Consult the Oracle: A Victorian Guide to Folklore and Fortune Telling

Written by Gabriel Nostradamus
Review by Mary F. Burns

This handy little compendium of Victorian-era superstitions and folklore is a fun resource if you need research for this time period, or if you just want to be amused by late 19th century superstitions. Examples: “A strange dog following you is a sign of good luck.”; “Those who go to sleep in a bean-field… have awful dreams and often go crazy.”; “Peacocks’ feathers in a house are unlucky, as they form the emblem of an evil eye.” Approximately 60% of the superstitions have to do with courtship and marriage—obviously a very important topic to young Victorian ladies, presumably the main audience for this book! Chapters include “Everyday Superstitions”; “What we may Learn from Animals”; “Charms and Spells”; “Understanding the Supernatural”; “Beings from Other Worlds”; “What we may Learn from the Body”; and “The Interpretation of Dreams.” This is not a scholarly work; it is an abridged reprint of an actual book published in 1899, so there are no references or explanations. Just have fun!