Friday, July 20, 2007

My Harry Potter encounter today - and it's not what you think

I got a request today for an article about Boomslang bite. I see odd words every day, but they're usually more along the lines of psychoneuroendocrinology. "Boomslang" struck me funny, like it belonged in something like a Harry Potter book more than a medical journal. Little did I know.

I had no idea what a boomslang was (a bug was my guess) so I took a minute and looked it up. It's a venomous snake native to Africa. In my quick search, I also came across a reference to Harry Potter. Since it was Wikipedia, I took it with a grain of salt and wanted to verify that for myself. When I got home, I pulled out my copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and found that "shredded skin of a boomslang" really is an ingredient in Polyjuice Potion (page 165 in my paperback edition).

Of all the days for that request to cross my desk and grab my curiosity. Serendipity?

In case you're wondering, I won't be in line for Harry tonight. I just finished Order of the Phoenix a few weeks ago and it will be awhile before I start Half Blood Prince. If I can just keep from hearing how the series ends before I read it for myself, I'll be a happy camper. But I doubt that will last long. If you see me, don't tell me. :)