Answer – I suspect our self titled “Chris the Magician” may be having a bit of a giggle in writing this question. However he has inadvertently raised a good point so I think it worth answering.
(I’ve corrected your spelling by the way Chris “Hookus pookus indeed… lol)
The question our friend Chris has raised is whether people believe in magic because it works or whether magic works because people believe. Would a spell conducted by Chris and his disbelieving ilk have any effect if not performed with the belief that a magical practitioner would bring to the working?
In all honesty it is unlikely. Magic doesn’t work like science. No matter how sceptical the scientist he will get exactly the same results as a believer when mixing two substances together. The attitude of the scientist (providing he conducts his experiments accurately) does not have an effect on the outcome of his work. The outcome of the magical practitioner is very different. A witch relies on her ability to focus and actualise her intent. If there is no belief in magical causality then it will weaken the power of any spell being performed, rendering the casting of it pretty useless.
The fact that magic relies so heavily on belief is why it is hard to prove it isn’t “hocus pocus.” A sceptic cannot cast a spell to “prove it works” because it won’t. The sum of the sceptic’s personal experiences add up to no evidence whatsoever to prove magic exists. It’s a tricky one because, unlike science, magic relies on belief before proof - which is a leap of faith many people are just not willing to make.
Do we need people who believe in “hocus pocus” to come to their senses? No we do not. Magic is just another way of interacting and working with the world. For those of us who work with it regularly it yields consistent positive results of personal benefit. It would be wrong to criticise somebody who believes as their own experiences validate the working use of magic.
However it would equally not be fair to criticise somebody who doesn’t believe in magic. Everything we are taught as children relates to using experiences to form conclusions and this is precisely what the sceptics are doing. In the same way that I am not privy to the world of quantum physics they are not privy to the world of magic. This doesn’t make them lacking in any way, it just means they approach the world in a different way to a magic user. Ultimately it is probably a good thing we have both believers and sceptics – variety – as we are regularly assured – is the spice of life.