The Fantod Pack

The Fantod Pack created by Edward Gorey

Available through Gorey Details

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 Burning Head," etc.  The meanings are horrifyingly funny.  Some of the lighter meanings are "senseless talk" and "chagrin."  Some of the more interesting meanings given 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!"

As a professional reader, I wouldn't use these cards on the public, they are too disturbing.... but for a 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.  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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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - Copyright (C) 2009

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