The practice of fortune telling, still popular today, grew out of beliefs in Renaissance magic and folklore. There are many ways to tell a fortune. Tarot card decks appeared as early as the 1400s; gaming was their first purpose. Soon, however, they became associated more with magic and mysticism, and eventually, fortune telling. Standard card decks evolved early too, and while their main purpose has always been gaming, they too are used for fortune telling. Perhaps the countless possibilities of cards in a shuffled deck led to this. Aware of the public fascination for learning about the future, European and American game manufacturers were quick to produce special fortune-telling card games. These were common in the late 19th century and can still be found today.
The J. Ottman Lithography Company's version of fortune-telling cards is rather unique. A mirror card placed in the center, representing the person whose fortune is being told. Other cards are placed around it in specific areas. An Instruction sheet included but the rules are fairly vague, however "by practice a person may become quite expert." Perhaps these give a clue as to the real nature of fortune telling!