Thursday, 17 July 2008


Bibliomancy is the art of predicting the future using books. A simple method is to take down a book from the bookshelf, open it to a random page, put your finger down at random on the page, and read whatever sentence you've landed on. And that's your guide to the future. Some people swear by using the Bible for this, presumably hoping to be guided by the word of God; other people will point out that since the Bible prohibits witchcraft (but then, the Bible prohibits just about everything somewhere in its meanderings; and what reasonable person takes a 2000-year old prescription for living in the middle east seriously in modern-day Europe?) using it this way is probably blasphemous. Not that that stops the Bible-thumpers; they have circular logic to protect them from such paradoxes.

Of course, you have to close your eyes while opening the book and stabbing at the page with your finger, otherwise you're cheating, and may (perhaps subconsciously) pick a propitious sentence for yourself. This proved inauspicious for my great-uncle Jeff however, who opened his favoured book (Wisden's; he swore that cricket was the Great Solution to the scheme of things) and put his finger down on a scorpion that scuttled across the page at just the wrong moment. I prefer to keep my eyes open, but take my spectacles off, so that I can identify poisonous creatures with wicked intent. Like my ex-wife.

I did it this morning, curious as to what the day had in store for me. My sentence was:
'The caroticotympanic branch is small; it enters the tympanic cavity through a foramen in the wall of the carotid canal, and anastomoses with the anterior tympanic branch of the maxillary artery, and with the stylomastoid artery.'
I will confess to being mystified by this pronouncement and ended up asking the butler for his opinion. When he suggested that I use a book other than Gray's Anatomy for my bibliomancy I threw it at his head and knocked him unconscious for twenty-three minutes.
As it turned out though, it was oddly prescient, but my psychotherapist has forbidden me to try remembering any of the events at lunchtime so I'm not really able to tell you about it.

I shall continue my investigations into this art, and let you know the outcome.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

excellent points and the details are more precise than somewhere else, thanks.

- Murk