It's been a while since we visited the old idea mill, and to be honest with you, it's because there haven't been that many interesting articles coming through.
I finally have three, and let's see if we can spark your imaginations.
This first one involves a bunch of old Egyptian papyrus scrolls that were discovered over a hundred years ago. Someone finally got around to looking at them, and found out they contained spells. They are written in Greek, so it must have been after some transportation entered the world.
One instructs the caster to burn some offerings in a bathhouse, and write on the bathhouse walls the desire for the Gods to “burn the heart” of a woman who scorned the caster. Men have been writing on bathroom walls ever since. Ladies, you've been warned.
The other spell tells the caster to scratch out some magical words onto a small piece of copper. Then a fix the plate to the clothing of the target victim. The victim will be forced to obey the commands of the caster. This article is silent as to what the words are, but I'm betting the word is “Imperio.”
I used a kind of Roman curse/prayer in Panama. This one involved turning a grinding stone while praying. I am aware of scratching out curses in lead, but copper is a new one.
How about it authors? Do you have any characters that need cursing? Maybe a woman scorned your character and he needs to get even. This could be even more fun because they are written in Greek. This means fraternities and sororities to me. I get an idea of a magical version of Animal House, where the locker room substitutes as the bathhouse, and Needermyer has to obey Bluto's bidding. Here is the link if you want a tiny bit more info: Curses.
The second article involves stalagmites and Neanderthals. Stalagmites are the ones that grow up from the floors of caves. Somewhere around 170,000 years ago, Mr. Neanderthal decided to kick down a bunch of these and build some stone walls. This may not seem like much, but 170,000 year old human construction is kind of impressive. They look kind of like nests to me. Check them out here: Neanderthal Construction.
Maybe these guys were so primitive they competed to actually build the best structure to impress the ladies. This is similar to nesting behaviour in other creatures. As a fiction writer, they could be anything though, including what remains of an ancient portal to another time or world. Some science cadet might figure it all out and recreate it, or predict some looming disaster. What would you do with this?
Finally we have what's being called a brain-to-brain interface. This involves wearing a fancy hat, while your friend wears another fancy hat. The lead researcher is able to control the other guy's movements by thinking about the motion. There is some interesting result with animals as well. Read a better, but longer, description here: Megamind.
I've kind of been in science fiction mode and this one gets me going. I remember a cuteish old movie called The Doberman Gang, (and one sequel) where the main character trained dogs to pull off a bank heist. This would be so much easier if I could skip the training and control them via brain-to-brain interface.
I have to admit, controlling my enemy via a curse scrawled on copper sounds a lot easier. Although, I dig a good hat, so I'm torn.
What would you do with this one? Here is your chance to mix in a little of The Fly, in an experiment that exchanges part of the mind when it goes wrong. Now you have your very own Gorilla Grod. Maybe you want to split out the good character and the bad character. The good one winds up in a Chimp who can't talk and tell someone what's wrong. The bad one goes on a rampage.
Part of this shtick is that I rough out a story using all of these elements. This is going to be a tough one, because the items are so far apart. Here goes nothing…
A sorority girl scorns a fraternity boy. He uses the whiz-bang fancy hat from the science lab to make her pay. There would certainly be towel snapping shenanigans in the girl's locker room, as verified by the geekiest of fraternity brothers and some kind of pervy spy hole.
Our heroine is mortified, and isn't participating in the dig inside the cave. She's spent most of her college career working on Neanderthal studies, and is blowing the biggest chance of her life. Fortunately, the Sorority sisters catch on.
They make her scrawl a curse onto a copper disk and slip in into the guy's underwear. Now under their total control, they make him don the fancy hat once more, and force the instructor to change her grades to something more acceptable. Maybe they also force him to streak the alumni banquet, because it is a college story. Ultimately, they force him to fall for the wallflower sorority sister that he wouldn't have spoken to otherwise.
I never said these were good stories, but I think I hit all three elements. What would you do with these?