It would seem that in Huddersfield, not that far from the relatively sensible part of the North West of England where we have our house, there is a shop called Mystical Moments. Among other things, the owner of the shop sells handmade wands. Who would have thought that there was a demand for such things in the 21st century? However, Richard Carter, owner of the shop, has said, "You wouldn’t believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about. You would be amazed." Well, yes, I am prepared to be amazed. He added, “They know they can come here and reveal themselves without people thinking they’re mental." So they do recognise that some people, such as myself, might regard them as odd. Mostly harmless, I am sure, but still odd!
He has been in the news because Harry Potter fans have been going to his shop to buy wands. He was not happy with this and, according to one newspaper, banned them from entering his shop. Further comments of his include the following: "I don’t have customers who have been Harry Potterfied.” “Harry Potter is for children”, and “If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter I would not sell them one, no matter how much they were offering”.
You see, according to Mr Carter, Harry Potter fans are not real wizards. J. K. Rowling has responded by saying, "Oh yeah? Well, I don’t think they’re real wands.” Which leads me to ask if Ms Rowling even believes in magic. Apart, that is, from the magic of making a lot of money by creating good stories for kids.
Mr Carter says he has been misrepresented. He explained further:
“I said that if Harry Potter fans wanted a wand they should go on eBay because what they’re basically after is a toy. But I have not banned them from the shop. I have nothing against Harry Potter and actually liked the films. The wands I make, though, whether you believe it or not, are real and spiritual. If a Harry Potter fan came to the shop, whether they would be able to buy a wand would depend on why they want one. If for a toy, then no, but if they had watched Harry Potter and been inspired to start their own spiritual journey, then yes.”
Oh dear! He clearly believes his wands are real!
Spiritual journeys are a different matter. I am told that a lot of people who walk the Camino de Santiago go on a spiritual journey, regardless of whether or not they believe in a supreme being. They tend to have sticks rather than wands though.
I hear also that there has been an increase in paganism. Hence the success of shops like Mystical Moments. I know a few people who are constantly putting stuff on Facebook about the power of crystals and stones to help you find inner peace. And I suppose that in the chaos of the modern world people will try all kinds of ways to sort things out for themselves. Although, personally, I stopped believing in magic, the type that needs wands and spells, a long time ago. It was around about the time when I gave up on the tooth fairy and Father Christmas.
I still believe that aspects of modern technology are a form of magic, especially stuff like Pokémon Go, superimposing cute cartoon characters onto GPS systems. (How DO they do that?) Proof of the magic of this is in the story of a man called Gary Dear in Washington State, USA. He has an ice cream shop, Mad Hatter's Ice Cream. His business was in difficulties. Clearly, too few people were impressed by the excellent name of the shop name to stop and buy ice cream.
Then along came Pokémon Go and virtual creatures started popping up in the vicinity of his shop. Perhaps they like the Mad Hatter. Pokémon Go-ers caught their Pokémons and celebrated with ice cream. Takings have doubled and tripled on some days.
Now that is real magic!