DAILY PROPHET EXCLUSIVE: ALARIC MONTAGUE MISSING (presumed dead)

Social Elite and Hotel Mogul, Alaric Montague, was quietly reported missing nearly a week ago.  A source within the Magical Law Enforcement Department says that despite the suspicion of foul play, the influence of the Montague family has left a blanketed moratorium on media coverage of the ongoing manhunt. At this point in time, our sources indicate that the possibility of finding the billionaire alive are grim.

Montague’s fortune was amassed through the chain of luxurious wizarding hotels across the world, including Italy, France, Germany, and here in our very own London. The Montague brand is known for catering to the elite and famous and with the introduction of the various Gentleman’s Clubs, Alaric has been named among the Top Ten Wealthiest Wizards in the World.  It is no wonder that the Governors of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry welcomed him with open arms, no doubt hoping that he’d bring an open wallet. Of all the Governors, Montague was one of the most vocally supportive of Arnaude Flamel assuming the post of Headmistress of the prestigious wizarding school.

Early last Friday, Montague was reported missing by his wife, Melania, after failing to return home from a mysterious business trip to Transylvania.  The Montague chain could not confirm that there was discussion of opening a hotel in the area and no one seemed to have any information what the meeting he was to have attended entailed.  Our sources report that when Montague’s office was searched that it was found in disarray indicating a struggle.

The Daily Prophet reached out to his son, Sebastian Montague, the Professional Quidditch Seeker for the Falmouth Falcons, but received no comment.

The family has asked that their privacy be respected, but our source in the Magical Law Enforcement department would like to ask that if the public has any information, they should report it immediately.

PRUNELLA BETTY TIBBLES (1834 - 2036)

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is sad to note the passing of one of their beloved dueling officiators, Prunella Betty Tibbles (age 202). Born in an era prior to many wizards and witches of the current generation, she is thought to have passed away peacefully in her sleep on July 30th. While her success as a dueling officiator remains in question, her affection for the students is without doubt, as she was commonly seen knitting them sweaters and scarves to keep warm in the winter. She was also known for her crusade against candy, constantly preaching the benefits of a healthy diet containing fruits and vegetables. Of her esteemed colleagues at Hogwarts, Mr Rakesh Bhaduri offered the following statement: “Tibbles was crazy, but in a good way, I guess.”

It is yet to be determined whether or not she has any surviving relatives, though rumors exist of a past romance between Prunella and former Headmaster of Hogwarts, Fytherly Undercliffe. Please contact the Daily Prophet by owl or mirror if you have any information.

Flowers can be sent to Hogwarts’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Funeral arrangements will be determined and details released by school staff at a later date.

Shackling: Is Flamel Pushing the Limits?

The current commander-in-chief at Hogwarts, Headmistress Arnaude Flamel, has done well to ensure the safety of her students from outside forces, but who’s protecting the students from internal threats? Since Flamel has stepped into power at Hogwarts, rumours have been floating about regarding the nature of her disciplinary methods. Shackling, what many students and parents originally thought to be a scare tactic to keep the children in line, have become a real, tangible, and archaically cruel punishment at Hogwarts.

At the end of the school year, three third year girls were caught sneaking into Flamel’s office on a dare. As punishment, they were shackled to the ceilings of the Great Hall, publicly humiliated in front of their peers and made out as examples for the rest of the day. The shackles were additionally charmed to burn their wrists if they moved too much.

This type of corporal punishment, popular back in the 1800s, seems outdated in today’s modern world. “I can’t even begin to describe what kind of damages a corporal punishment of this size does to a child’s psyche,” Rose Willoughby, healer, child psychologist, and author of The Delicate Magical Mind, lamented during a sit-down interview with me. “Even the muggles know better. It really begs the question which society, magical or muggle, is more advanced if this type of punishment is deemed acceptable at Hogwarts.”

We were lucky enough to get in contact with one of the aforementioned girls’ mother, who will be kept anonymous for her child’s safety. She was, predictably, outraged when she heard the news: “She claims to care about the welfare of our children, but how good can her security be if three thirteen-year-old girls are capable of breaching it? These barbaric punishments have nothing to do with protecting our children and everything to do with distracting us from the key issue: what is Flamel hiding that those girls accidentally stumbled into? The whole thing stinks of a cover up. I, for one, will be in contact with the board of governors and I urge every Hogwarts parent to do the same.” Unfortunately, this is not the first shackling since Flamel’s promotion, only the first that has reach our ears. Perhaps your child has already been shackled once and has been too scared to tell you. Then again, how much do we really know about what goes on at Hogwarts these days?

