Magic is the ability to alter reality by supernatural means.
Magic allows witches and warlocks to override or alter the conventional rules of the universe, such as gravity, and cause and effect, most often allowing them to make objects appear out of thin air, turn one object or being into another and cause desired results. These commands are often referred to as spells. In addition, magic also allows witches to influence the course of natural events.
Magic is derived from three known sources:
- Powers derived from one's own mental abilities (such as allowing practitioners to levitate and move objects by mental command)
- Powers derived from one's own understanding of the world (such as the use of potions and objects)
- Powers derived by calling upon inherent powers in the universe (such as through commands and incantations)
Witches derive their abilities through the use of potions and elemental forces, often using spells or incantations for feats too taxing on their own abilities. A fully accomplished witch or warlock (male witch) can expand their power through considerable research, knowledge, practice and enlightenment of the mystical arts. For example, Samantha has become so adept that she can perform considerable spells by twitching her nose or pointing her finger. It also appears the size of the gesture is not relevant to the size of the spell, using hand gestures merely as a precision tool, as Samantha frequently wiggles her nose covertly for several spells.
Witches often learn how to use their powers at a young age, like Tabitha and Adam, although often uncontrollably. Witches usually inherit their powers from their witch/warlock parents. The gift of magic is great indeed, but it can cause problems and become dangerous.
- Augmentation is the ability to increase upon or alter the attributes of others or oneself. Samantha has augmented her reflexes to perform tasks at an accelerated speed. Witches and warlocks can acquire professional skills without learning how to do them the mortal way.
- Imprisonment is the ability to trap someone inside an object.
- Levitation is the ability to defy gravity. Flying is the most well-known levitation technique.
- Manifestation is the ability to create physical objects from the mind's eye.
- Molecular Immobilization is the ability to freeze someone or something in place. When mortals are unfrozen, they are not aware they had been immobilized.
- Natural Magic is the ability to use the elements of earth, air, fire or water to alter reality. It is also the ability to command the elements.
- A Spell is the ability to alter reality with the spoken word. A negative or harmful spell is known as a curse or hex.
- Telekinesis is the ability to move objects with the mind.
- Telepathy is the ability to send thoughts or to read another's mind.
- Teleportation is the ability to move physical items or oneself from one place or time to another.
- Transformation is the ability to turn someone, something or oneself from one form into another.
- Wishcraft is a stage of witchcraft children enter when they are young. They can wish for people to be with them. They can also manifest objects and wish supernatural beings into existence like storybook characters.
Although the practice of witchcraft is vast, there are still limitations to an individual witch's abilities. They are vulnerable to numerous illnesses and maladies from ancient spells or from plants such as Himalayan cinnamon sticks or black Peruvian roses. They can lose their powers if they do not practice their witchcraft on a regular basis. Witches are also unable to undo or remove spells cast by another witch unless they know the spell that was used.
Young witches like Tabitha and Adam learn how to use their powers at an early age, often from their teachers or relatives. Being inexperienced, it is common that they often do so uncontrollably, not having the mental restraints to hold back on their abilities. Children are usually sent to a witches school. Aunt Hagatha runs a witches school which Samantha attended. However, since Samantha has chosen to lead a mortal life, she and Darrin have decided to educate their children the mortal way in public school.
Witches and warlocks typically use their powers anytime they want with some doing it openly or others, like Samantha, practicing covertly. The Witches Council has allowed Samantha to tell Darrin she is a witch, but suspends her powers if she declares she is a witch to other mortals.
Witchcraft is a skill. The more a witch practices their craft, the more powerful they tend to become. There are some exceptions, however. Witches like Esmeralda have powers that are not always under their control. Some of their magic is involuntary, usually produced out of nervousness or anxiety.
As witches age their powers can decline and, like Esmeralda, they lose control over their witchcraft and their powers are reduced - very much like some mortals who go into mental decline as they age. Aunt Clara was once put on trial for being magically incompetent. If declared incompetent, she would have been made earthbound, meaning she would have her powers removed and have to live with mortals.
Behind the Scenes
Musical sound effects in the soundtrack almost always accompany the magic. This is for the benefit of the audience; the characters usually cannot hear the sounds. Sometimes the spell will indicate success by a sound, like a bell or trumpet fanfare, which the characters will be able to hear. Musical effects are produced with acoustic instruments as well as by electronic or synthesized means. Perhaps the most iconic sound effect is the use of a xylophone for Samantha's nose twitch.
Below are a few sound effects recreated based on the originals:
- Samantha's Witchcraft Blows a Fuse
- Take Two Aspirins and Half a Pint of Porpoise Milk
- No Zip in My Zap
- Alias Darrin Stephens
- Witches and Warlocks Are My Favorite Things
- Samantha's Secret Is Discovered
- Samantha's Yoo-Hoo Maid
- The Trial and Error of Aunt Clara