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Ask Julia: How Does Magic Work?


By Julia Crumpleman

Hello, fellow New Romforders!  Today’s question comes from Bobby from way out in Carterson.

How does magic work?  We all turned to barbarians.  I don’t know what that means, but my dad said it’s like Lord of the Rings, and I don’t really know what that is ether [sic].  What is Lord of the Rings?

Well, Bobby, you got two questions in at once!  Normally, I don’t allow it, but I think I can help you out here anyway.  I’ll answer your second question first.  The Lord of the Rings is a series of books written by J.R.R. Tolkien, and they were later turned into movies by Peter Jackson.  It’s a fantasy adventure about hobbits, elves, and wizards, and it’s a total hoot!  Ask your dad to let you in on the fun sometime!

Now, how does magic work?  The simple answer is no one really knows.  That is if you only ask scientists who certainly acknowledge its existence but don’t agree that it’s really magical.  Most scientists agree that “magicians” are tapping into some unknown radiation or alternate dimensions.  They theorize that these unknown things have their own scientific properties that affect our own world in unique ways.  We just don’t understand how it works yet, so we call it “magic.”  British science fiction author, Arthur C. Clarke, is famous for saying, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic,” and many scientists take this stance.

That’s just a roundabout way of saying, “I don’t know.”  All the incantations, weird symbols, fancy clothes, and jazz hands mean diddly-squat to me!  My personal feeling is to not bother worrying about magic because I’m not a wizard and there’s no way for me to stop whatever weird magic from happening.

But to give magicians, wizards, and witches their due, I reached out to some friendly magic-casters for their input.  Unfortunately, none of them were willing to talk on record about how they do the voodoo that they do.  The best I got was from a witch in Cleveland, who only goes by “Claire”.

“Basically, it’s like tapping into mystical forces or something,” she said.  “Specific hand gestures and symbols work best, though having a magical object helps us to focus.  And that’s about as much as I can tell you because, to be fully honest, even I don’t completely understand what’s going on here.  Half the time my spells have the exact opposite effect or summon a bear for some reason.  And that’s on a good day.”

So in other words, your guess is as good as mine, Bobby!