Paranormal Shows

I used to be a believer in the paranormal. I thought that ghosts probably existed, and that they could be potentially caught on video or other electronic devices. I thought maybe an OBE was possible, or a NDE, or telepathy, spoon benders, and all that jazz. Well I've grown a lot in the last few years. I don't buy into anything without scientific proof. I used to say I'd have to "see it to believe it," but even that's not the truth. I have seen weird things, but although strange, I  firmly believe that there has to be a scientific explanation, and that it's not suitable enough to just dismiss everything as being supernatural. That's the problem with so many people today, that they're not willing to reconsider what they've seen or felt. They just say "it's paranormal" and that's that. This is a problem.

In the past if you mentioned to someone that you had seen a ghost you no doubt would have faced ridicule; it wasn't as acceptable as it is today. Today you might end up on television or a popular radio talk show.  So why is this an issue? Well, the first real problem is that none of it really has anything to do with science. It's always about entertainment.

A good example would be shows about Bigfoot; it's always a team of middle aged enthusiasts who have no professional training. They just interview a few "witnesses" then go out into the woods, use infrared cameras and sound recorders, and jump at anything that they believe resembles a Bigfoot creature. It's something that ANY of us could do, and it never has results. Eye-witness testimonials on the paranormal are practically worthless, and for a number of reasons. We live in the age of the attention-whore, where people want a million Youtube hits on their personal channel. This means that people will say just about anything to achieve personal stardom, even if it makes them look like idiots. The internet is flooded with faked ghosts videos and bull shit experiences. I myself went onto a chat room when I was a teenager and made up a ghost story that me "and a group of friends" had, the so-called investigators took it as entirely truthful. So ask yourself, why should we believe everything that people say? You could counter it by saying "well, let's just put them on a lie-detector," as cute an idea as that is, it's a proven fact that even a lie-detector tests can have inconclusive results. So in reality, there is no way to tell for sure if someone is lying. What's more, some people can convince themselves that what they've seen, or even lied about, is true.

Memory is a weird thing, and over time changes. Studies have shown that people who witness notable events can alter facts about the event over time because their memory fails them. I have a friend who says they remember being in the 10th grade during the 9/11 attacks, which I said couldn't be possible because of our age difference; we proved by tracking the dates that they were not in that grade during the attack. Another example of this is a girl from my elementary school, who said she explicitly remembers owning a pink pencil case a young child, although her mother swears she never did. Between the two, who do we believe? The little girl who owned the pencil case, or the mother who bought it? Children are known for imagining things, and how likely is it that you remember buying something as trivial as a pencil case. Now think of an individual who sees something in the pitch black dark of night, they're already vulnerable because they can't see very well, and their lack of visibility makes things harder to discern. They claim they saw an eight foot monster with red eyes, are we supposed to believe them? I'm sure they saw something, but I'm not so sure they saw a monster. This just another reason eye-witness testimony of the paranormal is just about worthless.

The other problem is that these shows are using a kind of pseudo-science. They carry hoards of equipment, but really, what does any of it actually do? In order to prove something scientifically you need to be able to measure the thing, or at the very least reproduce it through testing. Nobody is actually doing this. You might step up and say, well what about Fact or Faked? They try to disprove things on their show through testing! Well, that's not scientific. All they do on that show is attempt to recreate the ghostly encounter through filming tricks. I could do that too, with Adobe After Effects. There's nothing scientific about that show, although I appreciate their attempts to de-bunk things. The Bigfoot researchers carry infra-red cameras to detect heat signatures of animals. What the hell does that even do? So you see a heat signature, then what? That doesn't prove you've seen a Bigfoot, heat signatures don't show you exactly what you're looking at, it could be anything. What about sound recordings? Well, although you can have the sound analyzed, and see what range the sound exists in, that doesn't give you a whole lot either, especially when you're just a nobody who knows nothing about animals or sounds. What about EMF detectors? Can they help during a paranormal investigation? I don't see why they could. Someone theorized that ghosts consisted/absorbed electric energy from around them, and that it could be measured on an EMF detector within a specific range. Honestly though, that's JUST a theory, and what the hell do they really know about electro-magnetic fields? Electro-magnetic fields are everywhere and produced by thousands of different objects. Even if you cut all the power off in a house.

So really, there isn't anything anybody is doing right now that actually proves anything. It's just pseudo-science and a whole lot of bullshit. I think the worst offender I have ever seen is this ghost-hunting show on the Travel Channel, Ghost Adventures. It's so pathetically bad. The guys are douchebags, but furthermore, they don't even pretend to try to analyze their materials. I saw one of them record an EVP and play it back in the same room immediately afterward, shit his pants and shouted that he heard the ghost, crystal clear. He doesn't even approach it with a skeptical eye, he doesn't analyze it, he takes it as proof with no testing or anything. If that idiot were a scientist, he'd certainly be a piss-poor scientist. Real scientists set out to achieve results, are unbiased, and keep an open mind (meaning they are skeptical, because "skeptical" does not mean you are 100% a non believer, it means you need more information before you know where you stand on the subject).

So in this world, where apparently we are all too ready to accept things for fact, I implore you to do research and ask questions! Don't always believe what you see or hear, always look for realistic explanations, because nine times out of ten, it can be explained with real science.

Ouija board, will you work for me?

