Created By: Darkhorse on March 17, 2015 Last Edited By: Dirtyblue929 on April 24, 2017

Unexpectedly Real Magic

People try out a magic spell as a joke or dare, but it turns out it's real.

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Trope
When someone or a group of people come across a written magic spell, or a magical-looking item (like a Spell Book, enchanted toy, amulets etc), they then try to play pretend magic with it, thinking that it's not something really magical. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

And then it happens: the incantations and rituals they did are Real After All!

They may then discover it and maybe try actually using it for practical purposes. If they are lucky, it's just a normal magic spell or item. If they aren't, it's one that spells doom, either to themselves or somebody else or worse, everyone. Can get particularly odd when the magic stuff actually warn you of the dangers of doing magical things with it.

Contrast "Sorcerer's Apprentice" Plot when the character knows something really is magical but doesn't realize the potential danger (and then gets scolded by their mentor). See also Idiot Ball and Schmuck Bait. Can overlap with Evil Is Not a Toy.

Examples:

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    Comic Book 
  • The French comic Dies Irae starts with a teenager finding a magic book in an old house. The first thing he tries is a succubus-summoning spell with modern ingredients (a mermaid Barbie's hand works as well as the real thing, Coca-Cola for vulture's blood, etc.). To his great surprise, it works, so he then tries a good-luck charm, but it seems to work by inflicting horrible accidents on others. As a more competent demonologist later explains to him, the disasters were actually the succubus' doing, since he allowed her out of the circle when they first met in order to bang her.
  • In one of the Hellblazer comics, John prevents his niece from casting a dangerous revenge spell on another girl. It turns out she got the spell from an amateur who's thrilled a magician of John's caliber would pay attention to him, having no idea of what kind of powers would be attracted by that curse. John... sets the record straight, and tries make sure Gemma knows not to get involved in black magic.
  • One of the stories in the original Men in Black comic was about a group of kids playing a Dungeons And Dragons clone who found an ancient mystical artifact and used it as their 20-sider. (They didn't know it was magic, they just thought it was cool-looking.) When one of them casts a "summon demon" spell, an actual demon appeared and destroyed half their house, and most of the town they lived in.

    Film 
  • Hocus Pocus: When Allison takes Dani and Max to the witches museum on Halloween showing them the Sanderson Sinsters' home and possessions, including the Black Flame Candle, which will bring them back to life for one night when lit by a virgin on All Hallows Eve, Max, who happens to be a virgin, sarcastically suggests lighting it and meeting them. After being attacked by Binx the cat, the girls want to leave, but Max dismisses it all as "a bunch of hocus pocus" and lights the candle. The flame turns black and the witches come back. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Knights of Badassdom: The LARP-party's wizard bought a creepy old tome off the internet to add to his get-up and accidentally used it to summon a real succubus from hell.
  • In The Evil Dead (1981) they accidentally summon the evil dead by jokingly reading out from The Book of the Dead.
  • The Shaggy Dog In the original version, Wilby Daniels finds a ring with a Latin inscription in it: "In Canis corpore transmuto." He likes the sound of it and sings it to himself several times while holding the ring. Then he turns into a dog.
  • The Craft: Teenage girls form a witch's coven, seemingly just as a counterculture act. But the rituals they perform end up having real magical effects.
  • The Gate: Some boys find a record with a recording of a demonic chant. They think it's amusing, and play the record. The chant actually opens up a Hell Gate.
  • In Sherlock Holmes, the villain Blackwood passes himself off as a talented magician. His spells turn out to be tricks, but Holmes notes that Blackwood performed all the magic rituals perfectly, which could mean "the devil's due a soul". Sure enough, there's a conspicuous raven following Blackwood around everywhere he goes...
  • The Mummy (1999): Evy has no idea that reading from the book she's just found will release Imhotep.
  • The premise of Ouija is that a bunch of kids play a Ouijia Board as a joke, only for it to turn out to really summon spirits, causing all types of wacky hijinks.
  • The Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks has a reversed example. Miss Price is a spinster who enrolled for mail-order witchcraft lessons so she can use the mailed spells to aid Britain's war efforts during WWII. However she receives a letter informing her that the remaining classes were canceled, just before she gets the one spell she really needs. She (along with some children assigned to her care) travel to London via a enchanted teleporting bed to confront Mr.Brown, the administrator of the classes, so she can get that spell. However it turns out that Mr.Brown is a fraud, who doesn't think magic actually exists and was just selling transcripts of the spells he found in an incomplete 'spellbook', hoping that gullible individuals will pay for 'fake' magic spells from a faraway 'headmaster' they've never met. The idea that the spells would actually work for anyone, such as Miss Price, never occurred to him to be an actual possibility. After being convinced of the existence of magic by a temporary bout of Baleful Polymorph, much of the plot afterwards is for the group to search for the other half of Brown's spellbook for clues for the one spell Miss Price seeks.

