|"Is this all real? Or has this been happening inside my head?"
The topic of this article is of a real-life subject that has been mentioned "in-universe" in a canon source. The Harry Potter Wiki is written from the perspective that all information presented in canon is true (e.g., Hogwarts really existed), and, as such, details contained in this article may differ from real world facts.
Insanity, also known as madness, is a general term for certain abnormal behavioural patterns, typically associated with those suffering from mental illness.
Those suffering from insanity often could not interact with normal society, and frequently required long-term treatment in a medical facility such as St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. Prolonged exposure to certain curses, such as the Cruciatus Curse or Imperius Curse, may have caused this condition. It could also be inflicted by certain types of potions, either temporarily or permanently, such as the Drink of Despair and possibly Essence of Insanity. Listening to Fwooper song for a sufficiently long period could also cause insanity. Shock Spells may have been a treatment for this condition.
The Portrait curse unleashed upon Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the 1988–1989 school year due to the Cursed Vaults, would turn students insane long after they remained trapped in portraits, the longer they existed outside of the real world.
In July 1991, as Vernon Dursley wildly drove the Dursley family and Harry Potter to various locations in the hope of shaking off following wizards, Dudley Dursley ventured the suggestion that he had gone mad.
In his earlier years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Ronald Weasley, particularly in the early stages of their association, often claimed that Hermione Granger was insane because she was clever, read excessively and for pleasure, and retained information which was never of adequate interest for him to notice. He also once claimed she was mad for not initially realising how to combat Devil's Snare in the Underground Chambers with magic.
Starting in the summer of 1995, the Daily Prophet, under pressure from the British Ministry of Magic, ran a smear campaign claiming, among other things, that Harry Potter's assertion that Lord Voldemort had returned was a sign that he had gone insane, which only ended when Voldemort's return was proven following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries. Albus Dumbledore, who was also a prime factor in an attempt to spread Harry's claim, was also considered insane for the duration. When Harry gave an interview to Rita Skeeter regarding these events on Valentine's Day 1996, he wondered how people would react to it, suspecting that for many people it would simply confirm that he was completely insane, "not least because his story would be appearing alongside utter rubbish about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks."
Insanity commonly affect one's perception on reality, making them believe in things that do not exist. As such, Truth Serums may be diluted in effects when used on such individuals, as what they believe to be the truth may be fabricated. For this reason, Cornelius Fudge chose not to believe Bartemius Crouch Junior's testimony under the Veritaserum, believing the man's insanity to be affecting the words coming out of his mouth. It was also for this reason he refused to believe Harry's claim that Voldemort has returned, as Skeeter made Harry seem to have moments of insanity.
Sometime in 2020, a member of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force visited St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries to see for themselves the medical impact of the Calamity, and discovered that repeated experiences of becoming a Foundable could drive the victim mad.
Known insane individuals
- Ekrizdis, the Dark Wizard who constructed Azkaban, was believed to have been insane.
- According to Albus Dumbledore, people had been driven to insanity attempting to realise the visions provided by the Mirror of Erised.
- Morfin Gaunt had much mental instability due to his family's practice of inbreeding, leading to violent outbursts periodically. Coupled with losing the family's signet ring to his nephew, Morfin lost his sanity, and he kept muttering, the only words for the remainder of his life, how his father would kill him for losing the last heirloom (despite knowing his father already passed away years ago).
- According to Remus Lupin and Sirius Black, many Azkaban prisoners were driven insane from just a few weeks of exposure to the Dementors' negative influence, talking and screaming in their sleep, and some even stopped eating and chose death.
- According to Yusuf Kama, the death of his mother Laurena in childbirth as a result of her abduction and rape by Corvus Lestrange (IV) caused his father Mustafa to go insane from grief.
- As Uric the Oddball was known to have listened to the Fwooper's song for several months non-stop, as well as to have engaged in various eccentric behaviours, he was most likely insane. Also the look on his face and his jellyfish-hat lead to this belief.