The Daily Prophet has previously celebrated the achievements of Headmistress Flamel. While we do commend her on maintaining the safety of our children, we are also committed to reporting the truth. The truth is your child could be the next to be shackled to the ceilings of the Great Hall. The new school year is fast approaching, so as you send your child off for another riveting year at Hogwarts, remember this: While we can rest well knowing our children are safe from Death Eaters and other outside threats at Hogwarts, who will keep them safe from the heartless hands of Headmistress Flamel?

Gringotts’ Vaults Plundered!!!

In a shocking turn of events, a band of exceptionally skilled wizards broke into Gringotts last night. Minimal staff were on duty and were simultaneously knocked out by well-aimed stupefying charms. The thieves proceeded to swarm the underground vaults, equipped with magical explosives that allowed them to blow the vault doors into smithereens. It is unclear how many thieves were involved in the operation, but it was enough to overcome the various security measures Gringotts has traditionally implemented to protect their clients’ wealth, such as guard dragons.  By the time the authorities arrived on the scene, the thieves had disappeared into the night, leaving behind meagre scraps of evidence.

The damage inflicted upon the bank was severe and many families, including the Paddocks, Bagshots, Pomfreys, Yates and Lightwoods, had their vaults raided. The losses that were incurred by these individuals varied from one to the other. Some, unfortunately, had their entire vaults emptied. The victims of this crime were understandably frustrated, some taking it better than others.

The ancient vault of the Roux family was also broken into. Ministry of Magic employee Edward Roux only had this to say: “I will not rest until the perpetrator is caught.” He refused to answer any other questions on the matter. His wife, Rosalia Rovigatti, seemed unaffected by the loss and simply stated, “Some of us are smarter than to place our trust entirely in a system that has already proven vulnerable.”

The Goodfellows, in contrast, appear to take this in stride. Their losses were comparatively minor as their vault only had “a few galleons” and “a surprisingly large collection of enchanted muggle items”. When interviewed, Lionel Goodfellow mentioned that he would like his fellow wizards to be on the lookout for a pewter statue of his great great grandfather that responds to the name Gaius Goodfellow and a unicorn hair scarf, both prized family items.

Other victims reported feeling distressed about the increased difficulty in supporting their families. Among them is Vijay Toor, who said, “My eldest daughter just graduated from Hogwarts and we wanted to help her out. But now that our money has been taken by these blasted thieves, we’re all worried that she’ll struggle.” Another worried parent, Henry Stewart, had this to say: “I hope whoever is responsible for this is caught quickly and punished accordingly. My wife and I both worked very hard to earn this money and we have three kids to support.”

It is unknown how the Gringotts staff plan on dealing with this incident. When the paper attempted to approach the head goblin for his thoughts on the matter, he refused to comment, stating that any more revelations would impede investigations. His silence did not help in soothing the rest of the wizarding population as some of them are now proposing theories that threaten to besmirch Gringotts’ reputation. Could it possibly be an inside job? How in Merlin’s name did they manage to bypass all those security measures otherwise? Is this evidence that they’ve fallen behind other wizarding banks?

Watch out for more developments in future editions of the Daily Prophet!

Ruby Lee’s Magical Mysteries: Poltergeists

Dear Ruby,
How does one become a poltergeist?
- Mischievous, Leeds

Hi Mischievous,

Short answer: you can’t, so you’ll have to satisfy your desire for chaos before you die.
Long answer: poltergeists aren’t ghosts! This is one of those cases where we have something waddling, quacking and suspiciously duck-shaped but it definitely is not a duck. Poltergeists were never living humans; they’re amortal spirits of chaos tied to specific locations. We call them “non-beings”, along with boggarts and dementors, and unlike ghosts they can both affect and be affected by the physical world and are also vulnerable to many of the same spells as other not-dead things.

We don’t really know what causes the birth of a poltergeist, although many theorise it’s simply due to a lot of chaotic energy localised in one area. There is some work ongoing now in Germany where researchers are attempting to intentionally recreate different kinds of chaos in different areas to see if we can predict where a poltergeist will be born. Their next experiment will probably be in seeing if they can get rid of them…

Yours, Ruby <3

Feminine Wiles, Feminine Trial

Residents in the Greater London area who have been experiencing a string of unusual thefts in their homes for the last three months can now rest easy as the Magical Law Enforcement squad has finally captured the culprit. Elisabeth Riviere, a wanted thief from France, was captured on Saturday following a harrowing chase in Diagon Alley that injured seven bystanders.

The Magical Law Enforcement squad had been pursuing Riviere since August when the first few thefts were reported. Victims were typically married wizards who were unable to report full details about the theft except for a hazy feeling of falling into a trance. Their wives’ jewelry and diamonds were commonly stolen items, although one victim reported stolen dress robes and an expensive pair of chameleon skin gloves.

