So, just how many times did H.H. Holmes have his palm read, anyway? Annie Londonderry, a famous bicyclist who became a reporter for the New York World, read his palm while interviewing him in his cell (the full interview is in the expanded Murder Castle ebook) , and even the generally respectable medical report on his body published in the Journal of the American Medical Association spends a lot of time examining the bumps and ridges of his skull (though the doctor did take time to mention that his sexual organs were “unusually small.”)
In the process of looking for new sources for my Abraham Lincoln ghostlore book, I was flipping through the 1907 volume entitled The Escape and Suicide of John Wilkes Booth, which puts for the proposition that Booth actually died in 1903 by suicide, not in a barn of a gunshot wound in 1865. The body of the guy said to be Booth was embalmed so well as to be mummified (as was Lincoln’s), and became a carnival attraction for a while. The book contained a lengthy analysis of the corpse’s palm, read while it was still the morgue by one Bentley Sage.
Looking up Bentley Sage was sort of a rabbit hole – the guy is described as awfully famous in the book, but most articles about him in newspapers are really just classified ads that he took out himself.
His price for readings goes gradually down from 1901 to 1907 (from three bucks to fifty cents), but he never seems to have made much hay out of reading “Booth’s” palm, except for this 1905 ad on the right, in which he also claimed to have read HH Holmes’ palm, as well as the palms of such Chicago notables as Marshall Field, Carter Harrison. In one ad, he claimed to be able to train anyone to become a spiritual medium in 3-6 months.
Seems legit, huh?