Any discussion of single-tool divination methods would be incomplete without a discussion of the paper fortune teller, the divination tool of choice in schoolyards all over the world. This method of divination has its roots in origami, the Japanese art of paper-folding, which started in 17th century Japan. The paper fortune-teller, also known by the names ‘cootie-catcher’, ‘chatterbox’, ‘salt cellar’ or ‘whirlybird’, first appeared in the English-speaking world in a 1928 book titled, Fun With Paper-Folding by Murray and Rigney (Fleming H. Revell Co., p. 10) under the name ‘salt cellar’ because the finished design, when place on a tabletop with the four top points down, then formed four pockets which could hold salt. How it eventually became a fortune-telling device, no one knows, but by the mid-20th century, it was employed by schoolchildren as a way of passing the time at recess.
Largely relegated to the realm of childhood, the paper fortune-teller can be employed as a convenient and direct means of divination. All it requires is a sheet of paper and knowledge of the steps involved in its construction. For the creative and enterprising individual, a whole variety of paper fortune-tellers can be devised, or found on the Internet, to answer an array of questions. Indeed you probably should construct your own, if you want its answers to be of any use to you, because the paper fortune teller’s design only has space for eight answers.