Magic swords come in all varieties. Some give the bearer strength or invincibility, while others fight on their own. A handful of magic swords throughout history have even brought the dead back to life, which seems counterintuitive, but when it comes to enchantment, sometimes you just have to roll with it.
It may be, however, that the most useful magic sword ever created has finally been discovered: It warns its bearer when Nickelback is nearby.
“I bought it at an estate auction,” said Timothy Dinbar, 26, of Culverton. We sat in his living room, where he slowly moved a sharpening stone down one edge of the blade. “I’ve always wanted an old sword, and this was the perfect opportunity to get one. I didn’t really expect to do much with it, maybe make a few YouTube videos with it and then hang it above my mantle.”
But Dinbar says his luck changed in the car on the way home. His path took him along Route 4, which runs right past the arena where a certain band happened to be playing that night.
“As I got closer, I could sense – I don’t know, exactly. It was as though the sword was trying to tell me something,” Dinbar said.
It was just after sunset, and the sky behind him was already pretty dark. That’s when Dinbar noticed a ruddy glow in his rearview mirror.
“At first I thought it was a cop or an ambulance or something, but then I realized it wasn’t flashing,” Dinbar said. “The glow was coming from inside the car.”
Dinbar had placed the sword in the back seat for the ride home. It had not come with a scabbard or any other protective covering, so he wrapped it in an old hoodie he kept in the back for inclement weather. When Dinbar became aware of the luminescence, he glanced at the back seat and saw that the tip, which stuck out one end of the hoodie, was giving off a bright red glow.
“I never saw anything like it,” Dinbar said. “I mean, it was so bright that it seemed like I should’ve had my retinas burnt out or something. I pulled over and put on my hazards to check it out, and I found I could stare right at it without even blinking. It was the weirdest thing.”
Initially, Dinbar was unsure what to make of the glowing sword. He moved it to the front passenger seat where he could keep a better eye on it as he drove. That’s when he noticed that the closer he got to the arena, the more intense the ensorceled sword glowed. Then, as he passed the music venue and it began to recede, the sword’s supernatural light began to fade.
“About two-and-a-half, three miles away, and it was dark again,” Dinbar said. “Back to how it looked when I bought it.”
Dinbar found the first opportunity he could to turn around and drive back past the arena. As he did, the sword glowed red again and then started to fade right as he went past. However, the connection to Nickelback was not immediately apparent. The next day when Dinbar tried the experiment again, it did not work.
“I thought it was a fluke,” Dinbar said. “Or maybe I was tripping. But something in the back of my mind told me what I had seen was real. I was determined to find out what the heck was going on with this thing.”
After a few more tests, Dinbar became convinced that the trigger was not the arena itself but something (or someone) that had been there the night he bought his new sword. He watched the arena’s website and waited for another band to come. When it did, he excitedly took his sword on another road trip across town – to no avail.
For weeks, Dinbar continued his experiments, trying to think of every variable he could: time of day, speed at which he had been driving, even what he had eaten on the day in question. (“I got really tired of chili dogs after awhile,” Dinbar said, referring to the meal he had scarfed down on the way home that night.) He even snuck the sword into – and subsequently got kicked out of – several local bars and clubs in an attempt to bring it near live bands as they played. Nothing worked.
Then, one day, he heard a song on the radio that struck a chord in his mind. It was Nickelback’s “Photograph.” As he reached to turn the radio to another station, Dinbar remembered that the band’s name and press photo had been emblazoned on the large digital billboard just outside the arena on the night in question.
“I normally wouldn’t even register their existence. But that night was so strange, I can see every detail in my mind as though it was happening right now.”
Convinced that he had stumbled onto the clue he had been seeking for nearly three months, Dinbar sped home and immediately looked at the band’s website. Their tour itinerary had taken them out of the region, but that did not stop the obsessed swordsman. He started looking up ticket prices for flights that would take him to an upcoming concert.
“I never in my life thought I would be spending money to travel to a Nickelback concert,” Dinbar said, laughing at the absurdity of his quest. “Yet there I was, trying to make it work on my budget.”
The next thing to figure out was how to get the sword there. As it turns out, that was the easy part. Swords are allowed in checked luggage, according to the Transportation Safety Administration, so long as they are packaged properly to prevent harm to any inspectors who might search the bags.
Upon arrival, after collecting his precious cargo, Dinbar rented a car and drove to the venue where Nickelback was playing. He had not bought a ticket for the actual concert (“I do have some standards,” he said), but based on his test that first night, he figured he just needed to get near the band. He figured correctly.
“As I got closer to the arena, I saw that glow again, and I started to get real excited,” Dinbar said. “Months of work came to fruition. I finally had proof that I wasn’t crazy.”
Crazy or not, the young man says he believes when he found the sword, he also found his true calling. While testing out various theories about the sword’s uncanny radiation, he had also researched as much as he could about its origin. Through online forums and some private correspondence with historians, he was able to learn that it likely was made between 1100 and 1250 AD, somewhere in present-day Germany. He even sent the inscription on the hilt to a linguist, who translated it as “Noise-Finder.”
“It’s certainly true to its name,” Dinbar said.
When pressed on what he intends to do now that he knows how the sword works, Dinbar just smiled wryly and kept sharpening the blade.