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Fails from the crypt

Molybdomancy (not to be confused with molybdenumWikipedia) is the umbrella term for various divination practices involving molten metal (usually tin or lead, because they are common and have a low melting-point). Practitioners usually pour the liquified metal into water, allowing it to solidify in a random shape that is then interpreted. (A similar type of divination is ceromancy, which uses wax instead of metal.[1]) The term "molybdomancy" itself comes from the Ancient Greek word for "lead": molybdos.

The practice allegedly originated in Ancient Greece and is still used, or at least known, in the Balkans (usually under some variation of the name "pouring lead"). It has been also adopted as a quaint New Year folk-tradition in Germany (Bleigießen, "lead-pouring") and in some Scandinavian countries (Norwegian: støyping, "casting"; Finnish: uudenvuoden tina, "New Year's Tin").


  1. See the Wikipedia article on ceromancy.