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Conjure Wife

By: Fritz Leiber

Norman Saylor, a professor of ethnology, discovers that his wife, Tansy, has put his research in the field of "Conjure Magic" into practice for the sake of protecting him from other spell-casting faculty wives wishing to further their husbands' careers. A man of science, Norman has only an academic interest in the subject of magic and superstition, and forces Tansy to cease all her workings and to burn all her charms.

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Norman Saylor, a professor of ethnology, discovers that his wife, Tansy, has put his research in the field of "Conjure Magic" into practice for the sake of protecting him from other spell-casting faculty wives wishing to further their husbands' careers. A man of science, Norman has only an academic interest in the subject of magic and superstition, and forces Tansy to cease all her workings and to burn all her charms. But, as soon as Norman burns the last charm, things start to fall apart. He has a run-in with a former student, his student secretary accuses him of having seduced her, and he is passed over for a promotion that seemed certain.

Norman begins to have more than his fair share of small accidents: cutting himself while shaving, stepping on carpet tacks, cutting his hand with a letter opener, and more. He begins to imagine that there is a dark presence exploiting his fear of trucks. When Tansy takes his curse upon herself, Norman is forced to overcome his disbelief and use witchcraft to save his wife's body—and her soul.

Originally published in 1953, Conjure Wife is considered a modern classic of horror-fantasy and has been adapted for film three times: Burn, Witch Burn (1962), Weird Woman (1944), and Witch's Brew (1980).

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