The Mafia is a secret criminal organization that originated in Sicily. Mafia myths and mythologies were fostered by the mysterious and surreptitious nature of the group as well as by dramatic media accounts; both created a fictionalized aura that encompassed the group and its legendary exploits, which later became accepted as truths. In some cases, life in the Mafia imitated the dramatized newspaper or other media characterizations of the organization. The myths and mythologies surrounding the Mafia apply largely to organized crime (OC) groups in the United States, not to the real Mafia in Sicily. The criminal influence and activities of the Mafia and other organized crime groups, with few exceptions, are concentrated in their home countries.

The etymology of the word mafia is unknown. Some ...

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