Harry Potter Wiki
Harry Potter Wiki

"So... today we are starting Vanishing Spells. These are easier than Conjuring Spells, which you would not usually attempt until N.E.W.T. level, but they are still among the most difficult magic you will be tested on in your O.W.L."
Professor McGonagall regarding Vanishing Spells[src]

Vanishment was the magical art of vanishing objects i.e., causing object to cease to exist. Vanished objects went "into non-being, which is to say, everything".[2] It was one of the four branches of Transfiguration, and was the opposite of Conjuration, which brought objects into existence.


"The contents of Harry’s potion vanished; he was left standing foolishly beside an empty cauldron."
Professor Snape vanishing a Draught of Peace potion[src]

Ilvermorny Scholars wrote an essay on their Vanishment report that was in Transfiguration Today.[3]

In 1991, Harry Potter accidentally vanished a plane of glass for a snake enclosure in the Reptile House at a zoo in Surrey, releasing the Boa constrictor inside.[4]

In 1992, Gilderoy Lockhart attempted to mend Harry Potter's broken arm after a Quidditch match with the healing spell Brackium Emendo; however his incompetence meant he ending up vanishing Harry's arm bones instead of mending them.[5] Later that year, Severus Snape used the Snake-Vanishing Spell to vanish a snake that Draco Malfoy had conjured for Harry Potter during the Duelling Club.[6]

Professor Minerva McGonagall introduced Vanishment to her class in the form of the Vanishing Spell in her very first Transfiguration class with the fifth year students in 1995, giving them a lecture and then having them practice vanishing snails.[7] When none of the students, except Hermione Granger, could perform the spell properly, Professor McGonagall told the students to practise the spell overnight, for a fresh start the next day.[7] In their second lesson, the students were given questions on the Vanishing Spell for homework.[7] On the 6th, however, the students were given a break from this spell and instead were given a long and difficult essay on the Inanimatus Conjurus Spell.[8]

Later on in the year, Professor McGonagall returned the class to Vanishing Spells, this time working to make mice disappear.[1] However, in the week leading up to the Gryffindor-Slytherin match, she abstained from giving them homework so that the Gryffindor Quidditch team could practise.[9] Later in the year, during O.W.L. exams, Vanishment was a part of the Transfiguration practical.[10]

Severus Snape also used Vanishment in 1995 as a means to get rid of Harry Potter's failed Draught of Peace potion.[11] In the same year, Albus Dumbledore used Vanishment to counter Voldemort's fiery snake during their duel.[12] In 1997 Harry Potter used a form of Vanishment to rid himself of a snake that had crossed this path during his Hunt for Horcruxes.[13] Minerva McGonagall also later easily vanished the serpent that Severus Snape had conjured during their duel.[14]


Compared to the other three branches, Vanishment appeared moderately difficult — it was taught in the fourth[15] and fifth year[1] at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and up — and was considered one of the hardest transfiguration spells to be tested on in one's O.W.L.[10] It had to be performed with a clear and collected head, as demonstrated by Hannah Abbott who was supposed to vanish a ferret during her exam, but instead somehow managed to multiply it into a flock of flamingos.[10]

The difficulty of the Vanishment to be performed correlated with the complexity of the organism to be vanished. For example, invertebrates were easier to vanish than vertebrates, whilst mammals were more difficult.

Vanishing sickness was a wizarding illness treated at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. It was unknown if vanishing was the cause or effect of this illness, though it may have been related to the contraction of some sort of magical bug (since it was treated in the "Magical Bugs" section of St Mungo's).[16]


There were several methods one could employ to vanish an object, described below.

Vanishing Spells

Main article: Vanishing spell

Unlike Conjuring Spells, vanishing different things could all be accomplished with accomplished with the same Vanishing Spell - Evanesco.[17][1][15] There could also exist spells for vanishing specific things, such as the Snake-Vanishing Spell.[6][18]

The Vanishing Cabinet

Main article: Vanishing Cabinet

The Vanishing Cabinet was a special piece of furniture in Hogwarts Castle that randomly vanished and reappeared. As such, it could be used to vanish things for a variable but finite length of time (since the cabinet always reappeared at some point in the future). The condition of the cabinet, determined whether or not the vanished object would appear in its twin cabinet after the object has been vanished, if the cabinet was broken or defective then the vanishment would not be hundred percent effective and the object would be trapped in a limbo like state. A pair of Vanishing Cabinets would act as a passage between two places. Objects placed in one cabinet would appear in the other. The cabinets seemed to ward off all known defensive spells, as, as they were successfully used to transport several Death Eaters from Borgin and Burkes into Hogwarts school in 1997.[19]

The Room of Requirement

Main article: Room of Requirement

Like the Vanishing Cabinet, the Room of Requirement also appeared and reappeared, though in accordance with one's wishes. Things left in the Room after one no longer had need of it would be vanished along with the Room itself until a later date (when one had need of that specific object, at which point it would be conjured up inside the Room for them to retrieve).[20][21][22]

