Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Bulletproof Sheep?

This case happened last year around this time, but it's either too profound or too amusing to pass up, depending upon whether or not the magical technology involved actually works.

A street vendor in Dubai was arrested for fraud in connection with trying to sell an onyx stone that he claimed would make the wearer immune to bullets. At his trial he insisted that he was innocent, claiming that he had hung the stone around the neck of a sheep and shot it four times without causing the animal any injury. He furthermore volunteered to be shot at while wearing the stone himself. The vendor was convicted nonetheless, but would he really offer to wear the stone and be shot himself if he knew that it was a fake?

The simplest explanation, of course, is that the vendor is such a bad shot that he missed the sheep four times in a row, but could a talisman like this really work? There are three different ways to go about making a talisman that will protect you against being shot, at least some of the time. That's the trouble with magick, though - even with the odds shifted in your favor it is still possible for any spell to fail and with something like this the consequences of failure are disastrous for the wearer.

The first method works by jamming the gun, and don't laugh - I've known magically gifted people who were able to jam a gun that was being fired at them. The probability shift that this method creates will make any weapon more likely to jam based on the natural probability of this occuring, so for example a gun that jams often will be practically unable to fire whereas one that jams very seldom will most likely still get the shot off. This dependence on the type of weapon used is what makes this method unreliable in real-world circumstances.

The second method is to make the subject difficult to hit by altering the likelihood of the bullet's trajectory. The best way to do this is by affecting the shooter and messing up his or her aim rather than moving the bullet in flight because the bullet carries so much kinetic energy with it in such a short period of time. This method will work on even hard-to-jam guns, but it becomes less effective as the skill level of the shooter increases. Combining this design with the first method will probably give you the best practical results. It wouldn't protect you from a professional sniper with a high-end rifle but it might work surprisingly well against street criminals with little skill and cheap weapons.

Finally, you could try to make a talisman that would make you resistant to bullets so that they just bounce off of you, but if you really think that's a good idea you'll probably wind up in the emergency room. Magick doesn't work well against kinetic energy deployed in such a short period of time. The real-world effect of this design might help to keep a bullet from hitting a major organ, but even then you still are shot. With a gunshot, it's often the shock of being hit that kills you.

In this particular case, since the gun fired the talisman is probably not of the first variety. It most likely is of the second if it does anything. It seems pretty unlikely that even a poor shot could miss a sheep at close range four times in a row, but it becomes more likely if the talisman distorts the shooter's aim. This is perhaps supported by the fact that the vendor appeared to be totally convinced by his demonstration. He clearly thought that his aim was true, though perhaps he simply is incredibly stupid. That can never be ruled out.

All that we really know about the stone is that it is made of onyx, but the attribution there is basically correct. Onyx is associated with the path of Saturn on the Tree of Life which is related to "works of malediction and death," but what needs to be kept in mind is that Saturn rules over these types of operations and as a result can also be used to keep them from succeeding. "Prevent me from being injured or killed by a gun" would be a reasonable statement of intent when crafting an onyx protective talisman attributed to the path of Saturn.

So does the stone work or is the vendor an idiot? Seeing as idiots are more common than magicians skilled enough to make an effective talisman of this sort, I think the odds are probably on the latter. But you never know.

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble

1 comment:

Jow said...

From what I hear, that kind of thing is not uncommon in the muslim parts of the world, esp. Indonesia.

I don't know the exact mechanics of how to make a talisman that keeps you from being shot (They have them for being stabbed as well), but I DO know that it takes a good streatch of time to make one, and that is the traditional test. You simply demonstrate to the buyer by putting a talisman on a member of the livestock community, and try to kill it. If the bullets and blades don't work, you can hand over your painful amount of money to the sorcerer, and collect your magic rock.

There is a site called Indotalisman that specializes in that sort of thing. No, I've never seen it done, myself. But if a Nei Gong practitioner can set fire to paper with his bare hands, and shaolin monks can break the business ends of weapons on their bodies, why not stab proof geology?