The Necessity to Rethink Magic


  • William S. Lyon University of Missouri, Kanas City



magic, shamanism, North American Indians, medicine powers, quantum physics


Between 1972 and 1999 different physicists from the United States and Europe ran a series of repeat experiments that would lnally settle a longstanding debate that had begun in 1927 between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr as to the fundamental nature of reality. Much to their surprise, the test results indicated that matter and consciousness are somehow interrelated at the quantum level of reality, the view held by Bohr. This interaction became known in physics as the ‘observer effect’, and it ended our long-held assumption that reality operates on strictly mechanical principles. Despite its far-reaching implications, this extraordinary, new view of reality has been virtually ignored by scholars. Nevertheless, given our knowledge of shamans and their use of purported supernatural powers, we are now faced with a demand from physics to reconsider our own views on magic.

Author Biography

William S. Lyon, University of Missouri, Kanas City

Retired professor of anthropology.




How to Cite

Lyon, W. S. (2016). The Necessity to Rethink Magic. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, 10(2), 208–227.