   Ever since I was a child I have maintained a fascination with the "supernatural." Although after years of experience, and being formally educated in mental processes, I've come to realize that many of my childhood fantasies are just that; fantasies. There will always remain a glimmer of hope within me that other worldly things can be explained scientifically as being other worldly, and not always be debunked and accredited to psychological and physiological processes. A while back a work colleague of mine had engaged in a conversation with me about the paranormal and his inability to accept it as being real. I respect his opinion, and for the most part I agree with him. Without substantial proof of there being an afterlife, or demons, or even monsters, why should I believe any of it? How long ago was it that people believed sin made crops grow dry? Or when the world was flat? There are many things that humans have believed which turned out to be absolute crap. Other than disproving various accounts of paranormal activity, what advances have been made in paranormal science? After hundreds of years, what have we got to show for it? Nothing. Perhaps it will always be nothing. I don't really have a problem with that. I feel that like religion, the belief in something supernatural is merely a solution to death anxiety. It exists only for the sake of comfort. But what if we do find something? As I had mentioned before I mostly agreed with my colleague; a part of me believes there are bigger things we have yet to understand. Just because we can't see it doesn't necessarily mean it isn't there. I may sound like I'm contradicting myself, and perhaps I am; I'll explain this thoroughly. I do not believe we can fly, or cast spells on each other, or that we can have OBEs. I believe people think they can. What I do belive in is that there are species of animals we have yet to discover. I do feel there are functions of the mind that we have yet to understand; but are either of these paranormal? A couple hundred years ago optical illusions would have been considered paranormal, but research in perception has proven otherwise. Paranomal is a word that can only be applied to something prior to its explanation; after it has been analyzed and proven to be true it would have to be accepted as a natural part of life. The word "para" means outside of, or against, and it goes against what's normal. It's ironic that so many die-hard believers wish to prove the paranormal, but in doing so it would only make it less paranormal. The world of alternative science still has its work cut out for it; I remain a skeptic of the supernatural, but my inner child continues to dream.

  The reason I wanted to discuss my feelings in regards to the paranormal is because I didn't want to break into this entry without properly introducing my viewpoint on a subject of controversy. This entry will no doubt start some eye rolling, or maybe excite enthusiasts of the supernatural. I only saw it befitting to familiarize you, the reader, with my personal stance on such matters so that you won't be surprized if I suddenly start spouting out comments that are in direct opposition to your beliefs. I'm not trying to piss people off, and I'm also not trying to change your opinions. I'm just aware that some people are overly sensitive to these things. So, I'd like to get on with it!

Photo from
-Similar to my board only fibre board.
     It was a few months ago that I found myself browsing through a small antiques shop, (practically located in the middle of nowhere). I really enjoy visiting antique or rummage shops because I'm never entirely sure of what I'll find in them. I don't usually have an idea of what it is I want to buy, I just keep an open mind. On this particular visit I happened across something that stirred warm and fuzzy feelings of nostalgia within me. It was a vintage Ouija Board made of solid wood. I literally froze infront of it, I was so awestruck. It could've easily been missed as it was piled under a mess of aged board games, but I felt drawn to it. It came without a box, but it did have it's original large wooden planchette (with three long pronged legs), and a little instruciton booklet. I don't believe I've ever seen a vintage Ouija in person before, nothing that predates the 90s. I was reluctant to buy it because I already own a Ouija Board that I seldom even see; but I wasn't sure if that was a good enough reason to pass on something that awesome. When I was younger I used to be kind of creeped out by the Ouija Board. I shared a lot of good times with friends playing with the board at parties and late night gatherings, and of course friends always highten the creepiness of the game. I admit I didn't buy it initially. I had to leave and consider it for awhile, then hurried back and scooped up the little treasure.  It turns out it's a pre-1950s ouija board by the Canada Games Company LTD. Canada Games Company LTD was established in 1923 (formerly Canada Games Company) and located in Toronto, ON. It's estimated their boards were created between the years 1915-1955. I believe mine pre-dates the 1950's due to the fact it is made entirely of hard wood, not fibre board, and the planchette is also not plastic like models created from the 50's onwards. Unfortunately I don't have the box, which is probably why I scooped the board at such a low cost. It doesn't have any noticeable damage, with the exception that the instruction booklet has some wear and tear. These boards were made to be solid and sturdy. They aren't the most beautiful boards to look at it, but I'd take quality over aesthetic any day. You can find more information about the Canada Games Company LTD, as well as other leading Ouija manufacturers, and the "father" of the Ouija himself, William Fuld, at They provide extensive information about a variety of different boards, and pictures in case you're inspired to look for an antique board yourself. What I found particularly interesting about the site is the"customer letters" that were sent to Mr. Fuld regarding his invention. These letters are humorous, and sometimes disturbing. Which begs the question, just how far do people take their beliefs?