Initial attempts by the Magical Law Enforcement squad to capture the thief failed. Hit wizards attempted to set up a trap to ensnare the jewelry thief, but were unprepared for one important detail: Riviere is part-veela. “It was all a tad embarrassing, to be quite honest,” one bystander, who wished to remain anonymous, shared. “Grown men tripping over themselves to tie each other up in hopes of impressing her first.”

Soon after, an all-female task force from the Magical Law Enforcement department, led by Hit Witch Jodie Jaszczak, was created. On Saturday, another trap was set in Diagon Alley, along with Anti-Apparation wards, but the busy marketplace actually made the pursuit more difficult. Witnesses reported Riviere running through the streets yelling for help, using her veela magic to convince male bystanders to throw themselves in the paths of the pursuing Hit Witches. The witches eventually manage to surround Riviere and subdue her, but not before accidentally injuring several valiant and confused wizards during the chase. “The casualties are unfortunate, but we are thankful nobody was seriously injured,” Jaszczak reported in a general statement later. “Riviere will be taken into custody and will face justice in front of the Wizengamot before being returned to the French courts where, we hear, they are very eager to have her.”

The Magical Law Enforcement squad proceeded to find over 1000 galleons worth of stolen jewelry and diamonds in Riviere’s apartment, guarded by some heavy protection spells and curses. Curse breakers are currently still working on retrieving the stolen items. The items in question will be held for evidence until the trials are over. If the veela thief has stolen from you, be sure to report to the Law Enforcement Department. Forewarning: all items will be cast a property charm, so don’t try and claim what isn’t yours.

Headmistress Flamel Stands Strong

It’s not often that we at the Daily Prophet are able to print good news, but should the chance present itself, we would like to shine the light on the bright spots in our world where there is so much darkness. Happily, we can report to you that Hogwarts is embarking on its fourth year with Headmistress Arnaude Flamel at the helm. Flamel, a world renowned potions mistress and descendant of the famous Nicholas Flamel, is the author of When the Goat Is Not Enough.

Flamel took over the post as Headmistress of Hogwarts after the events at the end of the school term in 2032, once former Headmaster Arthur Weasley was removed from his position by the school’s Board of Directors. Since his reign, Hogwarts has been terrorized over and over by dark forces in the world.

Four students, including the late Margo Ward, who was killed by her own werewolf brother, Galen Ward, have died on Hogwarts’ grounds whilst in Weasley’s charge. Two Professors have also embraced death as a friend whilst in Weasley’s employ. We at the Daily Prophet applaud the Board of Directors decision to remove this man from Hogwarts, who showed such poor judgement in executing a proper defence for the hundreds of children that attend the school.

Since his removal, Hogwarts has seen three years of peace under the strong leadership of Headmistress Flamel. She leads the students well, enforces the rules and runs a tight ship. She took a broken castle and managed to put it back together again and make it a safe place where the students can study without fear.

We salute you, Headmistress, and here is to many more years of peace. Your iron fist is exactly what Hogwarts needs at a time like this.

Man-eating Werewolf Back on the Prowl

The registered lycanthrope, Galen Ward, was convicted of criminally negligent manslaughter in 2032 when The Council of Magical Law determined that he intentionally skipped his final dose of wolfsbane potion, resulting in the death of his 15-year-old sister, Margo Ward.

Ward’s five year sentence was cut short following his trial on Tuesday evening, wherein the convicted asked for forgiveness, claiming no malicious intent and remorse for his actions. We reached out to his attorneys, Bertrand and Seymour Mudgrove, who specialize in the defense of magical minorities. “Galen Ward poses no threat. He regrets his actions, and has vowed before the Council of Magical Law to take his wolfsbane potion as directed.”

Ward was released for ‘good behavior’ and granted parole for the remainder of his sentence under the active supervision of a magical law enforcement officer. The conditions set forth include frequent meetings and a strict wolfsbane regimen, with the understanding that failure to comply with these conditions could result in immediate incarceration.

The incident initially sparked outrage from members of community, with many parents fearing for the safety of their children. Much of the blame fell on Hogwarts administration, resulting in the removal of former Headmaster Arthur Weasley.

Surrounded by an aura of skepticism, the prestigious school experienced a drop in attendance in the year following the attack. In an effort to revitalize its tarnished reputation, the current Headmistress Flamel implemented a hard-hitting system to ensure the safety of the student body, including the the use of the ceiling shackles as a disciplinary measure.

