Evie had procured a job at the British Museum in Holborn. It hadn’t been her first choice, but there had been nothing going for the natural history museum. Initially she had planned to go on to take a degree in archaeology in Reading, but eventually felt as though she would benefit from staying at home with Maggie for a little longer. She had only wanted to work on the information booth but her passion for the artefacts had led to a position shadowing a curator.
‘It’s really fascinating; I’ve been working with one of the curators in the ‘Ancient China’ section. They just have all these strange objects that nobody knows the purpose of; like these ‘Congs’ that are carved out of solid jade, they’re really pretty. Apparently some historians believe that they were designed to have something to do with energy and heaven.’ Evie rattled off. Maggie and Talli stared.
‘I think it’s funny that whenever someone finds something they don’t understand they automatically decide that it has magic powers.’ Talli mused.
‘It’s more to do with what the ancient Chinese thought it symbolised – if they used these objects during a ritual they might have believed that it warded off spirits just like some people these days believe that they have a lucky number – as if any number is in fact endowed with such an attribute.’ Evie retorted.
‘No. That’s different. Lucky numbers can be statistical. People often associate with a certain number because it has specific relevance to them. If you have 12 amazing days in a year and eight of them land on the eighth of a month, it is possible that you will develop a statistical bias towards good things happening around the number eight. Luck is a lazy word for the subconscious calculation of common values. A ‘cong’ from ancient China has no statistical connection with the impossible and intangible concept of spirits being scared off.’
‘If nothing bad happens during the time that they had the cong then you could use the same theory; that the ratio of good things happening around it just so happen to outweigh the bad things that happen when they don’t have it.’ Evie smiled
‘How many times has a spirit attacked you whilst you’ve held that cup of tea?’ Talli smiled back, ‘don’t let go of it Evie, that mug is statistically proven to ward off spirits!’ Even Evie, defeated, had to offer a vague smile at Talli’s mockery.