This is a simple method for enchanting yourself a magic whistle.

There are, as with anything having to do with the practice of magic, sorcery, or the summoning of spirits, important caveats. First, this is only simple insofar as you don't have to learn how to cast actual magic spells. There are complicated preparations that must be done before the ritual, along with lengthy travel. There are other difficulties during the ritual that certainly count as the exact opposite of "simple."

In addition, there are significant risks to your physical, mental, and emotional health, and a strong possibility that your immortal soul could be imperiled.

Warnings delivered. Now let's make us a magic whistle.

Okay, here’s what you do: go find this one particular old, deserted church out in the country somewhere outside of Levelland, Texas. (There may be similar locations throughout the country, but I only know of this one.) I'm not going to tell you exactly where it is, partly to keep traffic to the area at a manageable level, partly because you can't have everything handed to you on a silver platter -- but look for the place with the near-total lack of insects around it. The window frames used to have some flaked-off red paint on them, but I don’t know if the paint, or the frames, could have survived to the current date.

You’ve heard of a blue moon, right? That’s when you have two full moons in a single month. Now you’re actually going to have to wait for a month where there are two new moons — where the moon is completely shadowed over. These only happen every two or three years — check a good calendar that lists phases of the moon, and you should be able to find one.

Go to the church on the date of the second new moon. Try to get there between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. You should bring the following items: a metal whistle attached to a cord; about two ounces each of fresh ginger, garlic, and marjoram; a broom; a good flashlight; and a pint jar filled with dead flies.

Once you get to the church, turn on the flashlight and sweep the sanctuary. Don't worry -- it's not a big church, so it won't take you too long. It doesn’t have to be spotlessly clean, but sweep most of the dust out the front door. After that, sit down and mix the ginger, garlic, and marjoram together. Eat about half of the mixture and drop the rest into the jar with the dead flies. Leave the lid off the jar.

Now sit quietly, put the cord around your neck and the whistle in your mouth. Don’t blow on it hard — just breathe through it, so it makes a light, quiet, rasping whistle.

If nothing happens after 10 minutes, pack up and go home. You’ve picked the wrong church, or the wrong night.

However, if you’ve done everything right, someone is going to enter the room after a few minutes. He’ll be wearing a long black coat and a black hat. Shine the flashlight in your own face and then into his. Prepare for a shock — he will be almost completely covered with live, scurrying spiders.

Do not, under any circumstances, react in any way. Don’t scream, don’t flinch, don’t smile. Show no emotions.

He will sit down on the floor across from you and ask, in a whispering, quavering voice, what you are doing here. You should answer, "I come bearing gifts for a fellow seeker of wisdom."

At this point, a large number of spiders will leave the man and swarm over the jar of flies. After a few minutes, they will remove all the flies from the jar and take them back to the rest of the body.

And after that, an even larger number of spiders are going to swarm all over you.

Do not react. Keep your eyes and mouth closed. You will get spiders up your nose, in your ears, under your clothes. But do not react. If you react in any way beyond breathing heavier or having an elevated heartbeat, the only way anyone will see you again will be in this church, at another new moon, with you as the new host for the spider spirit. So do not react.

After about a minute, assuming you’re able to keep from screaming or flailing, the spiders will leave you and return to the host body.

"We regret we cannot use your second gift," the voice will whisper. "But we thank you for the kind offer."

At this point, you should stand up, briefly express your thanks for the audience, and leave the church. Remember to bring the whistle with you. You can leave the broom and flashlight if you want, or you can bring them with you. They’re not important — the whistle is.

As long as the whistle was hanging around your neck while the spiders were crawling on you, it will have absorbed a little something extra for the experience. Not a whole lot — it’s just become a nice little good luck charm. Sure, that may not seem like much, but it’s got more good-luck oomph than that artificial rabbit’s foot you been keeping around. We’re not talking about your superstitions about your lucky penny or wearing dirty socks for home football games. This is the real deal.

Hang it on your wall if you want. Wear it around your neck if you want. But never blow on it. And never return to that old deserted church.

Don’t ask me how I know this stuff.


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