Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Hello all you as yet unrealised potential readers. Here's another blog excerpt. This is something I was inspired to write when wonderful writer Chris Regan asked me to be in his crazy short film - JENNY RINGO AND THE MONKEY'S PAW. It's about using Monkey's Paw and is an idea that's been spinning around for years. It took Chris's film to fertilise that idea egg. As it were.

Obviously, if you're normal you'll be unfamiliar with any of the following. If you're a geek, you'll know everything.


Well done – you’ve come into possession of WW Jacobs fabled Monkey’s Paw – a magical item granting the user three wishes. Fantastic!

Except, this Paw has the unfortunate tendency to rebound the wishes onto the user to their horror and regret. The wishes rebound ironically and without mercy, leaving the wretched victim wishing he’d never come in to possession of the dire object.

This document is an attempt to guide the new owner of a Monkey’s Paw to the safe usage of the item and, in particular, to gain successful advantage of the Monkey’s Paw’s three wish mechanism without cost of any kind to oneself or loved ones.

NB. Although we are using the Monkey’s Paw specifically in this instance, the principles outlined below should also apply to other three-wish delivery items such as Aladdin’s Lamp, Rings of Power etc. The Monkey’s Paw example is used here as it appears to be the most difficult and lethal magical wishing item to master.


With sufficient preparation, these rules can aid the careful user to gain advantage.

First, we must attempt to define how the Monkey’s Paw works.

Upon receipt of the Monkey’s Paw, the user is allowed three wishes. These wishes must be spoken aloud while holding the object. The Monkey’s Paw must grant these three wishes.

The wishes must also be spoken one after the other, as human beings are unable to speak three wishes at once. This may seem facile but is in fact a very important factor – see below.

As soon as a wish is spoken, the wish will take effect. This is usually to malign effect and although the consequences of the wish may not become apparent until later (see the story), the actual magic takes place immediately. Speed of delivery of wishes is a very important factor in safe usage of the Monkey’s Paw. So be ready.

Although we cannot be absolutely certain, for safe usage we must assume the Monkey’s Paw’s powers both physical and supernatural are unlimited and capable of any action of any kind instantaneously throughout the universe.

As we can see, the Monkey’s Paw is immensely powerful. These rules appear to be immutable and if they are not, interpretation should always assume the worst-case scenario.

So, the Monkey’s Paw will fulfil a spoken wish while simultaneously attempt to cause maximum ironic damage immediately the wish is spoken. The damage can be assumed to encompass not only damage to the user but to the users’ family, anyone else in the human race and the physical components of the universe itself – ie. Starting fires, earthquakes, disintegrating solar system etc.


Although not strictly a rule, it is prudent to assume that the wishes themselves must be as simple and direct as possible. The Monkey’s Paw does not seem to allow complicated wishes full of conditional clauses – for these often contain supplementary wishes and must be assumed to count as so. The likelihood is the Monkey’s Paw will select the most damaging sub-wish and use this against the user.

CAVEAT EMPTOR: Although the following method seems to provide safe usage, there is always the risk the Monkey’s Paw can alter its own rules although this has never been evidenced. Proper safe usage should take some account of the possibility of cheating by the Monkey’s Paw. However, the probability remains the Monkey’s Paw will not alter its own potential and powers and we proceed from that assumption.


The safe method outlined below uses the three wishes as sub-wishes to one overall wish – that of giving the user anything they want. By considering the three wishes as one big wish, safe usage is much more likely.

In order for safe usage of three wishes, the user must proceed from the necessity to safeguard his/her well-being as well as the well-being of others and the environment in which they exist.

The assumption must be made that as soon as a wish is uttered, the Monkey’s Paw will instantly create a method to undermine the wish and cause regret by ironic fulfilment of the wish.