    Literature 
  • In the final Narnia book The Last Battle, the false prophets do a ritual to summon the Calormen God of Evil Tash, for a stunt with which to kill anyone they deem troublesome. But it's Gone Horribly Right, as Tash actually does turn up and wreak havoc among there.
  • Discworld
    • Lords and Ladies The young witches are "new age Wiccan"-type witches, all about mystic symbolism and occult jewelry, while the old witches know that real magic is mostly psychological and comes from not being used. The girls actually have magic power, but it's being supplied by an elf queen in order to help their invasion of the disc.
    • In the Discworld novel The Light Fantastic, the hitherto incompetent wizard Rincewind, pursued by a mob intent on wreaking revenge on all things wizardly, throws his usual desperate bluff to gain time. Rincewind's tactic in a fight is to strike the pose of a wizard about to cast a lethal spell, knowing Genre Savvy pursuers will realise exactly what it means when a Wizard strikes a pose with arms extended and fingers poised to deliver death. It usually buys Rincewind enough time to run and get away, or else to do the unexpected and deliver a more mundane punch or kick. But to his surprise, for the very first time the magic ignites, his fingers crackle with octarine fire, and people get killed. He just wasn't expecting this...
  • The Diana Tregarde novel Burning Water has a flashback to when Diana and Mark first met. Mark and three of his buddies held a seance on Halloween because one of his buddies was studying anthropology and was curious about whether there could be anything to those old rituals. They were trying to call up Julius Caesar, they got a demon instead, and Diana had to interrupt studying for her midterms to keep the demon from possessing Mark.
  • This is the premise of Pamela Dean's The Secret Country trilogy, in which five young cousins who pretend to be characters in a fantasy world end up crawling through a bush and find themselves trapped in that fantasy world. It's ultimately subverted, though, with The Reveal that the idea of the Secret Country was magically planted in their heads by a magic-user from the Country, in order to get them to come to the Country; they never made it up at all.
  • The Laundry Series notes that this can happen to people who take H.P. Lovecraft too seriously. When CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN gets going, any kind of ritual could do this.

    Live Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?. In the episode "Jake and the Leprechaun", a play in which the protagonist's character is turned into an elf turns out to be a real ritual which will subject him to a Baleful Polymorph and give the villain his lifeforce.
  • Supernatural. A symbol from a theology textbook used in a prank, and accidentally activated turning the prank ghost real.
    • In the episode Bloody Mary the eponymous murderous ghost is summoned by characters chanting her name in front of a mirror without believing the urban legend.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer did this at least once, with somebody drawing a magic circle "out of a book" and somebody else just happening to bleed on it (what are the odds?).
  • Angel
    • Fred accidentally got transported to Pylia after reading some words out of what turned out to be a magical spell book.
    • Angel interrupts some Wolfram & Hart mooks preparing a ritual which they don't know what it's for. They're just following the recipe their supervisors gave them.
  • There's an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess where Gabrielle corrects someone's reading of a spell (they were using the wrong meter) and something bad happens.
  • An episode of Weird Science involved Lisa encountering a strange man who seems to able to detect that something is not normal about her. By episode's end, the man is revealed to really have magical powers. What's weird about that, considering Lisa has magical powers? Well Lisa's "powers" are due to her being a computer generated program... The man on the other hand....

     Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay story hook, some children steal a bunch of notes from a scholar on a dare, and upon seeing it contains some weird funny notes and symbols, decide to "play magic". Unfortunately, it is a summoning ritual for an ancient Chaos warrior that was buried alive in this place...

     Theatre 
  • Macbeth One of the reasons this is known as The Scottish Play is because it used "real" witchcraft chants (which King James, a notable believer in witchcraftnote , decreed should only be spoken during a performance, just in case).
  • Doctor Faustus Subverted - The inverse of this happens when John Faustus recites a conjuring spell he is given and when the messenger to the Devil appears he thinks that it has somehow works. The demon tells him that it didn't work, but he was listening anyway and decided to find out what Faustus was doing, especially because Faustus was blaspheming and the demon really likes that.

    Video Games 
  • Fable II. One of the side-quests involves fighting an army of Hollow Men unwittingly summoned by a pair of idiots with a spellbook.
  • Appears frequently in the Shin Megami Tensei: Persona series:
    • In Persona, the protagonists gain their powers by playing the Persona Game, a Bloody Mary-like ritual which several of them complain is just superstition.
    • In Persona 2, the protagonists participate in a similarly-mocked ritual involving dialing your own cell phone number, and are targeted by Joker as a result.
    • In Persona 4, the protagonist discovers his power to enter TV sets after begrudgingly trying out an Urban Legend involving staring into a powered-off TV on a rainy midnight.

     Visual Novels 
  • CLANNAD: Main character tries out a book of charms out of boredom in his visits to Yukine's old library reference room. There are nontrivial instructions like "stack two coins on edge, then say the written words, then think of someone" with promised effects written out. Realizing a pinch of Literal Genie at play later, he's led to believe that it's the spell that has caused him to get locked with Kyou in a sports equipment shed, so he has to perform some embarrassing actions to dispel the charm. In the visual novel, certain choices lead to scenes with other characters in place of Kyou (even Nagisa's dad).

    Web Original 
  • Many versions of the Horror Movie Survival Guide can be found on the Net. Some of the examples of advice that apply to this trope:
    • Never read a book of demon summoning or other evil book aloud, even as a joke.
    • Do not allow children to read old books unsupervised.
    • Ancient Satanic spells should never be chanted unless it's a dire emergency.
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-717 ("The Ambassador"). SCP-717 is the ruins of a home where a cult once worshipped. A group of teenagers tried to use a Ouija Board in the basement and opened a gate to another dimension, which allowed a group of spirit entities to enter the basement and attack them.

