Can you begin to imagine the amount of time spent by the human race in pursuit of magic? I am not speaking metaphorically here. I mean can you imagine the sum total man-hours devoted to actively invoking, incanting, intoning, beseeching, divining, scrying, summoning, chanting, conjuring, and casting? And though, so far as we know, not a single minute of all that feverish sorcery yielded the intentional result with greater efficiency than chance, magic continues, and will continue, probably forever. And do you know why? Well, setting aside the fact that the whole endeavor is damn poetic specifically because of its futility, fascinating because of its baroquely fanciful trappings, pathos-packed because of its provenance, and let’s face it, pretty hilarious on the whole, there is another, simpler reason; one which I believe will be self-evident if you take a gander at what I’ve set out for you below…
1: A photographic reconstruction of various stages in a complex medieval spell to preserve the chastity of a high-born maiden while her betrothed is away at the wars.
2: A meeting of a coven of white witches in Hertfordshire, England, in June 1964.
As you can see the simple answer is- Because its fun! I mean come on! In what other context do sad old dudes get to prance about waving wands over nubile flower-carrying virgins, flanked with skulls and incense and sheer fabrics? At what other point in their lives do most older women get to heft daggers and dance around naked together and point longswords at blindfolded initiates? The occult is just too damned fun to disapear. Not so much for the goats and chickens, granted, but for humans? A really swell time.
Seriously, you just try taking it away from desperate middle-aged naked people with swords, I dare you.
All images and accompanying text from the book The Supernatural by Douglas Hill and Pat Williams, published in 1965.
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