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Apparently many people have found this room by accident.

The twins found it when they were looking for a place to hide from Filch; Dumbledore found it when he needed to go to the bathroom; hundreds of students found it when they were trying to hide something; Voldemort found it when he needed to hide a horcrux.

Books say that you open it by walking by it 3 times, but there's no way so many people would do so accidentally.

How does one find it in the first place, without being told about it?

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    Kind of feels like you've just answered your own question.
    – phantom42
    Jan 9 '15 at 15:26
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    walking by it in great need, is what opens it. the walking by it 3 times while concentrating on what you need seems to be a deliberate way to open it, different from the time of great need such as, running from a teacher and needing to hid a book. or dumbledoors looking for a toilet at 3 am.
    – Himarm
    Jan 9 '15 at 15:31
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The way to get in is precisely as you described.

If you think it's unlikely, think it through. Someone walks by once initially tring to find something in one direction. The second occurrs when they cant find it and try another part of the castle. Third is when they're doubling back and trying just one more time where they already were. Poof, the castle helps out.

Its designed as a reward for the persistent, and a helper for the desperate. The castle sees plenty of both.

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