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League Unlimited, one episode starts with a bunch of frat boys performing a necromantic ritual for fun. Unknown to them (until he came crashing through their door), the ritual revived a recently-Killed Off for Real Solomon Grundy and boosted his power to the point even Amazo can't stop him.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures, Jade draws the Mark of Tarakudo on her ankle as a fake tattoo. It became a more permanent Power Tattoo which granted her control over the Shadow Kahn and corrupted her into becoming Queen of the Shadow Kahn until it was removed, of course.
  • In one Scooby-Doo episode, Shaggy and Scooby find a spell book and read a couple of spells from it, finding them ridiculous. What they don't know is that the spells have turn them into monsters and then back to normal without them ever realizing it.
  • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Transylvania 6-5000", Bugs spends the night at the castle of Count Bloodcount, a vampire wanting to sink his fangs on our hero. Unable to sleep, Bugs picks up a book on magic spells and reads out loud about the words Abracadabra and Hocus Pocus. Unknown to him, those words cause the Count to turn into a bat and back again, respectively. As Bugs makes up a song about them, the Count keeps changing at the most inopportune times.
  • In the South Park episode "Hell on Earth 2006", a running joke throughout the episode is various characters being dared into summoning Biggie Smalls in a Bloody Mary-type ritual. Most end up chickening out and defending their actions by saying it's not real, only to try later when they're alone and succeed in summoning Biggie.

Community Feedback Replies: 147
  • March 17, 2015
    marcoasalazarm
    Western Animation example: an episode of Justice League Unlimited starts with a bunch of frat boys performing a necromantic ritual for fun. Unknown to them (until he came crashing through their door), the ritual revived a recently-Killed Off For Real Solomon Grundy and boosted his power to the point even Amazo can't stop him.
  • March 17, 2015
    Bisected8
  • March 17, 2015
    henke37
    I think Martin Mystery did it at least once.
  • March 17, 2015
    DAN004
    Yay for overly childish writing.
  • March 18, 2015
    Gideoncrawle
    The first description paragraph sounds like Example As A Thesis, which is usually considered to be a poor way to introduce the trope. And yeah, the description overall has a distinctly childish tone.
  • March 18, 2015
    IronicMouse
    • Knights Of Badassdom: The LARP-party's wizard bought a creepy old tome off the internet to add to his get-up and accidentally used it to summon a real succubus from hell.
  • March 18, 2015
    Chabal2
    The young witches in Lords And Ladies are "new age Wiccan"-type witches, all about mystic symbolism and occult jewelry, while the old witches know that real magic is mostly psychological and comes from not being used. The girls actually have magic power, but it's being supplied by an elf queen in order to help their invasion of the disc.
  • March 18, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ uh, this is more about hapless guys playing pretend about doing magic rituals, only for them to turn real. This isn't about "fake witches".

    Yeah, the name sucks too.
  • March 18, 2015
    Arivne
    Web Original
    • Many versions of the Horror Movie Survival Guide can be found on the Net. Some of the examples of advice that apply to this trope:
      • Never read a book of demon summoning or other evil book aloud, even as a joke.
      • Do not allow children to read old books unsupervised.
      • Ancient satanic spells should never be chanted unless it's a dire emergency.
  • March 18, 2015
    randomsurfer
    • In The Evil Dead 1981 they accidentally summon the evil dead by jokingly reading out from The Book of the Dead.
    • Angel:
      • Fred accidentally got transported to Pylia after reading some words out of what turned out to be a magical spell book.
      • Angel interrupts some Wolfram & Hart mooks preparing a ritual which they don't know what it's for. They're just following the recipe their supervisors gave them.
    • There's an episode of Xena Warrior Princess where Gabrielle corrects someone's reading of a spell (they were using the wrong meter) and something bad happens. (I don't remember details just now, sorry.)
  • March 19, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Dan, Gideoncrawle, I'm sorry, I would change it if I could but I'm afraid that when I wrote it I didn't realise that that the dark magic of Tv Tropes submit button would render it indelibly smote upon the face of the internet for a thousand generations. I was just trying to have some fun with this for the first write up and didn't realise I had to get it absolutely and completely perfect the very first time. ;)
  • March 19, 2015
    ZuTheSkunk
    Pretended Spellcasting Real Magic?

    Darkhorse, there's this tiny icon of a pencil that lets you edit stuff...
  • March 19, 2015
    Bisected8
    Personally, I think the first paragraph at least's fine; it described the trope immediately and in two sentences (if you ignore exclamations).

    As for childish...meh, we're TV Tropes, not srsbusiness.wikia. As long as it's clear, it's not a problem.
  • March 19, 2015
    Darkhorse
    I know Zu, to be honest I'm just trying to lighten them up a bit. ;)
  • March 21, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Does anyone have any ideas for a new name or any more examples?
  • March 21, 2015
    DAN004
  • March 21, 2015
    Bisected8
    Theatre
    • One of the reasons Macbeth is known as The Scottish Play is because it used "real" witchcraft chants (which King James, a notable believer in witchcraftnote , decreed should only be spoken during a performance, just in case).

    Live Action TV
    • In the Are You Afraid Of The Dark episode "Jake and the Leprechaun", a play in which the protagonist's character is turned into an elf turns out to be a real ritual which will subject him to a Baleful Polymorph and give the villain his lifeforce.
  • April 6, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Thanks! Any more votes on the name?
  • April 6, 2015
    DAN004
    needs a better laconic.
  • April 6, 2015
    MrInitialMan
    How about this for a laconic:

    Oh Crap, the spell actually works.
  • April 6, 2015
    MrInitialMan
    Inverted in one story I read where a teenaged boy reads a spell from a magic book believed to be real that actually turns his friend into a bipedal wolf—except it doesn't. The book's a fake; his friend is actually a werewolf. His friend's parents, however, never let on that the book is bogus, to threaten the kid into silence. (Oh, I wish I could remember the title).
  • April 7, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Can't put it in unless I have a title, sorry.

