Long Live the Lunatic

Magic as a Mover of Matter


A typical crowd on the Leidseplein In Amsterdam, 1984

After we set up our gear in front of the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines building, a dumpy little man skirted Jim's table.

We'd seen him on the Leidseplein for days. His eyes were magnified in thick glasses framed in black and he wore Earth shoes. He glances sideways, one hand playing with his fuzzy black hair as he passed us. Then he stopped, looked over his shoulder, and walked backwards until he stood by Jim.

   Out of breath, the man said to Jim, "This wand, the one you call The Wand of Merlin, it's a mover in magic. But what's the antidote? I mean, did anyone explain to you how it works?"

   Jim stepped away. The man parried his move. He gave off a peculiar odor, a whiff of metallic laced with onion. I stood still, wondering if he was one of those guys who'd identify the bloodshot streak in the white of my eyeball as a worm threading its way into my brain.

   "Oh, I know you can't give away your secrets," he said, edging in closer. "But can you think of matter and make matter move? By yourself?"

   Playing along, Jim said, "I've experimented with it a lot."

   "Really? Is it just your mind? Or is it because you're working with someone else? I assume there's an external force working with you, but I don't know where it is or who it is..."

   Suspicious, his eyes swiveled above my head, to the right, and to the left. I didn't think he even saw me. Jim looked at me and I shrugged.

   Slapping the wand against his palm, Jim confessed, "It's my own brain."

   The guy's watery blue eyes remained glued to the ironwood wand. "So. You can move matter with, uh, your own brain?"

   "Sure," Jim replied. "Others can too. But it depends on the operator."

   "The operator?" The guy clutched a fist of hair and circled Jim's table. "That's something I've never been able to do," he said. "But I've been a victim of matter moving away from me. Now, is it possible that a magic source could rob me through some photographic light emitted from that wood? Or perhaps it's gaseous?" Halting abruptly, he reached out to touch the wand but snatched his hand back. "Can that wand made out of lignum vitae be aimed at any object from a distance, then cause it to disappear?"

   "It has to be pretty close contact," Jim said.

   "Like thirty yards or so?"

   "I'd say more like feet."

   Could it be discharged from another body?" the man asked. "That's also possible. Yes. You're standing here and someone's standing over there, and you both may have the ability to transmit matter into other forms, so then it's possible that the wood has matter and anti-matter capabilities."

   Rocking back and forth on his Earth shoes, he exploded, "Oh my God! I could've been the victim of a hidden partner like yours! Oh sweet Lord! I've been attacked by a presence contained within the ironwood!"