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In Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows we see Hermione essentially erase her parents' memories of her and all they know of the magical world; she does this to protect them against retribution from Voldemort. Prior to this though, they are seen interacting with the Wizarding world here and there. This poses a question...

Are Muggle parents, spouses, siblings and family who are connected to the magical world somehow "prevented" from leaking the secret?

And if so, how?

Is it "presumed" any Muggle person closely connected to a magical child would keep the secret "out of honor", are they charmed into silence, or are their memories erased?

In the case of Harry's family, we see they outright deny his existence almost, telling friends and family he's off at some "boarding school for wayward children," or some such nonsense. This is unique to the Dursleys though; they wish to maintain the appearance of "normalcy" and purposefully separate themselves from the Wizarding world, hiding Harry somewhat begrudgingly [and seeming to do their damnedest to make him feel the outcast because of his magical heritage].

They can't be seen as the "standard" for all Muggles, though.

Considering human nature, and the amount of Muggle-born wizards and witches like Hermione, wouldn't it be likely some human would be tempted to "spill the beans" about the magical world, just to get famous for exposing it?

Note: I can buy that higher ups, such as nation leaders [hence the reference to the "Muggle Prime Minister" in some books] would know, and keep it under wraps as a governmental courtesy and not to cause a panic. This makes sense, as common folk knowing there is magic in the world would have serious repercussions from science and technology to class wars to finances. But that says nothing for the unknown numbers of regular humans who would have been exposed to magic through a family member, but not allowed to take part in it. That would likely build some resentment in some Muggles at least, which would increase the possibility of exposure.

Was this ever touched on in the books?

  • I closed this as a duplicate, as your essential question (in bold) seems to be the same as the other. If it’s not, you can edit to clarify the difference. – Alex Oct 24 '19 at 12:15
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The books touch on this indirectly, yes.

At this, Fudge had actually laughed.

'My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?'

Still chortling, Fudge had thrown some powder into the fireplace, stepped into the emerald flames and vanished with a whooshing sound. The Prime Minister had stood there, quite motionless, and realised that he would never, as long as he lived, dare mention this encounter to a living soul, for who in the wide world would believe him?

--- Chapter One, Harry Potters and the Half-Blood Prince

It isn't a courtesy the PM is granting to the Minister for Magic, or a question of avoiding panic: he just doesn't want to be treated as if he were insane. This rationale applies just as much to the parents of Muggle-borns as to the Prime Minister.

Also, we know that the Ministry has infiltrated Muggle institutions such as the Post Office; they likely also keep a watch out for Muggles who have been hospitalized or institutionalized as the result of magic. In fact, we see one possible example of this later in the same chapter [abridged]:

'Now, about Herbert Chorley - your Junior Minister, ' he continued. 'The one who has been entertaining the public by impersonating a duck. He has clearly reacted to a poorly performed Imperius Curse. A team of Healers from St Mungo's Hospital is examining him as we speak. So far he has attempted to strangle three of them.'

As well as taking care of the victims of magical attacks, or unfortunate encounters with magical creatures, they would certainly watch out for anyone who had been institutionalized as the result of trying to tell people about the magical world. They could then be warned or Obliviated as circumstances dictated.


Addendum: infiltration of the Muggle world probably includes the major newspapers as well. Wizards have their own papers, so they would understand the risk there.

Second addendum: I had assumed that you were asking only about the time period the books were set in; if we're talking about the modern day, I think we have to assume that the wizarding community has by now figured out a way to monitor or jinx the internet. I don't imagine this comes up in Cursed Child and apart from the one scene at King's Cross we don't have any other canon information past Harry's school days.


Of course, there is another reason why it might not be as hard to keep the secret nowadays at you might expect. The basic idea is borrowed from the Dresden Files, but it has a basis in Harry Potter canon: it was established in Goblet of Fire that electronics don't work at Hogwarts because the magic interferes with them. As far as I'm aware, the boundaries of this interaction haven't been clarified in canon, but it is at least possible that if you point a digital camera at a wizard doing magic the most you're going to get out of it is static.

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    As I recall, there was also a passage somewhere about muggles being really bad at recognizing magic when they see it. Instead they'll just try to rationalize it away even when it's right in front of them. But also, I think any explanation isn't going to be wholly satisfactory, as this is yet another example of having to suspend your disbelief for the narrative to work, and there's millions of those in Harry Potter. – Kai Oct 24 '19 at 3:45
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    @Russ, YouTube didn't launch until 2005, and while the technology existed to post videos on Usenet, exposure was limited. More importantly, it wasn't anywhere like as easy to record digital video as it is now. Given the low number of Muggle-born wizards it isn't implausible to suppose that none of them had the opportunity. Besides, everyone would think it was faked. – Harry Johnston Oct 24 '19 at 4:49
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    Perhaps more to the point, we don't know that in Harry Potter's world there aren't conspiracy theories about witches and wizards, alongside the ones about aliens, the birthers, truthers, and whatnot, and pretty much ignored the same as all those ones are. Perhaps more so in the Cursed Child timeframe than in the original series, because YouTube etc. but perhaps by then the Ministry has figured out how to Jinx the internet so videos of wizards won't play? :-) – Harry Johnston Oct 24 '19 at 4:53
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    ... for what it's worth, my own feeling is that conspiracy theories about witches and wizards wouldn't see all that much enthusiasm, because they would sound old-fashioned. Believing in aliens might make you sound weird, but it doesn't simultaneously make you sound like a fuddy-duddy as well. :-) – Harry Johnston Oct 24 '19 at 4:56
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    Also, someone wrote a series of 7 widely publicized and well known books about the Wizarding world, and presented it as fiction. Now if anyone tried to reveal the existence of magic, others will think "wow another JKR fan who cannot distinguish reality from fiction". – vsz Oct 24 '19 at 8:05

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