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So there are quite a few ghosts in Harry Potter, but none of them seem to go anywhere exotic. They mostly hang around familiar places or decide to haunt some building (the Hogwarts ghosts "haunt" Hogwarts).

Is this because they can't go anywhere strange, because they don't want to, or because we don't hear about the ones that do?

In various fictional settings there are different rules. Sometimes, it's "a ghost can only go where they've been while alive." Is this true in Harry Potter?

If not, are there any other limitations? Could a ghost float to the core of the Earth? Into outer space? To infinity, and beyond?

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In the Goblet of Fire (chapter "The Egg and The Eye"), Myrtle explains how her body was found by Olive Hornby after her death:

'And then she saw my body … ooooh, she didn't forget it until her dying day, I made sure of that … followed her around and reminded her, I did, I remember at her brothers wedding –'

[…]

'– and then, of course, she went to the Ministry of Magic to stop me stalking her, so I had to come back here and live in my toilet.'

Assuming Olive Hornby tried to get rid of Myrtle before she went to the Ministry, she likely moved someplace Myrtle has never been alive (which couldn't have been hard considering Myrtle died when she was a teenager).

So Myrtle has likely visited some new place – although it is also possible that Myrtle stalked Olive Hornby only when she visited Diagon Alley or other public places where Myrtle has been while alive.

  • Thanks for the edit! (Myrtle is called "Myrte" in the German translation.) – Max Merz May 23 '13 at 11:01
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    There's nothing in the passages you quoted that suggests that Myrtle's ghost was restricted to places she'd visited in life. If anything, it's the opposite -- she was able to follow Olive around even after Hogwarts, apparently without restriction (until the Ministry intervened). – Joe White May 23 '13 at 12:48
  • @JoeWhite If she can go anywhere, why on earth does she live in a toilet? – user867 Mar 10 '16 at 4:23
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Looks like you're asking a more general question about ghost than about the ghost in HP, nonetheless, in HP, when Sirius died, Nearly Headless Nick told Harry that Sirius will 'move on' indicate that Sirius will go to the after-life while Nick decided to stay on Hogwarts, as he told Harry that not all people want to 'let go', so I think it's up to each person choice.

A ghost can only go where they've been while alive, it's partly true, considering the soul (or ghost I must say) of Harry's mom and dad always appeared when Harry need them.

The limitation, I suppose there's no limit to my imagination, but it's rather hard for me to imagine a ghost, who's so attached to his/her loved ones, to leave them and go on a trip to space, hahaha.

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    vote down without comment... – Abie Giordano May 28 '13 at 3:10

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