Harry Potter: 20 Weird Details About Obscurials

Fantastic Beasts The Crimes of Grindelwald Credence Barebone Grindelwald

There have been countless interesting magical creatures created for the world of Harry Potter. In fact, when you think about it, it's kind of astounding that J.K. Rowling came up with such vivid beasts. The sheer amount of imagination behind them is worth praising, even if you're one of those who isn't a fan of her work, but, chances are, you're one of those who adores Potter. After all, you're reading this, aren't you?

Throughout the Harry Potter series, we've been introduced to some particularly cute critters, as well as ones that could fuel our worst nightmares. One of the latter was introduced to us in the first prequel to Harry Potter: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This particular creature, an Obscurus, doesn't have as imposing of a shape as other monsters in Rowling's universe, however, it infects the bodies and minds of witches and wizards in a way that we've never seen. Technically, an Obscurus is a parasite that grows within a witch or wizard and then completely takes over their bodies. Once this parasite has merged with a magical being, they become what is known as an “Obscurial.”

As seen in Fantastic Beasts, thanks to the character of Credence, these entities are quite imposing. Actually, they can be downright startling. Little is know about them, which means that fans are naturally curious. This list aims to shed some light on these harmful magical creatures, however, more information will surely come out with the release of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

Without further ado, here are 20 Weird Details About Obscurials.

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20 It's Developed When A Witch Or Wizard Suppresses Their Powers

An Obscurus is a parasitical dark force that develops when a witch or wizard actively suppresses their powers. Unlike a Squib, a magical being who angrily suppresses their powers is completely at risk of developing one of these creatures. This is especially true for one that harms themselves in order to keep their magical abilities down. Essentially, an Obscurus spreads through self-denigration.

Credence is a prime example of an Obscurial. This is because his adoptive mother, Mary Lou, was abusive to him and bigoted toward witches that Credence hid his powers from her. She brought him up to be biased toward those who were different, which caused him to have legitimate self-denigration.

19 It Creates Emotional Distress

What's particularly destructive about an Obscurus is the fact that not only is it triggered by emotional distress, but also the fact that it creates one's emotional distress. This is because this magical creature dwells in these kinds of emotions. It needs to cause more conflict within its host in order to keep itself alive and happy. Essentially, it feeds off of pain and turmoil. This is why Credence continued to get worse in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

An Obscurus wants its host to feel the way they do, but this only continues to push them away from others and take themselves down a hole they are unlikely to get out of. For this reason, these creatures are some of the most harmful in the Wizarding World.

18 An Ash-Colored Cloud

An Obscurus looks more like the parasite that it is than any other magical creature we've seen. Even the Dementors have far more of a form than this being. As seen in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, an Obscurus essentially looks like a cloud of black smoke. Its ashy texture is what sets it apart from the smoke that comes out of apparating Death Eaters in films. Additionally, an Obscurus has a bunch of moving tendrils, almost like that of an octopus or squid, and it doesn't have any noticeable facial features unless it completely merges with its host.

However, an Obscurus can manipulate its body into many different shapes. It can also expand its mass far beyond what it appears like normally, which makes this magical creature far more intimidating than meets the eye.

17 Credence was the first known Obscurus in 200 years

Up until the events of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Obscurials were thought to have gone extinct about 200 years before. At least, this is what's said by Seraphina Picquery, the leader of the Magical Congress west of the Atlantic Ocean.

The reason why Obscurials were thought to have been extinct is that it was far more acceptable to be a witch or wizard in society. There was an entire community willing to accept any individual even with some witches and wizards having a biased ideology. Therefore, it wasn't as common for a witch or wizard to develop the self-denigration that would lead to the formation of an Obscurus. However, once Credence was released in New York City in 1926, every witch and wizard became aware that Obscurials were very much still a thing.

16 The host can transform into the Obscurus

One of the abilities that an Obscurus grants its host is the skill to completely turn into the parasitical mass itself. This means that an Obscurial can live in their human form and in their Obscurus form, however, neither is very comfortable due to the sheer amount of chaos the Obscurus creates.

Nonetheless, an Obscurial can transport themselves through the air similar to how the Death Eaters apparated in the Harry Potter movies. They can also spread their entire bodies out in ways that they wouldn't be able to do if they were simply magical beings. In Fantastic Beasts, we see Credence turn into and leave his Obscurus form, but it should be noted that it looked like the parasite was actually in control of when he did this.