    Not sure why Dan and Initial care about the laconic.
  • April 7, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ there are many things that you would tell to kids (or anyone, really) to not be done at home.
  • April 7, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Yeah, but nobody reads laconics except us on the YKTTW before publishing. I doubt most people even realise they exist, or would look at them if they did.
  • April 7, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ way to demean people who do read laconics, boy.
  • April 7, 2015
    Darkhorse
    All I'm saying is that they are a very, very, very niche audience of questionable existence. :P
  • April 7, 2015
    Daefaroth
    ^You know, with your apparent disrespect for the YKKTW system I wonder why you are even trying to launch a trope. And the laconic is important because it can be used as a judging point to determine if an example is valid or not and to see if a trope is drifting.

    But the point I came in to make is that in your meandering example as thesis you have potholed Too Dumb To Live. That would only apply if the people faking the ritual had any reason to believe that magic is real or the book is real. You are probably looking for Genre Blind.
  • April 7, 2015
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    Bad laconics are one of the biggest sources of misuse on the wiki. They matter, but most of them are terrible. Aim to rise above terrible.

    </Mod Hat>
  • April 8, 2015
    Arivne
    • Capitalized the title.
    • Examples section
      • Added [[/folder]] at the end of each media section folder so they would display properly.
      • Changed TV to Live Action TV.
      • Alphabetized media sections.
  • April 10, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Thanks Arivne, I forgot about having to use [/folder].

    @Daefaroth. I have changed the pothole.
  • April 11, 2015
    JujuP
    Anime
  • April 11, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Video Games
    • One of the side-quests in Fable II involves fighting an army of Hollow Men unwittingly summoned by a pair of idiots with a spellbook.
  • April 11, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Subverted with Card Carrying Villain Mok in Nelvana's ''Rock And Rule, who incorporates a demonic ritual into his stage production because he intends to summon an actual demon. This demon would punish the audience for failing to attend his other concerts and keep his album sales high; of course, this would punish the attendees rather than the absentees, but Mok is miles deep in Chaotic Evil territory.
  • April 13, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Added Strixes. Not sure about Bunny's.

    Ju ju P - I'm afraid that's not an example as this isn't about failed magic. I think it might have been the name that confused you, so I might change it unless anybody has any objections?
  • April 13, 2015
    randomsurfer
    In the original The Shaggy Dog Wilby Daniels finds a ring with a Latin inscription in it: "In Canis corpore transmuto." He likes the sound of it and sings it to himself several times while holding the ring. Then he turns into a dog.
  • April 14, 2015
    Tuckerscreator
    • In the final Narnia book The Last Battle, the false prophets do a ritual to summon the Calormen God Of Evil Tash, for a stunt with which to kill anyone they deem troublesome. But it's Gone Horribly Right, as Tash actually does turn up and wreak havoc among there.
    • In Sherlock Holmes, the villain Blackwood passes himself off as a talented magician. His spells turn out to be tricks, but Holmes notes that Blackwood performed all the magic rituals perfectly, which could mean "the devil's due a soul". Sure enough, there's a conspicuous raven following Blackwood around everywhere he goes...
  • April 14, 2015
    lakingsif
    • The inverse happens in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus - John Faustus recites a conjuring spell he is given and when the messenger to the Devil appears he thinks that it has somehow works. The demon tells him that it didn't work, but he was listening anyway and decided to find out what Faustus was doing, especially because Faustus was blaspheming and the demon really likes that.
  • April 15, 2015
    FerrousFaucet
    Live-Action film examples:

    • The Craft: Teenage girls form a witch's coven, seemingly just as a counterculture act. But the rituals they perform end up having real magical effects.

    • The Gate: Some boys find a record with a recording of a demonic chant. They think it's amusing, and play the record. The chant actually opens up a Hell Gate.
  • April 15, 2015
    TrustBen
    Can overlap with Evil Is Not A Toy.
  • April 15, 2015
    TonyG
    • On one Scooby Doo episode, Shaggy and Scooby find a spell book and read a couple of spells from it, finding them ridiculous. What they don't know is that the spells have turn them into monsters and then back to normal without them ever realizing it.
    • In the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Transylvania 6-5000", Bugs spends the night at the castle of Count Bloodcount, a vampire wanting to sink his fangs on our hero. Unable to sleep, Bugs picks up a book on magic spells and reads out loud about the words Abracadabra and Hocus Pocus. Unknown to him, those words cause the Count to turn into a bat and back again, respectively. As Bugs makes up a song about them, the Count keeps changing at the most inopportune times.
  • April 19, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Thanks guys, this is getting to be a really good startup. I think I'll see if there are any more and then launch.
  • April 19, 2015
    DAN004
    May not count
    • Death Note: When Light finds the titular note on a pavement, he reads the writing behind the cover of the book that mentions how one uses the book. Unconvinced, but curious, he then tries it on a bully that he's familiar with (forgot his name) by writing his name on the book... and 40 seconds later the bully does die on a sudden heart attack.
  • April 19, 2015
    FerrousFaucet
    Is that how it happened in the manga? In the anime, the first person Light killed was a biker thug that he saw assaulting a woman on the street. It still might fit this trope since Light thought the notebook was just an elaborate hoax, but still tried using it out of curiosity.
  • April 20, 2015
    randomsurfer
    ^^^Need four more hats first.
  • April 20, 2015
    Antigone3
    Burning Water has a flashback to when Diana and Mark first met. Mark and three of his buddies held a seance on Halloween because one of his buddies was studying anthropology and was curious about whether there could be anything to those old rituals. They were trying to call up Julius Caesar, they got a demon instead, and Diana had to interrupt studying for her midterms to keep the demon from possessing Mark.
  • April 20, 2015
    Antigone3
    Oh, and I like Meddling With Rituals.
  • April 20, 2015
    Arivne
    Other Sites
    • SCP Foundation, SCP-717 ("The Ambassador"). SCP-717 is the ruins of a home where a cult once worshipped. A group of teenagers tries to use a Ouija Board in the basement and opens a gate to another dimension, which allows a group of spirit entities to enter the basement and attack them.
  • April 20, 2015
    shimaspawn
    Meddling With Rituals is a terrible name. It sounds like the fairly common Fantasy convention of actual mages messing with actual rituals they should know better than to cast. Like Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerers Apprentice. That one is currently under Sorcerers Apprentice Plot.
  • April 21, 2015
    Darkhorse
    DAN 004 - I'm really not sure about that, it is technically pretty close but very boarderline.

