The Fantod Pack

Review By Sheri Harshberger

Some things have changed since I reviewed this deck, so I thought the time was right for an update!


The Fantod Pack created by Edward Gorey

Published by Pomegranate Communications, Inc.,

Available through many online retail sellers such as,, and the publisher's website,

ISBN: 978-0-7649-4224-2

I don't think you can truly have fun at a Halloween party unless you have at least one creepy but fun deck. That deck for me is Edward Gorey's Fantod Deck, originally produced in 1995 and out of print until recently.

Edward Gorey is probably most known to the general public as the illustrator of the popular and infamous animations that are shown at the start of PBS' Mystery! series. In fact, as I look through the cards, I hear the Mystery! theme music playing in my head.


This 20-card deck is hilarious in a very dark way! To say they are dark or bleak is to make a huge understatement, which is part of the fun. The purpose of the deck is to predict disasters. Along with the meanings, days of the week and months of the year are given to help pin down times. The images are creepy as only pen and ink drawings can be, and they have creepy names, like The Limb and The Child, etc. The card backs feature the figure that is shown on the box lid balancing a tray with a skull and some other items over its head while continuing to balance itself on the unicycle.


The meanings are horrifyingly funny. Some of the lighter meanings are "senseless talk" and "chagrin." A couple of the meanings for The Limb card include "alopecia" and "an accident in a theater." A couple of meanings for The Child card include "forced restraint" and "breakage." Some of the more interesting meanings given for other cards are: "inadequate drainage," "worms," and "loss of ears." (Loss of EARS ?!!?!)  This deck has what I believe is the creepiest card of any deck, ever, in it. It is the Black Doll and the meaning given is "In the words of the old rhyme: What you most fear IS coming near." Even before looking at the meanings of the cards, I saw the Black Doll card and said to myself, "boy, I don't think I would like getting that card!" The Black Doll card is the only card that doesn't have a title on it.

As a professional reader, I wouldn't necessarily use these cards on the general public, the cards might be too disturbing for people who have never had a reading before.... but for an audience that appreciates the Gorey's humor, or party with other readers or friends, they are a hoot...starting with how the cards are to be drawn for the reading.

You are to close your eyes and toss the shuffled deck into the air. With eyes still closed, you are to feel around for 5 cards, keeping them in order as they are found. These are the cards to be used in the reading. Of course, this isn't practical at a venue! I am pleased to report that I have had great success drawing these cards in the same way as I do with any other deck I have.

The 5-card spread described for use seems to be a good one and would easily adapt to other decks. The cards are laid out in a cross, with the first card in the center, the second above, the third to the left, the fourth to the right and the fifth below.


3         1         4


1. The basic situation

2. Something from the past that continues to affect the future

3. Your inner self

4. The outer world

5. Something about to come into being in the near future

The little white book (LWB) that comes with the deck is supposedly the interpretations of the cards by Madam Groeda Weyrd, who, "although very talented, fell out of favor because she didn't fear predicting disasters." There isn't a "good" meaning to be had.

This is a great tongue in cheek deck for Halloween parties or other creepy festivals, or for collectors of Edward Gorey's work. I find it disturbing, yet very entertaining... I can't stop chuckling when I use it.

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