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Knight Bus is magicked so that Muggles don't notice it (and its strange driving patterns).

So why aren't magical flying vehicles (Arthur Weaseley's car, Sirius/Hagrid's motorcycle) either made invisible, or disillusioned to look like something expected by Muggles to fly (e.g. a helicopter, a large bird, a plane, a Superman)?

I'd prefer a canon based answer if available.

  • Well.. a flying Superman is normal to Muggles? :) – Captain Cold Mar 24 '12 at 19:24
  • I think we finally have an explanation for all the UFO sightings! – Josh Mar 24 '12 at 19:31
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I believe Arthur Weasley's Ford Anglia could turn invisible (at the very least this capability was mentioned in the film version, but I think it was in the book as well).

There is also a Wikipedia list of Magical Objects in Harry Potter.

Unfortunately neither of those links provides sources, and I recently moved and can't find my copy of Chamber of Secrets.

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While Arthur Weasley is technically the authority for misuse of muggle artifacts, he only had the car on the side as a hobby, and had no intentions of flying it the way it was used by his sons. He would have therefore, not needed to waste his time disillusioning his car permanently. He does kind of need to see it to work on it... And certainly the times it was used in such a manner, nobody of able skill and responsible mind was going to disillusion it for the ride.

Sirius seems like the kind of guy who would have wanted to have bragging rights on his ride. You wouldn't want roll around in a nice shiny sports car that other people have to trust is a mercedes. He was probably cocky enough to think he could get away without being noticed, too.

As far as other flying cars/motorcycles, I don't believe there is any mention of them. Who would prefer a car or motorcycle over a standard broom? Only muggle-lovers, that's who. It might not have been so common that there even need be a law to make it so you had to have it be invisible, so long as you weren't noticed.

  • Good points. +1. But what about Hagrid using Sirius' motorcycle? He ought to have asked Dumbledore (or Dumbledore ought to have tumbled onto the idea himself, seeing how the bike was used to transport Harry the baby) to stealth the thing. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Mar 13 '12 at 15:35
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    Don't forget - Dumbledore charged Hagrid with getting Harry, but not how he should get back. He was just as surprised to see to see the bike when Hagrid showed up as Professor McGonagall. He trusted Hagrid. Hagrid bumped into Sirius that night, and Hagrid was already banned from using magic. He might not have even known such a charm to conceal it. Harry didn't know in his 3rd year. (Hagrid got expelled in his 3rd year, right?) – Sheph Mar 13 '12 at 15:42
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Arthur Weasley's Ford Anglia was capable of invisibility:

"No one would see - this little button here is an Invisibility Booster I installed - that'd get us up in the air - then we fly above the clouds. We'd be there in ten minutes and no one would be any the wiser -"

Chamber of Secrets - chapter five - The Whomping Willow

And regarding invisibility and Muggles in general, in terms of the Knight Bus, Stan Shunpike sums it up pretty nicely in Prisoner of Azkaban:

"How come the Muggles don't hear the bus?" said Harry.

"Them!" said Stan contemptuously. "Don' listen properly, do they? Don' look properly either. Never notice nuffink, they don'."

Prisoner of Azkaban - chapter three - The Knight Bus

The Knight Bus isn't specially-magicked against Muggles; it's just that Muggles are out of touch with their surroundings. Stan's comment implies that should a Muggle "look properly" then he/she might be able to see the Knight Bus. However, wizards rely on Muggles' defensiveness, being unaware of the world around them (in general), and their wont to disbelieve anything they cannot explain to themselves (such as magic).

In the beginning of Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry is doing History of Magic homework, and he reads:

Non-magic people (more commonly known as Muggles) were particularly afraid of magic in medieval times, but not very good at recognizing it. On the rare occasion that they did catch a real witch or wizard, burning had no effect whatsoever.

Prisoner of Azkaban - chapter one - Owl Post

As well, the Ministry has a Memory Modification squad or program for those instances that a Muggle sees a magical vehicle doing most unMuggle-like things!

It would be hard to make all forms of wizarding transportation invisible. For example, to make all brooms invisible, as well as items like Sirius's motorbike and the Knight Bus, might be logistically difficult. Especially when you have wizards, like Arthur Weasley and Sirius Black, who liked to tinker with Muggle vehicles.

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