This question got me to wonder why Hogwarts ghosts never knew about the Chamber of Secrets.

Some ghosts have been around Hogwarts for centuries. Plenty of time to explore the school grounds, talk to people who might know, or talk to the person killed by the basilisk. "So the last thing you saw was a big pair of glowing yellow eyes over there by the sink? Well, Nick, let's float down through the floor by the sink and see what's there."

They can move through walls, so they can access the Chamber of Secrets without needing to say "Open" in a Parseltongue.

They are immune to or less affected by hexes and charms that would bedevil living residents.

They had many opportunities over the centuries and the means to do it. Why didn't the ghosts discover the Chamber of Secrets?

Please support your answers with quotes from canon sources.

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    You get the impression that nobody really talked to Myrtle, living or ghost. I doubt any of the ghosts ever asked her how she died or connected her death with the Chamber of Secrets. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 22:33
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    @TheDarkLord I'd find it strange if not one ghost was even mildly curious as to how Myrtle just suddenly went from healthy teen girl to dead in one second. Seems like strange magic is afoot.
    – RichS
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 22:35
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    I'm not sure that HP ghosts are capable of taking initiative in the way you're suggesting. They generally seem to be kind of self-centered. Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 22:45
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    Don't forget if they had found the glowing eyes, they would have been petrified. Under the lake. So they wouldn't have come back or been treated. Perhaps there are petrified ghosts in the Chamber. ;)
    – Wildcard
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 22:51
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    No time to do a proper answer, perhaps someone can flesh this out: Ghosts exist when magical folk die with strong unresolved desires, resentments, or unfinished business. They don't change, and in fact after death do not learn or grow, thus they may resent something that happened centuries ago - they cannot let it go because they themselves cannot change. If they were not interested in exploring sewers in life, they would not be interested in doing so in death. If they didn't chase down every rumor they heard in life, they wouldn't in death. harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Ghost
    – Adam Davis
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 12:04

3 Answers 3


The Chamber of Secrets was described as being far below the school. Likely deeper than the dungeons:

It was like rushing down an endless, slimy, dark slide. He could see more pipes branching off in all directions, but none as large as theirs, which twisted and turned, sloping steeply downwards, and he knew that he was falling deeper below the school than even the dungeons. Behind him he could hear Ron, thudding slightly at the curves.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: Chapter 16, The Chamber of Secrets


"We must be miles under the school,’ said Harry, his voice echoing in the black tunnel. ‘Under the lake, probably,’ said Ron, squinting around at the dark, slimy walls.

It's possible while going between the walls and floors the ghosts may have seen pipes, but they have no reason to follow all the pipes. They likely just assume their all some sort of plumbing or other ordinary things that were added in.

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    Maybe ghosts have a limited area where they can exist and so the chamber was out of their scope. Still I guess that someone could have talked with Myrtle about her death in the last 50 years already... Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 9:59
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    Hmm I believe that's discussed in another question, but what would she have said? "I saw to big yellow eyes?" Ghost/interrogater "Hmm that's interesting, don't know what that is. Maybe she just killed herself cuz she kept getting bullied"
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 10:24

If a ghost did go hunting for the Chamber of Secret of his own accord it too might have been petrified.

It was Nearly Headless Nick, no longer pearly-white and transparent, but black and smokey, floating immobile and horizontal, six inches off the floor.

-Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter Eleven (The Dueling Club).

This might explain why a ghost might not come back trying to find the chamber if it did go looking for it.

As suggested by Skooba, a lack of a ghost returning might tell you something that is dangerous down there, but what it is you might not be able to determine as the ghost would be unable to tell you, being ghost petrified as such.

  • But if ghosts sent to find something specific stopped coming back, wouldn't that alert the staff something was amiss and a more thorough search was needed?
    – Skooba
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 13:14
  • @Skooba I guess i was thinking that a ghost just went of his own accord, If sent I guess there are other things that can hurt a ghost.
    – JamesD
    Commented Feb 22, 2018 at 13:19
  • @Skooba: It's probably more presumed the ghost got taken down in the Forbidden Forest, rather than petrified in a hidden chamber with a pair of glowing yellow eyes. Or that they were presumed to have ended up in the Shrieking Shack nearby. "When you hear hoofs, think horse, not zebra." Commented Jan 4, 2022 at 10:04

The ghosts of Hogwarts are described as ghosts, and some of them interact with the living as though they are alive.

However, they're not alive and assuming they're just like living people who can also float/walk through walls/etc is an error on the part of the reader.

The house ghosts may exist in an disconnected state where they are not aware of the world around them, and assuming they experience time in the same way as the living is unproved.

TL;DR the eerie-fairies are a bit airy-fairy and not really aware of the living world around them.

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    Moaning Myrtle, Nearly Headless Nick, Professor Binns, and Helena Ravenclaw all interacted with living breathing people. They all demonstrated awareness of events in the living world. Do you have any quotes from the book which specifically say ghosts are not aware of the world around them?
    – RichS
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 21:17

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