The most well known example of that was when Joan Didion's husband died. As she recounts in her book "The Year of Magical Thinking," she kept her dead husband's shoes in the closet since he would need them when he came back.
In addition to leveraging magical thinking in that extreme situation of when someone isn't coming back but we need to hold onto hope that that person will, it tends to dominate how we approach our attempted career comebacks.
Every lawyer I talked with who had been knocked out of the box was certain of either of two things. One was not only returning to practice law but at a position as good as or better than the previous one. The other was that the alternate career path would be more satisfying, entail less work, and pay as well as the previous one in the legal sector. Because that thinking was magical and didn't pan out, some of those lawyers had severe breakdowns.
I was in that same pickle. When my business tanked in 2003 Download Geezerguts I had no doubt that after I finished my five months of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy I would be earning more than I had, I would restock my retirement fund, and this time around I would be wiser. That didn't happen. In fact, I had continued to be so unwise at times that I had to put in three months at a Buddhist temple training in mindfulness or managing just the present moment.
Unfortunately, magical thinking keeps the pain away. Few have the strength to resist that. Consequently, lawyers and others whose careers have been disrupted will default into it. Currently I am experiencing a full-size career comeback. Should that stall I have no doubt it's back to magical thinking.