Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki

"It resembled nothing so much as a rippling black cape, the edges fluttering slightly as it slithered up the bed towards me."
Flavius Belby's account of a Lethifold attack[src]

The Lethifold (also known as the Living Shroud) was a carnivorous and extremely dangerous magical beast. It was also considered a Dark creature because of its extremely aggressive and violent nature.[1]

Physical description

A Lethifold

The Lethifold resembled a black cloak roughly half an inch thick, and appeared slightly thicker if the creature had recently digested a victim. It glided along surfaces in an unknown form of locomotion in search of its prey, humans. It attacked at night, when the target was asleep, by suffocating and then digesting them.[1]

Protection from a Lethifold

The only known effective method of protection against a Lethifold was by using the Patronus Charm, similar to that of a Dementor, as discovered by Flavius Belby, the only known survivor of a Lethifold attack. Other spells, such as the Stunning Spell, or the Impediment Jinx would not work.[1]


The Lethifold attack on Flavius Belby

The Lethifold was a very rare species and was found only in tropical climates. The only known survivor of a Lethifold attack was a wizard named Flavius Belby. In 1782, Belby was on holiday in Papua New Guinea, and he managed to repel the attack because he was not fully asleep at the time. After unsuccessful repelling attempts with various spells, Belby managed to conjure a Patronus at the last second, causing the Lethifold to release him and slink away. Previous victims had apparently been unable to do this because they were either asleep, were Muggles, or unable or did not think to cast a Patronus Charm.[1]

It was virtually impossible to determine the number of Lethifold victims, as the creatures left no clues to its presence. Much easier to calculate however, was how many people had faked a Lethifold attack, for their own reasons. One known case of an individual attempting to fake a Lethifold attack was Janus Thickey, who disappeared in 1973, leaving behind a note reading "Oh no, a Lethifold's got me, I'm suffocating". Because of this and his empty bed, Thickey's wife and children began mourning him. However, he was soon discovered living five miles away with the landlady of the Green Dragon pub.[1]

Celestina Warbeck's parents met when the man who would become her father saved his future wife from a Lethifold that had disguised itself as a stage curtain during one of her performances.[2]


"Lethifold" comes from two roots: lethum, variation of letum, which is Latin for "death", "annihilation", "ruin", and fold, which possibly pertains to the creature's cloak-like appearance. Lethi- is also similar to Levi-, which is reminiscent of levitation (an ability of the Lethifold) and levis, a Latin adjective, meaning "light" (a quality that Lethifold also possess). It can also be related to "lethal", which means "causing death". It is possible that the Ancient Greek lethe, the name of one of the rivers of Hades and meaning "forgetfulness", is also a point of origin, since mortals touched by its waters forgot their lives, ceased to struggle, and (generally) drowned.

Behind the scenes

  • It is possible that the Lethifold is related to the Dementor, as they share similar forms of movement, inhumane behaviours, and vulnerability to the Patronus Charm. However, Lethifolds have been classified as beasts, whilst Dementors are considered non-beings. Additionally, Lethifolds are known to eat their victims, while Dementors eat their souls.
  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., Dementors may be unknown in tropical regions, while Lethifold are found only in tropics.


The Harry Potter Wiki has 4 images related to Lethifold.

Notes and references

Magical creatures by classification
X Flobberworm · Horklump
XX Augurey · Bowtruckle · Chizpurfle · Clabbert · Diricawl · Fairy · Ghoul · Gnome · Grindylow · Imp · Jobberknoll · Mooncalf · Porlock · Puffskein · Ramora · Winged horse
XXX Ashwinder · Billywig · Bundimun · Crup · Doxy · Dugbog · Fire crab · Fwooper · Glumbumble · Hippocampus · Hippogriff · Hodag · Jarvey · Knarl · Kneazle · Leprechaun · Lobalug · Mackled Malaclaw · Moke · Murtlap · Niffler · Nogtail · Pixie · Plimpy · Pogrebin · Red Cap · Salamander · Sea serpent · Shrake · Streeler · Winged horse
XXXX Centaur · Demiguise · Erkling · Erumpent · Golden Snidget · Graphorn · Griffin · Hidebehind · Kappa · Kelpie · Merpeople · Occamy · Phoenix · Re'em · Runespoor · Snallygaster · Sphinx · Tebo · Thestral · Thunderbird · Troll · Unicorn · Winged horse · Yeti
XXXXX Acromantula · Basilisk · Chimaera · Dragon · Horned Serpent · Lethifold · Manticore · Nundu · Quintaped · Wampus cat · Werewolf