Features

The Hogwarts ghosts

The Hogwarts ghosts represented the four houses of Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff in their own unique ways. Here’s our guide to those who haunted Hogwarts.

Nearly Headless Nick: Gryffindor house ghost

Animated illustration of Gryffindor house ghost, Nearly Headless Nick
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Who was he?

A fifteenth-century nobleman who went to Hogwarts. His real name was Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington.

How did he die?

Nick, a wizard at the royal court of Henry VII, fell in love with Lady Grieve. After trying to magically fix her crooked teeth, the spell backfired, Lady Grieve grew tusks, and Nick was sentenced to death for his actions.

A frightfully interesting fact

Nick wrote a ballad about his own demise, entitled The Ballad of Nearly Headless Nick.

The Grey Lady: Ravenclaw house ghost

Animated illustration of Ravenclaw house ghost, the Grey Lady
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Who was she?

The morose daughter of the Ravenclaw house founder, Rowena Ravenclaw. Her real name was Helena.

How did she die?

In a horrible way, frankly. After stealing her mother’s diadem and running away, Rowena Ravenclaw sent The Baron to retrieve her. Alas, it didn’t go so well. The Baron, mad with jealousy at Helena’s freedom, ended up stabbing her when she refused to return with him. Helena’s ghost had a ‘single dark wound’ upon her chest as a result.

A frightfully interesting fact

The ‘forest in Albania’ where Helena would go into hiding was also frequented by Lord Voldemort. Eventually, the enchanted diadem would become one of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, after he discovered its hiding place in a hollowed tree.

The Fat Friar: Hufflepuff house ghost

Animated illustration of Hufflepuff house ghost, the Fat Friar
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Who was he?

A jolly fellow who resembled a monk, who was sorted into Hufflepuff back in his day.

How did he die?

His magical ways roused suspicion, and he was eventually executed after the senior churchmen grew suspicious of his ability to cure the pox, and his penchant for pulling rabbits out of the Communion cup.

A frightfully interesting fact

The Fat Friar always resented the fact that he never became a cardinal.

The Bloody Baron: Slytherin house ghost

Animated illustration of the Slytherin house ghost, the Bloody Baron
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Who was he?

A hot-tempered sort of fellow, who was responsible for the death of the Grey Lady, aka Helena Ravenclaw. In his living days, he was simply known as The Baron. It was only at the point of his death that the ‘bloody’ part of his name was added in. And for good reason.

How did he die?

Head over heels in love with Helena Ravenclaw, The Baron murdered her out of anger when Helena refused to return home with him. After stabbing her fatally, he was so remorseful, he used the same weapon to take his own life.

A frightfully interesting fact

The Bloody Baron’s chains were an ‘act of penitence’ for what he did to Helena.

Peeves the poltergeist: a Hogwarts bonus 

Animated illustration of Hogwarts poltergeist, Peeves
© JKR/Pottermore Ltd.™ Warner Bros.

Who was he? 

  Well, that’s the thing. Strictly speaking Peeves wasn’t a ghost at all so we can’t be sure. Think mischief-maker with a penchant for ‘kinetic disturbances’. We do know that he reflects his nature, a seamless blend of humour and malice.

How did he die? 

Who knows? We’re not even sure he was ever alive like the other house ghosts, but many attempts have been made to remove Peeves from Hogwarts. One such attempt in 1876 went disastrously wrong and led to the whole school being evacuated. 

A frightfully interesting fact 

Peeves was named for being the pet-peeve of every Hogwarts caretaker ever. Also – ‘poltergeist’ roughly means ‘noisy ghost’ in German. For more info on the little hoodlum, read here.