Fortune Teller (was Cootie catcher)

Katie Schack katie at LING.LING.ROCHESTER.EDU
Mon Aug 7 16:28:40 UTC 2000

In Southern Minnesota in the '80s, the term "cootie catcher" was used,
although the actual use of the object was usually much more similar to
telling fortunes than to catching cooties.  I don't recall the term
"fortune teller" ever being used to describe it.  I'm wondering if there
may have been another name as well, but if so I don't remember what it


On Mon, 7 Aug 2000, Jessie Emerson wrote:

> The device, if we are talking about the same thing, in the '70s in North
> Alabama was also "fortune teller" and had nothing to do with catching
> cooties.  A very intricate series of physical descriptions and professions
> (for the potential mate--a very sexist game) was written on the segments of
> the fortune teller, and you chose numbers (written on the outer segments) to
> determine what segment you landed on.
> Jessie Emerson
> ---
> Johanna wrote:
> >Oddly enough, though I remember these devices perfectly from the mid 1980s
> on, and I do remember them being called cootie catchers, I don't remember
> them being used to catch cooties.  We used them mainly to tell fortunes, and
> we might have snapped at each other with them, but I think the snapping was
> just a secondary use and not necessarily intended to catch vermin.  Could
> the cootie catching have lessened and using them to tell fortunes increased
> with time, or was my school an anomaly?

More information about the Ads-l mailing list