Magic has dated back from before we can remember and as a result, we are left pondering over how magic really began and how our fellow cavemen incorporated the theory of ‘magic’ into their lifestyles. In this article we will be taking a look at a few of the key historical points in time where magic was thought to dwell.
According to library.thinkquest, magic is thought to date back as far as 50,000 B.C! Now, although these times weren’t advanced enough to enable cave men to pull a rabbit out of a hat without eating it first, scientists do believe there is some significance behind the cave drawings created by prehistoric people. Scientists have come up with this wacky theory that these cave drawings resemble a craft of ‘magic’ or a ‘spell’ in which the drawings would come to life in their absence.
Let us make this a little clearer for you; the concept behind this theory is that hunters would draw pictures of animals or hunting scenes before leaving their cave to hunt. It is thought that they believed the drawings would magically come to life during their absence. Although of course, this form of ‘magic’ didn’t work, but scientists believe that it filled them with self-confidence for their hunting trips. That, my friends, was their magic.
Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks
As many of us will already know, the ancient Egyptians actually used amulets, rites and magical figures as their form of magic. It has been said that magic was crucially important to them as they strongly believed that by having these magical features it would provide them with good harvests, rewards and sometimes even punishment when it was due! They also valued magic, as they believed it would keep the pharaoh happy.
Unlike the Egyptians, ancient Roman’s and Greeks made the first attempt to tell the future using dreams and crystal balls. It is thought they consulted their priests in order to gain information from their beloved Gods.
During the middle ages, it is thought that almost all Europeans believed in the power of magic; however, at the same time they also thought it to be highly sinful. At the time, alchemists were thought to have searched long and hard for two very particular items; these were known as the elixir of life and the philosopher’s stone and no we don’t mean the stone featured in the Harry Potter movies although I wouldn’t mind both! The philosopher’s stone was said to have the ability to transform a variety of metals into pure gold while the elixir of life was believed to be a miraculous item that had the capability to extend the lifespan of a single person and also cure diseases.
During this time period, the belief in magic continued to expand all around the world. It is thought that even those who had been highly educated believed in its mighty power including (would you believe it!) Sir Isaac Newton, who actually went on to study alchemy. However, also by this time, people grew tired of hearing about the black magic of witchcraft and instead adopted a very different belief. People, for example, truly believed that you could tell a person’s character just by what they looked like i.e. through facial features, moles and studying a person’s hand.
Despite these strong beliefs, after around 1600 magic lost the attention of many due to various scientific advances proving that magic is merely a trick of the mind.
There have been many great magicians over the years including Houdini and more recently, Oliver B, who have proved their worth in entertainment however, still today people believe in black magic, witchcraft and are hooked on various superstitions such as the classic lucky rabbit’s foot and lucky penny.