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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

Gypsy (also, Bohemian and Romany) A designation for the ethnic group popularly believed to be originally from Romania, but now widely dispersed around the world. They are said to have first shown up in Europe in 1418. A rowdy group of them presented themselves at the gates of Paris in 1427, but were refused entrance.
      Gypsies have, as part of their philosophy, a view that all non-Gypsies are fair game for their fortune-telling, curselifting, and other superstitious ministrations. Very class-conscious and fiercely partisan, they essentially live outside the cultures of the countries in which they choose to reside, almost invariably marrying within their own people and practicing a seminomadic existence.
      The name came from a misunderstanding that Gypsies were from Egypt, while it appears from anthropological considerations that they are actually of East Indian derivation. The Hungarian term for the group is Pharaoh-nepek, meaning, “Pharaoh's people.”

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