How to become invisible

Method 1: Rune Stave

For this one you must go to Iceland. Once in Iceland, get your hands on a magical text full of spells and suchlike, a.k.a. Icelandic grimoires. But to save you the trouble, refer to the recipe below.

You’ll need a magical rune stave. There is literally a rune stave for every possible thing you can imagine up.

The invisibility run stave looks a bit like a snowflake. The one you need is called the hulinhjalmur. Google it.

I’m sure you can recreate that with a marker on paper. Hold your horses, it’s not that simple though. You must engrave this rune stave onto a piece of lignite using magnetic steel that’s been hardened by soaking in human blood.

Be careful how you blend the blood. You need three drops from the index finger of the left hand and three from the ring finger of the right hand. Worse, you also need two drops from the right nipple and one from the left.

Next you need an alive raven. Don’t kill it. You will need to extract six drops of blood, though, straight from the raven’s heart.

Melt it all down, along with the raven’s brain and parts of a human stomach. I’m not actually sure if the raven’s still meant to be alive at this point. I assume the human is not.

Now you should be invisible. Bear in mind, there may be rune staves for picking locks, keeping the butter from going rancid and for protecting yourself against ghosts but there is no rune stave to make you un-invisible. This is your life now. I hear Iceland is beautiful.

Cover by Carlo Nicco for H.G. Well’s The Invisible Man edited by Paravia in 1925

Method 2: The Witch Way

Are you a witch? Do you want to be a witch? Let’s be witches. We’re going to Papua New Guinea for this one, where witches have the power to see inside others, and also have the power to become invisible. The best of both worlds. In PNG there is a concept known as gwumu. This refers to a spirit which can live in people, rendering them invisible. (There are also evil spirits, known as sanguma or spirit nogut in Tok Pisin. They came to the world via pigs. Look, it says so in the Bible.)

In other countries, witches don’t become invisible per se, they simply transmogrify themselves into other animals, like ravens. No one thinks twice about a particularly witchy-looking raven flying across the sky at night, right? As ravens, witches are free to attend their moonlit sabbats.

But in the Papua New Guinea highlands, witches don’t bother with the faff of transmogrification. They can, I mean, if they want. They might become a quick, highly mobile creatures: bat, rat, bird, moth, grasshopper, butterfly, cicada… or they might simply become invisible.

Odilon Redon, Butterflies, before 1909, oil on canvas

Let’s do that. That way, we can go about our supernatural lives alongside regulars and we don’t have to worry about a thing.

Except for one thing: We will still be blamed for the following:

  • sickness
  • death
  • poverty
  • lack of development
  • portentous world events
  • that overall feeling that the apocalypse is nigh.

Method 3: Escape to the Woods

Are you living in a fairytale reality? If so, entering a forest will work. Disclaimer: So long as you’re not hiding in the English woods, which are not very vast and expansive these days. By the start of the 20th century, just 5% of Britain was wooded. It doesn’t take too long to find you in the spinneys.

This tactic may work better in, say, America, Canada or other parts of Europe. Works really quite well in the Australian bush.

Downside: You may not make it back out alive.

Method 4: Wear a Mask

Admittedly, masks work better if you’re a character within a fictional story rather than in real life because for some reason I’ve always been recognised even when wearing a mask. I have this in common with Dwight Schrute.

The human brain is very good at recognising someone by their gait. So if you really want to come across as someone else, don’t just rely on the face mask. Change how you walk. Change your height and BMI while you’re at it.

Method 5: Creep Around Like A Ninja

Ninja techniques for hiding are called ongyo-jutsu (隠形術), the way of the hidden form.

  1. When sneaking in the dark, slow your movement.
  2. Stop moving if someone is facing you.
  3. Camouflage yourself
  4. Hide in the shadows
  5. Make yourself small e.g. crouch in the shape of a quail (for some reason)
  6. If you have white skin, hide your white face
  7. Be mindful of light sources
  8. Standing in front of a wall or tree may be more effective than you think, because the enemy is busy looking behind rocks and whatnot. Only works if you’re camouflaged and hiding your big white face
  9. Don’t accidentally breathe on your enemy
  10. Be absolutely silent
  11. Risk making noise only while other noise is happening
  12. Use a throw cloth to muffle your footsteps
  13. Bring an animal e.g. a rat to let loose and distract a sentry
  14. Stand downwind of guard dog snoots
  15. Or hide under water making use of a snorkel
  16. Throw down a toothpick to attract the enemy’s attention. While they’re glancing at the toothpick you’ll be able to hide.
Here’s Courage The Cowardly Dog hiding in a toilet. Courage is often hiding inside things.

Method 6: Dress Like Your Background

Also known as camouflage.

Think outside the box. If you’re playing tennis, wear the same hue as the court, perhaps with one or two white stripes across your body. If you’re planning on staying home, maybe dress like your cushions.

