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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

physiognomy The art of reading character and fate from the features of the face. It was once widely believed that one's true qualities were mirrored in the configuration, size, and condition of the facial features. Criminologists of the nineteenth century seized upon this possibility and squandered a great amount of study and money on the shape of the criminal ear.
      The Oscar Wilde story The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891) was based on the premise that a highly realistic painting of a young man, rather than the man himself, took on all the physiognomical changes associated with an evil life.
      See also Adamantius.



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