By this argument, we define our aims:

1/ Keep the user safe

2/ Keep others safe

3/ Protect user’s environment

4/ Gain advantage in a way not available by non-Monkey’s Paw means

NB. Although this is a three wish system, religious users will be delighted to learn they can achieve their goals in two wishes, leaving a third wish spare.


Wish Three is easy. This is the user’s desire wish, when all safeguards have been established. We will focus now on Wishes One and Two.

Assuming safety of oneself and others and environment for past, present and future must be achieved – a suitable specific cover-all word has been selected: this word is REGRET.

Therefore, one’s primary wish should be never to regret wishing on the Monkey’s Paw. The wording can probably be made more precise but the simplest we have found is:

I wish never to regret wishing on the Monkey’s Paw.

This places the Monkey’s Paw in a difficult bind – it must fulfil the wish; not allowing any unpleasant repercussions.

The user may think from this point he or she is safe to use the other wishes, but this is not necessarily true.

The Monkey’s Paw has one option here: to annihilate the User instantly, rendering him or her incapable of regret. It fulfils its bargain and also rebounds the wish on the user. Therefore, it must be assumed the Monkey’s Paw will do this – by heart attack, envelopment in fire, destruction of the universe or any other way.

As mentioned before, religious people may choose to free up a wish and select this as their first wish. This is possible because should they be instantly annihilated by the Monkey’s Paw they will presumably enter the after-life proscribed by their faith. This afterlife may provide a method by which a soul, or some other definition of protection of the self and its consciousness from extinction, will still enable the user to feel regret; in which case the rules of the wish still hold good.

For the purposes of safety, the assumption of this document is that the most probable post-death condition is complete extinction of the self.

Therefore this wish, as all-encompassing as it is, must be protected by a preceding First Wish.

The purpose of the First Wish is to enable the user to protect his or her self from this annihilation. Again, careful wording has been selected:

I wish to live out my natural pre-Monkey’s Paw wish life-span.

Although convoluted, this wish remains simple and direct. It is a clear single wish.

There are of course, three possibilities still for failure.

1/ The User’s natural lifespan is not long enough to speak the second wish.

It is the assumption of this document that although this is a risk, the probability is that one will live long enough to get to speak the next wish. By the third wish, as one can safely wish for anything, the user can correct any difficulties arising from natural lifespan problems.

2/ The Monkey’s Paw can make the surrounding environment hellish, making life not worth living for the user.

In other words, the Monkey’s Paw can, although obliged to keep the user alive for their natural span, use this ironically to cause them torment, pain or damage the world around them. EG – The Monkey’s Paw might cause a meteor collision on the planet, killing everyone and making the Earth uninhabitable – meaning the user is in constant torment and yet cannot die.
Again, this can be righted by the second wish – that of never regretting using the Paw.

3/ It is feasible the Monkey’s Paw may destroy the Users ability to speak – eg. Burn out their tongue – but this, in our opinion, is a transgression of its own rules and an admission of failure on the part of the Monkey’s Paw.
There is a difference in the potential annihilation by premature speaking of Wish Two outlined above because the annihilation in that case is caused by ironic implementation of User’s wish.

This reaction also implies the Monkey’s Paw already knows and can react to the consequences of fulfilling Wish Two. Again: cheating.
Again there is no evidential basis.

There is no recorded instance of the Monkey’s Paw removing a user’s ability to speak all three wishes. This does not, of course, mean it wouldn’t do this. User beware!


To recap, the three wishes should be stated clearly and unambiguously in this order:

WISH ONE: I wish to live out my natural pre-Monkey’s Paw wish life-span.

WISH TWO: I wish never to regret using the Monkey’s Paw.

And now safely on to,

WISH THREE: I wish to get everything I ever wanted.

Although it must be admitted really only one wish will gain the User advantage, this is surely better than no wishes or terrible repercussions from unsafe usage. In any case, Wish Three should encompass any average users needs.

Obviously, no document can completely cover all risks attached to usage of the Monkey’s Paw. The safest course of all is never to make any wishes.


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