For most of us, ignoring the strange people on the subway is second nature, but if you ever find yourself in the tunnels below New York City and you notice a bearded man in a bright green pointy hat and matching robe, you should probably go talk to him. You see, he’s a real life wizard who uses magic to grant wishes.
Devin Person has fully embraced the classic archetype of the wizard. Through the use of techniques like hypnosis and ritual magic, Person has made it his life’s goal to re-enchant the lives of New York residents, finding magic in the mundane. In the season premiere of the critically acclaimed podcast series Euphomet, host Jim Perry follows Person as he makes his rounds in the city, and the result is a fascinating look at how one simple word – “wizard” – is a magic spell which forces us rethink our version of reality.
“It’s a very fun word and archetype to occupy, because if I say ‘wizard’ people have an image in their mind, like a guy with a beard and a pointed hat and magic and there’s this whole thing, and yet theres a bunch of questions – ‘what is a wizard in the modern world? What do you do? How does that work?’ – their curiosity kicks in,” Person says. “That’s, in a sense, a magic spell. I can say this one word and I cause an internal experience in you and an emotional experience that’s largely associated with curiosity and wonder, and will be a very different experience than if I said ‘lawyer’.”
For Person, who has become such a beloved figure in Brooklyn that he’s garnered a profile in the New York Times, real magic exists beyond the scope of classification.
“I think part of the joy of being a wizard is coloring outside the box,” Person told Euphomet. “I meet certain types of people who are very interested in finding a box to contain ‘wizard’ in. They either want to disprove that I’m a wizard, that that’s not possible, or more commonly, they want to take a box that they’re already familiar with and use that to contain me.”