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"The term 'spell' is generally used for magical procedures which cause harm, or force people to do something against their will -- unlike charms for healing, protection, etc." ["Oxford Dictionary of English Folklore"]
words uttered in a set formula with magical intent. The correct recitation, often with accompanying gestures, is considered to unleash supernatural power. Some societies believe that incorrect recitation can not only nullify the magic but cause the death of the practitioner.