A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies | View All


Abracadabra is a mystical word used to magically invoke benevolent spirits for protection against disease. The expression is also used by modern magicians as they pretend to invoke paranormal or supernatural powers to aid in their illusions.

This magical formula may be related to the word 'abraxas', which was found on many amulets during the last years of the Roman Empire and is thought to have originated with the Gnostics or the Egyptians. Wikipedia says the expression is related to the Aramaic avda kedavra, ("what was said, occurred.")

In any case, abracadabra is just as effective as hocus-pocus.

reader comments

further reading

Schiffman, Nathaniel. Abracadabra!: Secret Methods Magicians & Others Use to Deceive Their Audience (Prometheus Books, 1997)).

Last updated 17-Oct-2015

© Copyright 1994-2016 Robert T. Carroll * This page was designed by Cristian Popa.