    randomsurfer - I didn't know people really stuck to the hat system. Most people don't seem to bother giving hats so I tend to consider the number of examples given to be votes in the trope's favour.

    shimaspawn - thanks, I was trying to think of a way to deflect trope decay and adding that to the text should help.

    Thanks to all the contributors so far. :)

  • April 28, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Any more?
  • April 28, 2015
    lakingsif
    The description could use some work, before you think about launching it. Also, try for at least three hats before launch. If either of those aren't filled, it will be sent straight back to yk.
  • May 1, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Well, can anyone think of anything to call it? It seems better than it was before.
  • May 1, 2015
    lakingsif
    I think the name's alright. Not great, but alright.
  • May 1, 2015
    AgProv
    Literature:
    • In the Discworld novel The Light Fantastic, the hitherto incompetent wizard Rincewind, pursued by a mob intent on wreaking revenge on all things wizardly, throws his usual desperate bluff to gain time. Rincewind's tactic in a fight is to strike the pose of a wizard about to cast a lethal spell, knowing Genre Savvy pursuers will realise exactly what it means when a Wizard strikes a pose with arms extended and fingers poised to deliver death. It usually buys Rincewind enough time to run and get away, or else to do the unexpected and deliver a more mundane punch or kick. But to his surprise, for the very first time the magic ignites, his fingers crackle with octarine fire, and people get killed. He just wasn't expecting this...
  • May 1, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Literature:
  • May 1, 2015
    shimaspawn
    • The The Laundry Series notes that this can happen to people who take HP Lovecraft too seriously. When CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN gets going, any kind of ritual could do this.
  • May 3, 2015
    Antigone3
    The Mummy 1999: Evy has no idea that reading from the book she's just found will release Imhotep.
  • May 6, 2015
    Darkhorse
    That's great guys, keep em coming.
  • May 6, 2015
    Potman
    In one Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay story hook, some children steal a bunch of notes from a scholar on a dare, and upon seeing it contains some weird funny notes and symbols, decide to "play magic". Unfortunately, it is a summoning ritual for an ancient Chaos warrior that was buried alive in this place...
  • May 6, 2015
    NemuruMaeNi
    • Clannad: Main character tries out a book of charms out of boredom in his visits to Yukine's old library reference room. There are nontrivial instructions like "stack two coins on edge, then say the written words, then think of someone" with promised effects written out. Realizing a pinch of Literal Genie at play later, he's led to believe that it's the spell that has caused him to get locked with Kyou in a sports equipment shed, so he has to perform some embarrassing actions to dispel the charm. In the visual novel, certain choices lead to scenes with other characters in place of Kyou (even Nagisa's dad).
  • May 6, 2015
    shimaspawn
    How about Pretend Magic Is Real? Madrugada suggested it. I think it flows a bit better and it focuses more on the fact that the magic is generally real from the start.
  • May 6, 2015
    Madrugada
    I'd suggest making the name " "Pretend Magic" Is Real " rather than "turns". Despite the characters treating it as "pretend magic", the magic is real all along, it doesn't become real somewhere along the line.
  • May 6, 2015
    DrNoPuma
    Or maybe something like "Really Is Magic"
  • May 7, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ and ^^^ I could go for either of those. I suspect Really Is Magic might get dinged for sounding like a line of dialogue (i.e., "It really is magic!") but they both sound pretty good.
  • May 7, 2015
    Darkhorse
    I think Pretend Magic Is Real could work, but it sounds like it might encourage trope decay. Reality is Magic is too confusing for my tastes and doesn't sound much like the trope.
  • May 7, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ Read That Again: It's not Reality Is Magic, it's Really Is Magic.

    As in, "I thought it was just a stick that I was pretending was a wand, but it Really Is Magic!"
  • May 7, 2015
    Dalillama
    Corrected the link from my Laundry Files example, and added one to cover what CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN implies.
  • May 7, 2015
    shimaspawn
    ^ That page is actually The Laundry Series
  • May 7, 2015
    Dalillama
    ^ The page is called that, but the actual books are called the Laundry Files; someone suggested on the discussion page that the page name be changed, but nothing seems to have come of it.
  • May 7, 2015
    shimaspawn
    ^ You could always move it yourself. Just remember to put in a good edit reason.
  • May 8, 2015
    Dalillama
    ^ I suppose; I'm frankly not that good at the markup on this site, and I'd be concerned about breaking the million and a half links to the existing page. I tend to bork redirects.
  • May 8, 2015
    SolipSchism
    One of the nice things about wick migration is that it just involves doing the same thing over and over. You go to the Related page; you click any of the links; you edit the page; you find the wick to that page you just came from; you change it to what it should be. Go back to the Related page you were on and repeat ad nauseam.

