Is Magic Really Magic?

My definition of magic is something that has not yet been explained. Still, sometimes we experience phenomena that defy explanation. Here are a few that have occurred in my life.

Many years ago, when my daughter Lisa was about 5 years old, we were staring out of the window on a very cold and snowy day. The kids were bored and, trying to think of something to amuse them, my thoughts went to the doll house we had ordered and I wondered, silently, when it might arrive. 

Without missing a beat, Lisa looked up at me and said, “Yes, Mommy, when do you think the doll’s house will get here?”
Obviously, she read my thoughts, because we had never even spoken of what was to be a surprise Christmas gift. Magic? Coincidence? Precognition? Who knows!

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When Lisa’s son Chris was 3, he, Jason, and I were in the car and Chris in the back seat seemed to be having an animated conversation with no one we could see.  

“Who are you talking to?” I asked. “My friend John,” he said.   

Trying to join in the conversation and validate his imaginary friend, I inquired, “What does John look like and where does he live?”   

“Oh, he’s my age and looks like me with brown hair and hazel eyes.  He told me he used to live down here but now he lives in the sky.”

That stopped me cold. Our 3-year-old son Johnny, whom Chris had never seen or even heard of, had died 21 years before Chris was born and there was no way our grandson could have known about him. Also, Chris didn’t have a concept of life and death from either a religious or secular point of view. He just had an invisible (to us) friend named John. Magic?  Coincidence?  Precognition? Who knows!

A year later, when Chris was about 4, my mother-in-law Jenny died. She was in her 87th year, not ill, and we had surprised her the night before by bringing Chris and Lisa in from Atlanta. Grandma Jenny doted on Chris, her first and only great-grandchild, and had a wonderful evening playing with him. The next day she was gone.

For two weeks following her death Chris would come into his parents’ bedroom each night and fall asleep at the foot of their bed. Finally, Lisa asked him why he wouldn’t sleep in his own bed. 

“It’s Grandma Jenny,” he answered. “She sits in my rocking chair every night and talks to me so I can’t sleep. Why doesn’t she come in the daytime when we could play some more?”  Magic? Supernatural? Who can say?

When Jason and I were young marrieds, we fell in love with a house in Hastings that was right out of a fairy tale. It was built of stone, ivy covered, and had a trellised walk with low reaching flowering trees leading to its front door. The back lawn boasted many free-standing statues, including one of Merlin the Magician, and its windows were covered in plush velvet draperies.

Sleeping Beauty would have felt right at home. It was very old, probably turn of the 20th century, and seemed deserted. We tried to find the owner, but he obviously didn’t want to be found. The address was 131.  

Fast forward 50 years.  After 62 years of marriage I became a widow. We were then living in a 100-year-old cottage, having downsized from our larger home. My grandchildren, Chris and Silvia, felt, and rightly so, that I couldn’t keep it up by myself.

They decided to find me a place closer to family members and surprised me with a new home on Father’s Day 2016.   Walking toward the front door my heart skipped a beat. I knew I was not alone and never would be, because my new address read 131, the same as on the fairy tale house both Jason and I loved so very much.

Coincidence? Magic? Who can tell.

Although many unexplained happenings are associated with death, they need not be sad. This last one is bitter-sweet.
When I was a little girl my grandmother promised that when she died she’d come back and tell me how it was. When our son, Johnny, died at the age of three, even though he had been very ill, it was difficult to accept. That afternoon I excused myself from all our well-meaning guests and lay down in my sunlit bedroom. Suddenly, there at the end of the bed stood, not my grandmother, but my grandfather Michael. His blue eyes sparkling, he held out his arms and said, “Sweetheart, don’t worry. The baby is with us and he’s fine.” I reached out to touch him and he was gone.  

Wishful thinking?  Magic? Hallucination?  I’ll never know, but no one can ever convince me that my grandfather wasn’t really there.

As I said at the start, magic is that which has not yet been explained, and sometimes we need no explanations, just the belief that more things than we understand really do exist. I can live with that.

Contact Adrienne at

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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