Saturday, October 31, 2009

Hallowe'en Issues

In honor of Halloween I am reading a scary book, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. So far there have been no witches in the book, but for some reason [maybe it is the combination of having recently read the life of Einstein]... all morning long I’ve had one question rolling around in my head and it simply will not let me alone. It involves witches and gravity. If for no other reason than to exorcise the quandary of it all, I will here elucidate my current thoughts on the matter.
The question is this:
What happens when a witch falls off her flying broom?

At first glance this may seem like merely a whimsical question concocted for an extremely brief moment of possible hilarity, a question for which no real answer is intended or expected.
But no. Nothing of the sort is going on. I don’t even think the question is very funny, to be honest! I am asking it in all earnestness and want to submit it to the due process of valid interrogation.

Let us imagine that tonight, this very Hallowe’en night, you are pretty much minding your own business, doing what you usually do on the evening of October 31st, namely, answering the door for all the hobgoblins and Frankensteins that are out trick or treating.
So... a small flock of trick-or-treaters have just arrived on your doorstep and are holding forth their pillowcases and plastic pumpkins in hopes that you do not give them something that falls into either one of the two most dreaded categories: anti-Hallowe’en religious propaganda and fruit.
In our current scenario, you have flicked the porch light on to see a small assemblage of amateur ghouls and vampires and whatnot else. You turn to get more handfuls of candy from the big bowl in the hallway.
Just as you turn back towards the kids, the witch flies by.
A real one though.
There she is, just over their heads and a few blocks distant.
You freeze.
You pee your pants a bit.
The kids see the instant terror on your face.
Just as they all turn to see what is causing such concern, the witch lets out a raucous cackle and kicks her heels. The broom lurches forward in a wild spurt of speed and she topples backwards.
Boots over nose-wart, she falls from the broom.
Thinking you’ve staged the event, the kids turn back towards you and applaud.

But what happens next?
There are only a limited number of possibilities to consider, and I intend to consider them.
Here is the real issue: At what point, and to what degree, does normal gravity over-ride the powers of witchery?
Does the witch plummet to the ground, in which case all of the magical power of flight must be supposed to reside in the broom, which, (one would think), would still be buzzing around in some sort of blindly erratic witchless flight path in the sky until it crashed into something?
Or when the witch falls, does the broom fall also? Simultaneously?
In other words, is the broom merely a normal broom, vested with aeronautic power only when the hands of the witch are upon it? Can it fly at all, without the witch at the helm?
Herein lies a problem though --> If they BOTH fall, then it would seem to me that both are subject to an outside power that has simultaneously failed them both. As though a spell were suddenly broken.
Is witchery subject to gravity?
The fact that she was flying around at all (prior to falling off) would seem to answer that question “No.”
But if, upon falling from the broom, she merely floats in the air and does not plummet, we must wonder what the hell she needs the broom for in the first place! Perhaps for greater speed?

Let’s say she does fall, like a screaming bag of rocks and hair!
Well, if the witch has her own magical powers which she can conjure at will, certainly she would conjure some quickly, to save herself prior to hitting the ground. However, if she in fact does this in this instance, then one must inquire once again as to the purpose of the broom in the first place. If she is now sort of still flying (as it were)... broomless, prior to hitting the ground, surely she could have flown in this fashion earlier, when she initially set out from her lair, and prior to the accident which we have observed.
If the role of the broom is merely to provide something to sit on while in flight, might the witch not have been better off to select one of those plush La-Z-Boy recliners, with the pump-action footrest thingy on the side there? Wouldn’t she rather fly around town in that? I know I would.
Perhaps recliners and sofas do not steer as well as a broom?
Is maneuverability the thing?
[I am not being sarcastic, and in no way am I ridiculing the principles of witch-flight... I really and sincerely would like to come to some conclusions in these matters....]
Would a workable formula be something like F = bw2?
[Flight = broom X witch, both?]

Here is yet another scenario which is entirely possible. As the witch accidentally falls from her broom, it swoops down quickly and catches her up before she reaches the ground.
This is not a satisfactory answer for me. It seems too cartoonish. Remember, we are talking about a real Hallowe’en witch here, not some trumped up thing. Anyone who believes this latter scenario [the Swooping-Broom Theory] to be a valid possibility, probably also believes that WWF wrestling on TV is real.

At any rate, I think that I have exhausted at least a few of the possibilities.... I feel a lot better for just having talked it out a bit, you know? Thanks for hearing me out.
There are inherent problems in specifics, related to witchflight and sudden effects of gravitational pull. There is just no way around it. Like other things in life, there are no easy answers.
For now, until some of you may come up with better suggestions, I am going to maintain that there are only two possible (mutually contradictory) conclusions I can theoretically consider as being currently tenable.
They are this:
1) Witchflight is a myth. Witches exist, but do not fly on brooms.
2) Witchflight is real. Witches exist and fly on brooms, but never ever fall from them.



Anonymous said...

What if the broom zoomed in to catch the witch at her will? That's what I think. Her powers are transmitted into the broom as a vehicle on which to fly and if she mishandles the thing she can call it back to her at will before ever going splat.
What do you think of that theory mister expert on Einstein?

Priori said...

Hmmm, well having watched Harry Potter more times than I wish to mention, I recall a situation where Harry summoned his broom over a large distance. Acio firebolt. Now maybe its unrealistic to apply these fictional principles from harry potter to real life witchery, but I dont think the swooping broomstick theory should be so easily dismissed.
I also believe that witches brooms hold some sort of magical essence, like a wand, which makes them, when used by an addequately magical person, able to carry the witch. I also think the flying sofa thing would work. If I meet a witch, I`ll recommend it for long distance non aggressive flying.

cipriano said...

Seems like you and Priori here are saying similar things. I think it is feasible.... yes, perhaps.

You have really done some research on the topic. I am impressed. I would like to know the origins of the CHOICE of witch brooms though. As in, was some witch sweeping her....... witch-hut out one day and the broom started going crazy and then she jumped on the thing and Bob's your uncle?
I wonder if vacuum cleaners might add extra horsepower!

Anonymous said...

I love it when men talk about brooms and vacuum cleaners.