As often happens, I came across this numerological technique while looking for something else. It was in a book titled, A Handbook of Cartomancy: Fortune-Telling and Occult Divination by someone with the obvious pseudonym Grand Orient, published in 1891. In the chapter titled “To Read a Person’s Character by Means of Cabalistic Calculations” it outlined a system of discerning a person’s character by a numerological breakdown of their name. Grand Orient, laying it on thick, said, “This art is sometimes said to have been invented by the sage Pythagoras, who held that…” etc. I looked at the alpha-numeric table below the author’s discourse on its origins. It certainly wasn’t either the Pythagorean or Chaldean system. I knew I’d seen that alpha-numeric system somewhere. A quick check with Wikipedia confirmed it for me—that alpha numeric table was adapted for the Western alphabet from the Hebrew form of Gematria.