    The important thing is to get it right the first time. Then just rinse and repeat.

    And since one is already a redirect to the other, all you have to do is swap their places. Then you can take your time moving the wicks.
  • May 9, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Ok, Really is Magic works better, but I'm still not sure about it. Does anyone else have a suggestion?
  • May 14, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Hey Dalillama, there's a really easy way to do it in two seconds. Just copy-paste the whole thing into word and use Ctrl+F to do an auto-replace of the phrase. Hope that helps in future.
  • May 14, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Current title (Actually Real Magic) is super awkward.
  • May 20, 2015
    Darkhorse
    Really Real Magic? It is quite hard to pin down, isn't it?
  • May 20, 2015
    SolipSchism
    Honestly I'm still hoping we settle on Really Is Magic.
  • May 20, 2015
    MegaMarioMan
    Name Suggestions:

    It's Actually Magic

    Non-Fake Magic

    Honest Magic

    Official Magic

    Magic That Actually Does Things
  • May 20, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^ Those are shading into names that sound less like "We thought it was pretend magic but it's actually real" and more like "Magic... that is really magic".
  • May 20, 2015
    SetsunasaNiWa
  • May 20, 2015
    SolipSchism
    "Honest" is a really weird word to use here. "Deceptively" might be useful though.
  • May 21, 2015
    ChubbiestThread
    How about "Accidental Sorcery"?
  • May 21, 2015
    MegaMarioMan
    "Not Just a Crusty Incantation..."?
  • May 21, 2015
    SolipSchism
    ^^ That's not bad. I don't know if it's perfect, but it's a step in the right direction. Would "Accidental Magic" work?

    ...Okay, I'm sure no one will like this, but because I have a perverse snowclone fetish, what about Nice Job Casting It, Hero? :p
  • May 22, 2015
    Darkhorse
    I quite like Accidental Sorcery and also Accidental Magic. Any other suggestions?
  • May 22, 2015
    zoop
    Not too fond of "Accidental" - It (to me) implies other things than what this trope is about. My favorite out of the suggestions so far is Non-Fake Magic.

    If nobody can reach an agreement on anything, "Actually Real Magic" works for me.
  • May 22, 2015
    zoop
    Comic Books:

    • One of the stories in the original Men In Black comic was about a group of kids playing a Dungeons And Dragons clone who found an ancient mystical artifact and used it as their 20-sider. (They didn't know it was magic, they just thought it was cool-looking.) When one of them casts a "summon demon" spell, an actual demon appeared and destroyed half their house, and most of the town they lived in.
  • May 18, 2016
    rmctagg09
    • In the first Persona, the protagonists gain their Personas by playing the Persona game, which plays similarly to the "Bloody Mary" ritual, and meeting Philemon.
  • May 18, 2016
    DAN004
    For the title, it needs to be specified that this trope involves people playing with magic rituals/incantations/etc without knowing it actually works.
  • May 18, 2016
    eroock
    Contrast Magic Misfire.
  • May 19, 2016
    Slothgirl
    If this requires renaming, may I suggest 'Insufficiently-Analyzed Magic'?
  • May 19, 2016
    Chabal2
    In one of the Hellblazer comics, John prevents his niece from casting a dangerous revenge spell on another girl. It turns out she got the spell from an amateur who's thrilled a magician of John's caliber would pay attention to him, having no idea of what kind of powers would be attracted by that curse. John... sets the record straight, and tries make sure Gemma knows not to get involved in black magic.
  • May 19, 2016
    GoldenDarkness
  • May 19, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ that's a good start
  • May 20, 2016
    Arivne
  • May 20, 2016
    Chabal2
    The French comic Dies Irae starts with a teenager finding a magic book in an old house. The first thing he tries is a succubus-summoning spell with modern ingredients (a mermaid Barbie's hand works as well as the real thing, Coca-Cola for vulture's blood, etc.). To his great surprise, it works, so he then tries a good-luck charm, but it seems to work by inflicting horrible accidents on others. As a more competent demonologist later explains to him, the disasters were actually the succubus' doing, since he allowed her out of the circle when they first met in order to bang her.

  • May 20, 2016
    Slothgirl
    Again, still suggesting Insufficiently Analysed Magic as a trope name. (We need to decide on one)
  • May 20, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ doesn't sound good. May be confused with some other things
  • September 18, 2016
    DAN004
    Kinda wanna suggest What Do You Mean The Magic Actually Works but that'd be too long.

    Dunno what I'd call it aside from Pretend Magic Is Real.
  • September 24, 2016
    Menarker
    The Disney movie Bedknobs and Broomsticks has a reversed example. Miss Price is a spinster who enrolled for mail-order witchcraft lessons so she can use the mailed spells to aid Britain's war efforts during WWII. However she receives a letter informing her that the remaining classes were canceled, just before she gets the one spell she really needs. She (along with some children assigned to her care) travel to London via a enchanted teleporting bed to confront Mr.Brown, the administrator of the classes, so she can get that spell. However it turns out that Mr.Brown is a fraud, who doesn't think magic actually exists and was just selling transcripts of the spells he found in an incomplete 'spellbook', hoping that gullible individuals will pay for 'fake' magic spells from a faraway 'headmaster' they've never met. The idea that the spells would actually work for anyone, such as Miss Price, never occurred to him to be an actual possibility. After being convinced of the existence of magic by a temporary bout of Baleful Polymorph, much of the plot afterwards is for the group to search for the other half of Brown's spellbook for clues for the one spell Miss Price seeks.
  • September 24, 2016
    DAN004
    ^ basically "actually fake magic"?

