Massachusetts Law About Fortune Tellers
- MGL c.140, s.185I Fortune tellers licensing. Requires one year residence in city or town where license is granted.
- MGL c.266-75 Obtaining property by trick. Prohibits fraudulently taking money by "pretended fortune telling".
Argello v. City of Lincoln, 143 F3d 1152 (1998). This case if from Nebraska, but is interesting for its reasoning in concluding that fortunetelling is protected under the First Amendment. "If the citizens of Lincoln wish to have their fortunes told, or to believe in palm-reading or phrenology, they are free to do so under our system of government, and to patronize establishments or "professionals" who purport to be versed in such arts. Government is not free to declare certain beliefs — for example, that someone can see into the future — forbidden. Citizens are at liberty to believe that the earth is flat, that magic is real, and that some people are prophets.".
Talamo v. Providence Board of Selectmen, Civ. Action No. 83-1195-MA, US Dist. Ct., Mass., 1983. Federal District Court held that law requiring one-year residence in order to obtain a fortune teller license violates the Equal Protection Clause.
Deregulating Prognostication, MassInc, 2000. "State law requires all fortune tellers to be licensed by local authorities. But rather than certifying their clairvoyance (or even their acting abilities), would-be psychics must instead prove they have lived for at least one year in the towns where they plan to start their businesses."