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Hocus Pocus

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Magical rituals, incantations, and potions were very much a common practice among ancient Jews and Christians. In fact, it still persists today. Perhaps the best-known example of a magic ritual is the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic mass, where the priest “transubstantiates” bread and wine into flesh and blood.

Back in the day, as illiterate persons heard a priest speed through the mass in Latin and he came to “hoc est corpus,” it was misheard as “hocus-pocus,” the quintessential command of magical practice. There is also a magical implication in praying or exorcising demons "in Jesus' name."


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