The original terms of Ward’s sentence were controversial, prompting protests from anti-werewolf advocates for a harsher punishment. Ellis Langley, conservative journalist and editor of the Warlock Review, claimed that a light sentence and lack of consequences only encouraged radical werewolf groups to abstain from their wolfsbane potions. “They are animals – they are a danger to society,” he said. “I think they should be segregated for our own protection, or at least wear some sort of identifying marker.”

This statement was met by an uproar from werewolf sympathizers and werewolf rights activists. “Not all werewolves are murderers, and it is only through harboring fear and mistrust that the disparity between beast and man grows larger. At the moment of transmission, those plagued by lycanthropy are at an immediate disadvantage in society. We must use any means necessary to protect ourselves and our community,” said Anita Zhao, founder of The Lone Wolf, an not-for-profit organization that shelters battered and homeless lycanthropes.

With tensions high in the werewolf community, it’s unclear weather or not this development will serve as a catalyst in the werewolf-rights movement, or simply result in more carnage.

“They’re an unstable group,” said Langley. “We can’t let them run wild, or else we’ll keep seeing things like this happen. I hate to say I told you so.”

We also reached out to Ward’s muggle parents for a comment, but we received no response.

Ding Dong, the Death Eater’s Dead!

At long last, the Daily Prophet has heard the official news: Duncan Cunningham, the Death Eater arrested and suspected of tampering with the sanity of students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, was found dead several yards from his cell last month.

Reports say that Daniel Pechman, the auror on duty at the time of Cunningham’s death, was found on the scene just steps away from the deceased’s body. After a weighing of Pechman’s wand, it was found that a Killing Curse as well as a memory modification charm had been used within an hour of the estimated time of murder. Authorities have taken the former auror into custody for questioning. Neither the accused nor his lawyers have been available for comment.

Along with Pechman, auror Hollis Keen bore witness to the breach in security. Anonymous sources reveal that the memory modification charm found on Pechman’s wand was possibly performed on Keen after the crime was committed. Keen was questioned, but no further action was taken and she has since been released. Keen is an upstanding, decorated auror who has been heavily involved in the investigations regarding the attacks on Hogwarts at the end of the last school year, and will continue to do so as the Ministry works to unravel the truth and motivation behind Duncan Cunningham’s untimely demise.

More information on Pechman’s hearing to follow as the Prophet discovers more about this heinous act.

~Balthazar Cuffe

99 PROBLEMS, BUT WEASLEY’S NO LONGER ONE

The Prophet has just received news that there is a new Headmistress roaming the halls of Hogwarts.

That’s right, readers. Arthur Weasley, who has maintained the position of Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for over twenty years, has been deemed unfit to maintain his post and as such was fired on the morning of 31 August. The jaded Second Wizarding War hero has been cited in the past for his gross negligence of the safety of students, as well as his incapability of communicating appropriately with the Governors of the School Board. Margo Ward’s death, bringing with it the complaints of parents across the country, seems to be the straw that broke the hippogriff’s back.

We are proud to inform the wizards of the United Kingdom, however, that the Board of Governors have finally gotten something right, and that Weasley’s replacement is poised to put the education back in Hogwarts.

Arnaude Flamel, former Slytherin at Hogwarts and decorated alchemist, boasts achievements near and far. The twelve-times great niece of the esteemed Nicolas Flamel is well-known for her wide variety of accomplishments, including her discovery of the six uses of unicorn blood, her studies of catalytic reactions among beasts to various elixirs, and her Daily Prophet Bestseller When The Goat is Not Enough, a compendium of poisons that cannot be cured by a bezoar. Most importantly, however, are her unrelenting attempts to recreate the philosopher’s stone. Though she has yet to be successful, the woman’s ambition and the fact that she’s come the closest to breaking her ancestor’s secret proves what an incredible inspiration she is to us all – particularly to the youth of Hogwarts who are so desperate for a competent leader during these troubled times.

After the disastrous reigns of Albus Dumbledore (may his soul rest in peace) and Arthur Weasley, Hogwarts deserves a compassionate soul like Mistress Flamel. Someone with a deeply-rooted concern for the education and above all the safety of British wizarding children. Someone who will hire professionals with the credentials necessary to heal and care for the youth of our world. Someone who will not allow the monsters of nightmares to give adolescents a reason to shake in their beds at night.

Headmistress Flamel has a reputation for correcting and advancing the areas of study and politics that are placed in her path with the utmost efficiency, and is known for her awe-inspiring ability to motivate colleagues to achieve their ultimate potential. The Governors should be commended for their choice in Headmistress; under Flamel’s influence, Hogwarts has a potential to grow and move forward from its tragic past.

The Prophet will certainly be here to report it all.

~Balthazar Cuffe