The Mystery of Strange Magic

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Now that the small talk is over, let’s delve into that mysterious magic known as asking questions, which has such a strange effect on the human psyche.

When someone asks a question, whether it is directed at you or not, do you feel compelled to answer?

Even if you say nothing, don’t answer out loud, do you find that your mind still has to answer it?

Not all questions are created equal, some are designed to elicit a specific response. The person asking the question isn’t interested in your answer unless it’s the one they want.

Here’s a fun example of that:

trick question example via ThoughtCatalog: 5 Fun Psychological Tricks To Try On Someone

If you don’t answer ‘Milk’ then you’ll ruin the fun for the merry prankster! So that’s the answer they want from you.

That magic trick question uses suggestion to influence your answer. Con artists and other manipulators like advertisers use suggestion to get us to buy into what they’re selling, give them what they want from us.

There are other more fun versions of suggestion. For instance, after reading a post today, I commented on it, and the words I used in the comment were words I’d read in the post. I did that without realising I’d done it until afterwards when I reread the post.

You can see that example by clicking the link below.

Lolsys Library: She’s A Mystery Girl

This post is inspired by the very lovely Lauren of Lolsys Library. In her post she answered some questions I had asked in my Mystery Blogger Award post and then she asked some wonderful questions of her own which drew me in and made me feel compelled to answer them.

That’s magic!

1897 Promotional poster for magician Harry Kellar

1 – What is something you have always wanted to do? Still have yet to do it.

If I told you my wish, then the wish might not come true… but then again sometimes the only way to make a wish come true is by telling others what that wish is.

It’s hard to know sometimes which way to go. Which way does the magic flow.

Sometimes the best way to make something happen is by no longer wishing for it. Letting it go. Forgetting about it. And then abracadabra it’ll reach out and grab ya!

I can’t think of anything at the moment…

2 – Like Homer Simpson, he sold his soul for a doughnut. What would you sell yours for?

I’ve sold my soul quite a few times in the past, and each time my soul came back to me.

You can’t get rid of your soul no matter how hard you try to do so, and others can’t own it no matter how much they may want to and you want them to.

But your soul does take note of how easily you sold it, what you sold it for, who you sold it to, what they did with it, and it tends to up the ante, making it less easy to sell it next time.

The price of my soul these days is much trickier to figure out than it used to be.

Make me an offer… let’s see if I accept it.

1915 Promotional poster for Howard Thurston

3 – Would you want to have good magic or dark magic… Why and what responsibilities would come along with it? (Inspired by Doctor Strange)

I’d want both good and dark magic, since they’re two sides of a whole, and if I’m going have magic, I want it all. The whole magic enchilada.

I prefer to find the sweet spot between extremes, to find it usually requires an understanding of the extremes, what joins them and what separates them, where they intertwine and get tangled up.

You need to know when dark magic will be more useful for doing good than good magic, and when good magic might do more harm than good.

The responsibilities which come with magic are the same ones which come with all other types of power.

Take the time to get to know it well, let it teach you about itself, tune into its energy and adjust yourself accordingly, learn from using it and misusing it, own it and the shit you do with it, be prepared to suffer the consequences of your own actions and choices, be prepared to wait a long time for it to bear fruit, and be prepared to be surprised by it, don’t get carried away by it…

Or do and see where it leads. Figure out how to get back on your feet, and learn the value of crawling… it’s a very useful skill.

Try to do things without it before using it, because sometimes the real magic is in not using magic.

“The magic of the tongue is the most dangerous of all spells.”

― Edward Bulwer-Lytton

4 – What is the wisest thing you have heard someone say?

I have this wonderful gremlin in my mind, who enjoys altering what I see when I read.

Some recent examples include turning – trial lawyer – into – trivial lawyer –and seeing – let’s make things difficult – instead of what it says in the screen-freezing pop-up message below:

I shared that pop-up because of the post hidden behind it – No thank you, Mr. Pecker by Jeff Bezos on Medium.

I don’t know if you’ve heard of or have been following this story. Summed up – Jeff Bezos sent some texts to his mistress a while ago, these were leaked to a tabloid. He hired an investigator to find out who had leaked his private texts. His investigation made those being investigated uncomfortable. The media company who had published his texts had also bought dick pics JB had sent to his mistress and they tried to blackmail him to stop his investigation. He replied to their blackmail attempt in that blog post.

