“I couldn’t help it. I happen to have been born to do it.

I am sure that I would have been a rotten failure doing anything else.”

~ Ends Of The Earth ~

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lion's Paws: The Story of Famous Ink-Covered Hands.

Nellie Simmons Meier

Among many varied pleasures involved with building my Andrews collection has been the discovery of various quirky individuals that were in one way or another associated with Roy.  Today I introduce a Palmist [Fortune Teller] Palm Reader - Nellie Simmons Meier.

Meier published: Lion's Paws;  The Story of Famous Hands in 1937, published by Barrows Mussey, New York. Her act was somewhat popular among the well-to-do, and she managed to convince sixty-six celebrities from Movies, Sports, Dance, Literature, etc, to allow their hands to be inked up, and leave their impression on paper.  Among those who submitted to this were Irvin S. Cobb, Elbert Hubbard, Margaret Sanger, Alexander, Grand Duke of Russia, Walt Disney, Jascha Heifetz, George Gershwin, Howard Chandler Christy, Burton Holmes,  Amelia Earhart, and Roy Chapman Andrews.

Being able to peer into an inky print of somebody's palm, and divine their future would be a really great trick if anybody could actually do it.   To be very effective, it should be a controlled experiment with a double blind, where neither the palmist or his/her assistant knows the name or the sex of the individual.

Alas, this is not what Meier did.  Working with already well know celebrities, she expounds on character traits, and lifestyles that would have been easier to divine by picking up a newspaper.  

However, Ms. Meier did leave us a very interesting collection of autographed prints of famous people's palm prints.    Among Roy's fellow Explorinkers were  William Beebe, Raymond Ditmars, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Harvey W. Wiley, and Bernarr Macfadden.

Here is the entire write up on Roy Chapman Andrews as printed on pages 122-123.


Chapter 18. On Unknown Trails

"How," demanded an Editor who was considering the publication of some of my work, "do you get people who are scientists and great men of affairs to lend themselves to a thing like hand reading? Do they believe in it?" Many of them do not," I replied dryly, "and they have their hands read for that very reason." "But I don't see that."

"Scientists," I informed him, "and inventors, as well as men and women of great affairs, are and must be open minded persons. Most of them know nothing at all about the—as I believe and call it—SCIENCE of hand reading. They know something of the work of charlatans, but they also know of charlatans in medicine, in general science and in all affairs. Rather than cast a doubt upon a possible science of which they know nothing, they have extended their hands to me and have allowed me to read them. The very qualities that sent them out upon unknown trails and returned them as Lions made it imperative that I, as a hand reader, should have the opportunity to demonstrate my work. Some of these people have been impressed by my readings to a point where they have made a further investigation of the subject. But the most of them withhold judgment, in perfect courtesy to a possible fellow scientist upon a trail unknown to them, but not a false trail until it is proved to be false.

Dr. Roy Chapman Andrews, recently appointed head director of the Museum of Natural History in New York City, a scientist whose years of work have been crowded with honors, was perfectly willing to have me come to his office and read his hands. He readily made an appointment. After that I had to wait with patience. For the whimsical character who roamed the oceans from the Arctic to the East Indies in studies of whales, and who after that led the largest expeditions ever sent to Asia into the Gobi Desert, opening up that unknown region of the earth to motor traffic and bringing back to us knowledge of wide and varied character, from fossils to gold, proved to be a bit elusive. I kept three appointments before I saw Dr. Andrews, but it was not from lack of interest on his part or indeed on the part of the people who work with him. As I began the reading, the group grew in numbers. Dr. Andrews as a real sport of a scientist, did not mind. What I found in his hands I might shout to the listening world. But I felt a bit disturbed in making a frank reading. I said so, and the crowd melted away.

I was looking at the hands of a man of power—I think that the reader will know that by the prints shown. They are hands with many conflicting characteristics but dominated by few: firm hard square palms, the palms, of the man who sees the necessity for a practical foundation for what he does, and who will work out the plans essential to that foundation. Great independence in thought and action is shown in the wide flare between the third and fourth fingers, and coolness and courage in time of danger is disclosed in the high development of upper Mars, just under the heart line on the outside of the hand. Add to these a definite whorl shown upon the Mount of the Moon, into which the headline dips—indeed the whorl seems almost an obstruction to the headline in the left hand—and you have a man whose foresight is pronounced along intellectual lines. And top this with the most significant sign of all, the spatulate tip of the third finger, that certain indication of originality, and the double joints of the thumbs, an equally certain indication of love of the dramatic, and you have a condensed picture of Andrews, a courageous, independent, practical character with a gift of prescience and decided originality which will develop along dramatic lines. Certainly Andrews' expeditions have been dramatic.

There are less obvious traits that speak more intimately of the man himself. The thick, long first phalange of the thumb is that of a possessor of the power of iron discipline. The practical palms indicate a love of order; the short fingers show that he wants someone else to maintain that order. But if he must maintain it himself, he can. The length of his first finger shows a strong sense of responsibility and the length of the nail phalange of that finger adds integrity and a high sense of honor. Andrews will always live up to all responsibilities he undertakes, even against mighty odds. The length of his fourth finger, Mercury, shows tact, and the length of its first phalange, the gift of words. He prefers talking to writing. The nails are broader than they are long. Andrews is argumentative and introspective, sometimes mentally irritable, and apt to become belligerent. However, he has a very flexible thumb, and suavity comes to his aid accompanied by a delightful sense of humor that has saved him again and again, a sense of humor which is shown in the development of the mount of Mercury beneath the fourth finger.

On the hands of most famous men and women are definite lines under the third fingers. There are none in the hands of Dr. Andrews* But upon the mount under the third finger is a less usual sign, a circle upon the mount of Apollo, an indication of glory and of lasting success. 


Did she warn Roy that he would never return to Mongolia?; did she warn him that he would die of a painful heart attack?   Sadly, I expect not.