The Magical Null

I’ve long been fascinated by the concept of the magical null; a person whose magical talent is that magic doesn’t work in his or her vicinity. This premise is used in Glen Cook’s The White Rose, part of his Black Company series.

This is possibly because I appear to be a paranormal null. For example, every time I go someplace that is supposed to be haunted, absolutely nothing happens.

I used to work a quarter-mile from the Old Idaho Penitentiary, allegedly one of the most haunted places in Boise, Idaho. It was in service from 1872 to 1973 and I used to walk down the road and around the grounds during my lunch hours. Absolutely nothing of the paranormal variety ever happened. For five years. Not even a creepy feeling.

The weirdest thing that happened was a couple of critters (weasels? otters? marten? I never did identify them) trotted past me on their way to the foothills when I was cutting back across a field between the Dept of Agriculture building and the lab. They came within about six feet of me and didn’t seem to notice I was there. Very cool, but not paranormal in the slightest.

My husband and I purchased a house with a resident ghost in 2000; we were doing the final walk-through prior to closing and heard the ghost walking across the main floor while we were in the basement. Three people heard the floor/ceiling creak exactly as if someone were walking across it (me, Spooky Man and our realtor). I went upstairs to check; nobody was there, and all the doors were locked.

Feeling silly, I introduced myself to the empty living room, explained we were buying the house, would be moving in soon and had no problem sharing. We never heard from the ghost again. Sigh.

If you ever have a pesky poltergeist, invite me over for dinner. I might just scare it away for good, or worse, destroy it.

But it makes me think. Doesn’t that make the person who has the ability to negate magic sort of a doomsday weapon? “It’s time for the nuclear option. Go get Trixie.” Or, I suppose, it’s a bit like being the bogeyman; people use your name as a threat.

I’m sure there’s a story idea in there somewhere, maybe a variant of Ghostbusters, say, a ghost exterminator. What, because ghosts multiply like cockroaches? Or they’re attracted to the equivalent of food being left around, like mice. See, this is a piece of the possibly abnormal brain activity that creates book ideas. Grin.

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