17

In the beginning of Order of Phoenix, Mrs Figg tells Harry not to put his wand away as "there might be more of them around".

I assumed she could see the Dementors. (They didn't attack her, so the only way she could have known they're around by seeing them. Maybe she felt them, but it's unlikely for a Squib who virtually never left her house to know that feeling too well; and jump to the conclusion that there are Dementors in Little Whinging.)

At the hearing, the Wizengamot aren't sure if Squibs can see Dementors. Harry suspects she has only seen a picture of a Dementor. But she does describe the feeling of having a Dementor around accurately.

So which one is it? Can she or can she not see Dementors?

EDIT: I disagree this is a duplicate of How Mrs. Norris communicates with Filch. That is a different question, as evident from the wording. The connection between squibs and dementors has been mentioned in passing and is not definitively answered there. Please read the answer here and my comment below it.

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    Duplicates are based on the question and the answers to the question. Slytherincess' answer to the linked question specifically addresses Squibs and Dementors – Jason Baker Apr 10 '15 at 12:02
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    @JasonBaker: In the linked question, Neville says squibs can see dementors. Slytherincess uses JK's interview to contradict that, which is the same source alexwlchan used in his answer here. Now, JK says: "Arabella Figg never saw the Dementors that attacked Harry and Dudley". Maybe because she was too late. It doesn't prove she can't see them. And the linked question is hardly the place to discuss this. – Tushar Raj Apr 10 '15 at 12:07
15

Possibly not.

JK Rowling’s website says this of Squibs:

Arabella Figg never saw the Dementors that attacked Harry and Dudley, but she had enough magical knowledge to identify correctly the sensations they created in the alleyway.

This has widely been accepted to mean that it would be impossible for her to see a Dementor. We know that Muggles can’t see them, but can sense their effects (e.g. Dudley), so it’s not a stretch to say that Squibs are the same way.

However, this could be read another way: by the time she arrived at the scene, the two Dementors had already fled, and so even a magical person wouldn’t have seen them. If they’d been floating right in front of her, she might still be able to see them. That would be entirely consistent with what JK Rowling says above.

(We do have to accept that Mrs. Figg was lying in the courtroom about seeing them. Whether she was lying about being able to see Dementors is less clear – as a Squib living in Little Whinging, I doubt she has many Dementor encounters.)

I don’t believe the point has ever been clarified in the canon.

  • Like you said, it could be taken either way. Squibs are between muggles and wizards. If muggles can feel them, squibs must be able to. But can they see them? All JK says is that she never saw them, on that particular occasion. But she didn't say squibs can't see them. – Tushar Raj Apr 10 '15 at 9:39
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    it all depends in my opinion of her magical ability, from reading it appears that some squibs have "magic" but in such a limited capacity as it is ineffectual or untrainable, at least filch believed this way as he was enrolling in essentially mail order courses to increase his magical ability, while other squibs may be totally magic-less in which case they would be identical to muggles in my opinion. – Himarm Apr 10 '15 at 14:57
  • Here are a few ideas for information that would be useful in extrapolating the statement quoted from JKR: (A) at what distance from a Dementor can their presence be sensed — and how would being a Squib factor in that? (B) do Dementors leave traces on the people they've drained i.e. kissed, or even on the places where such occured? (C) why weren't the Dementors attracted to Mrs Figg? Was she too distant, or was she not as tasty a meal as Harry and Dudley? – can-ned_food Mar 13 '17 at 6:24
  • FWIW, Dudley also felt cold and scared, no? – MissMonicaE Mar 13 '17 at 19:05
  • @Himarm identical to muggles? But if some squibs have a morsel of magical ability then it is also possible that there are some muggles who have some magic, not enough to qualify as a muggleborn wizard, but nuff to see scary stuff – user68762 Sep 26 '17 at 11:43
2

Yes, they can.

I don't have a direct English quote from the book, because I only have the German version, but I definitely remember that during the trial of Harry in the ministry of magic (because of his Patronus spell), Dumbledore calls in Ms. Figg as a witness. She doesn't help Harry much, because she doesn't seem very competent (for example she says she saw Dementors "running", which she corrects to "gliding quickly" after being asked about that term), but to the direct question "Can squibs see Dementors?" from the minister, she answers "Yes, they can." (at least in German it was third person).

And yes, this was all from memory, call me crazy if you want, but as a small child I apparently had nothing better to do than to listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks dozens of times.

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    As shown in the other answer, JKR has said that Mrs. Figg was lying. – ibid Sep 26 '17 at 12:18
  • Hm, that's a shame. Can't even rely on the source material. She's a hard to judge character, so I didn't know if she would do that. – Fabian Röling Sep 26 '17 at 12:19
  • You're right, she did say it. But unfortunately, it's not clear if she was telling the truth or lying to make Harry's case stronger. It is strongly implied that others in the room doubted her statement. Thanks for answering, though. +1. – Tushar Raj Sep 27 '17 at 11:32

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