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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Druids (from the Celtic der, for “superior,” and wydd, for “priest;” Pliny claims the word derives from the Greek drus, but that is highly unlikely; also known as Semothees) Priest-magicians of Gaul, England, the north of Scotland, and the Hebrides. In the first century, the Roman emperor Tiberius issued a decree against the Druids “along with the whole pack of such physicians, prophets and wizards.” Druids were written about by Julius Caesar in his Commentaries on the Gallic War, and by Celtic authors. In 1598, the tomb of a very famous Druid chief Chyndonax was discovered near Dijon, France, covered with Greek inscriptions.
      Augury (see also divination) was a popular form of prognostication used in Druid ceremonies, and they were said to be competent at controlling the weather, producing visual illusions, fire walking, and speaking with animals.
      Halloween is essentially a Druidic festival.



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