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Gypsy folklore

Added Wed, 10/01/2018

Gypsies are inter-group ethnic formation of a common Indian origin. Common name – "rum", "rum", although there are other ethnonyms: "Sinti", "manouche" ("people"), "Calais" ("black"). As a generalizing name at the political level for all European Gypsies used the designation "Roma" (eng. Roms, Romanies).

Gypsies have inhabited all continents except Antarctica. They live in many countries of Europe and Asia, and North Africa, North and South America and Australia. Thanks to their long history, and extensive habitat, Gypsies have a rich and varied folklore, which has not lost its uniqueness, despite the fact that he was influenced by the folklore of all the surrounding Nations.

The most popular form of Gypsy fairy-tales – horror stories (which are similar to Slavic little stories). Their stories and characters very closely intertwined with real life, so the Gypsies of all ages are willing to believe in them and tell others as accurate history.

In this article we will examine the major characters encountered in these stories.

Wizards and witches

People with evil spirits or having her close connection, found in the stories of the Gypsies almost as much as she is evil.

Witches can bewitch, to know the fate, but also have great wisdom and knowledge concerning not only some domestic issues, and various mystical creatures. They know how to make the devil showed the treasure, as to calm or appease. Know how to communicate with mermaids, water spirits, salonami the dead and house of the raging spirits. But the sorcerers have not only good quality: by calling these things, they can make them attack someone, to hurt him. Also sorcerers can turn a human into one of them.

These characters have the power of lycanthropy controllable, i.e. they can transform into pigs, and other animals:

And yet that's what did the witch: how the holiday will magnet it in the driveway, and immediately out POPs in the form of goats and give the horns to shake — the people to disperse. Scatter the people, and the entire holiday is messed up.


Swagruha my witch: how the night flies from the house so the dog turns.

Descriptions of witches and wizards found in the folklore of Russian Gypsies are very similar to those of the description in the Slavic true stories. As an example this apparent similarity, it is possible to bring the principle of transformation, which is associated with the use of knives.

The main reason for the transformation of man into a wizard or witch Gypsies believe that communication with evil spirits.

Devils and other evil spirits

As the true stories of the Slavic people, on the formation of the ideas of the Roma about evil spirits was marred by the religious tradition prevailing in their habitat. Thus, the Russian and European Roma are the images of hell, demons and similar evil forces.

The devil in these stories is usually negative character, causing trouble to all who are faced with it.

So, God plays the role of a poltergeist:

Gets into the house and does not give anyone the rest, and knocks, and rattles.

Turns to dead:

The devil flew to the village and slipped into the tube – only the sparks fell. Is it to the Gypsy, just like her husband is buried. [...] Became the neighbors keep an eye on her, and once at midnight I looked: what is it? – flying the pillar of fire in the sky and flies into the chimney of the house where there lives a Gypsy.

Often the devils, the woodsman and the restless dead tell them to hidden treasures. It unites these stories with the Ural folklore.

The folklorists Druze E. and A. Gisler among descriptions of evil spirits and various mystical phenomena you can find stories about how the Roma themselves deceive people for profit. For example, dressed as devils or used mercury to simulate a poltergeist in the house:

A well-known fact, that Gypsies on all the tricks of great masters. In order to lure money, they are resorting to different tricks. There are Gypsies "living silver". This here's the thing: collect "living silver", the mercury, therefore, roll up in a goose feather, and when in the oven it will cover Yes kindle fire as it should, then all over the house so yeah groan groan goes that "even the saints".

Interestingly, this same method of "call evil forces" was described in the story by Maxim Gorky "Pickle", published in 1897:

He, you see, a stove, Nikolka. It is on all hands: at the part's finding out lithographic, engraver, was a plumber too... So godfather — she has her own house, she is from the clergy — and hired him to bake to shift. Well, he shifted, everything as it should; but only a vile man, a wall-oven hit the bottle with mercury and with needles... and something else is placed there. From this comes the sound - a sort of special, you know, like the moan and sigh, and then say — the devils in the house was infested. Oven something drips, mercury in the bottle will heat up and go there to wander. But needle scratching on the glass like a tooth who squeaks. In addition to needles, even different geletine in mercury is placed, and from them are also different sounds – a needle to nail on their own, and leaves a sort of devilish music... Kuma even wanted to sell the house, but no one is buying — who enjoy with the devils? Three prayer service with blessing of the waters were not helping. Roars woman, the daughter of her fiancee, heads to a hundred chickens, two cows, a good farm... and suddenly the devils! They fought, fought, look sorry. Nikolka it and saved, you might say. Come on, say, fifty rubles – kicked out of hell! She told him at first gave quarter, and then he pulled out the bottle, and knew it, — well, goodbye! The court wanted to, but she advised against it... And for the many arts found.