Known practitioners

Behind the scenes

  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., it may be possible to Vanish both inanimate and animate objects.
  • It is interesting to note that Vanishment, rather than actually causing something to cease to exist, was said to go "into non-being, which is to say, everything." Unless this is to be interpreted metaphysically, a possible implication might be that the arrangement of the atoms that gives the Vanished thing in question a sense of shape and weight is simply being altered, with the distance between the atoms expanding to the point where the object loses its essential properties and seems to disappear — causing it, in essence, to be everywhere and nowhere. This would be consistent with the law of conservation of mass, but the required energy to achieve this (breaking all of the object's chemical bonds) would seemingly be explained only by magic.
  • It is unknown if the Vanishment of a living creature would result in said creature's death, or merely send it into a conscious, intermediate state until it is conjured back into existence. According to Minerva McGonagall, vanished objects enter "everything", possibly suggesting that Vanished entities do have some form of existence, albeit an unknown kind.
  • It may be possible to retrieve Vanished objects, as Bill Weasley vanished some of the Order of the Phoenix's plans in order to hide them.

See also


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 15 (The Hogwarts High Inquisitor)
  2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)[Vanished objects go] into non-being, which is to say, everything." - Prof. McGonagall.
  3. (see this image)
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Chapter 2 (The Vanishing Glass)
  5. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 10 (The Rogue Bludger)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 11 (The Duelling Club)
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 13 (Detention with Dolores)
  8. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 14 (Percy and Padfoot)
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 19 (The Lion and the Serpent)
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 31 (O.W.L.s)
  11. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 12 (Professor Umbridge)
  12. 12.0 12.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 36 (The Only One He Ever Feared)
  13. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (video game)
  14. 14.0 14.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 30 (The Sacking of Severus Snape)
  15. 15.0 15.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 4, Chapter 3 (All About Bowtruckles) - Transfiguration Lesson "Evanesco"
  16. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 22 (St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries)
  17. 17.0 17.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 5 (The Order of the Phoenix)
  18. 18.0 18.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 5, Chapter 22 (Agent of Chaos) - Defence Against the Dark Arts Lesson "Vipera Evanesca"
  19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 27 (The Lightning-Struck Tower)
  20. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 18 (Dumbledore's Army)
  21. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 21 (The Unknowable Room)
  22. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 31 (The Battle of Hogwarts)
  23. The Tales of Beedle the Bard - "Babbitty Rabbitty and Her Cackling Stump"
  24. 24.0 24.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 20 (Hagrid's Tale)
  25. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 7 (The Slug Club)
Transfiguration (class)
COS Vera Verto demo.gif
Branches of Transfiguration Transformation · Vanishment · Conjuration · Untransfiguration
Notable practitioners Circe · Emeric Switch · Falco Aesalon · Mirabella Plunkett · Thaddeus Thurkell
Professors Albus Dumbledore · Minerva McGonagall
Textbooks A Beginner's Guide to Transfiguration · Intermediate Transfiguration · A Guide to Advanced Transfiguration
Transfiguration spells studied at Hogwarts
Colour Change Charm (Colovaria) · Change of hair colour and style (Crinus Muto) · Hardening Charm (Duro) · Mending Charm (Reparo) · Partial Vanishment · Reparifarge · Softening Charm (Spongify) · Switching Spell · Vanishing Spell (Evanesco)
Conjuring Spells Bird-Conjuring Charm (Avis) · Inanimatus Conjurus Spell · Bouquet Spell (Orchideous) · Snake Summons Spell (Serpensortia)
Transforming Spells Animal to Water Goblet (Vera Verto) · Armadillo to Pillow · Bowling Ball to Balloon · Beetle to Button · Cauldron to Badger · Cat to Cauldron (Felifors) · Cauldron Cakes to Cabbages · Chair to Cat · Cross-Species Switches · Desk Into Pig · Fairy Cakes to Fairies · Feather Duster to Ferret · Ferret to Feather Duster · Goldfinch to Golden Snitch · Flobberworm to Fritter · Gnomes to Lawn Gnomes · Guinea Fowl to Guinea Pig · Gobstone to Skunk · Hedgehog to Pin Cushion · Lovebird to Love Note · Match to Needle · Meddling Man to Monkey · Mice to Snuffboxes · Owl to Opera Glasses (Strigiforma) · Pawn to Queen · Porcupine to Pin Cushion (Hystrifors) · Puffskein to Paperweight · Small Child to Rat · Small Object to Dragon (Draconifors) · Snail to Teapot · Target to Bird (Avifors) · Target to Matchbox (Flintifors) · Target to Rabbit (Lapifors) · Teacup into Gerbil · Teacup to Rat · Teapot to Tortoise · Thimble to Thestral · Toad to Toadstool · Tortoise to Trumpet · White Rabbits to Slippers