Shifting: A Potterhead's Fantasy
BY ELSA LEWIS AND SHREE JAYAKRISHNA '25
Imagine you’re walking back from the Quidditch pitch after winning your first match of the season against Slytherin. Seeing Draco Malfoy’s ferret-like face solemn with disappointment sparks immeasurable amounts of joy. Hermione congratulates you, and Ron pats you on the back. While walking up to the painting of the Fat Lady, you cringe from her horrific singing. Opening the common room door, you see Gryffindor celebrating as Fred and George pass around bottles of butterbeer and firewhiskey. Across the room, Nearly Headless Nick decapitates himself for the pleasure of some first years, much to everyone’s amusement. Meditation? Lucid dreaming? No, this is shifting! Your subconscious mind leaves your original body as you shift into a different reality. Though we wish this fantastical experience could be possible, unfortunately, no evidence proves shifting’s validity.
People believe that shifting is real so that they can achieve the happiness, romance, and friendships they fantasize of. @Natskaban, a popular TikToker with 194.4k followers, regularly shifts to Hogwarts, the wizarding school from Harry Potter. She is one of many who are in love with Draco Malfoy. So in her desired reality, she believes that she is dating the wimpy pureblood. She’s also a user of #DracoMalfoy, a hashtag with over 28.7 billion views…the fact that people want to look at videos of Draco Malfoy is something we can’t comprehend. When talking about the cheese-stick-resembling Slytherin, she says, “I am lucky to be able to breathe the same air as him.” For some reason, @Natzkaban’s many followers believe her stories about shifting and seek to experience their own dream realities.
While many lovers of Draco Malfoy believe in the inexplicable, some are logic-oriented. People who turn to science believe that shifting is not real and is instead a type of dream. “It seems to be maybe a form of self-hypnosis,” said holistic psychotherapist Laura Rosser Kreiselmaier to The Washington Post. She observed that “altered states of consciousness have been around as far back as we know.” She believes that drugs or alcohol might be the true reason behind this misconception. Others believe that in addition to self-hypnosis, shifting could also be a form of lucid dreaming, where a person is aware they are in a dream. Currently, it is difficult to say without any definitive scientific backing.
After celebrating your win on the Quidditch pitch, you and your fellow Gryffindors go to bed. Falling into a deep slumber, you wake up in your normal world far, far away from Hogwarts. The minute hand on your clock only seems to have moved five minutes since you last saw it. Though some believe that they shifted into an alternate reality, this was merely a dream. Now we ask you: do you think shifting is possible? Will you believe the Draco-lovers and misguided TikTokers? Or, will you choose to side with the people that think that shifting to a different reality is a crazy notion, one that is not reasonable nor possible?