    Thanks to the boom in parlor séances, divination games, and the first World War, many people were desperate to get in contact with their departed loved ones, and the Ouija board became the perfect conduit to the spirit world. The ability to communicate with the dead was at your finger tips, a new seemingly real way to make contact, but was it? To many it appeared that way. Anyone who has lost a loved one will admit to the shock, confusion, and desperation that they experienced shortly after the death. Your mind struggles to accept the loss, but you just can't. You need closure, you need to have them back, you need to tell them all the things you never had a chance to say. The Ouija preys on that desperation. It wasn't of course invented for that reason; in fact a quick overview of my instruction booklet speaks more to the old fashion parlor games played at Halloween or on New Years. Questions like when will I meet my love? Will they be handsome? Will I be rich? It plays out more like an 8-ball than a door to another world. In fact there is no mention of contacting spirits whatsoever. The most my booklet ventures to say is “...apparently forming the link which unites the known with the unknown; the material with the immaterial.” It's primary focus is fortune and truth telling, not ghosts. Considering you can ask the board anything it's no doubt that eventually people asked about their loved ones, and it evolved to be used in séances. Some people believed they were speaking with their loved one, and wrote to Fuld with great praise and appreciation for the device, while other more religious types would condemn the board and write spitefully to him. The most depressing letter I had come across was written by a young man, who to my recollection was desperate to win the affection of a girl and said he would kill himself if he couldn't have her. The board, from what I can remember, either instructed the boy to approach her, or give her a letter to win her love. Basically the young man took it to an extreme level of belief. The board practically dictated the way his life would unfold, and that's wholly depressing. What's more, people are still like this today.

    I have no problem with people maintaining spiritual belief, but there can be unhealthy degrees of belief, especially if they threaten your well-being. I recall a while back when I was working in a department store, I had been approached by a young woman, probably sixteen or seventeen, with her male friend. They were acting strangely. I was a weird kid, but not this weird. They were giggling and mumbling to themselves, and acting erratically. I thought perhaps they were stoned out of their minds, or just messed up. Either way, I had to do my job, so I asked if I could help them. The girl was desperate to get a hold of a Ouija board, I of course took her to toys to get it for her. They were asking questions, which I'd answer, but they wouldn't even listen to me, because they'd talk right over me. I was pretty annoyed with them. The girl was insistent on knowing if the board was “safe.” I laughed a little and said “yeah, it's produced by Parker Brothers.” She stood there pretty dumbfounded, then went on in a ramble being like “I need it to be safe, don't you think it should be safe?” Blah, blah, blah blah. She also needed to look at the board thoroughly, where I explained that it's just masonite with a sticker, and a glow-in-the-dark planchette. I had made an attempt to explain that even if the board really worked, it wouldn't be the board doing the work but the person themselves (which I thoroughly believe in), but this chick was in outer space and probably wasn't even aware of my existence. Her friend and her bought the board, giggling, and left. I don't have much patience for people, and I am surprised I had any patience for those two. It's clear they didn't even make an attempt to research about the board, they were mislead into thinking that it is a legitimate and dangerous spiritual device. Well, it's not. I don't care if Long Island Medium, or Sylvia Browne, or any other dork tells you differently; it's a toy. Do weird things happen with them? Probably. Are all apparently paranormal things fake? Until proven otherwise. I'm sure many of you have used a board and contacted a loved one and had them say things that nobody else could possibly know, but there are so many contributing factors to take into account. Like the age old question, who's pushing the planchette? We all have had the trouble-maker friend who takes it upon themselves to lead the séance, and by lead I mean pretty much make up every answer on purpose. Even in groups which you think are absolutely 100% serious believers, there's still a good chance someone is faking. Another thing to consider is the sub-conscious. We do a lot of things without thinking, or at least actively thinking. You may not realize you're pushing the planchette and answering your own questions, but on a sub-conscious level you are. Haven't you ever found the answers to be too perfect to be true? Or maybe you start saying the answer aloud before the board is finished spelling the words? Involuntary muscle spasms or twitches in the fingertips have also been suggested as a contributing factor to the movement of the planchette, although this can only really account for part of the movement, as your arms push the planchette around also; perhaps the finger spasms influence the movement of the arm. Overall, what I'm trying to get at here is that there are a plethora of explanations for why the board doesn't really work, and only one for why it does.

    Why does it work? Because you believe it does. That doesn't mean it actually works, but if you believe it does how can any of us tell you otherwise? If you have a strong enough belief in something, you can convince yourself it's real, even if it isn't. The power of the mind is an interesting thing and it begs further investigation. Maybe we are psychic to a degree, but as it stands right now we're ordinary people with ordinary powers. I truly feel that it is important to remember the Ouija board is just for entertainment purposes. It is meant to be a fun and exciting experience, not for you to gain a fake closure to a loved one's death, not for you to “know” what you'll be like in the future. The answers you look for really reside within you, not the board. You are the key to healing and overcoming the loss of someone. You are the one that makes the decisions for your future, not the board. I'll close my post off with the fourth step in my instruction booklet,

“4th – The Ouija is a great mystery, and we do not claim to give exact directions for its management, neither do we claim that at all times and under all circumstances, it will work equally well, but we do claim, that with reasonable patience and judgment it will more than satisfy your greatest expectations.”


     I realize I once again have failed to keep up with consistent posts. This blog stuff is harder than I thought. My work load has been tremendous, and I've also suffered some very hurtful losses in previous months; including one of my very best friends. As you can imagine, having that pain to deal with has made writing about dark and creepy things a lot less appealing. I'm normally fascinated by death, and the grieving process, but when it happens to me it's not so interesting. It's more of a pain in the ass. All my previous ideas surrounding death have been challenged, and now, as someone without a religious belief system, I struggle to make sense of things. Lately I just can't, and I'm more likely to nap than attempt to analyze what's happened. Sleep has been my saviour. In my spare time, which is minimal at best, I try to keep myself occupied. I have come up with a few ideas to aid me in my struggle with my losses, and I believe they're very positive and productive ideas. I don't have much time to embark upon them yet, but I will in a few months time. For now I'm attempting to rebuild my wardrobe. I've been wanting more sort of goth clothing, so I've been planning some sewing projects. I'm not really gothic to be honest, I just like certain styles, and incorporate them into my wardrobe. When I think of my style, I don't think of an exact label, I just think of me. I think that's how everybody's wardrobe should be. It shouldn't be "Goth" or "Jock" or "Prep;" it should just be you. I hate stereotypes...what's more, I hate people who enjoy embodying stereotypes...I just feel those types of people epitomize what it is to be pathetic. So in future time I'll be creating a few random garments, and possibly posting them on here.

