There already exists a question about whether muggles can use a magic wand to cast magic. However, my question is about other kinds of enchanted items, like the Weasley's flying car, Harry's mantle of invisibility, Flying brooms, Sirius Black's Flying motorcycle, Knight Bus, etc., where I didn't notice any mention of someone casting a spell in order to operate them.

Is the nature of the enchantments such that operating them involves purely mechanical skill, that even muggles are capable of or is there some kind of hidden "channelling" of the operator's magic abilities happening behind the scenes?


2 Answers 2


Muggles can still cause the magic to work in some of them.

Enchanted objects falling into the hands of Muggles and displaying magic while in Muggle ownership is the reason that the Ministry has a Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office.

“He works in the most boring department,’ said Ron. ‘The Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office.’

‘The what?’

‘It’s all to do with bewitching things that are Muggle-made, you know, in case they end up back in a Muggle shop or house. Like, last year, some old witch died and her tea set was sold to an antiques shop. This Muggle woman bought it, took it home and tried to serve her friends tea in it. It was a nightmare – Dad was working overtime for weeks.’

‘What happened?’

‘The teapot went berserk and squirted boiling tea all over the place and one man ended up in hospital with the sugar tongs clamped to his nose. Dad was going frantic, it’s only him and an old warlock called Perkins in the office, and they had to do Memory Charms and all sorts to cover it up …” - Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 3 (The Burrow)

Flying carpets are considered a "Muggle Artefact" so a Muggle could likely "use" them.

Arthur Weasley explains to Barty Crouch Sr. that flying carpets would be banned under the law preventing wizards from enchanting Muggle objects.

“Oh, and I’ve been wanting a word with you, too, Arthur,’ said Mr Crouch, his sharp eyes falling upon Mr Weasley. ‘Ali Bashir’s on the warpath. He wants a word with you about your embargo on flying carpets.’ Mr Weasley heaved a deep sigh. ‘I sent him an owl about that just last week. If I’ve told him once I’ve told him a hundred times: carpets are defined as a Muggle Artefact by the Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects, but will he listen?” - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 7 (Bagman and Crouch)

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    This doesn't answer the question - just because an item is on the Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects, doesn't mean that a muggle could use it. Similarly, your first example doesn't show that a muggle activated it - in fact, given the way the teapot reacted, I'd say it's more likely it was enchanted to react to muggles, than that the muggles activated it and somehow reprogrammed the magic.
    – Benubird
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 10:47
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    I'd say it's more likely it was enchanted to react to muggles doesn't that answer your question though? If something can be enchanted to react to muggles then obviously the muggles aren't using their magic to activate it because they don't have any. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 13:19

It depends on the item and the enchantment placed upon it.

To give two counterexamples:

  • Needs Magic: Brooms. The wizard must say "Up" and the broom must respond to the user to activate.
  • Do not need Magic: Portkeys. Everyday objects are used to make portkeys to minimize a Muggle picking one up and activating it accidentally.
  • This answer gives me the impression that you didn't pay enough attention when reading the question. I know that these mechanical actions are done when using them, but I specifically asked whether something else is happening "behind the scenes" that uses the magical talent. Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 9:31

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