Paste it in the head!


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Hurkey the Bone Man

I’ve never had my fortune told. I am a skeptical believer—I wish I didn’t believe that people have the ability to look into the future, cause that stuff is so easy to dismiss as hippie-dippy bullshit, but I do think that there are some people who have a deeper connection with the universe than the rest of us.

I live a life that is decidedly terrestrial. I’m a Taurus, an earth sign, and I have my feet planted pretty firmly on the ground. I’m creative but not outlandishly so, and my creativity tends toward the practical—I like knitting, spinning, and sewing cause I can make useful things, and I like photography because it is the process of reinterpreting reality. I want to be a librarian, for the love of god. Does it get any more practical than that?

Despite my deep-seated practicality, however, I’ve always had a fascination with the other side of things, the side that firmly embraces the idea that it is possible for humans to have deeper connections than we like to admit. One thing I’ve always felt was ironic is that it’s ok for religious people to fervently believe in things and beings they can’t see, whose existence they cannot prove save for weeping statues and outbursts in unfamiliar tongues, but it’s not ok to believe in others’ ability to predict the future. As I said, I’ve never had my fortune told and New Orleans, being the home of voodoo and the supernatural, seemed like the place to change that.

Last night, Lilly and I were roaming around the French Quarter and in Jackson Square, I saw a man who told people’s fortunes using bones; he was a bone reader. After dinner, we paid him a visit.

Hurkey is an old black man with dreadlocks turning white around his temples. He reads your interest and says, “Sit down, blondie.” He has a calm, soothing voice and a light touch. He asks you to hold the bag of bones while he puts oil on his hands. When he is done, he tells you to empty out all of the bones—all of them now, make sure you don’t miss a single one—onto the table. When you have done so, he takes your hands in his and quickly runs his fingers over yours. You are nervous and feel a little bit silly; out of the corner of your eye you can see other tourists gathered in flocks, watching you, and one even takes your picture as you and Hurkey sit, hands joined, and he tells you about yourself. He says, “Many people are jealous of you, baby. Men find you attractive but intimidating. You ever been told that, child?” You murmur, yeah, you’ve been told that before, but wonder if he’s trying to flatter you. Still holding your hands, eyes closed, he tells you that you should have been a twin and when you say there are no twins in your family, he says that you and your grandmother—your paternal grandmother, at which you feel a little bit proud, cause she was elegant and fascinating, and a bit relieved, cause your other grandmother is in the grip of Alzheimer’s and you don’t like to focus on that—share the same spirit. This, too, may be lip service, but you love it because you don’t look like anyone in your family except her, which you didn’t even realize because the one photo you’d ever seen didn’t look like you at all but then you found a different one and it was like looking at a mirror. Hurkey tells you that you will go far in life, you will grow into a conservative woman (which you hope doesn’t mean politically), you have been hurt in the past and are trying to recover. You are like a winged insect trapped in a lidded jar, beating your wings against the sides and the top, trying to escape and getting hurt in the process. When someone lifts the lid, you are afraid to fly up and away because in your experience, flying up only means pain. All you have to do is look up and realize that the future is wide open and you will be able to fly away and be free. In his baritone, he tells you that you need to start looking up. As he says so, he opens his eyes and releases your hands. Shaken, you sit there and thank him. As you and your friend walk away, he calls after you, “And baby, you got yourself a fine walk. Listen to Hurkey the Bone Man, baby. You gonna go far.”


  • Yes, psychics. Despite some skepticism, I have to say I believe in it. I spent two hours getting my aura and tarot cards read over Christmas and was told various specific things that were or have become true.

    That's cool about you and your grandmother. However, I have to say that "you have been hurt in the past and are trying to recover" and "you will go far in life", while probably true, are probably pretty safe bets for him.

    I am glad you got your fortune told. I think that part of the reason religion is acceptable and psychics are not is that religious belief is ultimately a free choice whereas people may feel threatened by the lack of freedom associated with Fortune. Although, I think that psychics are reading who you are and make predictions from there. So it ultimately comes back to you. Yes, I refuse to give up my freedom.

    By Anonymous Lorien, at 1:40 PM  

  • I'm on the fence about the whole fortune thing... I would totally belive it, but see I'd want more than what Hurkey gave. I'd want answers... but hey I guess meeting (or falling in love with a stranger) and knowing interworkings of who they are is a rare thing.

    By Blogger Aundra, at 9:29 PM  

  • You know you should write books, right?

    By Blogger Kristen, at 2:08 PM  

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