    In other news, I've got cable again. I normally don't watch tv, but I've taken to the show Oddities. If you haven't seen it, it's about a half hour long and about obscure antiques. I love weird antiques, but am unfortunately in an area where you don't see many. I've considered traveling to NY to visit Obscura, but now that's it has a tv spot, I'm wondering just how out of control their clientele is. I've always wondered about reality tv when it concerns a business. So much of it is staged. I had read a comment left on their blog, and someone pointed out that in every episode they're wearing the same clothing. I hadn't noticed before. Was it shot in a day? The people often come in with over the top accents, and behaviour. I've known some kooky people, but much of what I see on the show seems too over the they've been paid to act that way. I seriously hate "reality" tv to the very core; the only reason I'm watching this show is to get inspired. If the antiques are legit, I know what to look for when I go shopping. If they aren't, which is sad, I at least can be inspired when creating Halloween props. I would love to get some crazy looking specimen jars. My dream is to have a house like the Addams family (the original...not the puke they made in the 90s show from Bravo). I like that eccentric museum look they had going on. If I find anything really weird, guaranteed it will be posted on here. The last thing I had found, which I'll be posting about shortly is a vintage Ouija Board. The post is long overdue. I was gonna touch base with a few beliefs surrounding the board, a history, so forth. It'll be an interesting read. So look forward to it! I will do my best to try and update, but obviously life does have to take priority, so I can't make promises.
All the best.
-Sugar Skull

ALSO: Please ignore any hidden links in my entry, this is some feature that I'm not happy to see. I don't know if this bullshit is courtesy of Blogger, or it's some kind of virus they haven't worked through, but the links are just spam. So avoid them. If I link something I will say it is a legit link.

Local Heritage Museum

   I haven't been posting as frequently as I had intended; I've been incredibly busy, and sometimes I'm not even sure why that is. During my down time I managed to visit a Heritage Museum. When I was younger I detested the thought of being dragged into a museum. There was always this stigma my peers and the media had assigned them; if it has educational value, it most certainly will be boring. Now as an adult I have a greater appreciation for things of historical significance. I admit I don't have as much of an interest in historical events as I do in artifacts. Again, I love antiques, and where else could you possibly find greater antiques than in a museum. At the museum there were many things to look at; it ranged from primitive furniture and glassware, to Native artifacts and old cars. Unfortunately much of which was donated with a lack of background information, so there was a lot of random objects with no explanation. This works well with museums that stage buildings (often referred to as "Pioneer Villages"); small cottages or workshops are uprooted and moved onsite to the museum where they are filled with artifacts related to a specific time period. With these kinds of buildings there really is no explanation required; a Victorian bed is only there because the cottage is Victorian. As I was saying, within the main building were many nameless pieces which left one to ponder; for me the most difficult one to grasp was a strange wooden cradle/catapult...I can only imagine it was created to launch unwanted to children into the next township.

   Above all the antiques I had viewed that day the one that took my breath away was an old Victorian funeral coach. Apparenlty these are highly sought after, and are therefore very expensive. Although I find it a fascinating and beautiful piece of history, I simply could not bring myself to own one even if I did have the money. It's just too much. I'm torn because I'm a huge Halloween fanatic and I think of how awesome it could look on my front lawn; I also think of all the poor souls carried to their final resting place, and that this was a symbol of great loss for so many families. To push that thought the coffin within the funeral coach, as well as the one beneath, are very small childrens' coffins. Not a happy Halloween thought. There's just a lot of respect to be had for this piece. The proof is in the ornate details; inside, although it's hard to see, the coffin has heavy black swagged curtains with silver tassles, and brass hinges and lining everywhere. In a word, it's a masterpiece. I feel it exceeds what we use today as far as taste is concerned; I can't imagine being lugged around in what I can only refer to as a black Station Wagon.

   I apologize for my crappy photographs. An Iphone is not my ideal camera. I'll probably re-visit and try to get better pictures for the future. I strongly encourage you to hit up your local museums if you haven't already. Even small towns have great history, so why not plan a day trip? I'll end with an interesting tidbit of info I picked up today; the word Hearse has multiple origins inlcuding wolf's teeth, an agricultrual tool, or the Tenebrae Hearse - a candle holder.
-Sugar Skull

The Answers

Stock photo of a Taltos teacup.

     So I have been on hiatus for nearly over a year; I had a lot of things to attend to and this blog was not a main priority for me. I am reviving the blog and I'm doing so with an amazing find, I finally have the Taltos booklet.

  One of my initial posts for the blog was about a zodiac fortune telling teacup referred to as the Taltos Cup of Fortune. I briefly described tasseography and the appearance of the cup as well as my curiosity for all the symbols printed within it. I am very happy to say I no longer need to wonder what the symbols mean, or how to use the cup. I'm also happy to tell you, that unlike the many jerks who own the Taltos cup and booklet, I'm going to share the interpretations with you.

  This will not be a word for word copy of the booklet, I will mostly summarize what it says as much of which is basic tasseography instruction which can be found anywhere.

