Potiphar12's Blog
An Octogenarian in the modern world


In a previous post I explained my search for some clear link between witchcraft and a physical outcome – a link that did not depend on psychological manipulation. The search interests me because I want to further empower my fictional heroine without straying too far into fantasy. I have made no progress. What I have managed to do, instead, is postulate a series of events that might lie behind such a link. The idea was sparked off by a book called Bad Science, in which just one sentence pointed out that extreme cases do happen – very seldom but enough to attract notice. Here’s my thought.

 The fact that we are constantly discovering new things about our universe suggests that the supply is nowhere near running out. What comes out of the tap shows no sign of diminishing to a trickle. There is more to come.

 Now, consider Radio Waves. They existed for centuries before we became aware of them and learnt to use them. So I postulate an undiscovered Psykowave that enables Happening A to trigger Happening B without a physical connection. This, I maintain, is possible.

 The next step is to assume that the sequence has often been triggered by natural accident but that for many centuries nobody ever observed A and B or, having observed them, imagined a connection. If it were possible for A and B to happen in different places (or times) then even the possibility of observation would be extremely rare. The possibility of a human being observing and also postulating a causal connection would be more rare still. But extreme cases turn up, and history has been going on for a long time.

 Finally, assume that a person, somewhere – sometime – did observe, and imagine, and then experiment. He or she would eventually develop limited control over the sequence, knowing nothing of how the Psykowave worked but having the skill, sometimes, to get desired results.

 Such a person might, depending on character, see this skill as a source of power, keep it secret, and use it for advantage. It possession of such power became obvious, the user might very well tell lies about it: concealing the uncertainty, exaggerating the ability to control the result, and attributing the possession of this power to some extraordinary personal quality.

 You would then have your witchdoctor. He or she would  be able – though in an erratic and uncertain manner – knowing How but not knowing Why – to work magic. So my heroine will be able to believe in her skill.


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