonstration was all the more impressive because the person whose horoscope I cast to the courtroom turned out to be his son, Joseph.’

Said the judge: ‘The defendant raises astrology to the dignity of an exact science. Her reading is too amazingly accurate to be the result of chance or fraud.’

He acquitted Miss Adams of fortune-telling, a crime under New York’s public nuisance ordinance, with the observation:
‘The defendant claims no faculty of foretellling by supernatural or magical means that which is future. What she does claim is the ability to interpret natural laws and their effects by analyzing influences that surround such laws. This is not fortune-telling by any definition.’

The acquittal, a major triumph for Miss Adams, launched her on a career to worldwide fame.

After the trial publicity, Miss Adams – a descendant of John Quincy Adams, America’s sixth president – jumped her fee from $2 to $10 an hour. Before she died in 1932, it had increased to $100 an hour.”

Biographer Karen Christino wrote in skyscript.co.uk about Evangeline Adams’ influence on the study of astrology in America:

“When homeopathic physician and medical astrologer Dr. Luke D. Broughton had arrived in the United States from Leeds in the 1850s, he counted only 20 people in the country who could calculate a birth chart, none of them American. By the twenties, after Adams had popularized it, thousands were familiar with and interested in astrology. But was this the blessing that it seems? The public learned only a watered-down version of the real thing, and eventually created the popularity of Sun-sign and psychological astrology.”

Of course there’s a lot more to the story of Evangeline Adams and to the practice of Astrology.

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