what are those paper 'fortune tellers' called?
September 2, 2004 7:45 AM   Subscribe

Those fortune telling paper things kids make, sort of origami-y... there's four upside down cups that you put your fingers in, the faces have numbers or colours on them, then after a complicated "pick a number, pick a colour" game, you unfold something and an answer is revealed.

What are those called?
posted by Capn to Writing & Language (17 answers total)
Paper Fortuneteller or "Cootie Catcher", seemingly.
posted by ed\26h at 7:47 AM on September 2, 2004

Those, my friend, are elegantly known as "cootie catchers".

No, seriously. Ask Google.
posted by annathea at 7:48 AM on September 2, 2004

This site says they are also referred to as "Salt Cellars."
posted by Otis at 7:55 AM on September 2, 2004

We used to write M A S H on one set of four inside sections, and 4 girl's names on the other four. On the outsied we wrote colors or numbers. First you pick a color and spell it out, opening and closing as you went. Then pick one of the numbers and do the same thing. Or something. Eventually you open the flap and learn that you're going to live in a Red (Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House) with Tonya and 6 kids.

I've never heard any of these names though...I don't know what we called them...I think we said, "Let's play MASH"
posted by jacobsee at 8:14 AM on September 2, 2004

I remember seeing them in one of those "make things out of paper" books that called them "Magic Beaks"

Makes sense, I guess, but we just called them "fortune tellers."
posted by bondcliff at 8:16 AM on September 2, 2004

Here's another vote for "cootie catchers."
posted by Coffeemate at 8:35 AM on September 2, 2004

The Yawning Mouth of Horrible Fate

Actually I don't remember that we called them anything in particular, which is kind of weird.
posted by picea at 8:54 AM on September 2, 2004

posted by Succa at 8:58 AM on September 2, 2004

We did MASH totally differently--the different categories were written on the sides of a square drawn on paper, and then a spiral was drawn in the middle, then there was some arcane way of counting the rings of the spiral, then going around the square and marking off the different choices.

Ah, the days of living in a shack with six kids and driving a Porsche.
posted by padraigin at 9:01 AM on September 2, 2004

Definitely a 'Cootie Catcher'. In the same family as the Paper Balloon and Paper Popper
posted by jasondigitized at 9:12 AM on September 2, 2004

Definitely Cootie Catchers!
posted by jasper411 at 9:40 AM on September 2, 2004

we called them fortune tellers.
posted by rhapsodie at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2004

Another vote for cootie catchers, here. And like padraigin, our version of MASH also used the spiral. I still eagerly await my marriage to Jeff Schroeder and our red Honda Civic and our 17 children running around our apartment in London!
posted by scody at 12:07 PM on September 2, 2004

Coootie Catcher.
posted by rglasmann at 12:32 PM on September 2, 2004

Wow...maybe I was wrong about the MASH thing in the fortune teller thingys...argh my childhood memories are so hazy! I don't remember anything about a spiral, but what padraigin and scody describe DOES sound familiar....

I'm sure kids combined all kinds of different games in different areas. I grew up in Wyoming, USA. Are these various terms native to certain regions or countries?
posted by jacobsee at 3:14 PM on September 2, 2004

jacobsee, we did the MASH thing in the paper fortune tellers. So you are probably not crazy. I grew up in Seattle. (We just called them "fortune tellers," incidentally, not "cootie catchers.")
posted by litlnemo at 8:51 PM on September 2, 2004

Cootie Catcher in Michigan. In 6th grade the teacher was unhappy because I was folding one, and made me create a large number of them, which in turn had my mother pissed off. (idiots all, I learn better when playing with something in my hands).

The fortune telling part we used was just numbers and colors. Any silly thing could be written inside, often not even a fortune. This was in the mid 60's.
posted by Goofyy at 11:05 PM on September 2, 2004

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