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Black Magic (often commonly referred to as "Dark Magic", "Evil Magic", "Maleficium", "Malefic", the "Black Arts", and the "Dark Arts") is traditionally a type of Magic/Sorcery (often sometimes referred to as Witchcraft/Witching, "Warlockship/Warlocking", "Wizardry/Wizarding", "Bewitching", "Conjuring", and "Enchanting") usually defined as magic being used for selfish or evil purposes which can often involve using magic for crimes like murder, theft or torture or to harm other people for fun or for pleasure. or for abusing its powers to give one untold amounts of wealth or luxuries for selfish purposes at the cost of others. Its source is the power of Darkness.
Black Magic's opposite could be considered White Magic but some argue in real-life and in-universe that good magic does not exist and that magic itself is inherently evil, depending on the story that could be true.
Magic does not need to be inherently evil; it could also just be magic of any kind in the wrong hands being abused, but sometimes in a story, the magic itself is only cable of evil or Black Magic is a different type of magic than the good version of magic.
Basically, the Dark Arts are any science, discipline, magic or martial combat style note that is deemed by society in general and the establishment in particular as a bad idea.
In other words, if there are things man was not meant to know, you can expect someone to have thought it would be cool to make an easy to read a how-to book on it. The "Dark" Arts might not necessarily be evil or dangerous, but there's always at least some cause to consider these powers/skills potent and not to be left open for everyone to learn.
So, just who practices the Dark Arts in spite of all these dangers? Lots of people/things. If it is magical, then an evil sorcerer, if it is a science then a mad scientist of course, and if it is a martial art then an arrogant kung-fu fighter is likely to know it. Expect them to learn their craft in the Academy of Evil. If any kind of magic/science is considered to be the Dark Arts, there lies the phrases, "Magic Is Evil" or "Science Is Bad".
Even though the only crime in art is bad taste, the mad artist usually knows how to drive viewers mad (in a bad way) with their art. A hero might be able to "redeem" the Dark Arts, or at least use them without becoming damned/addicted when the Godzilla Threshold is crossed. Concepts related to black magic or described, even inaccurately, as "black magic" are a regular feature of books, films and other popular culture. Examples include:
In Popular Culture
- The Devil Rides Out: A 1934 novel by Dennis Wheatley – made into a famous film by Hammer Studios in 1968.
- Rosemary's Baby: A 1968 horror novel in which black magic is a central theme as it centers around the doomed young woman's newborn child praised by her lying husband and a circle of their Satanic apartment neighbors as Satan incarnate.
- "Black Magic": track off the 1984 Slayer album Show No Mercy.
The Craft – a 1996 film featuring four friends who become involved in white witchcraft but turn to black magic rituals for personal gain. The Harry Potter series – black magic, including various spells and curses, is referred to as "the dark arts" against which students are taught to defend themselves. Final Fantasy – a video game in which white magic and black magic are simply used to distinguish between healing/defensive spells (such as a "cure") and offensive/elemental spells (such as "fire") and do not carry an inherent good or evil connotation. Charmed – a television series in which black magic is also known as "the black arts", "dark arts", "dark magic" or even "evil magic", and is used by demons and other evil beings. The Secret Circle – A short-lived television series featuring witches, in which there are two kinds of magic. While traditional magic helps you to connect to the energy around you, more lethal and dangerous dark magic is rooted in the anger, fear and negativity inside you. Only a few born with it can access dark magic and some are inherently stronger than others. The Power of Five is an entire series by Anthony Horowitz about black magic and evil sorcerers. The antagonists are all black sorcerers and are all practitioners of black magic; black magic is a means of summoning the Old Ones from their prison, Hell. Black magic often takes the form of mass murder and animation of inanimate objects. Night Watch – In the Night Watch book (and movie) series the magicians are grouped into two sides "Light Others" and "Dark Others". The dark magicians are more motivated by selfish desires. Supernatural (U.S. TV series) – The television series Supernatural features many events and characters that feature and participate in black magic. Sherlock Holmes (2009 film) – The first of the two Sherlock Holmes films directed by Guy Ritchie includes elements of black magic although they are later discovered to be false. Versailles (band) released a short film in 2009 which depicted zombies that were resurrected by Jasmine You through black magic. Pizza II: Villa – An Indian Tamil suspense supernatural thriller film, written and directed by debutant Deepan Chakravarthy.
- The 1978 book The Necromancers: The Best of Black Magic And Witchcraft by author Peter Haining that serves as a collection of folklores and stories about black magic.
- "Black Magic: A lead single by British girl-group Little Mix released in May of 2015, for their third studio album "Get Weird".
- The 2018 Indian Malayalam film Odiyan starring Mohanlal is based on the legend of Odiyan, who in Kerala folklore are shapeshifters who can assume animal form and were used to assassinate or scare people in the dark during the pre-electricity period.
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- Black Magic is usually seen as a crime in fiction due to it being real, and in the past when people thought black magic was real. but nowadays it is never considered a crime mostly because it does not exist.
- Black Magic is often associated with Witchcraft.