    That sounds similar to Phony Psychic
  • September 24, 2016
    Menarker
    ^ Well, for that one character Mr.Brown that could technically apply early in the film; but magic in Bedknob and Broomstick IS real. It was just that the conman didn't think the books (and thus the magic) were actually legitimate and merely sold the spells within it for his mail-order scam. He does later managed to cast a spell himself (the same Baleful Polymorph spell that had been cast on him before) when he actually gives it a genuine shot under pressure.
  • September 24, 2016
    DustSnitch
    • The premise of Ouija is that a bunch of kids play a Ouijia Board as a joke, only for it to turn out to really summon spirits, causing all types of wacky hijinks.
  • September 24, 2016
    DAN004
    ^^ Either way, does "someone plays with magic, thinking it is real/not real" happen in your example or not?
  • September 24, 2016
    Menarker
    Ah, I see what you're driving at now. No, I guess my example is not a good fit. (Thanks)
  • September 25, 2016
    Tallens
    • Hocus Pocus: When Allison takes Dani and Max to the witches museum on Halloween showing them the Sanderson Sinsters' home and possessions, including the Black Flame Candle, which will bring them back to life for one night when lit by a virgin on All Hallows Eve, Max, who happens to be a virgin, sarcastically suggests lighting it and meeting them. After being attacked by Binx the cat, the girls want to leave, but Max dismisses it all as "a bunch of hocus pocus" and lights the candle. The flame turns black and the witches come back. Hilarity Ensues.
  • February 26, 2017
    SeptimusHeap
    <Moderator headband on>

    Trope has been brought back to resolve naming and description issues that were discussed in the YKTTW Crash Rescue.
  • February 26, 2017
    Malady
    Web Original:

    • Unsong: Chapter 8:
      Thirty years ago, when the sky cracked, the assortment of hermeticists, Wiccans, and uncool teenagers practicing magic noticed that their spells were starting to actually work. Never unambiguously. But the perfectly possible things they asked of their magic were starting to happen more often than chance. Of course they ran around telling everybody, and some people did controlled experiments, and finally people started to believe them. A hundred different schools of witches and warlocks went around curing people’s illnesses and blessing sea voyages and helping people find their true loves.
  • February 26, 2017
    CactusFace
    • In Corpse Party Blood Covered the main characters perform a spell named Sachiko Ever After. Not only does this spell actually work, but it also works in a compleatly different way than they first thought.
  • February 26, 2017
    WaterBlap
    This Needs A Better Title. My issue with the title is that it's not actually Actually Real Magic (trivia or spooky stories about what happened to the cast) but "In Universe" Actually Real Magic (trope, character expects the magic to be fake but it becomes real).

    I suggest a title along the lines of Unwitting Magic Use or Unexpectedly Real Magic.
  • February 26, 2017
    TrueShadow1
  • February 26, 2017
    sailing101
    Unwitting Magic get's my vote, it more clearly highlights that the one using the magic did not expect it to be real.
  • February 27, 2017
    Berrenta
    <Mod Hat ON>

    Unlaunched again, as the issues mentioned the last time aren't resolved.
  • February 27, 2017
    Chabal2
    Another for Rincewind: In Eric, the titular amateur demonologist believes Rincewind to be a summoned demon and orders him to grant his wishes. Rincewind sarcastically asks if Eric thinks that happens with a snap of Rincewind's fingers... and they find themselves deep in the jungle. Rincewind looks at his fingers with deep suspicion after that. There's a demon lord casting all the magic when Rincewind snaps his fingers, all part of a complex plot to overthrow the current king of Hell.
  • February 27, 2017
    WaterBlap
    Honestly, I'd prefer Unexpectedly Real Magic, so that's 2 for that, and 1 for Unwitting Magic? I don't think any of the previously suggested titles work, the best being Pretend Magic Is Real but that's confusing on its own ("Is it really pretend if it's real?")... idk
  • February 27, 2017
    PegasusKnightmare
    I saw the trope title and thought "Actually Real Magic" referred to a stage magician who uses real magic in their act (whether the audience knows the magic is real or not depends on the setting). That's probably not this trope, but do we have one for that?
  • February 27, 2017
    JoeG
    In the Xena Warrior Princess example Gabrielle accidentally summons three Titans.
  • February 28, 2017
    Lumpenprole
    In the short story "Convergent Series", a college student researching medieval magic discovers that all recorded accounts of demon summoning spells have a deliberate flaw, which when corrected actually makes it work.
  • March 7, 2017
    Dravencour
    Throwing in my vote for Unwitting Magic. This one happens a lot in the more supernatural horror movies.
  • March 7, 2017
    Getta
    ^ That sounds okay
  • March 8, 2017
    WaterBlap
    2 for Unexpectedly Real Magic and 3 for Unwitting Magic. Plus the new examples.
  • April 8, 2017
    Madrugada
    My vote is for Unexpectedly Real Magic. Unwitting Magic opens up the possibility of people not even thinking that they're doing magic, but they are.