The Taltos Fortune Telling Teacup
    Basic knowledge of tea leaf reading will come in handy, please refer to my first post for more information. When reading the Taltos cup the interpreter will look at the symbols along the rim. It does not matter if the tea leaves are on the symbols or below them; they are to be interpreted the same way. If they fall between symbols I suppose you can gauge which symbol the tea leaves are touching the most or simply link the symbols together (i.e. marriage and monetary gain, interpreted as marrying a rich man. <- This isn't from the booklet just a quick example). As I had stated before the closer the leaves are to the rim the sooner the events will take place. The seven pointed start located at the bottom of the cup is an emblem of good luck, and the ship nested within the star indicates that we will overcome our troubles through patience and calm waters lie ahead.

The Symbols
A Knife - Symbolic of separation and strife.
The Moon - Foretells a passionate love affair.
A Letter - If the leaves appearing near/on the symbol are small it will be a letter concerning money. If however the leaves are large it indicates a love letter is on the way.
A Glove - A challenge or difference of opinion is signified. A firm stand must be taken because justice and good luck are on the "inquirer's" side.
The Heart - A symbol of sincere affection. If the tea leaves near/on the symbol form a ring then a marriage might be announced.
A Key - Foretells the advent of new projects; an important change will benefit the "inquirer."
A Fan - If there are a considerable number of tea leaves on this symbol it means a social gathering at which the "inquirer" may have one or two flirtations. Care must be taken to avoid jealousy. If there are only a few tea leaves then the symbol denotes a small gathering.
A Church - A ceremonial gathering is foretold. The formations the tea leaves make can indicate what type of gathering will take place; a cross would denote a funeral, and flowers would represent a wedding.
An Apple - The apple is symbolic of a desire to better one's position. If the tea leaves form a figure of a man or woman the improvement will come through the help of someone close.
A Cage - Indicates illness and misfortune will befall the "inquirer" unless great care is taken in all things concerning family affairs as well as finances.
A Fig - An emblem of fertility
A Snake - A snake signifies treachery. A supposed friend is not to be trusted.
A Torch- A good sign; it means progress and dedication to one's work. Perhaps fame will be the reward.
The Mountains - These lofty peaks denote domestic happiness or a wonderful love affair. They also denote success concerning one's career.

The Planetary Signs
   So after you've interpreted the symbols along the rim you move onto the planetary emblems located in the bottom of the cup. There are two interpretations for each emblem, it depends on whether or not there is a thick layer of tea leaves, or a thin layer. For the sake of convenience they'll be assigned a number, a thin layer is #1, a thick layer is #2.

The Sun
1.Good luck and happiness
2.Indignity and loss of social position.

The Moon
1. Social success.
2. A loved one is not faithful.

1. Beware of quarrels.
2. A quarrel with long trusted friends.

1. A journey is foretold which will bring good luck or a meeting with a person of the opposite sex.
2. A tiresome journey will have to be made.

1. An important decision will have to be made. Be careful in the choice of male friends.
2. Legal troubles are likely.

1. Very attractive to the opposite sex, with many admirers. A long happy life.
2. People will be jealous of the "inquirer's" ability to charm. Beware of spiteful talk.

1. Something will be lost, for example money or reputation; or a death will occur.
2. A proposal will be received; not necessarily of marriage. The "inquirer" would be wise to reject this. In particular beware of the opposite sex.

The Stranger in the Teacup
   I admit I've never heard of this term before now. Apparently a long stemmed tea leaf is referred to as a "stranger." If this leaf happens to fall on a red planetary emblem it can assist the "reader" in understanding the character of the "inquirer's" husband, wife, or sweetheart.  This time we will assign the type of tea leaf numerical order; a firm tea leaf which denotes good qualities will be #1; a soft tea leaf means the character is weak and will be #2.

The Sun
1. Generous and straightforward.
2. Domineering.

The Moon
1. Very headstrong and independent.
2. Fond of drink and the opposite sex.

1. Hot tempered and very fond of sport.
2. Irritable and mean.

1. Clever and a great talker.
2. Very conceited.

1. Just cheerful and kind.
2. Selfish and self-centered.

1. Handsome, fascinating, and fond of music.
2. Careless over money, and a tendency to gamble.

1. Grave, serious, and painstaking.
2. Lazy, jealous and spiteful.

The Saucer
  Wow... I had to read this one over a few times. It's a good thing it isn't word for word because overall there's some pretty weak english in this booklet. To use the saucer the "inquirer" is to set the cup down immediately after drinking; you should be doing the tea leaf reading in a well lit room and not be lifting the cup off the saucer as this could cause the tea leaves to shift. If you intend on using the saucer in the reading do your best not to jolt the cup, it needs to remain in that position for the entire reading. The zodiac signs are printed on the saucer; the "reader" needs to be aware of the "inquirer's" astrological sign. Once that is determined the "reader" is to find that sign on the saucer; then the reader must look inside the cup and identify the planetary emblem which is farthest from the "inquirer's" astrological sign. The placement of the cup is always by chance and should never be placed in a purposeful way.
....Holy frig this is a long one...

Aquarius Jan.21-Feb.19
These people are restless, and are never really happy unless they are on the move, or amongst people. Intelligent but lack concentration therefore many of their natural gifts are wasted. Cheerful and reliable friends, but their feelings can be hurt.
Sun- When the sun rules them they make generous and faithful friends.
Moon- The moon give them a quiet nature and they enjoy an artistic side of life.
Mars- Gives them a fighting nature.
Mercury- Gives a sarcastic, embittered nature.
Jupiter- Makes them faithful.
Venus- Makes them cheerful and happy.
Saturn- Gives a covetous and envious nature.

