All these things cost money, especially the spellbooks, which range from your run-of-the-mill 5 buck tomes to a $10,000 paperback of "positive enchantments to enhance your life," a phrase that only slightly sounds like it belongs in a Cialis commercial. The prices are understandable! People work to write these spellbooks, and it's hard to make money from magic online these days; Etsy even banned witches from selling magic on its service this summer.
Luckily, there is one person looking out for the frugal and fledgling magic users of the world. His name is Don Trey and he's "an Energy Healer, " a former computer engineer, and the author of Book of Magic Spells, a free book that's the very first result when you search for spells on Amazon. Book of Magic Spells is, as far as I can tell, the only free spellbook on Amazon.
Don Trey's book of spells is a slim companion to his "highly-rated Knight Blazer series of books," a fantasy series that so far contains exactly one book. Trey's spellbook aims to provide its reader with a handful of easy-to-cast spells to improve their life, for free.
The five spells are: a happiness spell; a spell to "bring your sweetheart closer to you"; a spell for [a]ttracting money"; a spell to send blessings to someone else; and a friendship spell.
By design none of the spells take reagents (items or ingredients required to sucessfully cast a spell); all you have to do is repeat the words. Trey urges readers not "to always expect instantaneous results," so, naturally, we tested out the spells to see if they offered instantaneous results.
First we tried the Happiness spell. My colleague Patrick Hogan offered to test this one. Its instructions are as follows:
Neither Patrick nor I were sure if the instructions called for him to repeat the sentence three times or nine times. The spell is ambiguous: Do you repeat the one sentence three times, or do you repeat the three sentences three times? This was not clear, and Don Trey offers no more guidance.
To play it safe, Patrick repeated "Spirit of sun, Spirit of light, embrace my heart and make it bright" nine times.
Over a chat on Slack, Patrick confirmed that he did not experience an immediate boost in happiness:
Patrick's spell-casting had failed him. However, it was still possible that he wasn't examining his feelings while repeating the words, which Don Trey instructs you to do. So I had another colleague, Katie McDonough, try the same spell. She repeated the phrase only three times. Afterwards, she told me she did feel happier.
At this point we were working with a 50/50 failure-success rate, so I had yet another colleague try a different spell. Fusion reporter Nidhi Prakash selflessly offered to enchant herself with a spell to attract money. Nidhi chanted "Power of money, come to me, with integrity and set me free" three times; Katie, probably due to the happiness spell she had just cast upon herself, threw some money at her. However, no other money materialized. We'll see if patience yields more.
At home, I decided to try the other three spells. After all, maybe they needed the relative privacy and familiarity of my room in order to work. First I intoned "Queen of hearts, star of the sea, bring my sweetheart, here to me" seven times, in order to bring my sweetheart closer to me. I don't have a sweetheart, so I focused my thoughts on my cat, Isaac, while speaking the magical words. Isaac was busy playing with a small toy mouse, though, and did not come closer to me until it was time for food bedtime. While Don Trey's write-up of this spell urges that "[t]he universe works in wonderful ways look for the subtle signs" I didn't even see any subtle signs. Another failure, at least so far.
I did encounter some apparent success with the spell to bless others. After I repeated the words "Child of light, child of love, blessings for you from above, sun to greet you every day, may peace and radiance bless your way" three times directed at my friend David this morning, I texted him and asked if he felt extra blessed today. Almost two hours late he responded:
David is generally a pretty upbeat guy, and probably just going along with the whole thing, so I'm still pretty skeptical.
The last spell I tried was a spell to bring me friendship. I repeated "Power of friendship come to me, bringing joy and humility" a full seven times (seeing a pattern here?). Like all the others, this spell urges patience. Even so, I have made no new friends.
Maybe magic is fickle, or my intent was too glib, or Don Trey just doesn't have the right stuff to be a magical teacher. The speculative possibilities are endless: maybe Don Trey's seemingly misplaced commas are actually placed quite precisely, and we misspoke the incantations. Perhaps my colleagues and I are null spots in the world of magic, unable to create or receive magical effects. The spellbooks that cost money could be key; maybe you need to lay down cold hard cash to get a little of that sweet, sweet arcane power. It's even possible that something truly terrifying is the case: magic isn't real and a promotional device for a self-published fantasy book is bullshit!
Regardless, as far as I can judge 'em, these spells get 0 out of 5 crystal ball emoji. They're duds.
But at the very least Don Trey provides words of wisdom for anyone looking for magic on Amazon that are equal parts positive and unhelpful : "Life is magical and may you find what you are searching for with ease and grace."
Ethan Chiel is a reporter for Fusion, writing mostly about the internet and technology. You can (and should) email him at firstname.lastname@example.org