This catalogue explores the concept of 'magical thinking', which describes how people in all ages and cultures have sought to connect with an unseen world of perceived power. Magical thinking is always emotional, born of desire, fear, guilt, anxiety and joy. Too often we think of emotions as signs of weakness, as reason's poor relation, but this ignores the real value of emotions - their expression and exploitation, management and suppression - as a way of preserving a sense of well-being for people in themselves, in their households and communities, and out in the vastness of the cosmos. We use the concept of magical thinking to explore the history of medicine and the mind, focusing in particular on magic's secular expressions. Spells, magical objects and rituals are engines of hope, and hope is essential to physical and mental health, indeed to survival. We explore and convey these ideas through the extraordinary visual culture of magic, introducing our readers to diverse magical objects, from the exquisite (engraved rings, illuminated manuscripts) to the unsettling (a shoe embedded in a wall, a bull's heart pierced with nails). We want to show the importance of magical thinking as a theory, a belief, an action, a creative expression, an experience, and a cognitive tool and we want our audience to explore the role of magical thinking in the past and in their own lives. A working definition of magical thinking, from the American Psychiatric Association, is that it applies to someone who 'believes that his or her thoughts, words, or actions might, or will in some manner cause or prevent a specific outcome in some way that defies the normal laws of cause and effect'. Most people past and present have thought magically at some time - and not just during childhood. How we do so is influenced by history, culture, education, and personal experience. Magical thinking directs hopes, anxieties, fantasies, and grudges in ways that can be beneficial or damaging - or pathological, if we feel that our well-being depends on the misfortune of others. An important element of the exhibition is the emotional dimension of witch-beliefs. We want to begin a debate about how to respond to witchcraft in the past and present and how to memorialise the victims of the witch trials. This will also draw attention to how agencies like the UN address the problem of witch-hunting in the developing world, which of course requires more than just our moral indignation. We need a better understanding of what witch-beliefs are and what it means to be frightened by a witch.