Pisces Feb.20-Mar.20
  These people are often moody. They underestimate their qualities and suffer from an inferiority complex. They are artistic and although they enjoy the company of friends they are also content being alone.
Sun-The sun makes them fond of the opposite sex.
Moon- The moon makes them kind and thoughtful.
Mars - Makes them idle and quarrelsome.
Mercury - Makes them conceited.
Jupiter- Makes them studious and determined.
Venus- Makes them very attractive to the opposite sex.
Saturn- Makes them deceitful.

Aries Mar.21-Apr.20
  These people are usually impetuous, quick thinking and ambitious. They are great fighters and will overcome obstacles to attain their ends. They are honest and trustworthy. They tend to be abrupt in manner, which can cost them friends, but they are loyal and surround themselves with people.
Sun- Makes them generous to excess.
Moon- Makes them restless and changeable.
Mars- Gives them quick tempers.
Mercury- Makes them fascinating entertainers.
Jupiter- Makes them courteous, ideal in welfare work.
Venus- Makes them fond of the opposite sex.
Saturn- Makes them quarrelsome.

Taurus Apr.21-May 22
   Taureans are typically pleasure loving and are not very hard working. They are fond of money. They dislike change as they are not very adaptable. They prefer close friends and have strong family ties.
Sun-Makes them opinionated.
Moon- Gives them a cheerful disposition and makes them fond of the opposite sex.
Mars- Makes them hard and cool.
Mercury- Makes them pleasure seeking and idle.
Jupiter- Gives them a generous disposition.
Venus- Gives them fascinating and good company.
Saturn- Makes them stupid, narrow minded, and selfish.

Gemini May 23-Jun.21
   These people have a dual nature which is difficult to understand. They hate to make decisions because they hesitate and therefore miss opportunities. They have sparkling personalities, are amusing, are often surrounded by friends so they become the center of attention.
Sun- Makes them friendly and sociable.
Moon- Makes the ingenious and crafty.
Mars- Makes them generous and dedicated.
Mercury- Makes them very attractive and intelligent.
Jupiter- Makes them frank and very good in business dealings.
Venus- Gives them a mild disposition and makes them greatly loved by all their friends.
Saturn- Makes them fond of the good things in life.

Cancer Jun.22-July 22
   These people are extremely sensitive and very moody. They are protective of the people they love, often making them possessive. They have great endurance, are goal oriented, and show their stubbornness.
Sun- Makes them generous and fond of drinking.
Moon- Makes them kind and thoughtful.
Mars- Makes them revengeful and jealous.
Mercury- Makes them fickle, uncertain, and restless.
Jupiter- Makes them obliging and polite.
Venus- Gives a loving disposition, but tends also to make them lazy.
Saturn- Makes them vivacious and fascinating to the opposite sex.

Leo July 23-Aug.22
   These people are great fighters and usually achieve success. They have abilities of an exceptionally high order. They have tenacity and purpose. Leos are amongst the most famous. Women are usually very talented and make marvelous wives and mothers.
Sun- Makes them honest and faithful.
Moon- Makes them ambitious.
Mars- Makes them outstanding in the world of sport.
Mercury- Makes them hasty and abrupt in manner.
Jupiter- Makes them noble.
Venus- Makes them passionate.
Saturn- Makes them conceited and boastful.

Virgo Aug.23-Sept.22
   These people are very persevering and are usually hard working. They are critical of people and are very hard and unemotional. They usually make excellent husbands or wives. Children are always well cared for by Virgo parents.
Sun- Makes them scientific.
Moon- Makes them selfish.
Mars- Makes them active and keen.
Mercury- Makes them good in public life.
Jupiter- Makes them self-indulgent.
Venus- Makes them fond of music and the arts.
Saturn- Makes the studious.

Libra Sept.23-Oct.22
  These people are usually easy going, and when decisions need to be made they try to steer a middle course. They are natural home-makers and can settle down anywhere. They are affectionate and adaptable. There is always an atmosphere of peace and happiness in their homes.
Sun- Makes them extravagant.
Moon- Makes them lovers of society.
Mars- Makes them quick tempered.
Mercury- Makes them ingenious and crafty.
Jupiter- Gives them a generous disposition.
Venus- Makes them loving and respected by all.
Saturn- Makes them proud and conceited.

Scorpio Oct.23-Nov.21
   These people are steady and have great presence of mind. They never seem to lose their nerve, even under great pressure. There are many doctors and nurses born under this sign. They have fine imaginations and make good scholars.
Sun- Makes them ambitious.
Moon- Urges them to become involved with the opposite sex.
Mars- Gives them great power.
Mercury- Gives them a strong will.
Jupiter- Makes them active.
Venus- Makes them fond of drink.
Saturn- Makes them seek trouble and quarrels.

Sagittarius Nov.22-Dec.22
   These people are fond of money and usually spend it freely in their youth; they become more careful in middle age. They marry late and seem to have small families. They are usually fond of sport and always play to win. If they lose however they are "good sports" and seem to have plenty of friends. The women of this sign are very affectionate and make good wives.
Sun- Makes you fond of sport.
Moon- Makes them passionate and loving.
Mars- Makes them hasty and abrupt in manner.
Mercury- Makes them impetuous.
Jupiter- Makes them noble and straightforward.
Venus- Makes them conceited and given to showing off.
Saturn- Makes them reserved.

