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).
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.
Ofcom, the UK regulatory broadcasting agency, has ruled that the Derren Brown program "Something Wicked This Way Comes," which aired on Sunday morning, December 6, 2015, breached two provisions of the Broadcasting Code. The program, based on Mr. Brown's 2006 stage show of the same name, breached Rule 1.13: “Dangerous behaviour, or the portrayal of dangerous behaviour, that is likely to be easily imitable by children in a manner that is harmful…must not be broadcast before the watershed…unless there is editorial justification” and Rule 1.14: “The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the Watershed." The agency received five complaints about the program.
Mr. Brown, a well-known illusionist and mentalist, used the "F" word several times during the program, at a time when children were likely to be watching. He also demonstrated several tricks which Ofcom deemed were likely to be dangerous if children imitated them. For example, he used a plastic bag to cover his head, and he walked on glass. He did show that these tricks did not harm him, but the Ofcom regulators found that because the program aired during the period when children were watching, and the network (UKTV) did not attempt to justify the airing of the program during that time period, the airing of the content with its explanatory material did not outweigh the danger to children. It did acknowledge that the network aired the program by error in the time period and that the network is putting safeguards in place to prevent such a mistake from happening again.
Joey Talley works with computers, but she's not your ordinary, everyday IT geek. Ms. Talley, or rather the Reverend Talley, is a practicing witch (Wiccan). She's available to assist you if your computer has problems that can't be solved with the usual sorts of intervention that the denizens of, say, Tech Support normally provide. The Rev. Talley notes that weirdness emanating from your basic PC or Apple could very well be the result of a virus, and she can assist by clearing it out. Or, she says, it might be demons. Regardless of the cause, she's willing to try to help out. How does she do that, you ask? She might use a direct approach with stones such as amethysts or jet (by setting them on the affected device), she might use the powers of her mind, or she might cleanse the area around the computer by burning herbs (sage). She notes that often her customers are a little skittish about approaching her, or about advertising the fact that they've consulted her. Completely understandable.
Does she get results? It's not clear to me from the interview she did here with Motherboard what her success rate is, exactly.
Interestingly, in this interview with SF Weekly, Rev. Talley discloses that she also provides assistance with "legal" matters. She can "cast spells" to "divert" the plaintiff or that person's attorney (only plaintiffs--are defendants immune--or does she only work with defense firms)? By the way, she charges $200 an hour.
I do have to say that given the odd behavior that I've seen sometimes in my own PCs, iPods, and other devices, sometimes I think that something unnatural has overtaken them. So, it could be actual little devils. Or it could be the little devils I live with. The felines could be resetting the operating systems while I'm at work (or stuffing fur in all the little slots). Maybe I should install a CatCam.
[Yes, I'm looking at you. What did you do with the mouse?]