"Credence Barebone. Nearly destroyed by the woman who raised him. Yet now he seeks the mother who bore him. He’s desperate for family. He’s desperate for love. He’s the key to our victory."
Gellert Grindelwald[src]

Credence Barebone (born c. 1901[1]) was an American wizard who lived during the 20th century. He was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, the leader of a No-Maj anti-witchcraft group called the New Salem Philanthropic Society. Due to the repression of his magic, Credence developed a parasitical force known as an Obscurus and became an Obscurial. While most Obscurials die before their tenth birthday, Credence lived into adulthood, which was previously unheard of in the wizarding world and a testament of his incredible power.

Credence was sought after by Gellert Grindelwald, who wanted to use his power to kill Albus Dumbledore. While in search of his true identity, Credence heeded Grindelwald's call and joined his army. Grindelwald then revealed Credence's alleged birth name: Aurelius Dumbledore.


Early life

Ship voyage to America (1901–1905)

"A son cruelly banished
Despair of the daughter
Return, great avenger
With wings from the water.
—A prophecy regarding Credence, from The Predictions of Tycho Dodonus[src]
Born c. 1901[1] (allegedly to the Dumbledore family as Aurelius, according to Gellert Grindelwald)[3] he was switched in the crib by a young Leta Lestrange for her half-brother Corvus during a voyage to America in 1901.[4] When the ship sank during a storm, the life boat with Corvus capsized, drowning him and Aurelius' aunt. Aurelius was taken to America and put up for adoption in Corvus' place, unbeknownst to anyone but Leta.[5]

Adopted (1905-1926)

"His name’s Credence. His mother beats him. She beats all those kids she adopted, but she seems to hate him the most."
—Tina Goldstein regarding Credence's family life[src]
Barebone family

Credence with his adopted family

On 21 October 1905,[1] he was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, an American No-Maj woman who led the New Salem Philanthropic Society, a hardline anti-witchcraft group.[6] She renamed him Credence Barebone, raising him in New York alongside her two other adopted children, Chastity and Modesty. Credence was the eldest of the three.

Whilst under Mary Lou's care, Credence was physically and mentally abused by her who attempted to suppress his magical abilities. She often used his own belt that left marks on his hands. The frequent abuse would cause him to become an Obscurial. Mary Lou considered Credence's birth mother to be a "wicked, unnatural woman", suggesting that she was aware of his heritage.[6]

Obscurus Manifestation 1926–1927

Gellert Grindelwald: "You can control it, Credence."
Credence Barebone: "But I don't think I want to, Mr Graves."
Grindelwald argues with Credence to control his Obscurus[src]
2018-10-03 04.05.02 1

Tina Goldstein comforting Credence after attacking Mary Lou

During one meeting, Mary Lou was physically abusing Credence but was magically assaulted by Auror Porpentina Goldstein. The open use of magic in front of a group of Muggles required extensive Obliviation and was a major scandal resulting in Porpentina's demotion to the Wand Permit Office.

By December 1926, Credence was losing control of his Obscurus, and it manifested in outbursts that were wreaking havoc in New York. These disturbances were noted both in the Muggle press such as the "New-York Clarion" and the wizarding press such as "The New York Ghost".[7]

During that time, Credence came in regular contact with Gellert Grindelwald who's assuming the identity of Percival Graves. Due to a vision he had received, Grindelwald believes Credence to be connected to an powerful Obscurial that he was trying to locate. Grindelwald manipulates Credence into tracking it down for him. In exchange, Grindelwald promise Credence to free him from his abusive mother and teaching him magic.

File:2018-10-04 06.29.28 1.jpg

Together with his adoptive family, Credence visits the newspaper company of Henry Shaw Senior. In an attempt by the Second Salemers to garner the support of Henry Shaw Senior, both he and his elder son the senator dismiss the Barebones as freaks, which appears to irk Credence. Later that night, Credence’s Obscurus manifested and attacked a fund-raising dinner at City Hall, killing the Senator as a result. This act unwittingly exposed the wizarding world.

The next day, Credence found a toy wand in Modesty's bedroom. Mary Lou immediately concluded that the wand belonged to Credence when she enters the scene, despite Modesty claiming it to be hers. As she prepared to beat him yet again, Credence's obscurus burst free. The dark force kills Mary Lou and Chastity before destroying the rest of the house, leaving only Credence and Modesty alive.

