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The thorny issue of whether to allow fortune-telling, which has been popping up in all three Harford County municipalities, drew a small gathering of protesters to Aberdeen's city council meeting Monday night.

Six people urged the city council to keep fortune-telling illegal in Aberdeen, many claiming a proposed ordinance to allow the practice would expose children and families to the dangers of occult activities.

Aberdeen is proposing to permit fortune-telling as a special zoning exception in a B-3 business district. The fortune-telling establishment would be required to be at least 1,000 feet from a school, another fortune-telling business, a church or other place of worship.

But people like Linda Logan, who was one of several members of Breath of God Christian Fellowship attending Monday's meeting, said fortune-telling should never be allowed in Aberdeen.

Logan said the legislation goes against the church's “assignment” for the city.

“If you embrace this, it will be difficult for us to pray for you in this manner,” she said.

Teresa Watson, a resident of Center Deen Avenue, said her two young children are already exposed to “a lot of things” in school and she is afraid the proposed ordinance would expose them to more undesirable activities.

“My children actually experienced a fairy coming to the school, dressed in fairy attire…children are taught to cast spells on each other,” Watson said. “We definitely have to do something for the families, first of all.”

James Zachary, who lives in Cockeysville, but who volunteers at Boys and Girls Club in Aberdeen and is also with the Breath of God fellowship, said fortune-telling would not bring anything positive to the city, but would open the door to occult activities and witchcraft.

“What contribution does this bring to this fine community?” Zachary asked.

Zachary said he is concerned about children in school practicing witchcraft and sacrificing animals.

“Look at the mental health results of this activity. This would be counterproductive because it would be taking money from citizens that would buy into [fortunetellers'] propaganda,” he said.

Zachary said banning fortune-telling is not unconstitutional because it does not preclude free speech.

“We are talking about selling or soliciting of goods,” he said. “It does not stifle the amendment to speak on it.”
James Redding, a resident of Holiday Drive, said he was “astounded” to hear Aberdeen is considering allowing fortune-telling.

He recalled a recent episode of the NBC show “Dateline” where a man lost more than $1 million to fortune-telling.

“I didn't think it was going to be of any benefit to the residents of the city,” Redding said about the activity. “That kind of stuff, I just don't see that we need it around here at all.”

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