One thing is for certain: If Hermione Granger was real and living in New York City, she’d be at this library reading every single book in it (again). The Conjuring Arts Resource Center in midtown Manhattan holds 11,000 books about the history of magic “and its allied arts” (which includes psychic phenomena, hypnosis, and slight-of-hand techniques) and functions primarily as a research library. Don’t you love it when things like Hogwarts and Ray’s Occult Books join imaginary forces to form something real?
Founded in 2003 by Bill Kalush, the Conjuring Arts Resource Center holds volumes dating back to the 1400s and provides a rich, literary history on several aspects of magic (including the use of magic and the law, which was mentioned in the video above and sounded like something directly out of Harry Potter). While they do cater to those who seriously pursue a career in magic as a performer or historian, the center is also a resource for filmmakers and writers who want to add credulity to their work. (Because if you’re going to write about magic, you really should be factually accurate.)
A non-profit organization, they run programs for hospitalized kids and the disadvantaged of all ages. The Hocus Pocus Program seeks to provide “magical education” (not entertainment) to teach people how to tap into their magical potential. For its hospital program, it helps ill children find an escape from their physical pain, take their minds off things, and help break the monotony of a hospital stay. They also have a program for veterans hospitals, helping patients cope with the mental and physical trauma by directing their attention towards learning magic. The upcoming handbook, entitled The Book of Powers, has been used by the latter half of Penn & Teller and is being written by Alan Kronzek, who wrote a book called The Secrets of Alkazar. (Anyone else excited that this is real life?)
No matter what you believe about magic, this is at the very least super interesting and fun. The center features galleries, exhibitions (a past exhibit was dedicated to handcuffs and restraints), and a whole lot of Houdini. Even if you’re not in the area to visit, their web site is pretty packed to the brim with information and amusements. Even better: No Voldemort.
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