Examples of Accidental Magic

On February 6, 1928 in Gallup, New Mexico, a twelve-year-old boy with knobby knees and a bad attitude spat three times in quick succession and turned a large frog into a slightly larger frog.

At a high school dance in Springfield, MA in 1954, my aunt Meredith tried to do the twist and started a thunderstorm.

In 1934, Aida Cornfield, age six, mixed up the words to “Hush Little Baby” and brought her Raggedy Ann doll to life. The doll perished soon after when it panicked at its own consciousness and ran into the middle of Cedar Drive and was run over by Mrs. Abernathy’s Ford Model A.

I can’t tell you about this one.

Just last year, Karen Jenkins thought she remembered the recipe for her grandmother’s pot roast and made a love potion. Unfortunately, she was alone in her apartment watching Netflix as she ate, and she fell deeply in love with her laptop. It was weeks before anybody noticed. (She dropped a carrot on the floor. Her cat ate it and fell in love with a dust bunny.)

Gerald Urquhart attempted a turducken for Thanksgiving in 2014 and augured the future. He tried to get in touch with top generals to tell them that the winds were fortunate for war—but in return he got only a form letter thanking him for his interest in the military. A similar, but more minor, incident occurred when Arthur Korzipski’s Earl Grey teabag ripped open in his mug at a coffee shop in Greenwich Village in 1972. However, the message he later reported finding in the leaves was simply, “Mud is everywhere.”

In 1988, sixteen-year-old Martin Astero (now a respected orthopedic surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Cleveland) doodled something very close to the Viking Helm of Awe symbol on his shoe—close enough to provide him with partial invincibility. As a result, he survived a nasty fall from his skateboard—which should have broken his ankle—with only a skinned knee.

Eight-year-old Caspar Windale and his father constructed a papier-mâché volcano for a science fair in 1997. They used too much baking soda, and when they added vinegar the eruption turned Caspar’s father’s gold wedding band into lead. Some called this alchemy. Others maintained that, while it was remarkable, it could not properly be considered alchemy because the desired process was reversed.

While sitting in the waiting area at the Northridge, California DMV office in 1970, Amanda Choethle blew her nose with a tissue that had apparently been recycled from a piece of paper that had once held a note from Saint Eulalia of Barcelona. Her Irritable Bowel Syndrome was cured.

In New York City in 2002, a woman still feeling the effects of nitrous oxide and a large dose of Novocain after minor dental surgery tried to say, “If you love me, marry me.” She said it three times and happened to be looking in the rearview mirror of her soon-to-be-ex-boyfriend’s car at the time; summoned, the ghost of Bloody Mary appeared in the backseat. It is believed that the ex-boyfriend and Bloody Mary now live in a one-bedroom in Astoria.

Lester Crawford tripped while hiking in Scotland during a vacation in 1982. A small cut on his hand caused him to drip blood on a rune stone causing a Viking ship to briefly appear several dozen miles out at sea, before quickly sinking due to poor maintenance of the hull after 1100 years in limbo.

It has been recently reported that a sadistic young boy in the college town of Athens, Georgia dropped a newt he had killed into the plastic tub in the garage containing his father’s third attempt at home-brewed India Pale Ale and learned that he would one day be king.