FAVORING THE BOLD: Meet Magda, the Oracle of Chambers Street

Published 4:00 am Saturday, October 28, 2023

Every Halloween, Chambers Street plays host to a special guest from a far-off land: Magda, the Gypsy Fortune Teller.

As trick-or-treaters walk through the Glenwood Circle neighborhood, Magda’s husband, Sandor, beckons groups to let the Gypsy read their palms for treats. On any other day, Magda and Sandor live as their alternate identities, Virginia Gage and Lee Thames, but All Hallow’s Eve is when the gypsies come out to play.

Virginia said the Magda character was borne from several inspirations in her life, chief among them her mother, Jacquelyn Scott Gage.

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“It was 1987 when (my mother) first dressed as the Gypsy fortune teller. I was 4 years old and instantly was infatuated with her and the entire role as a fortune teller,” Virginia said. “I remember she dressed in a long wig and all black along with her crystal ball. The memories and love continued and now I am able to carry on that legacy.

“My mother pretty much just made me fall in love with Halloween.”

True to her source material, Virginia wears a long blonde wig and an all-black ensemble as part of her Magda role.

Another inspiration for the character is the 1960s American gothic soap opera, “Dark Shadows.” Virginia described Magda as a Victorian, Romanian/Canadian Gypsy with a New England background, complete with an exotic accent and references.

After spending more than 20 years working in the event-planning realms of Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, Virginia and Lee married in 2017 and returned home to Vicksburg. Virginia is now an art teacher at Dana Road Elementary School, where she transferred after three-and-a-half years at Vicksburg High School.

“I kind of feel as though this is my little themed event that I get to do once a year,” Virginia said. “I get to make people laugh. I get to make people happy. I get to make people feel like they’re getting a unique experience, and I think the adults even get a kick out of it as well.”

Magda’s fortune-telling tent is complete with all the supernatural fixings: A crystal ball, candelabras, skulls and ambient lighting to set the mood and rouse the spirits. The fortune-teller sees groups of 10 to 15 for her readings, and as a reward, Sandor distributes treats and trinkets.

Magda will be out and about on Halloween night at 1642 Chambers St. She encourages trick-or-treaters to pay her a visit and learn the secrets of their futures — if they dare.