2018-10-03 03.50.34 3

Credence unleashing his Obscurus

Still in the form of Graves, Grindelwald arrives at the remains of the Second Salem Church and urges Credence to bring him to Modesty who had fled the destruction to her childhood's home, since Grindelwald now believes she is the child that he foresaw. Once there, Grindelwald dismisses Credence as being a Squib, despite his promises. This betrayal caused Credence to reveal his Obscurus. In a fit of anger, Credence transforms willingly into his Obscurus form and went on a mindless rampage of destruction through New York. [6]

Apparent death

"We see Credence from within the black mass, his face contorted, screaming. The barrage of spells continues and Credence howls in pain... Under this pressure, the Obscurus finally seems to implode — a white ball of magical light taking over from the black mass... All power subsides. Only small pieces of black matter are left — floating through the air like feathers."
—Credence supposedly dies at the hands of MACUSA Aurors[src]
File:2018-10-03 03.50.35 3.jpg

Pursuing him to the subway station, Newt managed to calm Credence down only to engage in a battle with the treacherous dark wizard. Provoked by the fight, Credence resumed his Obscurial form, though Tina managed to get him to stop once more. Seraphina Picquery and Aurors from MACUSA arrived at the scene and proceeded to attack him with many spells, only stopping when they believed he was destroyed. However, a single shred of his Obscurus form fled the scene, unseen to anyone but Newt.

This attack resulted in Grindelwald's capture and the believed destruction of Credence. Ultimately, thousands of No-Majs were obliviated in order to protect wizarding secrecy.

Looking for his identity (1927)

Circus Life

Credence, in reality, survived and travelled to Paris, where he joined the Circus Arcanus, a travelling wizarding circus owned by the cruel ringmaster, Skender. There, Credence befriended a maledictus named Nagini, with whom he seemed to have a close relationship.

The escaped dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald also journeyed to Paris in search for Credence, in order to utilise his abilities to kill Albus Dumbledore.

Rumours surrounding Credence's identity began to circulate. Yusuf Kama believed he was Corvus Lestrange V, the son of Corvus Lestrange IV who Imperiused Kama's mother into marriage. Kama had made an Unbreakable Vow on his father 's deathbed to kill what Corvus IV loved most, which he believed to be Corvus V.

On the run with Nagini

Having had enough with their mistreatment, Credence and Nagini plotted their escape from the Circus Arcanus, where both Kama and Tina Goldstein had located him. Credence managed their getaway by releasing several of the beasts and fleeing in the ensuing chaos. 

Following this, Credence found Irma Dugard, whom he believed to be his mother, as her name was on his adoption papers. Dugard revealed that she did not want to give him up, and noted that she was merely a servant to the Lestrange household. After a brief moment of tenderness, Gunnar Grimmson the bounty hunter murdered the half-elf woman, on orders of Grindelwald to keep Credence's identity a secret from him. The Obscurus manifested and Credence attempted to kill Grimmson, but failed to do so.  

Grindelwald himself later offered Credence a chance to find out his true parentage, and gave him a map to the cemetery of Pere Lachaise. At the Lestrange Family Tomb, Credence and Nagini crossed paths with Kama; they were joined by Newt, Tina, Jacob, and Leta Lestrange, Kama's half-sister. Kama prepared to kill Credence, but Leta insisted that he was not her half-brother, as the real Corvus Lestrange died. Leta recounted her father sending her and her brother to America on a ship. Wanting to relieve herself of her screaming brother, Leta swapped him with another baby on the ship, that baby being Credence. The ship sank before Leta could switch the babies back, and the real Corvus Lestrange drowned.

Joining Grindelwald

Credence then attended Grindelwald's rally, which ended in the Aurors storming against the host. Grindelwald created a circle of blue flames, an enchantment designed to test the loyalty of his followers: those who enter with complete fidelity shall survive; those who do not, perish. Against Nagini's insistence, Credence entered the circle and joined Grindelwald, trusting that he had knowledge of his true identity. 

Sometime later, at Nurmengard Castle in Austria, Grindelwald reveals to Credence that the baby bird he has been caring for is actually a phoenix. According to legend, a phoenix will appear to anyone of the Dumbledore Family in dire need. Grindelwald then presents him with a wand, as well as his birth name: Aurelius Dumbledore. 

Physical description

He has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin.[8][9] Credence Barebone often appeared to be troubled, nervous, or embarrassed.[10][11][12][13] He tends to stand with his head bowed.

Personality and traits

Credence was described as "troubled" and "mysterious".[14][15] Shy and withdrawn, this made him far more vulnerable to the abuse that came in response to the slightest infraction of his adoptive mother's strict rules. His timid personality also made him susceptible to manipulation by Gellert Grindelwald, who took a personal interest in him.[16]

However, when he was insulted or threatened, Credence's Obscurus form was unleashed. This Obscurus form was triggered by his negative emotions and experiences, and therefore was induced by them to act violently. This caused widespread destruction and death to those who provoked Credence. Namely, he attacked Mary Lou Barebone because of the abuse the latter inflicted on him for so long, and Henry Shaw Junior for the way the arrogant No-Maj politician had mocked him.

