Another thing about that simultaneous potential for wonder and terror is that it is much closer to a child’s view of the world. When we were very young, we didn’t think logically. It wasn’t so much believing in magic as it was just obviously how the world worked. For example, I knew with complete certainty that mom could read my mind. I thought of filching cookies, for example, and she arrived in time to catch me with my hand in the cookie jar! I was silent, so she read my mind!
Parents know (and I can now deduce) what happened. When I was playing, I often made some sound effects for the spaceship, or cowboy, or dialog for the daring spy, etc. Whenever I started thinking about doing bad things, though, I tried to sneak silently. Logically, all mom needed to do was to notice that she couldn’t hear me, and then investigate. In a child’s paradigm before formal reasoning has developed (Piaget’s stages), though, the parenting technique was magic, and the world was full of things like that.
One of the best things about stories about the supernatural is that they can help us recapture that childlike sense of wonder (and terror). The stories help us remember a time when we might see pixies cavort in the twilight. The stories remind us, as the Bard said, “heaven and earth hold more wonders than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” That sense of wild possibility is precious. Keep a firm hold on reality, but try to find a little wonder in life, too.