    By the way, I believe Sarah in Labyrinth is an example, when she repeats the chant from her novel in frustration at having to babysit her little brother. She has no idea that it will work.
  • April 8, 2017
    ErikModi
    • Played with and ultimately subverted in Ms Marvel 2014. When some of Kamala's friends think they need to summon Loki, who they refer to as "hipster Viking dude," they try a ludicrously made-up ritual using hipster iconography. Loki does eventually show up, not because the ritual worked, but because he couldn't stand how silly it all was anymore. He even brought popcorn.
  • April 8, 2017
    NightShade96
  • April 8, 2017
    crazysamaritan
    Not with the current name; it's terrible. Unexpectedly Real Magic is acceptable in my opinion.
  • April 8, 2017
    NightShade96
    Changed title.
  • April 8, 2017
    Getta
    Seems okay to launch.
  • April 9, 2017
    MrInitialMan
    For Literature:

    • A short story called The Gazing Ball has a very benign example—a little girl's father buys a new home with a garden—within this garden is a faerie garden for her, complete with gazing ball. When she looks in the ball, she expects to see herself—but sees a fox-like creature, who likewise didn't expect to see a human girl in his gazing ball. The two begin a VERY long-distance friendship that takes an unexpected turn when their respective worlds make contact. Alas, by the time it's possible for their people to easily travel from one planet to another, a century has passed since the two first made contact, which means they are far too old to make the trip, and never see each other face-to-face.

    Come to think of it, perhaps this could go under Unwitting Magic, since the gazing ball is considered simply a decoration.
  • April 9, 2017
    Getta
    ^ We don't have a trope called Unwitting Magic.
  • April 9, 2017
    WaterBlap
    Another issue that was brought up in the crash rescue thread was the Example As A Thesis. This was something that I brought up, actually. Here are my current concerns:
    1. "when most people want to add magic spells to their big production, they usually don't copy them out of a big musty grimoire" sounds like it's supposed to be RL trivia or something about RL occultism.
    2. "Not this guy. This guy is an idiot." This makes the trope seem to be a character trope when it's actually a plot trope.
    3. Some of the rhetoric is obnoxious and is thus distracting ("E-V-E-R" for example).
    4. Is Sorcerrers Apprentice Plot supposed to be being contrasted? Or is it the inverse of this? I don't think it should be potholed.
    5. How are Idiot Ball and Schmuck Bait related to this? I'm not asking for me, but rather for the Naive Reader (a reader who's never read another trope article before). The same question applies to Evil Is Not A Toy.
    6. While I think Genre Blind and Tempting Fate can be used to set up or justify this trope, I don't think they are so intrinsic to Unexpectedly Real Magic that they should be potholed in the Example As A Thesis.
  • April 9, 2017
    zarpaulus
  • April 9, 2017
    MrInitialMan
    Water Blap: The contrast between Sorcerers Apprentice Plot and this is the apprentice is dealing with greater magic than he can handle, while in this, the meddler doesn't realize that there is magic here at all. And I am actually casting my vote for Unwitting Magic.
  • April 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Unwitting Magic sounds too vague on what's unwitting here.

    BTW Schmuck Bait is related in that some of these magic stuff actually warn the would-be practitioner about the potential dangers, but they ignore it because they thought it isn't real. This might happen due to Idiot Ball but then there's the issue of calling everyone who ends up doing this an idiot.

    And I thought some guy above said that the description sounds really childish...
  • April 10, 2017
    kraas
    Isn't this basically just Real After All, but with magic?
  • April 10, 2017
    LB7979
    The Craft isn't an example of this trope. The three girls at the beginning of the movie believe magic is real; but their magic is still weak, because, as they repeatedly say "We need our fourth [coven member]". Once Sarah shows up and joins them, their magic becomes very strong. It didn't work before because their coven wasn't complete yet, not because they didn't believe magic was real.
  • April 10, 2017
    Getta
    ^^ Real After All is a specific plot when the "real thing" only shows up at the end when everyone think the thing in question was a fake.

    ...Yeah, it's more specific than it sounds. Disappointing, right?
  • April 10, 2017
    Dirtyblue929
    Update to an entry in Video Games:

    • Appears frequently in the Shin Megami Tensei Persona series:
      • In Persona, the protagonists gain their powers by playing the Persona Game, a Bloody Mary-like ritual which several of them complain is just superstition.
      • In Persona 2, the protagonists participate in a similarly-mocked ritual involving dialing your own cell phone number, and are targeted by Joker as a result.
      • In Persona 4, the protagonist discovers his power to enter TV sets after begrudgingly trying out an Urban Legend involving staring into a powered-off TV on a rainy midnight.
  • April 11, 2017
    kraas
    ^^ OK. Launch. Unexpectedly Real Magic is the most appropriate name.
  • April 11, 2017
    WaterBlap
    ^ This is not ready for launch. Needs A Better Description as I already said nine comments up. It'll probably just get unlaunched again if launched with that same description.
  • April 11, 2017
    WaterBlap
    I just took care of one of the six issues in the description. Specifically, the contrast with Sorcerers Apprentice Plot.
  • April 11, 2017
    Getta
    ^ Maybe you can change the description too? Do we need to wait for this Darkhorse guy?
  • April 11, 2017
    WaterBlap
    ^ That's unnecessarily passive-aggressive. Obviously my answer is "no." What is stopping any of y'all from fixing the description?
  • April 12, 2017
    Arivne
    ^^ Waiting for Darkhorse is not a good idea since they left TV Tropes back in 2015, right after creating this proposal.
  • April 12, 2017
    Getta
    ^ I see, I don't know that.
  • April 21, 2017
    Getta
    I took a go and edited the description. Did I get something wrong?
  • April 24, 2017
    crazysamaritan
    I'm still not a fan of the Example As A Thesis, but it is improved from what I recall.
  • April 24, 2017
    WaterBlap
    That's a much better description imo. I'd suggest moving the "Real After All" wick to the contrast section and add "which is when the "real thing" only shows up at the end when everyone thought the thing in question was a fake" (which is what Getta said above).
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=i169or9si4txaoz6kaaxhy92