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Feminism and Fortune Telling: The Women of the Lower East Side

March 23rd , 4:00pm 5:30pm

book cover mortimer and the witches

Long before psychic infomercials and hotlines became all-the-rage, individuals seeking love advice or answers to life’s questions went to visit working-class fortune tellers in New York’s Lower East Side. In 1857, humor writer Mortimer Thomson (1832–1875), using the pseudonym Q. K. Philander Doesticks, published a series of exposes in which he  labeled these women “witches,” leading to arrests and public intrigue.

Price: $5, free for members.

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In-Person Event
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Join Marie Carter, author of the upcoming book, Mortimer and the Witches: A History of Nineteenth-Century Fortune Tellers, as she delves into the complex lives of these fortune tellers. She’ll highlight the autonomy and appeal the profession offered to immigrant women who sought guidance or entertainment in a new country. The talk will be followed by a visit to Thomson’s final resting place.

Marie Carter is a Scottish-born writer and tour guide based in New York City for the past twenty-three years. She is a licensed tour guide and researcher with Boroughs of the Dead.

Please note that if only 1 ticket shows as available during the purchase process that is the last ticket available.

Before Purchasing Your Ticket, Please Note:

  • Attendees must follow ALL instructions and guidance from Cemetery staff and ambassadors.
  • Tickets: There is no need to print tickets! Attendees will be checked in by name.
  • Where To Go: Check-in takes place at the Modern Chapel near the Main Entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street (500 25th Street).
  • For Your Safety: We strongly encourage attendees to wear suitable footwear. The route includes several steep hills, some stairs, as well as grassy and uneven terrain. While the Modern Chapel is ADA compliant and seating is available, the route to Mortimer Thomson’s grave is not ADA compliant and there is no place to sit down.
  • Refunds and exchanges: Ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds unless the tour is canceled. If a rain date is scheduled, tickets will be honored only on that date.
  • Inclement Weather Policy: We monitor the weather throughout the day for the best chance of proceeding with the tour, and will not make a final decision until at least 3 hours before the start of the tour. Cancellations will be announced via Eventbrite email blasts, so check your email and spam folders.
  • Feeling Sick? Stay home if you are feeling sick or running a fever.