Sunday, November 29, 2009


Thanks to Mystic Medusa for discussing our entry on the magic word "amen" in our dictionary of magic words.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


"Emin" is a magic word for restoring a severed head, as dreamed by a seven-year-old in a nightmare involving a beheading scene: "We walked down the corridor very slowly so that our heads wouldn't fall off. When we were quite far I remembered the magic word EMIN, so I said EMIN to make our heads come back to life again. Then our heads were fixed on again so that we could run back to the place where Daddy had a new car" (qtd. in The Magic Quest by Anne Wilson, 1990, p. 9).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Naught can be grander, than to live
Close by the magic word, forgive.
—Eva Ames, "Life"

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Magic Need Not Be Spoken

"I did not speak of magic; it need not be spoken to occur."
—Gregory G. Bolich, 12 Magic Wands

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Rabbit on the Other Side

"Rabbit has moved to the other side and by lurid light views the damage."
—John Updike

(Photo entitled "This is Who Comes for Magicians when they Die," by arlmoore)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Magic Word Dust

Carolina Valdez tweeted about "sprinkling a little magic word dust" over someone. Where do you find magic word dust? In old books and old bookshops, of course! (Click photos for sources.)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Become Whole blog explores the power of the magic word "no." (Thanks, Gordon!)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Magical Teardrops

Tauba Auerbach's "Listen/Silent" anagram reminds us of a poem by Thomas Moore:

When to sad Music silent you listen,
And tears on those eyelids tremble like dew,
Oh, then there dwells in those eyes as they glisten
A sweet holy charm that mirth never knew.

We like the idea of teardrops being a magical potion, glistening with enchantment of a shadowy (mirthless) yet sacred nature.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


"The word 'samba' is magical to such a degree that it becomes synonymous with poetry, beauty, love."
—Charles A. Perrone, Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song (1989)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Jaba-Laba Ding-Dong

In the comic strip "Dog Eat Doug" (Nov. 7, 2009) by Brian Anderson, "Jaba-Laba Ding-Dong" is the magic phrase to turn someone into a giant Ho Ho cake. (Thanks, Gordon!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Dreadful Magic Power of Taboo Terms for Effluvia

Our disgust of effluvia and coinage of taboo terms for body substances is inseparable from voodoo. Steven Pinker explains how words for effluvia possess a dreadful magic power:

"Effluvia have an emotional charge that makes them figure prominently in voodoo, sorcery, and other kinds of sympathetic magic. People in many cultures believe that a person can be harmed by mutilating or casting spells on his feces, saliva, blood, nails, and hair, and that a person can be protected from harm if those substances are cursed, buried, drowned, or otherwise ostentatiously discarded. The potency of these substances is people's minds also leads them to be used in medicines or charms, often in homeopathic or purified doses. The emotion of disgust and the psychology of sympathetic magic are entwined. The psychologists Paul Rozin and April Fallon have shown that modern Westerners respect the laws of voodoo in their own disgust reactions, such as recoiling from an object if it merely looks like a disgusting substance or has been in contact with one in the past. Word magic simply extends this chain of associations by one link, and gives the words for effluvia a dreadful power as well." (The Stuff of Thought, p. 345)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Poolo si Bagumbah

Poolo si Bagumbah is a magical phrase for making a zombie rise and obey one's commands in the interactive drama "The Curse of Whately Manor" by Frank Branham (1992).