10 Artifacts from Literature That We Wish Were Real


This week, we stumbled upon some interesting news: that a specific strain of fictional marijuana — Elephant Crush, from Mark Haskell Smith’s Baked — had been created in the real world. “I’m totally surprised and delighted that someone would grow a fictional strain,” Smith said. “What happens when you smoke it? Do you enter a fictional world?” If only. Inspired by this recent development, we got to thinking about some fictional items from literature that we wish were real — and we’re talking real real, not collector’s item real. Click through to see what we came up with, and let us know which fictional objects you dream of owning in the comments.

The alethiometer from His Dark Materials

Lyra’s alethiometer has always been one of our most coveted fictional items. While it tells a skilled user the truth — past, present or future — we’ve always found it particularly compelling because it relies on symbols, each with various layers of meaning, and gives its holder the feeling of the truth, not a simple glimmering vision.

Gandalf’s fireworks from The Fellowship of the Ring

“There were fountains of butterflies that flew glittering into the trees; there were pillars of coloured fires that rose and turned into eagles, or sailing ships, or a phalanx of flying swans; there was a red thunderstorm and a shower of yellow rain; there was a forest of silver spears that sprang suddenly into the air with a yell like an embattled army, and came down again into the Water with a hiss like a hundred hot snakes.” And that’s all before the enormous red-gold dragon.

Everything in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Everlasting Gobstoppers! Three-Course Dinner Chewing Gum (we’ll wait for him to perfect it)! Cavity-Filling Caramels! Television Chocolate! Heck, that whole chocolate river deal. Let’s get on it, real-life candy men.

The Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter series

Sure, we could have chosen a million things from J.K. Rowling’s beloved universe — the Time Turner, the Elder Wand, the Invisibility Cloak — but an interactive magical map built for troublemakers that also insults your least favorite teacher? Mischief managed.

Magic Carpets, from One Thousand and One Nights and various other tales

No broomsticks for us. Magic carpets, preferably those with a nice soft weave, are the only way to fly.

“DRINK ME” potions and “EAT ME” cakes from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Sure, they don’t do much for Alice, but we think if used properly, they could be lots of fun. Please drink (and eat) responsibly.

The Necronomicon from H. P. Lovecraft’s universe

Though we have a whole separate list for fake books we wish we could read, we felt that Lovecraft’s legendary grimoire deserved special mention here. A history, a magic book, and a dangerous artifact indeed, we’re not sure we’d want to study it ourselves — but we can only imagine what might happen if a book that has inspired so many imaginations without even being explained fully popped up in the real world.

Dorothy’s silver shoes from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

That’s right — the ruby slippers are just for the movies. In L. Frank Baum’s original text, Dorothy’s magical footwear are silver, though they serve the same basic purpose: to transport the wearer wherever they wish to go. Now there’s a pair of shoes we definitely need.

The Babel Fish, from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

“You’ll need to have this fish in your ear.” “I beg your pardon?” asked Arthur.

We think we might be all right with having a tiny living fish in our ear — if it meant, as Adams’s Babel Fish does, that we could understand any language spoken around us.

The Entertainment, from Infinite Jest

At last, a cure for our boredom! The Entertainment, alternately known as Infinite Jest and “the samizdat,” is a movie so fascinating and pleasurable that everyone who watches it dies because they lose interest in everything but the screen in front of them. Um, yeah, we’re just kidding.