The New York Times has an article on magical thinking – the mental process of making connections between unrelated or loosely-related things.
Magical thinking is thought to exist on a spectrum, from hunches, creative leaps and superstitions at one end, to frank psychosis at the other – where the connections become so odd as to lead to delusions.
As children we, perhaps, experience magical thinking at its strongest. Children live in magical worlds where moving trees cause the wind to blow and toys come to life after dark.
The link between magical thinking in children in adults is rarely discussed, but it was the subject of an 2004 article published in The Psychologist.
The NYT article looks at magical thinking in all its guises, and discusses its possible roles in religion and spirituality, and how it is affected by stress and coincidence.