Capricorn Dec.23-Jan.20
   These people are very stubborn and tenacious. They are intellectual and unmoved by flattery. They tend to be painstaking and methodical. They attain the goals they set. They are fond of material things.
Sun-Makes them just and good tempered.
Mon- Makes them lazy.
Mars- Makes them courageous.
Mercury- Makes the peevish.
Jupiter- Makes them austere.
Venus- Gives them a happy disposition.
Saturn- Makes them generous.

    So that's all of it! My hands are numb now so I think I'm done. I hope this helps someone out because I know I was pretty frustrated without the booklet. Enjoy your Taltos teacup!
-Sugar Skull

UPDATE: I no longer really use this blog at all anymore, I got married, bought a house, life got busy. I'm super happy to hear that so many of you enjoy your cups and that you appreciate the transcript of the booklet! Your comments may not get published for months at a time but I do see and appreciate that you leave them! Thank you for your kind words and all the best!

Sweet dreams of tea.

___There are some treasures in this world that only a seldom few are fortunate enough to own. I am not one of those people. Today I will show pictures of some amazing teacups that I will probably never see in person, it pains me to do so...just looking at them leaves me with this ever present desire to stab myself. So let's just get this over with...

The Aynsley Nelros Cup of Fortune
___Aynsley is a reputable English manufacturer of quality bone china, the company was founded by John Aynsley in Staffordshire, 1775. This is an outstanding piece named the "Nelros Cup of Fortune." This teacup is said to be from 1904 however I'm not one hundred percent sure the one I've shown is that old; there are other Nelros cups from the 1920s and I'm uncertain if there is a difference in appearance. Like most fortune telling teacups this one comes with a fancy little instruction booklet titled "Would'st learn thy future with thy tea?... This magic cup will show it thee." this also appears on the outside of the teacup. They go up for auction starting at a about a hundred dollars or so.
___I like the simplicity of this teacup; the combination of red, black and white is very pleasing to me (if you haven't noticed already...). Perhaps the designer of the Taltos teacup was inspired by the Nelros Cup of Fortune. As you can see the interior of the cup has symbols along the rim, there's a similar star shape in the bottom surrounded by planetary emblems, and a nautical symbol in the center of the cup (this time it is an anchor instead of a ship). The saucer also depicts astrological signs much like the Taltos saucer features.

The Paragon Fortune Telling Teacup
___Paragon is another recognisable English producer of quality china, it was founded by Herbert Aynsley (the great grandson of John Aynsley) and Hugh Irving in 1897. This teacup is from the 1930s and usually is seen in either blue or pink. Along the rim of the interior it reads "Many curious things I see when telling fortunes in your tea." I'm sure there must be a book to accompany this teacup however I have yet to see a copy of one available online. A variety of symbols are scattered about the inside of the cup, these are usually coloured fuchsia but the one pictured appears to be a reddish-brown colour.

___I find the appearance of the symbols in this cup to be quite charming; it almost feels as though a Victorian artist picked up a teacup and started sketching romantic doodles inside it. The one symbol that particularly stands out in my mind is the skull, it piqued my interest. I truly desire this cup. I nearly died when I found it up for auction at ten dollars a few weeks ago, but as I suspected the price climbed to about fifty or sixty dollars which is over my current budget (I have some big financial obligations to attend to XP). From what I've seen it's not unheard of for these cups to sell anywhere from eighty to two hundred dollars (usually USD).
The Alfred Meakin Cup of Knowledge
Alfred Meakin Ltd began producing china in 1875. This Cup of Knowledge dates back to 1924 and has a distinct look that separates it from the aforementioned fortune teacups, it depicts playing cards instead of symbols. Here Cartomancy has joined forces with Tasseography to provide the reader with an enlightening divinatory experience. In this instance you would use the location of the tea leaves in relation to the cards to determine what the future could hold.

___To be honest I'm not even sure I can be so bold as to use the word Tasseography when describing this teacup, it's more Cartomancy than anything else. Alfred Meakin is not the only company to produce fortune telling teacups with the use of playing card symbols, there are many other makes, however I felt this one was the most attractive. It probably comes with a booklet for interpretations but in one such example I've seen a teacup with the meanings printed on the saucer (very convenient if you buy the cup without the booklet). In auction this generally starts at seventy five dollars.

Honorable Mentions
___I have some teacups I'd like to share that either didn't make my favorite list, or I did not have a sufficient amount information to work with.

The Royal Doulton Swastika
___I'm sure you're already aware of Royal Doulton's popularity, particularly for their whimsical china figurines, but can you believe they produced a tasseography teacup with a swastika in the bottom of it? Before Hitler turned the symbol into a pile of ungodly puke it was recognized as symbol of good fortune, which gives us a decent indication of just how old this one is. I couldn't find much information on this teacup, I happened across it when I was on someone else's blog(linked in sources at the bottom of the entry). I don't know if it's the stigma attached to the swastika or the fact it looks drawn on in pencil that puts me off; I'm not a huge fan of this teacup and have no urge to run out and find one.

