Saturday, July 21, 2018

Crystal Balls

        After learning about psychics and what they claim to be able to do through the lectures, I was pretty curious about a particularly popular psychic-tool: the crystal ball. It is a familiar object—one that is in movies, television shows, you name it, and we have a general idea what they are for. The psychic looks into it, maybe does some weird motions with her hands, and voila, she manages to figure something out about the person sitting in front of her. At least that’s how it looks in fiction. Looking back, however, the crystal ball has been used since the Celtic Druids of the Iron Age who held strong beliefs about psychic energies and divination. They would shape the mineral known as beryl into a sphere in order to “enhance the reflective properties,” and that would become their crystal ball. The ball would then be used alongside meditation, wherein the psychic/fortune-teller/what-have-you would gaze into the ball in a meditative trance, supposedly opening their minds to secrets about the past, the present, or the future. That came to be known as scrying.
        After the Druids, the popularity of the crystal ball took off amongst people in the Middle Ages. These people used crystal balls as magical objects or magical accessories, believing them to be “symbols of power, class status, and… magic talismans that warded off sickness and evil.” It seemed to be more of a symbol of wealth in this time than what it had been used for during the time of the Celtic Druids.
        As for modern day usage, there was a so-called psychic named Jeane Dixon who was given a crystal ball and then made predictions, some of which were surprisingly accurate, and others not so much. For example, she made a claim through divination that World War III would occur in 1958… as you can see, it never happened. (Interesting to note—Dixon’s crystal ball sold for nearly $12,000 after her death.)
        That about covers some of the important bits of history surrounding the crystal ball. I thought it was neat to learn its origins and that it wasn’t just an object used for stage magic and as a prop as it is commonly seen through fiction and media today. You can learn more about it right here. It's a really interesting read!

(The crystal ball was also featured in a music video for one of my favorite bands! Which sort of prompted this particular post, haha.)


  1. Hi Marie,
    I’ve always wondered what the significance of a crystal ball was for psychics. Sometimes I would often think that they used them just to make them look like they had some type of power. However, I’m still skeptical in them and don’t really believe in psychics because I still don’t understand how they can get information about the past, present, and future by just looking into a ball. When you mentioned Jeane Dixon and how some of her predictions were accurate while others weren’t. I feel like the predictions that were accurate may have been just a lucky guess and not the power of the crystal ball.

  2. I have always found the origin of objects such as the crystal ball very interesting. To know where they came from and the significance is important in understanding the people who claim to be able to see into the future. I learned from your post that the crystal ball is made into a sphere for a certain reason that is supposed to help the psychic "see". I am definitely interested in reading the article that you linked!

  3. I enjoyed learning about the history of crystal balls. The fortune tellers that use them have no powers and cannot even make accurate predictions. They do not try to help their customers. Instead, fortune tellers tell people what they want to hear.