Let me say, here, that I have nothing against proudly showing your allegiance to the Jedi Order or your love of mutantkind by, for example, sporting a witty t-shirt from www.ThinkGeek.com (I, myself, am very fond of my HAN SHOT FIRST t-shirt and have encountered friends in strange places as a result of wearing it on long plane flights). I have even been known to model Princess Leia's plaits for the occasional fancy-dress party. I'm afraid, however, that I cannot bring myself to go the whole hog and roll up to a public event wearing pointy ears and a robe.
Does this make me any less of a fangirl?
My childhood town being rather skint on conventions, my first real introduction to this odd trait did not occur until the late 90s, when I attended several midnight premieres only to find myself standing in line for popcorn with a dozen Gandalfs or Obiwans, or listening to the "clack, clack" of plastic lightsaber battles raging around me as I camped in the hallway outside the cinema, waiting to be let in.
Although the good ol’ U.S. of A. has more than its fair share of Extreme Fantasists, it by no means holds the exclusive rights. Whilst travelling home on the bus one Friday night close to the Witching Hour, I was shocked to see a coven meeting openly in Trafalgar Square. It was a moment before I realised that real witches most likely do not wear black pointy hats. Nor do they wear school uniforms under their robes and draw lightning-bolt scars on their foreheads. Ah, yes, "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows" had been released in bookstores at 1200 that night.