First I apologize if this question or similar already exists.

In my world, humans are naturally very powerful creatures (think of it as in "magic" since it's not really important in the question itself). However, during the course of the history, this capability has been diminishing due to various factors (witch-hunting, crusades, [grimoire]book-burning, you name it) ultimately, leading to technological dependence (vehicles for transport, weapons for fighting, etc). Humans today have basically lost all kind of power they used to have in the older times, leading humanity to the one we all know and live in. However, there are very few individuals that are showing signs of these kind of powers, many hide them due to fear of being shunned by the society, others suddenly "disappearing" and never seen again.

How can I explain a sudden rediscovery of this prowess on (some) individuals?

I want to focus in the individuals, since, this want to be kept to the society as a secret, at least, for long as they(ruling entity, doesn't matter in the question) can.


closed as primarily opinion-based by Hohmannfan, Frostfyre, JDługosz, Aify, Separatrix Jun 15 '16 at 7:38

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you talking about the individuals discovering those powers, or choosing to make those powers known to others? The answers would very likely be different for the two cases. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jun 14 '16 at 21:46
  • $\begingroup$ Explain, to the observer, the sudden rediscovery of these powers. I added the other part for a bit of context, but I think it might been unnecessary. I apologize for the confusion. $\endgroup$ – nukahourai Jun 14 '16 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ But rediscovery in what sense? You say that some individuals are showing signs of these powers. Are you interested in answers focusing on the individuals' own process of discovering these powers, or are you interested in answers focusing on how to explain society as a whole discovering that there exist people who have these powers? $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jun 14 '16 at 21:51
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I was feeling my question was a bit unclear. I want to focus in the individuals, since, this want to be kept to the society as a secret, at least, for long as they(ruling entity, doesn't matter in the question) can. $\endgroup$ – nukahourai Jun 14 '16 at 21:54
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    $\begingroup$ Generally, questions focusing on the characters in your society and their process of magical rediscovery are frowned upon in worldbuilding. What you may want to focus your question on instead is how to explain how the powers themselves were dormant for so long and are now returning. Further description of what your magic is like as well as some extra context about what the return is like (do magical people have magical babies? Are they concentrated in certain parts of the world? Did aliens show up?) may also be useful in getting the kinds of answers you want. $\endgroup$ – ckersch Jun 14 '16 at 22:09

"Fringe" had a similar plot.

At birth, brains were insanely capable, however, any environmental influence diminished that capability. One of the series' lead characters, developed a drug called "cortexiphan" which intended to put the diminishing factors of environmental influences on hold, but was unable to reverse them. As a result, he was only able to unlock the full potential of (some of the) children he treated, which then had one or multiple specific supernatural traits. Furthermore, to activate the powers, he had to put the children in intense states of fear for one single time. This unlocking would usually last, however some children would still lose their powers (like the lead character) and had to unlock them once more through either re-administration of cortexiphan, or fear of death.

The theory of said lead character was that in the past humans were capable of these things by default, but may have been manipulated externally to be less powerful, supposedly by aliens.


Depends on where magic comes from. As was once said, "Any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic." and there is the inverse, "Any sufficiently understood magic is indistinguishable from science."

By it's definition, magic is 'not clearly understood power.' Up through the 90's before CERN was active and we detected gravity waves, gravity was technically still "magic."

So, running with that, here's one idea...

A "return of magic" means that something we previously did not understand or misunderstood that allows for it returns. For example, say there is a nanomachine remnent from a planet that exploded geologic ages ago, and our planet on rare occasion passes through this cloud of these nanobots that confer powers granted by this lost advanced civilization to sapients that happen to absorb some (or maybe it's not limited to sapients... fishermen may begin to fear groups of fire fish and hunters fear the mystic ice-ape or a afflicted Queen ant creates offspring of death drones). Maybe it was another planet in our solar system originally and a war on their world was so violent that it destroyed the planet, creating the asteroid belt. Some remnants of this ocean-dominant world's crust swarm around our sun in the form of comets.

So, on that rare occasion that Earth passes through the tail of a comet, there is a surge of new magic on Earth from whoever inhales/eats/etc. some remnant of the comet's tail dust (including some unscrupulus ones eating someone who had eaten the nanobots... leading to stories like Hansel and Gretel.) The nano-bots lodge in the brain and give access to powerful quantum manipulation devices scattered throughout the asteroid belt that care not about range (quantum entaglement, yo) allowing manifestations of insane power such as energy transmission to cause phase-transition to plasma (pyromancy), opening short-lived wormholes (portals to other planes), partial medical treatment and recompisition of the kinetically challenged (necromancy), etc.

And with only a few bots being enough to trigger, even a dedicated team of autopsists would be confused why people start displaying unique powers after passing by the comet, until a probe goes to analyze the thing.


all you need is a power mage with natural talent. He teaches him self a little bit magic his powerful but untrained. He starts doing research, finds a very old book that wasn't burned. It contain information that helps him perfect his craft. Eventually he reads about a ritual that gives him great magical power. Once that happens he starts his own school teach other how to do magic. At first he keeps his school a secret but as he and his followers grow in power (both magically and politically) he reviles himself and his followers to the world. At first most don't believe him, but as he demonstrates his power most start to believe him some still don't. As time goes by some of his students start their own schools, people flock to them in the hope of learn magic.


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