The restless dead

Gypsies and restless ghosts of the dead call "of moulleau" (mullo, which means "dead, dead"). The same word may denote also "the living dead", i.e. vampires, which will be discussed below.

In different regions of the Gypsies beliefs differ, but they share a sincere belief in ghosts and unwillingness to communicate with the dead, to usurp their stuff. Gypsies tend not to even mention the name of the deceased, afraid to call it from the realm of the dead.

According to the views of Gypsy, the restless dead can be obtained as a result of the murder, and failure to comply with burial rites. In the first case of moulleau must hunt down his killer and get revenge, and only after that he can calm down. In the second case, the Ghost is near his body and asks passers-by to bury him and/or tell relatives about his death.

For example, there is the tale of the dead camp. In him all people were killed but not buried according to the customs and not are read the burial service. In the afternoon they were all dead, and by night led a normal life. They asked a passing traveler to bury them.

This will be dead until then, until you have conducted all the necessary rituals. It will appear only at night in the form of tangible Ghost (interestingly, it is possible even to marry, and he will fulfill marital duties), and a day to disappear, while the dead body is lying on the ground.

Protection from undead are considered objects of religious cult, as well as some plants and fire ("a well-Known fact that the undead are afraid of fire"). Sometimes to disarm the dead man in the grave to drive a stake (which is similar to the classic method of killing a vampire):

"They told pop to the grave number of aspen drive. So the people did. Since then, more Roma were not."

Novokainova the dead can be revived: will he night, you have to miss while he is alive, bind it must be stronger and the Church to bring, and then for forty days and forty nights need prayers over him to read, only then he would live.

There are also the stories of the unquiet dead, in which they come at night to their spouses. For example, a horror story about how Roma after his death went to his wife, and her roommate drew on all doors crosses. Then Roma took offense and decided to take my wife back to my tomb (the plot is somewhat similar to the work of Gottfried bürger's "Lenore").

In this case, along with stories about Zaloznykh the dead often, there are stories about buried alive people, who then awoke and returned home.


The Roma legends of the living dead has enriched the legends about vampires in Hungary, Romania, and Slavic lands. According to Gypsy belief, a vampire can be almost any. In the risk group falls everyone who has an unusual appearance, for example, the one with the missing finger or have appendages peculiar to animals, cleft lip or cleft palate, bright blue eyes, etc. If no one sees, how the person died, the deceased becoming a vampire. The same thing happens if the corpse of the deceased swells before its time to bury. And the people is not limited to: plants, dogs, cats and even instruments for agriculture can become vampires. For example, if a pumpkin or melon to keep in the house for too long, it will start to move, make noise, or there will be blood.

Ideas about what it looks like and what makes a vampire, dependent on the habitat of the Gypsies. Gypsies, settled on the territory of Russia and near Europe, the vampire looks like the walking dead (ghoul). He drinks the blood, attacks people and livestock, and are also known for their voracious sexual appetite toward their spouses or lifetime objects of passion. This topic reveals Elwood Trigg in his book "Gypsy Demons and Divinities: The Magic and Religion of the Gypsies" (1973). He notes that sexual passion can be so much to master vampire (of moulleau) that the woman that he feels can reach extreme exhaustion.

They say that in some cases the vampires are back in order to engage in sexual intercourse with a woman they were not allowed to marry in life. Sometimes the vampire invites the woman to go to the grave with him and spend the rest of eternity together. In other cases, vampires, married or not, returned in order to enter into a relationship with a woman of their choice. There are girls who believe that they have had a long affair with a man who's a vampire. Some Gypsies claim that such a vampire-lovers can see only those with whom they have intercourse.

Such relations can even be born child. In Balkan mythology, the child of a vampire and a human woman called "dhampir" and he is a born vampire hunter.

Many groups of European Roma vampires more like a Ghost or even a house. It is a translucent, whitish shapes that can take the form of an animal or even individual body parts (e.g. head, arms, wrist and even fingers). They come into our world, as you miss the one you love and want to be with them: mothers come to their children, husbands come to their wives, and help to do chores around the house and can even make money. It's more like a description of house of spirits, which in Europe were also associated with the cult of deceased ancestors and were considered the souls of dead relatives. However, Gypsy vampires can come back and revenge on his assailant.

To protect yourself from a vampire, Gypsies inserted steel needles into the heart of the corpse or put pieces of steel in his mouth, eyes, ears and between the toes during the funeral. They also placed hawthorn in the corpse's sock or drove a hawthorn stake from his feet. Additional measures were driving stakes into the grave, spilling over it of boiling water, decapitation of the corpse, or burning it.

Apparently, this level of attention to risen from the dead, the Gypsies are given special attention in fiction about vampires. You may recall, for example, the book Bram Stoker's "Dracula"in which Gypsies served Dracula, carrying his boxes of earth and guarding him.

I wonder what Gypsies believe that a vampire can only be a dead Gypsy. Therefore, if necessary, they can even sleep in the cemetery, where were buried the representatives of their people.


