The return of Harry Potter, albeit to the stage rather than the screen, has sparked a sudden resurgence of interest in J.K. Rowling’s wizarding universe, a merchandise-filled world that had largely remained quiet since he-who-must-not-be-named was finally laid to rest in 2011.
While books sales are one thing (the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play text has topped Fifty Shades of Grey to become the fastest-selling book this decade), shops are cashing in on the sudden influx of fresh demand for T-shirts, capes, circular specs and all things Potter-related.
Except one British store.
Potter fans visiting Mystical Moments in Slaithwaite, a small village in Yorkshire, have been disappointed to find that its impressive array of wands simply aren’t available to them.
Local mystic and wand-maker Richard Carter says the wands for sale in his shop are “spiritual tools” for genuine practitioners of magic rather than toys, and is barring Muggles from purchasing them.
“J.K Rowling has obviously done her research, but Harry Potter is for children. It has done nothing for business,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “If I had someone come in wanting a wand just because they liked Harry Potter, I would not sell them one, no matter how much money they were offering.”
While turning away customers is curious business tactic, it turns out that Carter’s wands, lovingly crafted by hand at a lathe before being anointed with oil, aren’t exactly money spinners, or even intended to be. The shopkeeper says he doesn’t make a penny from the items, which cost between $19 and $32 and can reportedly be used to ward off evil spirits, bring good fortune or for medicinal purposes.
But it’s not simply Potter fans who are being refused, with those hoping to perform dark magic such as hexes and curses also earning spots on Carter’s growing “do not serve” list.
Not that he’s worried about running out of genuine spiritualist customers.
“You wouldn’t believe how many real witches and wizards there are knocking about,” he says, adding that he has a unique way of checking his client’s credentials. “I can tell what people are like when they walk in by their aura.”