The Cracker Barrel Psychic

Lots of restaurants used to have those wood puzzle games, where you’d shuffle golf tees around. You would hop tees into unoccupied spots and remove one each time. If you ended up with just one in the top spot, it proved you were the Ultimate Genius or whatever. The only place I have seen them in the last decade is in Cracker Barrels.

Today’s patent is for a “psychic device” that would have fit right in among those puzzle games:

A top-down view of a board with a large number of holes drilled into it, each labeled with a number a letter, or a word.
USP 1,551,352, FIG. 1

That’s the board, and then of course you need your traversing element A’:

A golf tee.
USP 1,551,352, FIG. 2

The OCR of the patent is uncommonly bad, but the scanned version is perfectly legible. The prescribed method of use is to grasp the traversing element in your hand and hold it over the board for ten minutes. At that point, the “force” will take over and start moving the golf tee around, until it comes to rest in one of the holes. Each of the numbered holes has a particular fortune. Here is a lightly curated list of examples:

8. You will marry money. Polish up your brain.

17. You will never travel good in double harness.

23. Study for spirit photography.

49. Don’t bear on the pencil so hard.

57. Get a trumpet.

83. I don’t care for your neighbors. Change to more friendly atmosphere.

104. A mechanic. You love to tinker with machinery. Wheels.

106. Don’t dance so much, it is bad for your health.

150. You will be ridiculed for having the courage of your convictions. But let the good work go on.

Then you have your typical alphabet and yes/no answers as well. Apparently when you hit the “GOOD NIGHT” hole, you are supposed to shelve the thing. The patent doesn’t suggest that is because the spirits are cranky and need a nap, but I think it’s pretty clear. That’s how I feel, anyway, when puny mortals pester me with endless questions.

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