After being nearly killed by over twenty MACUSA Aurors on the orders of President Picquery, Credence became embittered towards most of the magical community, and, desperate to survive, and learn his true heritage, he joined the Circus Arcanus, and befriended fellow outcast Nagini. However, Grindelwald was once again able to manipulate Credence - taking advantage of the youth's desire to learn of his true heritage, Grindelwald convinced Credence to join his acolytes, convincing Credence so effectively, that even Nagini couldn't dissuade him. After finally being given a wand by his new master at Nurmengard Castle, Credence accepts his true heritage as Aurelius Dumbledore, accepts the gifted Phoenix, and seemingly agrees to help Grindelwald bypass the blood pact and kill Albus Dumbledore.

Magical abilities and skills

  • High Magic Capability: While Credence never developed his magical abilities initially, his latent magical powers were so strong he was capable of surviving for so long despite having an Obscurus inside him. After being given a wand for the first time, Credence instinctively cast a spell that fired a bolt of fiery energy so powerful it could destroy a mountainside in an instant.
    • Obscurus Transformation: Credence was an Obscurial, prone to unleashing or embodying an Obscurus due to years of being forced to suppress his magic. He was immensely more powerful than other known Obscurials, living longer than any previously known and requiring roughly thirty MACUSA Aurors to defeat and seemingly kill Credence, though the latter managed to survive. Ever since then, Credence had acquired complete control over his Obscurus. Gellert Grindelwald went so far as to claim to his acolytes that Credence's Obscurus was powerful enough to kill Albus Dumbledore.
  • Apparation: Although where he learned how to was unknown, Credence was able to apparate.


  • Wand: After joining Grindelwald's army, Credence was given a wand by his new master.
  • Phoenix: At Nurmengard Castle, this baby Phoenix approached Credence (now revealed to be Aurelius Dumbledore), fulfilling the Dumbledore family legend of a Phoenix coming to any Dumbledore who is in desperate need.


Irma Dugard

While Credence's adoptive mother Mary Lou Barebone never attempted to teach Credence about his true magical heritage, she seemed to know that his biological mother was, in-fact a witch. Since Credence was a adopted at a very young age, he never knew anything about his biological parents. Mary Lou tells Credence that his birth mother was a "wicked, unnatural woman." suggesting she had known her and implying that he may share the same qualities.

Unknown to Barebone, the woman she believed to be Credence's mother was in fact the Half-elf servant of the Lestrange family, Irma Dugard. Dugard unknowingly ended up with Aurelius after the young Leta Lestrange switched him with her baby brother Corvus Lestrange.

Mary Lou Barebone

"As if on autopilot, Credence removes his belt. Mary Lou stands and extends her hand, taking the belt. In silence, she turns and walks up the stairs—Credence obediently following."
—Mary Lou punishes Credence for coming home late[src]

Mary Lou Barebone, his abusive adoptive mother

Credence feared his adoptive mother due to years of emotional and physical abuse. She beat him with the intent of teaching him to suppress and be ashamed of his magical traits. By suppressing his magic, he developed an Obscurus. It was noted by Tina Goldstein that out of all Mary Lou's adopted children, Credence was the most hated.

Credence learned over the years to willingly surrender his belt for a beating when he knew he did something wrong. He tended to be passive when it came to the beatings and he learned to take them submissively. Despite living in an environment where magic was shunned, Credence was drawn toward the ideas of wizardry and even entertained the thought of becoming part of the wizarding world. Mary Lou seemed to be aware of Credence's interest in magic and did not hesitate to beat him for it. When Mary Lou was about to attack Credence, he transformed into his Obscurus form and killed her.

Modesty Barebone

"Behind Credence, Modesty’s eyes burn. She clutches Credence’s hand protectively."
—Modesty took Credence's hand after he was insulted by Senator Shaw[src]
FBaWtFT promo Modesty Barebone.jpg

Modesty Barebone, his younger adopted sister

Modesty was kind to her older foster brother and he was close to her as a result. One of the reasons Credence shared a close relationship with Modesty, was because she did not possess the same zealous attitude Chastity did in regards to their adoptive mother's anti-witchcraft stance.

Modesty was young and curious, she shared Credence's secret interest in magic. Because of this shared interest, they trusted each other. When Henry Shaw Junior meanly insulted Credence (calling him a freak), she took his hand to reassure him. Modesty often witnessed the beatings he got from their mother and attempted to comfort him.

Modesty occasionally confided in Credence that she missed the nine brothers and sisters she had before she was adopted. When Credence found the toy wand under Modesty's bed, Mary Lou believed it to be his and beat him, despite Modesty's attempt at convincing her it was hers. This shows that she defended him when he was about to be whipped by their foster mother. After the Obscurus took control of Credence and killed their adopted family, she became fearful of him.

