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WIZARD PRESUMED DEAD FOR FIVE YEARS REAPPEARS CLAIMING TO HAVE BEEN LIVING INSIDE GRINGOTTS VAULT
Muggleborn wizard John Hartnell, who disappeared whilst out shopping in the summer of 2011, has been found wandering the Gringotts Complex in London claiming to have been trapped in a Vault for the five years he has been missing. Hartnell was found last Tuesday by a member of staff when he wandered across the cart tracks, disorientated and confused, and was immediately taken to St. Mungo's Hospital. After several DNA and Identity tests conducted by the Ministry of Magic, it was declared that he is indeed John Hartnell, and immediately the media and Ministry became abuzz with questions concerning his situation during the five years he has been gone. Is he telling the truth? If so, how did he become trapped? And how did he survive in a Gringotts Vault for five years?
We spoke to Maggie Highland, a psychiatric healer who has been examining Hartwell’s case, about his explanation as to how he survived:
“John’s story is quite unbelievable”, she said, “As his healer, I have heard him tell it many times, but I still can’t get my head round it. He states that within the vault was an entrance to another world, where he lived a wholly different life. He continues to insist that being in this world was a living, breathing experience, and, even after heavy interrogation, continues to do so. My team and I are still unsure as to whether he has had false memories implanted or been enchanted in some way, however, he refuses to say describe the world he claims to have visited, only stating that he has been there for five years and entered it via the vault.”
When asked whether she believed him or not, Highland replied:
“Despite the magic of our world, John’s claims are hard to believe for any witch or wizard out there - or rather, any witch or wizard who has not seen him talk about it in the flesh. When I first met John and asked him to tell me what he believes to have happened, I was immediately taken aback. The solid insistence and surety that what he says is true seems so honest that I am sure he will say the exact same thing when taking Veritaserum next week [John is facing trial via truth serum] in front of the jury. So yes, I do believe he is telling the truth, but memories being false or mind enchanted still seems the obvious explanations. I’m not quite ready to accept that there is another world in a Gringotts vault!”
Despite many sharing Highland’s feelings, however, another substantial amount believe Hartnell to be lying. His account of the period before he was supposedly trapped in vault 666 states that he was out shopping in Diagon Alley with the aim of claiming a large sum of money a wealthy relative had left him, not telling his wife because he wanted to surprise her with it. Whilst attempting to open the Vault, a complex protection spell ended up imprisoning him within and it is from this point he takes up his ‘other world’ explanation.
Examining the spell on the vault door last Sunday, experts concluded that it was entirely possible for Hartnell to have become trapped in the vault, as the enchantment to prevent non- purebloods from accessing it. However, when inspecting the interior, they found nothing but the money and possessions left to Hartnell, and absolutely no trace of the ‘portal’ he had described that apparently took him to this ‘other world’. Because of this, many have started suspecting the whole case is a hoax and that, even though it was possible for the wizard to have become trapped in there, he instead invented the story and wandered around the complex where he was found until picked up and sent home with the purpose of starting an interesting story.
Despite the complexity of the matter and the many divided opinions as to whether Hartnell is telling the truth or not, however, one thing is for certain – Gringotts is in trouble. Soon after being returned to his home, Hartnell accused the establishment of failing to tell him the vault was cursed or check it once he vanished in 2011. There is also the fact that Gringotts Goblins failed to come forward when Hartnell disappeared despite him having talked to him that day, giving him a good case against the bank. The ministry, media and public have already taken sides in this heated court case and both seem to be evenly sided in the numbers. Gringotts appear to have the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, Diana Landon, on their side, who protests that “Gringotts is an ancient and trusted establishment that has never yet made a mistake” and that Hartnell is an “unconvincing hoaxer with the aim to stir up the media and make an explosive return for his own amusement”. However, the Daily Prophet is still on Hartnell’s side and much of the public have started to support the wizard after the newspaper released several articles concerning the case.
One interesting supporter of Hartnell against Gringotts is acclaimed reporter Mateo Aurelius, who is known for his investigations into magical establishments similar to the wizarding bank with the im of exposing their secrets to the public. He was seen attending the first court holding on Friday and has written several articles for The Daily Prophet which obviously support Hartnell. He has also stated that he believes Hartnell to be telling the truth, saying in an interview:
“There are so many possibilities in magic that the fact that some people are immediately claiming he [Hartnell] is a lunatic is absurd. If you look back on our history and count the number of extraordinary discoveries we have made, the existence of another world looks entirely possible. It is also a well-known fact that Diagon Alley’s Gringotts is an ancient building with many documented instances of strange and even outlawed magic being discovered in the depths of the complex. Again, if you look at the recorded examples of what has been found there, a portal to another world looks nothing out of the ordinary.”
This statement has spread throughout the media like wildfire and caused many to start questioning their scientific and magical beliefs as well as drawing publicity to many of the previous theories concerning the existence of other ‘dimensions’. Could it really be possible to travel to another world and live there as we do in ours? Did Hartnell really do just that? Or is the whole story a hoax to grab the attention of the gullible public? With so many questions yet unanswered, you’ll be glad that we’ll be covering the recently popularised ‘Dimension Theory’ next issue to delve deeper into the mystery. Turn to this page next issue to see what we uncover!
Lilia Le Fay