In Conversation with Gypsy Acora


Written by Gabriel Mathews
25 Tuesday 25th July 2017

We all have an image in our head of what a gypsy is and unfortunately it’s probably something similar to Brad Pitt in Snatch. Aside from being offensive it would also be a lazy misconception. Gypsy Acora is a gypsy in the most traditional sense. That does not mean he’s racing dogs and hares about or getting you to buy a caravan. What it means is that he is a fortune teller and clairvoyant, who learnt his skills from his mother and grandmother.

We had a chat with him about his life as a gypsy, his palmistry skill and why he thinks the practice is dying out.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born just outside of Plymouth and brought up travelling with my grandmother and my mother. They were both fortune tellers. My grandmother would travel further afield than my mother, who stuck more local around the west country. My grandmother, Madame Zamra, would travel all over England, Scotland and Wales.

When I was little I would stand on the steps of my grandmothers caravan selling lucky charms.

I never went to school - I was brought up in an old fashion way. No one wanted me to go to school because I was worth more helping out at home or at the fairs.

How did you learn to read palms?

Well, in the summertime my parents would travel round the fairs, and while we did my mum would show me the lines on the hand and explain to me what they meant. When I was travelling with my grandmother she would never go on the estates she would go to farmers houses instead, out in the sticks. When we were out in the woods she would teach me about the stars and explain what each one meant.

So my mum and grandmother brought me up on palmistry and astrology, I was learning about the two without really realising it.

Do you think you’ve missed out on something by not going to school and learning to read palms instead?

I never learnt how to use a mobile or laptop because there was no need. My parents didn’t know how the world would develop and how popular those things would become. So now I can’t go on the laptop and I’m terrified to use a phone because I don’t know how to use it, I can’t read and write and so I’m living in a modern world with an old school upbringing. Someone has to use the laptop for me. I am getting used to the phone now but someone used to have to answer the phone for me.

Do you think there is space for clairvoyance on laptop and mobile?

You could do it. Some clairvoyants do it over the phone using cards. But I would prefer to do it in person because I need to see the person. I wouldn’t be doing my job properly if I did it over the phone.

For those of us with no or little clairvoyant/fortune telling knowledge, aside from reading palms what else is there?

There is palm reading, astrology, tarot cards, crystal ball. What is important though is you have to go with what suits you, what suits me is palmistry.

What is your day to day as a palm reader?

I have a shop which is my permanent address but I am only there half the time. The rest of the time I would travel around, to the biggest fairs and festivals in the country. Because I was brought up proper, proper gypsy, there was a season for everything. In spring we would call on doors, in the summer we do the fairs, in the autumn we would go to shopping centres and in the winter we would make holly wreaths and things like that.

Although that was awhile ago. Nowadays I stick to the big fairs in the summer and then I do the ‘back-end’ fairs which are in the autumn. Then over Christmas I go to the shopping centres with my caravan and read palms there.

Can anyone be taught the skills?

You can be taught yes, but the reason I got to the position I did was because I learnt directly from my family, I inherited it. It always helps if you feel you’ve got the gift. I felt that way. A lot of my skills come from the combination of palmistry and gut feeling - which is a form of clairvoyance.

Sometimes I will tell people very bad things, that they don’t want to hear. Some clairvoyants don’t do that. I will tell you what is written in your hand good or bad. You would be a pretty bad fortune teller if you didn’t tell them what you saw whether it’s good or not.

You described yourself as a ‘poor man’s psychiatrist’ - why is that?

Some people have their palm read as a form of counselling.

It’s a hard job, I don’t do it for a laugh. I would come back from a day’s work and fall asleep on the sofa from exhaustion. I would need to switch off for an hour and reset my brain. I would hear from so many different people about so many various sufferings, parents wanting to get in touch with their dead children for example that it would be hard to go back to normality afterwards.

I have a lot of clients, business women and men who come in to find out what’s going to happen with their job, whether they will make or lose money. They see me because they want to know what is going to happen in their life. It’s a case of giving certain people a relief, a purpose or an explanation.

What is it about being on the road, travelling, that interests you?


It’s not so much of an interest, I was born and bred to travel. Because I am a gypsy reading palms and astrology came to me through blood, I feel a certain responsibility to share my skills and it is my birthright to do so. I will continue to do it until I die.

You had a stint on TV, could you tell me a little bit about that.

I used to work for a local television channel in Plymouth where I would predict what would happen that week. Sometimes they would ask me to predict what would happen elsewhere in the world. I had that job for several years.

I also had a column in the local newspaper and a show on local radio.

My career could have been a little different though. The police rang me up about 12 months ago asking if I would be the local clairvoyant for areas south of Bristol. They said: “If we have any problems we would call on you”. The police have psychics working for them up and down the country. But I said no.

What would you have been doing for them?


They would investigate the scene first and after that they would bring me to the scene and ask me what I thought. But that’s too much pressure, I’m too old now, if they asked me 15 years ago I would have definitely said yes.


In a previous interview you mentioned that palmistry was dying out, why do you think that is the case?

If you were born a gypsy you would be expected to be a palmist. It was one of the main professions any gypsy would be brought up in to. Most of the young ones now don’t want to know about it. I have a daughter and son and I especially wanted my daughter to do it but neither are interested.

It is a dying trade. Now you have gorgies, (not a proper gypsy basically) reading palms because you can search online how to do it. For genuine gypsies, Romanys, it was their main trade but now so many Gorgies are doing it it’s no longer the tradition it used to be.

What would you do to stop it from dying out?

I don’t actually know. I tried everything to get my daughter to do it. But she doesn’t have the passion. If they don’t have that burning passion, then they can’t do it. For me, you have to be born with the fire within you in order to read people's’ hand. Unfortunately no one seems to have it anymore.

Let’s hope palmistry is still going!

Thank you Acora.


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