Dahlov Ipcar, American (1917-2017), Winter Window, 1977

Of if you’re freaky, dress like your wallpaper.

Method 7: Become A Middle-aged Woman

“That she held herself well was true; and had nice hands and feet; and dressed well, considering that she spent little. But often now this body she wore (she stopped to look at a Dutch picture), this body, with all its capacities, seemed nothing – nothing at all. She had the oddest sense of being herself invisible; unseen; unknown; there being no more marrying, no more having of children now, but only this astonishing and rather solemn progress with the rest of them, up Bond Street, this being Mrs. Dalloway, not even Clarissa any more; this being Mrs. Richard Dalloway.”

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Katherine Mansfield explores this kind of invisibility in her short story “Daughters of the Late Colonel”.

Method 8: Enter a Liminal Space

Despite their loud jumpers, Kath and Kel are structurally invisible during their tourist experience at the airport.
Despite their loud jumpers, Kath and Kel are structurally invisible during their tourist experience at the airport.

liminal space is the time between the ‘what was’ and the ‘next.’ It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. Liminal space is where all transformation takes place, if we learn to wait and let it form us.

Liminal Space

Here’s the thing about liminal spaces: If you go into one, hierarchy is suspended. If you go inside an international airport, say, you are now in a time-free and place-free zone. You’re exempt from your normal daily obligations. (Nothing symbolises that better than the phrase “duty-free”.) You’re in the land of nowhere.

You are what we might call “structurally invisible“.

Further Reading

Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He’s worried about a lot of things—how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; the hydro crop in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick.

Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with things he can’t say. But when some of his pages are stolen, and his words are graffitied at the centre, Nate realises he has allies. He might be able to make a difference, change his life, and claim his future. Or can he?

This Is How We Change the Ending is raw and real, funny and heartbreaking—a story about what it takes to fight back when you’re not a hero.

Cooper is lost. Ever since his father left their family three years ago, he has become distant from his friends, constantly annoyed by his little sister, Jess, and completely fed up with the pale, creepy rich girl who moved in next door, who won’t stop staring at him.

So when Cooper learns of an unsolved mystery his sister has discovered online, he welcomes the distraction. It’s the tale of a deadly train crash that occurred a hundred years ago in which one young boy among the dead was never identified. The only distinguishing mark on him was a strange insignia on his suit coat, a symbol no one had seen before or since. Jess is fascinated by the mystery of the unknown child—because she’s seen the insignia. And, she tells Cooper, he has too.

It’s the symbol on the jacket of the girl next door.

As they uncover more information—and mounting evidence of the girl’s seemingly impossible connection to the tragedy—Cooper and Jess begin to wonder if a similar disaster could be heading to their hometown. Thus begins an unforgettable adventure about the forgotten among us and what it means to be seen.

Before they became legendary writers, Charlotte Brontë, Emily Brontë, and Anne Brontë were detectors in this charming historical mystery…

Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson’s daughters–the Brontë sisters–learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent “lady detectors.” Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, “detecting is reading between the lines–it’s seeing what is not there.”

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman’s place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril…

Lizzie St. Claire wants to be invisible. Forced to move out of her home, she and her mom now live in a transitional housing shelter, Good Hope, until they can get back on their feet.

Lizzie just wants to keep her head down at Good Hope and her new school, so she doesn’t have to admit the real reason she and her mom lost everything.

But when Lizzie finds herself at the nearby Birchwood Stables, some new friends—along with the arrival of a frightened pony named Fire—help Lizzie to open up and accept help from those around her, even if it means she’ll have more to lose if things change again.

Donte wishes he were invisible. As one of the few black boys at Middlefield Prep, he feels as if he is constantly swimming in whiteness. Most of the students don’t look like him. They don’t like him either. Dubbed the “Black Brother,” Donte’s teachers and classmates make it clear they wish he were more like his lighter skinned brother, Trey. Quiet, obedient.

When an incident with “King” Alan leads to Donte’s arrest and suspension, he knows the only way to get even is to beat the king of the school at his own game: fencing. With the help of a former Olympic fencer, Donte embarks on a journey to carve out a spot on Middlefield Prep’s fencing team and maybe learn something about himself along the way.

In a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, Anna’s aged mother is dying—if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight.

When Anna’s finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful novel about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots.

Professor Richard Wiseman is clear about one thing: paranormal phenomena don’t exist. But in the same way that the science of space travel transforms our everyday lives, so research into telepathy, fortune-telling and out-of-body experiences produces remarkable insights into our brains, behaviour and beliefs. Paranormality embarks on a wild ghost chase into this new science of the supernatural and is packed with activities that allow you to experience the impossible. So throw away your crystals, ditch your lucky charms and cancel your subscription to Reincarnation Weekly. It is time to discover the real secrets of the paranormal.

A 2001 episode of This American Life asks which superpower would you choose: Invisibility or Flight?

Lemon girl young adult novella

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