Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Monday, August 15, 2016

No wands for you!

New from the "So Weird I Couldn't Possibly Make It Up" department, the owner of a magical tools store in England is refusing to sell wands to Harry Potter fans because he says the wands he sells are real magic wands.  Like, that can cast spells and everything.

Richard Carter, owner of Mystical Moments in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, is miffed that he is being approached by customers who want one of his hand-made wooden wands not because they plan on using it for witchcraft, but because they fancy themselves candidates for Gryffindor.  So apparently you have to subscribe to the right brand of fiction to be able to buy a wand.

"J.K. Rowling has obviously done her research but Harry Potter is for children," Carter told a reporter for The Telegraph.  "It has done nothing for business."

Well, obviously not, if you refuse to sell them your wands.  But it's kind of hard to imagine turning away customers throwing cash in your general direction as being a sound business strategy.

"You wouldn't believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about," Carter went on.  "You would be amazed.  They know they can come here in reveal themselves without people thinking they're mental...  I don't have customers who have been Harry Potterfied.  If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter I would not sell them one, not matter how much money they were offering."

Which brings up how Carter could tell the Harry Potterfied people from the Potterless variety, since I'm guessing that once the word got out that he wasn't serving the Potterfied folks they wouldn't just walk in and announce what House they got sorted into.  But Carter is way ahead of any people who are thinking of sneaking:

He can tell the Potterfied customers by their aura.

Apparently he can also recognize the ones who intend to use the wand for evil purposes.  No Harry Potter fans or dark witches and wizards, that's Carter's motto.

So that goes double for you, Bellatrix Lestrange.

He seems like he's got a knack for making some pretty cool items, however.  He picks different woods for different uses -- oak for strength, chestnut for love, elm for balance, mahogany for spiritual growth.  Oh, and yew for immortality, because that's always a possibility, even considering that the Sorcerer's Stone is kind of out of the question.

He makes the wands on a lathe, but claims he has no background in wand-making at all.  "I have no training in woodwork.  I use spiritual guidance and don't know how any of the wands will turn out.  All you need for them to work is faith."

It bears mention that my son works on a lathe as part of his job every day -- a glass lathe, not a woodworking one, but same principle.  And he says, "Working on a lathe and expecting the spirits to tell you what to do sounds like a good way to lose a hand."

Carter's been lucky so far, apparently, because as of the time of this post he has both limbs attached and is still doing his thing.  And after making the wands, he anoints them with oil, and then puts them into a locked cabinet until the right witch or wizard comes along.

Predictably, local Hogwarts fans are a bit ticked off.  Slaithwaite Harry Potter enthusiast Mariella May said that Carter's refusal to sell wands to J. K. Rowling fans is like "McDonald's refusing to sell Happy Meals to sad people."  Which is an apt, and strangely hilarious, comparison.

Not everyone has had such a shoulder shrug of a reaction, though.  Fantasy author G. P. Taylor suggested that the shunned fans should take Carter to court.  Which opens up the possibility of Carter defend himself to a judge regarding how he discriminates on customers based on whether or not he approves of their aura.

See what I mean about this being way weirder than anything I could have made up?

So that's our dip in the deep end for today.  Me, I kind of admire Carter for his purity of purpose.  Isn't that supposed to be one of the guiding principles of good magic, or something?  Everything in balance, don't try to take advantage for your own gain.  So however weird it sounds to a doubter like myself, I hope that the publicity he's getting helps his sales -- only to bonafide witches and wizards, of course.

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