Francis Young discusses the commercial side of magic in Tudor and Stuart England here for the History Vault. He also notes that the use of magical spells and other swag might get you into legal trouble.
For more about grimoires, check out Owen Davies, A History of Magic Books (Oxford, 2010).
A Calgary (Alberta, Canada) judge has found Tamara Lovett guilty of failing to provide her 7 year old son with the "necessaries" of life and of negligence leading to his 2013 death from a strep infection. Ryan was ill for more than a week before he died in his mother's apartment. One of his mother's friends offered to take the boy to a physician but Ms. Lovett refused, preferring to treat him with holistic remedies. Said the judge, “In my view, a reasonable parent would have brought Ryan in to see a doctor when his eardrum burst.” The infection spread throughout Ryan's body, leading to major organ failure. In the view of Alberta's chief medical examiner, antibiotics administered in a timely manner would have saved Ryan's life.
The Calgary Herald highlights some Canadian devotees of law and magic here. Claudia Bustos, magician Ryan Pilling, and Jay Ingram, author of The Science of Why and former host of The Daily Planet Show are among those investigating witchcraft and the Canadian Criminal Code, Piltdown Man, and other mysterious topics on January 17th. Good to know there are kindred "spirits" north of the border.
The New York Times reviews a new series featuring a psychic who used to be a magician, as opposed to all those magicians and police consultants who used to claim to be psychic, and that one police consultant who claimed to be a psychic and referenced a former psychic who turned into a police consultant and former psychic. This show is Shut Eye, and it will premiere in streaming service Hulu on Wednesday, December 7 (10 episodes). It features Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) as the magician turned psychic, and KaDee Strickland as his wife.
Reviewer Mike Hale notes that the series starts off well, but "grows overcomplicated and undercharacterized." He likens the show to "a trick in which the dove fails to fly out of the magician's hat." I'm not familiar with that particular trick--I know the one with the rabbit that comes out of the hat, and the ones with the birds (doves sometimes, sometimes other birdies) that come out of the magician's vest or sleeves, or sometimes seem to appear from nowhere in the magician's hands. But out of the hat--no, I don't know that one. But never mind.
Apparently this fake psychic actually acquires real psychic powers, through a kick to the head from the friend of an angry customer. This turnaround actually propels some of the plot, which sounds promising. I'm finally getting around to watching it tonight, so I'll let you know what I think.
This article reviews and analyzes the growing bodies of literature on the regulation of sorcery and witchcraft beliefs and practices. The most visible problems relating to these beliefs and practices are the violent exorcisms, banishment, torture, and killing inflicted upon those accused of practicing sorcery and witchcraft in many parts of the global South. Sorcery and witchcraft are also (once again) becoming a challenge for countries in the global North, mainly within migrant communities in relation to children accused of witchcraft and exorcized and also in the context of claims to refugee status and freedom of religion. The article covers scholarly literature (legal, anthropological, economic, historical), law reform commission reports, nongovernmental organization (NGO) reports, and UN documents over the past 15 years concerning the regulation of the negative societal impacts of sorcery and witchcraft practices and beliefs. It concludes that there is a need for greater empirical study of the impacts of various regulatory initiatives adopted and promoted by national governments, NGOs, and international organizations.
Taxpayers apparently funded a two-day conference devoted to studying and discussing Bigfoot, which was organized by University of New Mexico, Gallup, professor Dr. Christopher Dyer, at which Dr. Jeff Meldrum and Rob Kryder spoke. Both are Bigfoot researchers. The conference cost about $7500 and took place at UNM-Gallup. Dr. Meldrum received a $1000 honorarium.
According to Dr. Dyer, the conference was well-attended. Benjamin Radford, the Managing Editor of The Skeptical Inquirer, notes that no Bigfoot skeptics were invited. Dr. Dyer responds that he didn't know where to find any skeptics. I suspect he could have asked Mr. Radford, who is easy to find, for some assistance.
After the conference, Dr. Dyer and some others went on a Bigfoot search, paid for by UNM-Gallup (although no UNM-Gallup faculty or students accompanied Dr. Dyer on the trip).
There is now some concern about the conference. Said UNM President Robert Frank, "Dr. Dyer needs to be much more thoughtful about how he undertakes these activities."
Via @JusticeWillett, some Hallowe'en real estate law.
In Haywood v. Carraway, (180 So. 2d 758, La. Ct. App., 1965) plaintiffs sought damages and compensation for mental pain and anguish from the appellees because sometime around September 1959, the defendants' children had vandalized the plaintiffs' beautiful plantation home, known as Belle Helene.
The appellants, who had lost at trial, were unhappy with the amount of damages awarded and attempted to argue on appeal, among other things, that the house was in such a state of disrepair that "the children were justified in thinking it an abandoned ghost house incapable of being damaged."
Responded the court, "That the juveniles may have considered the building a "ghost house" or "haunted house" is of no consequence inasmuch as the intention of a party committing vandalism does not affect the right of recovery of the injured party. Our Civil Code LSA-C.C. Article 2318 makes the parent or tutor liable for the torts of his minor child or ward. That the child may have no intent to do harm does not exonerate the parent or guardian from liability for his torts. We are aware of the tendency on the part of present day society, adults and juveniles alike, to regard immovable property which is unoccupied or not in use by its owner, as common property or property belonging to no one in particular or public property belonging to all. However, we hasten to add, for the benefit of the uninformed who may believe otherwise, that such concept finds no support in our law. Furthermore, we are not aware and have been cited no authority in our law which recognizes or establishes the concept of abandoned immovable property."
Thus, even if you think it's an abandoned haunted house, don't go in and smash it up. Someone might be watching you.