Cannonsburg Pottery Chinese Cup of Knowledge___This one also came off of the same blog as the Royal Doulton however I have seen it a few times already. I fancy it because it's Asian inspired and the symbols are colourful. It's the same basic idea as the Paragon and the Aynsley Cup of Fortune.
Cup of the Unknown
___This cup is freaking amazing! It's my love of Halloween and fortune telling together!!!! But I know shit about it! I found this while searching Google for Halloween teacups, the auction has ended and I'm pretty sure the seller knew next to nothing about it either. The saucer has North, East, South and West printed on it, inside are symbols synonymous with Halloween. It doesn't appear to be very old, I figure the oldest I'd go is the seventies. I wish I could find it for myself, only in dreams I suppose.

___There are way more teacups for Tasseography than I have featured here today, too many to list. For your curiosity I've included a picture of all different kinds, click here. I'd like to add that many of these teacups have probably been reproduced and since I'm not an antiques appraiser I probably couldn't spot a fake if it were presented to me. Please don't go off and blow your money on anything, always do your research first, use your own discretion.
-Sugar Skull

***Please understand that none of the photographs shown are that of my own, unless I state otherwise (or it's something I obviously own) I pretty much find them via google, auctions, blogs. If any of these photos belong to you I apologize, I'm using them purely for reference and take no credit for them.***

Sources: Royal Doulton Swastika, Cannonsburg Pottery; Octoberfarm.

Crystal balls, tarot cards, and teacups?

___Traditionally when you think about fortune telling a teacup isn't the first thing that comes to mind. I assume most of us picture a swindling haggard old gypsy woman hovering over a luminous little ball of crystal, but this is only a stereotype and it lends no credibility to the true art of divination and the various forms of fortune telling available to us. In this day and age anyone can be a fortune teller...well sort of. I’m not saying you can predict anything that’s legitimate; I’m just saying you can try...and trust me, there are plenty of things for you try. For instance you might be good at Cartomancy, the art of card reading; all you really need is to acquire a simple deck of cards and have access to the definitions (found easily online). Or you could try your hand at palmistry (no pun intended). Why not Tasseography? Never heard of it before? Well that’s what this entry is all about...

___Tasseography is the art of tea leaf reading. In order to practice this all that is required is some loose leaf tea and a teacup to put it in. The subject who wishes to have their fortune told is to drink from the cup and leave a small amount of tea within the bottom (enough so that the bottom is covered), they should then tilt the cup slightly and turn it clockwise three times. After this is completed they can set the cup down and the interpretations can begin. Someone else can read the cup or the subject alone can do so, it’s all personal preference. The reader looks carefully at the tea leaf formations and determines what each resembles. If the formations are far from the rim then these will be predictions for the distant future, if they appear close to the rim then these events should be interpreted as occurring very soon. There are many sites online as well as books available on tea leaf reading that give definitions for nearly any symbol you can imagine, however I’ve found that these definitions can vary substantially so you might try making your own. For example you could ask yourself what a dog symbolizes to you; man’s best friend? or an ill omen? Just remember that this is all for entertainment purposes and not to be taken seriously.

___Now that I’ve given a brief introduction to Tasseography I’d like to touch base with what I really wanted to talk about, my new teacup. I’m fortunate enough to have stumbled upon this lovely little work of art known as a Taltos cup. They were made sometime around the seventies to the eighties and initially were a part of a giveaway contest but were apparently mass produced shortly thereafter. They come under three different makes, I have a Jon Anton. I paid four bucks for this bad mother. They’re not that hard to come by either; after acquiring mine I decided to search for another and have found two more in my city only within two weeks. It’s unfortunate though that many individuals will gouge you on these cups. They’re all over Ebay and usually sell for like ten dollars, if at all, but I’ve seen some pretty greasy individuals claiming that they’re super rare and charging right up the ass for them (one guy was asking eighty?!). If you can find one at a reasonable price then I suggest getting it. I don’t think they will appreciate in value by much but they are quite charming and are a must have for the teacup collector.

___As you’ve probably noticed both the teacup and the saucer look unusual; they’re adorned with symbols depicting the astrological signs, planetary emblems, and just some random stuff. This cup is tea leaf reading made easy, or it would be if I had the booklet that accompanies it. With this teacup (and a few others that are similar in design) you don’t need to interpret what the clumps of tea leaves look like; you just need the definition for whichever symbol they are closest to. Inside the cup along the rim are symbols that are very common in Tasseography; I was able to find most definitions online...however I’m still uncertain as to how one would use the astrological symbols. Assuming it’s similar to using a natal chart I get the impression each planet is a house and it affects whatever symbols fall inside it, but why is there a ship dead center in the bottom?? A ship symbolizes a worthwhile journey, but it doesn’t look too appealing while it’s sunken beneath my tea... I’ve noticed when I set the teacup down the handle can point to whatever zodiac sign is on the saucer beneath it, so I’m guessing that’s how the saucer is used during a reading. Hopefully one day someone can explain to me how to use the Taltos cup as the instruction booklet intended. I don’t drink from it often for fear of breaking it; I’m still in search of another that’s affordable and in good condition so I can lock one up and use the other (I’m the kind of person who takes their action figures out of the box, so yes I brave drinking from antique and collectible teacups). If you were wondering what the teacup reads it says “Perchance this cup will show it thee. Woulds’t thy fortune like to see?” I’ve seen the reverse of this, so I’m not positive which way it should be read. The way it’s been printed on the teacup seems ass backwards, but maybe it’s just me.

___Overall I’m quite satisfied with my antique shop find. The next time someone mentions fortune telling perhaps you’ll picture my little teacup, and maybe you could entertain your friends by reading their tea leaves.
-Sugar Skull