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"Level Three, Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes, incorporating the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad, Obliviator Headquarters and Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee."
— Voice of lift at the Ministry of Magic[src]

The Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes was responsible for repairing accidental magical damage. It was responsible for being first on the scene when magical spells went wrong or when Muggles became aware of wizarding activity.

The Department operated in teams, which would respond at a moment's notice to a magical accident.

Location

The main offices of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes were located on level three of the British Ministry of Magic. The offices included the headquarters of the Obliviators, witches and wizards trained in memory modification and many others.[1]

Functions

Members of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes leapt into action when magic spells go awry, particularly when magical effects are spotted by Muggles.

The Department worked in concert with other Departments to "clean up" the scene of any such event. They would modify the memories and undoing magical damage. If necessary, the Department would create alternate stories to feed to the Muggle press to keep the existence of the magical community a secret.

History

"MAKE A BANG AT THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGICAL ACCIDENTS AND CATASTROPHES."
— Career advice brochure[src]

Leonard Spencer-Moon, who served as wartime Minster for Magic during the Muggle Second World War, started his Ministry career as a tea-boy in this department.[2]

Cornelius Fudge was a junior minister in this Department and was one of the first on the scene when Pettigrew attacked Sirius Black and killed a number of Muggles.[3]

The careers advice pamphlet issued by the Department for recruiting students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was entitled: MAKE A BANG AT THE DEPARTMENT OF MAGICAL ACCIDENTS AND CATASTROPHES.[4]

During the 1990–1991 school year, seventh-year Hogwarts students Jacob's sibling and Ben Copper did assignments for this office during their participation in the Ministry of Magic student programme.[5]

When Harry Potter was caught by Snatchers in 1998, he claimed that his name was "Vernon Dudley" and that his father worked for this department. The ruse worked initially, as Scabior seemed to think that there might be a Dudley working in that department, but the ruse fell apart once the Snatchers identified Hermione Granger.[6]

Divisions

Accidental Magic Reversal Squad

The Accidental Magic Reversal Squad was an organised team of wizards and witches whose jobs were to correct mistakes in magic, such as spells or potions gone wrong. Mistakes were normally caused by inexperienced witches and wizards, those who had not learned to control their magic, or those who may not have been very skilled in using specific spells or potions.[7]

For instance, the Accidental Magic Reversal Squad was once sent to the scene of one such accident in 1993, when Harry Potter inadvertently used magic to inflate his "Aunt" Marge. They were able to successfully reverse the spell, deflate her, and modify her memory to remove any recollection of the incident. Presumably this memory modification was performed by Obliviators, according to their duty.[7]

Obliviator Headquarters

The Obliviator Headquarters was the main office for Obliviators, wizards who had the task of modifying the memories of Muggles if they witnessed incidents caused by magic.

The act of memory modification could be used by any wizard via the spell Obliviate. This was discouraged in wizarding society. Obliviators were professionals, and those who were not experienced in using Obliviate could cause harm to others.

One such example was author and former Hogwarts professor, Gilderoy Lockhart, who attempted to erase the memories of Harry Potter and Ron Weasley to cover his reputation. His spell backfired onto himself when he tried to cast the spell using a broken wand. He became a permanent patient at St Mungo's.

Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee

The Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee invented excuses for the Muggle community for any magical accidents or occurrences which could not be magically cleared up or completely obliviated. Thus, the committee would inform the Muggle community with any kind of non-magical excuses for the accidents.

For example, Peter Pettigrew killed twelve Muggle bystanders and tore apart a city street with an immense explosion during an altercation with Sirius Black. The massive and obvious damage and mortality was explained to the Muggle community as having been caused by an explosion in the local gas main.

Personnel

Behind the scenes

Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes emblem badge

  • Obliviators make a first appearance in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, although they are mentioned in the previous novels.
  • Similar obliviating techniques are used in other works of fiction. For example, the Men in Black series uses electronic light pulses to modify the memories of witnesses to alien encounters or anything related to outer-space matters.

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix, Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ministers for Magic" at Wizarding World
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10 (The Marauder's Map)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
  5. Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 12 (And Hello Magical Accidents and Catastrophes)
  6. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 23 (Malfoy Manor)
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 3 (The Knight Bus)
Ministry of Magic Departments
Department of International Magical Cooperation.jpg Ministry of Magic Latin Logo.jpg Department of Magical Education logo.jpg Department of Magical Law Enforcement logo.png MinistryOfMagicLogo - Cursed Child.svg DMAC clear.png MBRC clear.png Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures logo.png DMT clear.png
Level 1 Level 2
Minister for Magic and Support Staff Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Office of the Minister for Magic · Office of the Advisor to the Minister for Magic · Office of the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic · Office of the Junior Assistant to the Minister for Magic Auror Office · Department of Intoxicating Substances · Improper Use of Magic Office · Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office · Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects · Wizengamot Administration Services
Level 3 Level 4
Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
Accidental Magic Reversal Squad · Invisibility Task Force · Muggle Liaison Office · Muggle-Worthy Excuse Committee · Obliviator Headquarters Beast Division · Being Division · Centaur Liaison Office · Goblin Liaison Office · Office for House-Elf Relocation · Office of Misinformation · Pest Advisory Board · Spirit Division
Level 5 Level 6
Department of International Magical Co-operation Department of Magical Transportation
International Confederation of Wizards, British Seats · International Magical Office of Law · International Magical Trading Standards Body Apparition Test Centre · Broom Regulatory Control · Floo Network Authority · Portkey Office
Level 7 Level 8
Department of Magical Games and Sports The Atrium
British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters · Official Gobstones Club · Ludicrous Patents Office Lobby and Reception Area · Fountain of Magical Brethren · Magic is Might monument · Ministry Munchies · Security Desk · Lifts · Magical Maintenance Office
Level 9 Level 10
Department of Mysteries Wizengamot Courtrooms
Hall of Prophecy · Death Chamber · Brain Room · Time Chamber · Space Chamber · Love Chamber Courtroom Ten
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