Gellert Grindelwald

"You’re a Squib, Credence. I could smell it off you the minute I met you... You have magical ancestry, but no power... You’re unteachable. Your mother’s dead. That’s your reward. I’m done with you."
—Gellert Grindelwald coldly dismisses Credence[src]

Gellert Grindelwald, his former friend, turned enemy, turned master

Grindelwald disguised himself as Percival Graves, and used Credence to try and locate the Obscurial terrorising New York, whom he believed was Modesty Barebone, promising him entrance into the wizarding world and training to perform magic. To Credence, "Percival Graves" was his only friend, and the only person who truly understood and supported him. "Mr Graves" thus healed Credence's hands, and comforted the youth when Credence confided in him about his mother's mistreatment.

After the Obscurus attacked Mary Lou, "Mr Graves" told Credence he had no use for him, calling him a Squib, and pursued Modesty. Because of the emotional strain, Credence lost control over the Obscurus and, after "Mr Graves" realised it was him, offered his partnership and training in wizardry. Credence was deeply hurt by his manipulation, and angrily fled. MACUSA's Aurors chased and attacked him, and when Newt and Tina attempted to calm him and protect him, Grindelwald interrupted them to provoke Credence to cause more destruction in the hopes of achieving a war between magical and non-magical people.

It is revealed one year later that Grindelwald was so desperate to gain the New York Obscurial's allegiance because he believed that this was the only way for him to kill Albus Dumbledore without violating the blood pact, as Grindelwald believed that the Obscurial was the only wizard other than himself powerful enough to kill Dumbledore. As such, Grindelwald remains desperate to sway Credence to his side, promising to reveal the youth's true name and heritage to him. Ultimately, the desire to be his true self is too much for Credence to resist, so he joins Grindelwald's acolytes at the Lestrange family Mausoleum. Credence readily accepts "Aurelius Dumbledore" as his true name, as well as Grindelwald's gifts of a wand and a Phoenix, as well as seemingly agreeing the help Grindelwald kill Albus Dumbledore.


Credence is derived from the Latin credere, meaning to trust and to believe, and from credentia, meaning belief.[17] Barebone is an Anglo-Saxon surname, thought to be taken from the name of an English village, Barbon or Barbourne.[18]

On the other hand, Credence's alleged birth name Aurelius is derived from Latin aureus, meaning golden and gilded. Marcus Aurelius was a 2nd-century philosophical writer and Roman emperor. Aurelius was too the name of several early saints, such as Saint Aurelius.[19]

Behind the scenes

  • Though Credence is said to be Albus' "brother" by Grindelwald, it is notable that the timeline doesn't fit, if indeed Grindelwald is telling the truth. Percival Dumbledore died in Azkaban after his imprisonment and Kendra Dumbledore died in 1899, some 2 years before his birth (if referring to the screenplay) 5-6 years before his birth (if going by the adoption certificate).
    • It is possible, however, that Grindelwald meant the word as "kinsman", and that Aurelius is a close relative of Albus, possibly the son of Albus' aunt Honoria, though if speaking more euphemistically "cousin" would be both accurate and more generally applicable.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 105 sets the ship voyage to be in 1901, although Credence's adoption certificate gives the date 9 November, 1904 (see this image)
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  3. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 120
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 105
  5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 109
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 88
  7. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film) (see this image)
  8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 38
  9. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 43
  10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 7
  11. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 25
  12. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 37
  13. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay, Scene 79
  14. 'Fantastic Beasts' Character Descriptions Revealed at
  15. "Everything we've learned about ‘Fantastic Beasts' this week" from Pottermore
  16. "Fantastic Beasts: First look at Ezra Miller's mysterious character" at Entertainment Weekly
  17. Etymology - Credence
  18. House of Names - Barebone Family
  19. Etymology - Aurelius
  20. "Filming Gets Underway on «Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them»" at BusinessWire
  21. "Ezra Miller Eyes ‘Harry Potter’ Spinoff ‘Fantastic Beasts’ (EXCLUSIVE)" at
  22. .@KeridoAvada Kredan is quite literally nobody. They got the name wrong! by J.K. Rowling on Twitter
  23. "'Fantastic Beasts' cast talk wands, creatures, Newt & his friends, Salem trials, more" from
The Alliance
Leader Gellert Grindelwald
Alliance insignia
Acolytes Carrow | MacDuff | Nagel | Krafft | Krall (deceased) | Abernathy | Vinda Rosier
Followers Aurelius Dumbledore​​ | Queenie Goldstein | Gunnar Grimmson
Headquarters Unidentified home | Nurmengard
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