In Slavic countries Gypsies believe in werewolves. Some of them believe that a werewolf becomes a man who led a particularly bad life. Others believe that a werewolf becomes a vampire's victim, sucked his blood; that the victim gradually loses the ability to speak and the night turns into a wolf who serves his master villain.

Also a werewolf can be regular Gypsies, who holds on earth for some unfinished business. For example, there is a tale in which the restless soul of a Gypsy, obsessed with the reconciliation of the warring clans turned into a bird that brought death. Bird death has ceased to "blow" a Gypsy as soon as he died the one who started the feud.

Werewolves can be attributed not only classical men-wolves or humans-birds, becoming on their own or thanks to the charms of the sorcerer, but came from Indian mythology, the idea of the Naga - people-snakes (depicted as a serpent with a human torso and a human head).

Other creatures

From the familiar mythical creatures, stories of which fit easily into modern life, we move on to more strange creatures mentioned in Gypsy folklore.

For example, people who offended the sorcerer, can be transformed into monstrous giants gallinule with dog legs and a head. Usually they live in the mountains or forests, beside their fellows in misfortune with localizada (similar to devil), which drew from men into beasts the devil himself. The terrible sight of such a beast something like a cross between Bigfoot and slenderman: an enormous mouth to the ears with protruding sharp teeth, fiercely sparkling eyes bulging, a large flat nose, huge ears hanging to his shoulders, and the body entirely covered with dense coarse hair, the arms so long that, standing on their thin as poles, legs, being, off, or gets to the ground.

In some stories the Gypsies more common and familiar description of the devil: "old man in a black jacket, belted with a rope, legs shoes simple, and the head cap", however, he is able to increase in size ("the man step back a couple steps, and be above the birches"), and circling through the forest, knocking down the road.

There, among the mountains and forests, lives a tiny folk Synomonous. Its representatives keep the treasures hidden in the caves. However, if you call one of them to live to his house, he becomes the guardian of the hearth, bringing health, happiness and prosperity to the owners. Thus, the mountain people of ignominous becomes a house-spirit.

Option of a house can be considered spornikov from Russian mythology of the Gypsies. It is believed that the name came from the word "argue" (to dispute, to argue) in the sense of "abundant, rich, successful." These creatures, resembling small children bring into the house (tent) Gypsy happiness and wealth.

Along with brownies, these stories describe more of these creatures as yard:

What is that a yard? He takes the image of a human and bird, and beast. And he lives at court, that any beast protects. If you like domestics horse suit or something, it is for her care: curl mane, coat licking. The horse with such care already shines, her eyes are quick, good. Favorite beast yard stroking, caressing. A beast to feed, and she fed without feeding. But if the yard dislikes the animal, then sell it quickly. And then he will drive around the yard, torturing the horse, so saterday that already from her eyes the tears will flow, and something else to tickle the beast will be accepted. Then all she'll be pissed off at the mouth the foam goes, the beast will wither and die. To the neighborhood should revere: bread and salt handed to him — he loves the respect. And in the evening, at sunset, the domestics need the bow to beat, so they say, "the Yard master, love their children, let the horse to yourself, and you bread and salt will be." And three bow presumably ..

Water also, according to Gypsy belief, inhabited by terrible monsters. So, in the deep rivers live niwasi – Gypsy analog of the evil water, wlasciwego people under water. This creature with fire-red hair and a long beard, with green eyes has a reason a horse's hoof.

In water also live mermaids – enchanted witch or sorceress Gypsy that went against their predicted fate. They can leave the water and, as well as mermaid forest, tickle to death of the traveler. These images have in common Roma with Slavic mythology.

The underground Kingdom given to Provasi. According to Gypsy folklore, this is living underground men of small stature, covered with dense hair and whose life is kept in the egg inside the black chicken. They can kidnap a child or adult Gypsy, but do it rarely. They can bestow a person's underground riches.

There are among the characters of Gypsy stories and being close to European mythology - urma. It is familiar to all fairies that suits at night their own dances and is able to determine the fate of men. According to legend, they live on the mountain tops in a huge Golden palaces. The day they dance and frolic, and at night, when Gypsies sleep, come down from the mountains, go to the cradle of the newborn and determine their fate. Interestingly, Urmi always go three together. One of them is good, it gives people happiness; the other cold, it is indifferent to the fate of people and gives them no joy, no sorrow; the third urma evil, she sends misfortune and sorrow to people. This image is somewhat similar to the Norns of Norse mythology, the moir from Greek mythology, from the ancient Roman Parks and Scenic from Slavic.


Thus, Gypsy folklore is very rich and varied. Chilling story who are happy to talk and to listen not only to children but also adults, stand the test of vremeni and may well become not only the basis for a horror film, but to be among evidence of paranormal facts

Translated by «Yandex.Translator»

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