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"The Inferius is a corpse that has been reanimated by a Dark wizard's spells. It is not alive, it is merely used like a puppet to do the wizard's bidding."
Severus Snape regarding necromancy[src]

Necromancy was the Dark Art of raising the dead.[2] It was also the branch of magic used to create Inferi[1] and charmed skeletons.[3][4]


Albus Dumbledore mentioned in his notes on Beedle the Bard that necromancy was "a branch of magic that has never worked". Assuming the original goal of necromancy was to bring people back from the dead, this is mostly true: whilst it was possible to create Inferi, these were mindless creatures with no soul or intelligence, despite possessing human corpses and hence were not truly "raised" persons.[2]

The necromancy spells used for the purpose of creating Inferi were curses.[1]


In 1932, Gellert Grindelwald killed a Qilin, a creature with the ability to detect and distinguish the pure of heart, to make it appear that it designated him as a worthy candidate as Supreme Mugwump. He revived it in an indoor pool of green and black undulating water at Nurmengard Castle, by placing its corpse in the water while muttering the incantations Rennervate and Vulnera Sanentur. However, the effects of this dark magic were not everlasting, as the revived Qilin died again during the ceremony, which was only a day after it was revived.[5]

Tom Riddle was a notable practitioner of this branch of dark magic, having created an army of Inferi during the First Wizarding War, mainly from the corpses of people he had murdered.[6] Possibly his largest army of Inferi inhabited The Cave where he hid Salazar Slytherin's Locket, to protect it from potential intruders.[7][8] He further grew his army of the undead during the Second Wizarding War, which often created thick grey mists in the areas they occupied.[9]

Around Hallowe'en 1984, Jacob's sibling suspected that necromancy was being used to enchant a skeleton in Godric's Hollow graveyard, however it turned out to be the Animation Charm.[10]

Hermione Granger owned a book on necromancy titled The Nightshade Guide to Necromancy, which could be found on her bookcases in her Ministry office by the time was the Minister for Magic.[11]

Behind the scenes[]

  • If the Resurrection Stone was truly created by Cadmus Peverell rather than given to him by Death himself, it could be seen as a work of necromancy, since it too was created with the purpose of bringing back the dead, albeit in a completely different way. Dumbledore noted that Grindelwald wanted to use the Stone to create an army of Inferi, even though it was not meant to be used in such a manner.
  • In Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Jacob's sibling notes a difference between necromancy and charmed skeletons, suggesting that they may be different branches of magic.


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