Sunday, September 26, 2010


"I pronounce the magic word [karma] like I'm presenting it for the first time to the Webster's dictionary committee to be considered for inclusion in their latest edition." —Jessica Brody, The Karma Club (2010)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Conjuring a Book

"There's something special about writing by hand, writing with a fountain pen, and there's something special about writing into a book, to take a blank book and turn it into an actual book. I guess there's a sort of superstitious or mystical aspect to it." —science fiction author Joe Haldeman, in an interview by Mitch Wagner

(Thanks, Gordon!)

Monday, September 20, 2010


“The King placed the casket on a small table before him, and then, after a solemn look at the expectant faces, he said slowly: ‘Giggle-gaggle-goo!’ which was the magic word that opened the box. At once the lid flew back, and the King peered within and exclaimed: ‘Ha!’” —L. Frank Baum, The Surprising Adventures of the Magical Monarch of Mo (1903)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flurr Ecke Ecke Ecke Ecke Ben Yan Bjorn

This magic phrase to transform anything into a toaster is from the television series “The Rottentrolls” (1998).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


This is a magic word granting invisibility, as discussed in Writing Prompts by Justin McCory Martin (2001).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cullen, Rayburn, Narz, Trebek

This is a spell that conjures zombies (actually names of game show hosts: Bill Cullen of To Tell the Truth, Gene Rayburn of Match Game, Jack Narz of Concentration, and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy), chanted by cartoon character Bart Simpson in the episode “Dial Z For Zombies” from The Simpsons television series.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


This magic word, representing the power of imagination, is featured in the educational computer program “Boohbah” (2003) to stop action or make things happen.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


This is the name “Rumplestiltskin” spelled backwards, used as a magic word in the computer game “King’s Quest 1.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tasted Like Magic Words

Umberto Eco notes terms he encountered in the Nuovissimo Melzi, 1905 edition, that "tasted like magic words":
avolate, baccivorous, benzoin, cacodoxy, cerastes, crubble, dogmatics, glaver, grangerism, inadequation, lordkin, mulct, pasigraphy, postern, pulicious, sparble, speight, vespillo, Adrastus, Allobroges, Assur-Bani-Pal, Dongola, Kafiristan, Philopator, Richerus ...
(The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana, p. 111-112)