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A glamourbomb is a prank or act of mischief aimed at challenging or altering perceptions -- in particular, expanding the target's view of reality, with the hope of encouraging belief in magic, and/or magical beings such as fairies, nature spirits, etc. The people who engage in glamourbombing are quite varied -- many are members of the Otherkin subculture who think of themselves as fairies in human form, while others are practitioners of various forms of magic or neopaganism (particularly of those traditions with an appreciation for chaos and the Trickster archetype, such as Discordians and chaos magicians), or simply individuals drawn to the imagery and mythology of faerie and the desire to foster a more magical world.[1]

The term glamourbomb (sometimes written as two words, i.e. "glamour bomb") was coined in the late 1990s, as part of a discussion on a mailing list called Darkfae-L, which was geared toward people interested in magic, fairy lore, and other related forms of esotericism. The word glamour is used in its older sense, as a reference to magic (based on the archaic word grammarye), particularly magic focussed on altering perceptions, which is also commonly associated with fairies. The bomb reference was meant to suggesting a style of ambush, a half-jesting resemblance to terrorism: "Something dropped unexpectedly in one's midst, rapid disassembly... in this case, disassembly of assumptions, habits, pretensions, and rigid attitudes." [2] However, similar acts had been taking place long before the word was coined.

Most glamourbombing is performed anonymously or in disguise, so as to keep the focus on the act itself, and not the actor. In many cases, the effect of the act would also be lessened if its origin were known. The intent is to cause people to believe they have experienced something magical, to cause them to question the boundaries of their concept of reality, not to impress them with one's own creativity. The intent can be to inspire feelings of awe and wonder, happiness, or fear, as long as it in some way challenges the boundaries of the real and the ordinary.[1]

There are a number of cultural precedents and related concepts that may have provided some of the inspiration for the phenomenon of glamourbombing. There are clear parallels to performance art and street theatre, and the focus of altering perceptions and causing people to question their preconceptions is similar in many ways to the intent of culture jamming, though with a spiritual/magical rather than political motive. Another related concept, explicitly cited as a source of inspiration by many glamourbombers, is Hakim Bey's notion of "Poetic Terrorism".[3] Anne Herbert's admonition to "practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty" could also be seen as related, though it is worth noting that glamour bombs are not always intended to be kind or beautiful, and may in some instances be startling or disturbing.

The case of the Cottingley Fairies could be said to be one of the earliest instances of glamourbombing, though it took place long before the term itself was coined. The movie Amelie is also popular with glamourbombers, although the intent of the protagonist's acts of mischief is not overtly magical.



  • Writing cryptic, mysterious or inspirational phrases or quotes in public places -- not necessarily as graffiti, though that is one possibility, but also as handwritten notes left here and there, or in other forms. One of the first overt glamourbombs, performed on the summer solstice in 1997, consisted of individuals in several different American cities leaving scrolls containing the phrase "The gates are opening" in various public places.[4]
  • Leaving a surprise for people to find in a park, sidewalk, laundromat, or other public place. This may be a small handmade item; a container filled with dried flowers, seeds, bells, crystals, or other interesting objects; a poem or picture tucked into a library book, etc. It may also be larger-scale, such as decorating an entire area.
  • Taking the role of a living glamourbomb, perhaps by wearing an otherworldly costume or fairy wings in a setting where costumes are not expected, or acting out a strange dialogue.
  • Pointing out to a 'glamourbomber' that the whole purpose of this activity is to encourage people to believe in magic...when the perfect 'Glamourbomb' would be to actually use magic. Unfortunately, magic is not real, therefore 'glamorbombing' is entirely for idiots who's capacity for wishful thinking far outstrips their capacity for rational thought.

See also


  1. ^ a b Polson, Willow (2003). The Veil's Edge: Exploring the Boundaries of Magic. Citadel Press. ISBN 0-8065-2352-2.  
  2. ^ Glamourbombing: Intro & FAQ
  3. ^ The Temporary Autonomous Zone: Poetic Terrorism
  4. ^ glamourbombing: definition/origins

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