CHAPTER INTERLUDE: “Magic: the first years”
(From the introduction to Dr. Henry S. Williams’s seminal work Magic: A New Age Dawns, considered the first scholarly work on the subject following Andy Naramore’s first public demonstration of his powers.)
…(W)e now have this so-called “The First,” Andy Naramore, literally flying in the face of known physics.
The best minds have tried to prove that it was all a fake. Some stage magician’s trick, something with wires, with magnets, anything.
Those who could not believe it suffered a great blow when James Randi, former stage magician and long-time debunker of psychics, who had long offered the sum of $1 million to anyone who could demonstrate supernatural powers, put Mr. Naramore through the most rigorous tests. He was required to fly virtually naked, at times and places of Mr. Randi’s choosing, and perform many tasks. This included flying up after a balloon Mr. Randi had himself released, with an envelope tied to it containing a coded message written by Randi and one witness.
In the end, Randi had to admit Mr. Naramore truly had a supernatural power.
That was the end of skepticism for many. Others, however, dug in their heels. That is when the membership in SIIAMM clubs grew exponentially.* I discuss this in Chapter Three, “Backlash.”
For some believers, the entry of magic onto the world stage was a religious experience; for others, a sign of the end-times; for many, an added confusion to a world already altered by terrorism and war.
All that, just from one lone example of magic.
How much more changed when Naramore turned out not to be unique? At first, a new emp arrived here or there;** then, soon, too many for individual news stories to keep up with.
It is now believed that, by the one-year mark after The First, one out of every million people worldwide had publicly demonstrated some sort of magical power. No one knows how many more had them, but kept it a secret, out of fear or a desire for privacy. Additionally, far more could have probably learned such powers, but techniques for developing magic had not yet been formed.
Indeed, many tried to emulate The First’s powers of flight, to disastrous effect. Accidental deaths climbed by twenty percent in the United States the first year alone, nearly all from falls.
It is not known how much earlier magic had been developed by someone, but the magician had not gone public, as Andy Naramore did. It is probably too soon to speculate too much on this subject.
* SIIAMM stood for “Seen It in a Million Movies,” a quote by one of the early clubs’ founders regarding magic. It became both the name for this type of club and, for many, their motto.
** “Emp” is short for “empowered,” a New-Agey word used to describe those with magical powers. It is considered fairly polite, compared with “witch,” (always used with the underlying threat “suffer not a witch to live”) “freak,” or “monster.”