I have always had the impression that Squibs in Harry Potter cannot be distinguished from Muggles in any way but their parentage. If you know of convincing evidence otherwise, please post it as an answer to the following question: Is there any way to tell a difference between a Squib and a Muggle? So far, I am most convinced by vap78’s “no” answer.

Anyway, I’m asking this question as a followup to one of the posts there. Apparently Pottermore says, or said, that witches and wizards find it easier to see and hear ghosts than Muggles (CandiedMango’s answer).

Are there any examples in the books of Filch interacting with a ghost in a way that implies he can clearly hear or see it? Note that Peeves the poltergeist does not count as a ghost.


2 Answers 2


Not that I can find

I searched my copies of the books (including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) for all (several hundred) instances of Filch’s name, and I couldn’t find any unambiguous instance of Filch perceiving a ghost. There’s ample evidence that he can interact with Peeves (obviously), but he doesn’t seem to have carried on a conversation with any other ghosts, or otherwise reacted to their presence, at least as recorded in the books.

In light of J.K. Rowling’s statements about Squibs being unable to see Dementors, as well as her statement that Muggles cannot clearly perceive ghosts, and her assertion that a Squib is a “non-magical person born to at least one magical parent,” it does seem likely that Filch could not have clearly perceived the ghosts (with Peeves, of course, being quite a different sort of entity). That said, the evidence on Pottermore merely states that Muggles “might only feel that a haunted place is cold or ‘creepy’”, without asserting that this is all that a Muggle could ever perceive, and states only that a Muggle could not see a ghost in “perfect focus.” As such, it is entirely possible that Filch (even if essentially non-magical) could perceive the ghosts blurrily, or hear their speech fuzzily.

  • 1
    Thanks, this is helpful. I don't think JKR has ever actually said outright that squibs are unable to see dementors. What she said is that Arabella Fig did not see the dementors that attacked Harry in Little Whinging. I would agree with the inference "squibs can't see dementors," but it is an inference as far as I know and not "word of JKR."
    – wyvern
    Mar 13, 2017 at 3:45
  • Actually, I'm pretty sure it is said in the haring in OotP, possibly by Cornelius Fudge himself, that squibs can't see dementors. I believe he uses it as a way to dismiss Ms. Figg's testimony, since it would basically exonerate Harry. Having said that, it may have been a movie-only quote and not in the books. Mar 13, 2017 at 13:04
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    @DisturbedNeo In the hearing Fudge asks whether or not Squibs can see Dementors and Mrs Figg indignantly replies 'Yes we can!' To which Fudge says, 'We'll be checking that.' Bit of a stupid lie, really, if it was a lie, if anyone can check it would be the Ministry and Dumbledore was very confident (and he would surely know) - referencing it again in his speech. Obviously if JKR says she didn't see those Dementors then she didn't see those Dementors, which seems very likely anyway, she's late on the scene and that would explain her lacklustre testimony
    – Au101
    Mar 13, 2017 at 19:32
  • But since we hear no more about it I really think there's every reason to believe Squibs can see Dementors, just like Filch can see Hogwarts instead of a rickety old building with warning signs all over it
    – Au101
    Mar 13, 2017 at 19:34
  • @Au101 - I think the context in which Rowling gives this statement is very telling. It’s one of general commentary on Squibs and their nature.
    – Adamant
    Mar 13, 2017 at 19:37

It's not clear.

Like Adamant, I couldn't find a clear-cut incident of Filch interacting with a ghost. However, Filch did find himself in the same vicinity as a ghost on at least one occasion. In Chamber of Secrets Filch interrupts Harry when he's having a conversation with Nearly-Headless Nick:

“You’d better get out of here, Harry,” said Nick quickly. “Filch isn’t in a good mood - he’s got the flu and some third years accidentally plastered frog brains all over the ceiling in dungeon five. He’s been cleaning all morning, and if he sees you dripping mud all over the place-”
“Right,” said Harry, backing away from the accusing stare of Mrs. Norris, but not quickly enough. Drawn to the spot by the mysterious power that seemed to connect him with his foul cat, Argus Filch burst suddenly through a tapestry to Harry’s right, wheezing and looking wildly about for the rule-breaker. There was a thick tartan scarf bound around his head, and his nose was unusually purple.
“Filth!” he shouted, his jowls aquiver, his eyes popping alarmingly as he pointed at the muddy puddle that had dripped from Harry’s Quidditch robes. “Mess and muck everywhere! I’ve had enough of it, I tell you! Follow me, Potter!”
So Harry waved a gloomy good-bye to Nearly Headless Nick and followed Filch back downstairs, doubling the number of muddy footprints on the floor.
(Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 8, The Deathday Party).

Did Filch ignore Nick because he was so focused on the muddy footprints on the floor and overcome with ire towards Harry? Or did he ignore him because he couldn't see him? It's open to interpretation either way. This is the most relevant passage for making a decision, though.

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