As with any magic-based story, there are spells – spells that have a vast array of effects (both positive and negative) to the user and/or castee.
And after twenty years of Harry Potter’s existence, science has caught up and made five of the weirder (and scarier) spells possible in real-life.
So sit back in slightly scared comfort and see what five fictional spells have become non-fiction.
1. Obliviate (The Memory Charm)
Also known as the Forgetfulness Charm, this is a rather self-explanatory spell that erases memories from an individual’s mind. I don’t need any help with being forgetful (ask my friends about the various social events I have missed), but it’s becoming possible to wipe memories from a person’s mind.
A recent study by Columbia University Medical Centre found it may be possible to delete memories that trigger post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, based on experiments in snails.
This was done by stimulating the neurones with two different types of protein for either associative or non-associative memories and blocking the molecules from being active in your brain, effectively erasing a memory.
Great for if you need to have a private conversation when a stranger is close by, this spell keeps nearby others from overhearing your voice. Now, while scientists are dabbling with soundwave manipulation with surprising results, there is an immediate fix.
Say your significant other wants to watch something you don’t like on the TV, or listen to music that you hate. Well, Holosonics have created what are called direct audio speakers, which project sound like a beam of light rather than spread it across the room.
Combine this with a video facetime call (pick your words carefully, as scientists haven’t conquered the human voice yet), and you’ve got a secret conversation that only people stood directly in front of the speakers can hear!
3. Wingardium Leviosa
We are getting closer and closer to making stuff levitate. Nowhere can this be seen more than in hover boards. Take the rather theatrical ‘Slide’ by Lexus for example, which uses Liquid nitrogen to keep the superconductors on the board cool to repel it off the pre-placed magnets on the floor.
Of course, this is based on the floor being metallic, which you can’t guarantee. But this is an interesting step towards it – with infrastructure required of course.
4. Evanesco (The Vanishing Spell)
Now this one is rather cool, because scientists at the German Karlsruhe Institute of Technology have actually built an invisibility cloak big enough to hide small objects. This is done with a very unique paint that slows down and bends light around the object.
Light waves are direct in their path, and being able to scatter it (like this does) will essentially make the object disappear.
Ever looked on in envy as any of the wizards on Harry Potter waved a wand and saw their bags be magically packed? Well, unfortunately that’s not strictly possible.
But Panasonic have introduced something magical in Japan… An automated system that actually scans and bags products for you at a store. This is done by dropping your specially designed basket into a hole, which then opens up and slowly lowers your items into the bag. Sweet dreams are made of this during Asda rush hour.
Finally, a personal note of gratitude to J.K. Rowling.
Twenty years ago, I opened up a copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the recommendation of my primary school teacher Mr. Holt.
While I show the physically weathered signs of a workaholic lifestyle after two decades, the stories of one childhood wizard coming of age remain unforgotten – a staple part of my younger literary days that continues to captivate me.
This is the importance of Harry Potter. An importance that was earned through the long-term commitment of reading books, which is easy to lose track of in an age of instant gratification.
For that, I thank you. Thank you for transporting me and millions of others to this wonderfully realised world of magic, and helping ignite my love for reading and creative writing.
New Rising Media wouldn’t have been created if it wasn’t for my burning desire to learn the quips of writing engaging prose and create my own Harry Potter fan fiction at 10-years-old.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.