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Fortune-tellers allegedly con clients by Googling the dead

Two of Romania's renowned fortune-tellers are exposed as alleged cons. Instead of connecting to the dead through a special hotline, they reportedly Googled their customers, checked their social networks, and spied on them.

Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I know that many people rely on the fine and perceptive foresight of fortune-tellers.

I am sure that you, like me, have been victim to someone telling you that their fortune-teller has told them to steer clear of you, because the heavens say so.

So I am lifted to a higher plane on hearing that two fortune-tellers in Romania have been exposed as being allegedly fraudulent of spirit.

For, instead of having a special psychic connection with the dead, they reportedly used their Wi-Fi connection to Google their customers and their loved, but dead, ones.

They also reportedly trawled their customers' social networks and availed themselves of electronic surveillance to get a fuller picture of those who would pass them large sums for their insight.

They did, it seems, put the "science into prescience."

The Austrian Times tells me that two women ages 26 and 32 -- whom the paper describes, perhaps uncharitably, as "witches" -- allegedly entranced their clients with their celestial (and, indeed, terrestrial) knowledge.

Some customers, amazed at the fortune-tellers' perspicacity, were persuaded to do very odd things.

One customer was allegedly told that she should unburden herself of her troubles by unburdening herself of her money.

She was told to go to a lake and toss the cash into it. However, just as she got there, a devil-like figure emerged from the lake. Panicked, she threw the money in.

Was this truly a Romanian devil? Or even a Tasmanian devil? Well, the police allege that it was merely an accomplice of the fortune-tellers in question.

Still, how could the customer have known? She allegedly fled in fright.

The police, though, said that they finally caught the women when they allegedly tried to bribe a local prosecutor. What they hadn't foreseen is that he himself was under investigation.

Some might find it, well, celestially amusing, that he was under electronic surveillance.

The police seem to have been tickled by the irony, as the Austrian Times quotes them as having said of the attempt to bribe the prosecutor: "If they had been any good, they would have known not to try."

As often with posts on Technically Incorrect, there is a moral: those who predict the future are destined to be disappointed by it.