- According to legend, Snickerton became insane following an attempt to have rival tailor Delfina Crimp arrested for being a witch. He found himself unable to make clothing without it being torn to shreds, and held the delusion that he was being stalked by a giant pair of invisible scissors, though it is more likely that Crimp followed him throughout his life and shredded his clothing with her Severing Charm.
- Frank and Alice Longbottom were driven insane due to prolonged exposure to the Cruciatus Curse by Bartemius Crouch Jnr and the Lestranges. They were permanent residents of the Janus Thickey Ward of St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries, and no longer seemed to recognise their son.
- An old Muggle tramp Harry Potter saw when shopping with the Dursleys apparently was insane, as he was talking to a person who was not there.
- Bartemius Crouch Snr became insane after continual usage of the Imperius Curse on him by Lord Voldemort. When Harry Potter and Viktor Krum found him on the edge of the Forbidden Forest in 1995, he wildly shifted back and forth between coherence and statements to his surroundings, and believed it was several months earlier and he was dictating instructions to his assistant, Percy Weasley.
- Bartemius Crouch Jnr was considered insane by Cornelius Fudge, and therefore his testimony was not deemed credible.Though his confession was true, Crouch demonstrated his instability with his deranged look throughout his interrogation, and Harry proclaimed him mad for showing glee at killing his father.
- Having drank the Drink of Despair, Kreacher, Regulus Black and Albus Dumbledore all became tortured by hallucinations of their worst fears, driving them temporarily insane.
- Broderick Bode was bewitched to steal the prophecy made by Sybill Trelawney regarding Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort, but only those about whom a prophecy was made could remove it from its shelf in the Hall of Prophecy without suffering madness. Nevertheless, Bode's madness was apparently temporary and he apparently would have recovered had he not been assassinated by Devil's Snare disguised as a Flitterbloom to prevent him from revealing what he knew.
- It appeared Gilderoy Lockhart went insane after becoming amnesiac from his backfired Memory Charm, as he was shown wearing a straitjacket and looking madden while humming to himself in the front cover of his final book, Who Am I?.
- Herbert Chorley was a Muggle politician and a Minister in the British government, who in 1996, was subjected to a poorly done Imperius Curse by a Death Eater, which subsequently caused him to go insane, with him acting like a duck and was placed in St Mungos for treatment. It is unknown if he recovered.
- The Crazed Capybara of South America was known to become crazed when angered.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) (Referred to as 'Mental')
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) (Possible appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Appears on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) (Appears in portrait(s))
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First appearance)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (film)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (film) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (video game) (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mentioned only)
- J. K. Rowling's official site (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game (Mentioned only)
- LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Magic Awakened (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 35 (Veritaserum)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 30 (The Pensieve)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 23 (Christmas on the Closed Ward)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 2 (Grave Danger)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 8 (Flight of the Fat Lady)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 19 (The Servant of Lord Voldemort)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 26 (The Cave)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 10 (Kreacher's Tale)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 28 (The Missing Mirror) (Harry comments "Your brother drank a potion that drove him out of his mind.")
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 22 (After the Burial)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 6, Chapter 39 (Gather the Merqueen's Tribute) - Potions Lesson "Essence of Insanity"
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 12 (The Mirror of Erised)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 37 (The Lost Prophecy)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 10 (The House of Gaunt)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 28 (The Madness of Mr Crouch)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 26 (Seen and Unforeseen)
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells - Chapter 4, Part 1
- Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Azkaban" at Wizarding World
- Insanity on Wikipedia
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 3 (The Letters from No One)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (film) - Chapter 12 (The Sorting Hat)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 16 (Through the Trapdoor)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 7 (The Boggart in the Wardrobe)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 36 (The Parting of the Ways)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Calamity Essentials I: MISSION TO ST. MUNGO'S)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 17 (A Sluggish Memory)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 25 (The Beetle at Bay)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 16 (The Chamber of Secrets)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (film) - Chapter 37 (End Credits)
- Harry Potter Trading Card Game