The Hands of Albert Einstein: Einstein’s Involvement with Hand Readers and a Dutch Psychic

Alexandra Nagel

Abstract


When the handprints of Albert Einstein sold in 2013 at Sotheby’s for £55,000, no one queried how Einstein might have come to allow the chiromancer Marianne Raschig to read his hands. It is symptomatic of a wider lack of interest in the art of reading hands, which remains underresearched territory. This essay fills such a gap in connection with Einstein, arguing that the art of reading hands (chiromancy, chirology) was popular in the Weimar Republic, and that in addition to Raschig at least three others analysed Einstein’s hands. Pictures of his hands also appeared in magazines, and they were once sculpted. Obviously, being a famous man, Einstein was “exploited” by people, also by hand readers. Furthermore, this essay argues that Einstein had an interest in the occult. He was stunned, for instance, after he had witnessed a séance organised by the salonière Edith Andreae-Rathenau for the Dutch medium Coba Akkeringa-Kromme. Shortly thereafter, Einstein withdrew from research into the occult, but did so half-heartedly. 


Keywords


Albert Einstein; hand reading (chiromancy); occultism; parapsychology

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