Every once and a while the same headline will creeps into the news “Challenge to any Psychic to Prove their Powers.” The first such challenge was actually made by Harry Houdini in 1925 who offered any psychic $50,000 dollars to prove their powers under test conditions. Following his death, his wife offered $10,000 to any psychic or layperson who could make contact with Harry. Neither prize was collected.
Fast forward now to 2007, a well-known Las Vegas illusionist challenges Uri Gellar, famous for bending spoons with his mind, and paranormalist Jim Callahan to read the contents of envelopes he prepared. Both men declined. The illusionist recently renewed his offer of 1 million to any psychic who could prove their powers. Another outspoken skeptic also offered 1 million but to mediums James Van Praagh and Allison DuBois to prove their abilities. No psychic has ever chosen to participate in any of the challenges. One astrologer, however, subjected herself to testing, not for monetary gain, but to defend herself in court. She won.
Astrologer Evangeline Adams (1874 – 1932) worked as a secretary when she began studying astrology. Throughout her eight years of study, Adams worked with two doctors. Her first instructor, Dr. Herbert Smith, diagnosed ailments using homeopathic techniques and astrology. Another physician also used astrology but to treat his patients for whom he cared in an insane asylum. Adams developed a professional astrological consulting business and, following her own chart, moved to New York City on her 31st birthday.
Adams found a home at the Windsor Hotel upon her arrival in the city, and promptly notified the landlord that the hotel was in imminent danger. The next day Evangeline Adams prophecy made the front page when the Windsor Hotel caught fire. The headline made Adams instantly famous. Despite her accuracy, Adams was arrested for fortune telling twice in New York City, first in 1908 and the second time in 1914. She chose not to fight the 1908 charges, the second charges, however, made Adams determined to satisfactorily prove herself and have the charges dropped.
Evangeline Adams defended the charges by performing an astrological reading for the judge, describing the character of his son by his birthdate. The reading resulted in the charges being dismissed and the judge issuing this statement, Miss Adams “had raised astrology to the dignity of an exact science.”
Charges of fortune telling were never made against Adams again, however, she continued to endure criticism. A book collaboration between Adams and Aleister Crowley, who were rumored to be having an affair, appeared to have ended badly, when Crowley published an attack on her skills and business methods. Adams authored books on astrology, but none were published until after her marriage at age 50 to promoter George E Jordan, Jr. who was 20 years her junior.
Evangeline Adams continued to have a successful career until her death and was credited with more prophecies. In 1929, thousands followed Adams’ advice in her astrological newsletter to not invest in stocks on what turned out to be the eve of the Stock Market Crash. Adams also predicted the death of King Edward VII and that the reign of his successor George V would be bloody. Her cliental included several well-known names such as J.P. Morgan, Charles Swab, Tallulah Bankhead, and Joseph Campbell.