Papyromancy is a form of divination through folding paper.


Derived from the Greek papuros ('paper') and manteia ('prophecy')


A paper fortune teller, known as cootie catcher, scrunchie or chatterbox, is an origami used in fortune-telling games nowadays. A player asks a question and the fortune teller operator answers using an algorithm to manipulate the fortune teller's shape. Questions, answers, colors or numbers may be written on the fortune teller. Manipulations are done by various similar methods, for example:

The player asks a question of the person holding the fortune teller; this question will be answered by the device. The holder then asks for a number or color. Once the number or color is chosen, the holder uses their fingers to switch between the two groups of colors and numbers inside the paper fortune teller. The holder switches these positions for several times which may be determined by the number of letters in the color selected, the number originally chosen, or the sum of both.

Once the holder has finished switching the positions of the fortune teller, the player chooses one of the flaps revealed. These flaps often have colors or numbers on them. The holder then lifts the flap and reveals the fortune underneath. Steps may be repeated to suit the users. These devices can be “rigged” by the placement of only even numbers on one “position” and only odd numbers on the other, causing forced placement to an even position. This will generate only good or bad fortunes.

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