On this day 125 years ago

16 July 1891

A newspaper article this day reports a trial at Bow Street Magistrates Court.  In 1891 there were stiff penalties for those accepting money on the promise that they could foretell the future:


A young man, giving the name of Charles Stuart, was charged at Bow Street last week with unlawfully pretending and professing to tell fortunes by handwriting and other means with intent to defraud.  … [the prisoner] denied that he was a fortune-teller, but described himself as “a graphologist”.  Letters were seized, amongst them being a number addressed to “Professor Huxley” of 28 Church Road, Acton.  These were chiefly from females, all containing stamps.  Sir John Bridge* remanded the accused.

Sir John Bridge
Sir John Bridge, Chief Magistrate for London, at Bow Street Court

*Sir John Bridge was the chief magistrate for London.  And before long Charles Wells (the man who broke the bank) would appear before Sir John at Bow Street Court charged with crimes much more serious than fortune-telling.

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