Albus Dumbledore's little sister, Ariana, could very well have been an Obscurial. This unconfirmed theory comes from the description of her illness. Aberforth Dumbledore described her illness as something that took control of her. He went on to say that “she wouldn't use magic” and couldn't get rid of her illness. Eventually, it made her mad and made her a risk to everyone else.

All of this sounds precisely like the description of an Obscurial. Additionally, Ariana came between Grindelwald and Dumbledore. Chances are, Ariana was how Grindelwald found out about Obscurials in the first place. The fact that he wanted her as a weapon could be one of the reasons why he and Dumbledore parted ways. If this theory is accurate, chances are it'll be confirmed in an upcoming Fantastic Beasts film.


A witch or wizard that has an Obscurus dwelling inside of them is essentially consumed. The Obscurus basically has control over the individual in every plausible way. It's precisely like there's another entity inside of them that has its own desires, needs, and outright demands. This is one of the reasons why it can be so unhealthy to have one.

When an Obscurus is attempting to take full control of its host and turn into its invisible state, the host's eyes roll over white. Not only does this make them look even more fiendish, but it takes the life out of them. After all, the eyes are a defining feature of an individual and in a sense, the Obscurus is taking away an individual's individuality.

13 It Usually Destroys People Before They Turn 10

The development of an Obscurus in a child is almost always a harmful situation. This is because an Obscurus is born out of such unhappiness that it only creates even more toxicity as it grows. This is why a child almost never makes it past the age of 10. If a witch or wizard plans on using them as a weapon, as Grindelwald did, they almost always have a very tight timeline to do so.

In Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the reason why Credence was so special is the fact that he lived at least 10 years longer than he should have. Not only that, but he's still alive and doing well. This is almost one of a kind in the Wizarding World.


Fantastic Beasts 2 - Explosion

Obscurus' are not like Thestrals; one doesn't need to have seen the demise of another in order to see them. The fact is, an Obscurus spends most of its time completely invisible to the human eye. Not only do they tend to be invisible within their hosts, but also when they turns their hosts into an Obscurus form as well. This allows them to travel unseen, making it easier for them to cause damage.

While in its invisible form, an Obscurus can also interact with the physical world without causing any damage at all. This means that the parasite can decide who or what it wants to cause harm to, though the host rarely has this choice themselves.

11 Newt Successfully Kept One Alive In A Bubble

Everyone knows that Newt Scamander is particularly skilled with magical creatures, but the fact that he was able to separate an Obscurus from its previous host and encase it in a bubble proves that he's downright incredible with them.

Newt's captured Obscurus came from a girl who was persecuted by her village because she was an Obscurial. Newt was able to separate her parasite using advanced magic, but unfortunately, the girl didn't make it long after her eighth birthday as the Obscurus had injured too much of her insides. This happens to a vast majority of Obscurials, making it one of the most harmful curses to bear in the Wizarding World.

10 Obscurials Were Common In Ancient Times

American Wizarding World Map with Ilvermorny

Although Obscurials continue to be almost completely extinct during the time of Fantastic Beasts and the Harry Potter series, they were very common in ancient times. The main reason why Obscurials were so common hundreds and hundreds of years ago was that magical people were heavily persecuted. There was also a lack of an understanding for a witch or wizard's gift within the community itself. This was a time where there was no magical governing structures in place to protect those of magical genetics.

Due to all of the intolerance coming from Muggles, as well as a lack of understanding magic, it was common for witches and wizards to develop self-denigration. When this trait was present in a child, it was extremely likely an Obscurus would develop.

9 They Can Be Very Destructive

When an Obscurial reaches their emotional breaking point, it's very common for them to lose complete control. This causes all of the barriers holding back their Obscurus to break and go on a rampage. This rampage can be very destructive to both structures and individuals. It's almost impossible to contain them in any place as they can simply slip into their Obscurus form and fly away. They can also cause so much chaos that any given structure will simply fall apart.

We see the full capability of an Obscurus in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when Credence took down half of New York City as he was being chased by Aurors and Newt Scamander.

8 They Can End The Lives Of Magical Folk And Muggles

After they reach their emotional breaking point, Obscurials tend to go on a major rampage as they have lost control. While in this rampage, they can cause notable damage to structures and individuals. An Obscurus can target certain individuals, whether they are magical or Muggles, but most of the time, they are just so blinded by rage that they are basically a bomb.

