I found a fascinating video recently that I wanted to share and discuss with you all. It's an episode of Derren Brown's "The Experiments" titled "The Secret of Luck". The goal of the experiment was to spread a rumor in a small town that a dog statue had to power to grant a person good luck if they rubbed it's head. They wanted to see if the belief would take hold, and if rubbing the statue would have an effect on the lives of those that believed. The rumor certainly took hold, and some people did report having their luck change for the better. Of course it is metaphysically possible to endow an object with that kind of power through collective thought and belief. That's not what I found to be the most interesting part of the experiment.
To me this experiment was as much an act of sorcery as an ritual or spell. It is the reminder that deceit and manipulation are a useful skill to have at your disposal. When used the right way it can be used to gain influence over one person, or a group. In my opinion, the difference between a rumor and reputation is how much of the information that you get to control. There are some that would say that this kind of thinking has no place in African American Conjure. To them I would suggest digging a little deeper into their history.
Another interesting thing that this experiment touched upon was the nature of "luck", and those that feel that they have bad luck. The local butcher was sure that he had bad luck. "If it wasn't for bad luck, I would have no luck at all" was the cliche that he gave. What Brown's team found was that due to his personal views, the butcher often overlooked clear opportunities for good things to happen to him. They tested this on different occasions, first by mailing a fake scratch off to him that had he actually scratched it, he would have won a free television. Next the set up a street survey/contest that would have given him $50 had he only stopped and completed the simple task of naming 5 different cuts of meat. Lastly the just put money directly on the ground in his path, and he didn't even see it! This is an important lesson to consider when using a good luck charm. It is important that you are also on the lookout for opportunities. Even with sorcery you can't just wait for things to fall into your lap.
Here is the full episode for you to check out: