This 31 October, there are some exotic magical creatures out there that won’t be put off by even the scariest of carved pumpkin faces…
The curse of the werewolf is so well-known that even Muggles have learned to fear them – although outside the wizarding world they’re still thought of as nothing more than a scary story. Most of the time, of course, a werewolf is only as dangerous as you are, but when the moon is full the person afflicted transforms into a ravenous wolf-like monster.
Even worse, not every werewolf is as good-natured as everyone’s favourite Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher Remus Lupin: some have been known to spread their curse deliberately, like the infamous Fenrir Greyback. As Newt Scamander notes in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, werewolves are particularly dangerous: ‘Almost uniquely among fantastic creatures, the werewolf actively seeks humans in preference to any other kind of prey.’ Did you know there’s a full moon coming up?
A Pogrebin is a small Russian demon with a large rounded head that resembles a stone. It chooses a person to follow and creates such a feeling of lethargy and despair in them that finally they can take no more and fall to their knees. It’s at this point that the Pogrebin, nasty creature that it is, pounces to eat its victim.
Thankfully it can be driven off with common hexes or, if you’re you’re so inclined, a well-aimed kick has also been found to be effective.
A Bundimun infestation will fill your house with the smell of decay – kind of like an anti-air freshener.
It can be hard to spot them, as they look like patches of green mould, but you need to root them out quickly. Their unwelcome scent may help create a spooky ambience, but Bundimun secretions eat through buildings, and nothing would ruin your Hallowe’en party more than the house collapsing.
The Erkling is a three-foot high elfin monster from Germany, capable of attracting children with its high-pitched cackling. It all sounds a bit Pied Piper, doesn’t it? It would be terrible if an Erkling were abroad at Hallowe’en: as you might have guessed, it wouldn’t be the trick-or-treat sweets it wanted to eat…
Lupin, while he was a professor, taught a class about Kappas: in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban they’re described as ‘creepy water-dwellers that looked like scaly monkeys, with webbed hands itching to strangle unwitting waders in their ponds’.
That’s enough for you to beware of paddling if you can’t see the bottom. Newt Scamander says that luckily a Kappa ‘may be persuaded not to harm a person if it is thrown a cucumber with that person’s name carved into it’. This is oddly specific advice, but it seems worth heeding, so keep a cucumber handy (they’re also very good in salads).
The Augurey nests in the British Isles, and Fantastic Beasts describes it as being ‘like a small and underfed vulture in appearance’. It has a unique cry, and while we now know that it’s merely a forecast of bad weather, it used to be thought of as a portent of death.
There might be some truth to this tale, as there’s more than one story of a wizard unexpectedly hearing an Augurey calling and subsequently dropping dead from a heart attack. It’d certainly be a spooky thing to encounter on a cold October walk.
Chimaeras are rare, but legendary beasts. Native to Greece, Chimaeras have the head of a lion, the body of a goat and the tail of a dragon, and are some of the most vicious, and the most dangerous monsters that a witch or wizard could ever have the misfortune to come across.
In all of history, there’s only been one recorded instance of a Chimaera being defeated. Sadly, the victor soon fell to his death due to exhaustion from actually beating the thing.
We’ve saved the best – or rather, the most frightening – until last. The Lethifold is found only in tropical climates, or in other words, places you might go on holiday this winter. A Lethifold is like a living shadow, a black cloak of darkness that creeps across the ground. And, for added measure, it smothers and digests its prey while they’re asleep.
Lovely. The wizard Flavius Belby wrote a terrifying account of managing to escape a Lethifold while on holiday in 1752. Thanks to him we know that the only spell known to drive off an attacking Lethifold is the Patronus Charm. We hope you have your happy memories ready this Hallowe’en!