This is why Grindelwald, disguised as Percival Graves, was so focused on bringing one on to his team. He wanted to use the Obscurial in order to cause a battle between the Magical and Non-Magical worlds. This is because he had hated for anyone who wasn't of magical genetics.

7 Obscurials Are Usually Outcasts

There has always been a ton of bigotry within the Wizarding World itself. Most of the time, the "holier than- thou" perspective comes from pure-blood witches and wizards who believe they are better magical beings than those of half-blood or Muggle-born descent. Additionally, the bigotry extends outward to the Muggle community, as we've seen in the ideology of Voldemort and Grindelwald.

There is also a lot of dislike for people who have an Obscurus parasite. This reflects the way society treats those with diseases of mental illnesses. They are often separated from society and seen as outcasts. This only makes their parasite grow larger within them and take complete control. It's one of the reasons why Credence was so desperate for affection from Graves and felt a close connection to Nagini, as they were both different than everyone else.

6 It Somehow Kept Credence Alive

One of the mysteries of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, is how Credence survived the blasts from the Aurors at the end of the first film. Newt was sure that all of the wand-fire from Seraphina Picquery's Aurors would take down Credence for good, which is why he protested the attack. However, we saw the small Obscurus float into the sky and fly away. Then, of course, Credence returned in The Crimes of Grindelwald for his important plot twist.

We are still unsure exactly how it was possible for Credence to survive the attack even with the powers of his Obscurus form. Either way, it shows just how amazing these dark magical parasites.

5 They Could Be A Metaphor For Not "Coming Out"

Colin Farrell and Ezra Miller in Fantastic Beasts

Although this theory has yet to be confirmed, it's entirely possible Obscurials are meant to be a metaphor for not coming out of the closet. When you think about it, it does make sense. In the story, an Obscurus develops when a magical being is taught to dislike their abilities, or that their skills are bad.

In real life, this is often the case with those who are forced to stay in the closet. Many times, when an individual hides or is forced to hate an important part of themselves it can lead to their self-destruction. This is a very sad part of life, and why we need to offer a supportive environment for those in the LGBTQ community.

4 It Leaves Specific Markings

When Newt came into contact with the passed body of Senator Show in the first Harry Potter sequel, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, he noticed certain makings. He attributed the strange markings on Senator Shaw's skin to the rage of an Obscurial.

It's not surprising that an Obscurial can leave unique brandings on their victims. After all, every creature, especially magical creatures, leave a signature specific to them. It may take a magical creature expert like Newt to determine the markings precisely. However, based on Newt's reaction, these markings seem to be pretty specific. Given the fact that Obscurials are so rare, the impressions they leave behind should appear different than the norm.

3 They Can Be Used As Weapons

A lot of the plot of both Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald revolves around Grindelwald attempting to convince Credence to join him. Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledore also do their best to sway Credence away from the Dark wizard. This is because Credence's status as an Obscurial makes him a valuable ally.

As an Obscurial, Credence's emotional state is particularly all over the place. This means he can easily lose control and cause incredible damage to those around him. Additionally, Obscurials can be convinced to use their incredible powers for evil. It makes sense that Grindelwald would want to use him as the spark that caused a war between the Muggle and Magical worlds.

2 There's No Known Way To Treat Obscurials

One of the most painful aspects of Obscurials is that there is absolutely no cure for their status. Once a host develops an Obscurus, they will never be rid of them until they've lost their lives. This means that we will never see Credence break free from his Obscurus in the Fantastic Beasts franchise-- uunless J.K. Rowling decides to break one of the rules she set up in the first film. This wouldn't be entirely surprising since she has done this sort of thing before.

Thhe presence of the dark parasite adds real stakes to the story, especially since we know just how dangerous these magical creatures can be to their hosts.


After being introduced to Obscurials in the first Fantastic Beasts film, many fans questioned author J.K. Rowling about why Harry Potter wasn't one. After all, during his childhood, he was forced away from his magical status by the Dursley family. For this reason, Rowling was forced to come out and explain why Harry wasn't an Obscurial.

Rowling said that Obscurus' only develop when a witch or wizard actively suppress their magical powers. This was something that Harry never did as he had no clue what he was. Even when he "made things happen," he had no context to it. If he did and actively tried to suppress it, he might have developed an Obscurus. Harry didn't have magical self-loathing. In fact, when he learned he was a wizard, he was more than thrilled.


What do you think is the craziest thing about Obscurials in Harry Potter? Let us know in the comments below!

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