I’d seen the headlines, and sort of knew what the gist of the story was, but I hadn’t bothered to check it out until this morning. It was noticing Gavin de Becker’s name – the author of The Gift of Fear which is one of my favourite books – attached to the story which made me interested.

It’s also kind of funny that the guy using dick pics to blackmail JB is called Mr. Pecker.

Anyway, one of the wisest things I’ve heard someone say is:

“I encourage people to remember that “no” is a complete sentence.

“No” is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you.”

― Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

I’ve never had a problem saying “No”, but other people have a problem hearing it when it’s your answer to their question. And thus saying “No” became a problem for me.

According to my mother, who was one of many people who had a problem with my “No” as an answer, that was my very first word spoken.

Also according to mother, my first sentence was “No, it’s too complicated.” in reply to her asking my nanny if she should buy a household machine which a salesman was pressuring her to buy.

5 – What would make you feel worthy?

All you need to feel worthy is to feel it. Sounds easy, but of course it’s not as easy as it sounds.

So many obstacles…

“Observe yon tree in your neighbour’s garden. Look how it grows up, crooked and distorted. Some wind scattered the germ from which it sprang, in the clefts of the rock; choked up and walled round by crags and buildings, by Nature and man, its life has been one struggle for the light,—light which makes to that life the necessity and the principle: you see how it has writhed and twisted; how, meeting the barrier in one spot, it has laboured and worked, stem and branches, towards the clear skies at last.

What has preserved it through each disfavour of birth and circumstances,—why are its leaves as green and fair as those of the vine behind you, which, with all its arms, can embrace the open sunshine?

My child, because of the very instinct that impelled the struggle,—because the labour for the light won to the light at length. So with a gallant heart, through every adverse accident of sorrow and of fate to turn to the sun, to strive for the heaven; this it is that gives knowledge to the strong and happiness to the weak.”

― Edward Bulwer-Lytton, Zanoni Book One

I feel worthy when I honour natural magic and the mystery of life. When I respect myself. When I do not allow others to influence me to disrespect myself. When I manage to avoid disrespecting others who are trying to influence me to disrespect myself… it can be very tempting to use dark magic on them. When I inspire someone else to honour themselves, and respect their own natural magic and the mystery of their life.

Moments of feeling worthy get you through all those other moments of feeling unworthy. They are the light, but we must also experience the dark to understand the whole.

Thank you, Lauren, for asking those questions, sharing them, and for sharing your answers to my questions, and most of all, for being yourself… Now that is real magic!


  1. Do you know the etymology of abracadabra? It’s Hebrew, well Aramaic for “I will create as I speak”, fancy that huh😉…I’m not a powers of suggestion type to the point of totally succumbing, but I do believe that we are all suggestive to a degree, some more than others.

    When you answered the question about dark & light magic, it makes sense. In order to know your enemy you have to know their weapon. If you think about it in movies and stories, the “good” witch knows her enemy, but she doesn’t let others know she knows. From stories I read, magic isn’t black or white but a duality that has to stay in balance.


    • Cool etymology 🙂

      The other day in a post you spoke about noticing how a concept which wasn’t discussed that much suddenly becomes a hot topic as though the universe wants it to be addressed. That’s one of the more intriguing sides of suggestion. How a subject suddenly becomes what people want to talk about, and the interest in it passes from person to person until it can seem as though everyone is talking about it when only a short moment before no one seemed to even know about it.

      Suggestion is a type of natural magic. It can be both light and dark magic, depends on how it is used, what we each do with it.

      It’s intriguing to watch what an actual openly voiced suggestion does once it enters the psyche. Like when someone suggests that you try something out which you’ve never tried before. At first you may resist it, reject it, but the seed is planted, but what plant grows from it can only be seen once it has grown.

      The best suggestions often come from within, like in dreams 🙂

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      • That’s true. Dreams are the ultimate form of suggestion. Hence the movie Inception, that seed is all that it takes. It’s like that song that gets stuck in your head, you may hate it at first but because it won’t stop, you end up liking it, maybe downloading the whole album. 😁

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