Would you like to react to this message? Create an account in a few clicks or log in to continue.

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread)

Go down

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) Empty Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread)

Post  Elanor Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:38 am

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread)

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Detail Seeker - Nov 21, 2003 3:34 pm
Edited by Kip Carter Jan 12, 2006 11:36 pm
This is a condensation of the old threads

Magic and Muggle´s natural sciences.


It is divided into four chapters

1. Scientific approach to magic

2. How does Avada Kedavra function ?

3. On the nature of Imperio and Crucio

4. Potentials and Use of Accio
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 49
Location : France

Back to top Go down

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) Empty Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) - Part I: Scientific approach to magic

Post  Elanor Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:41 am

Part I: Scientific approach to magic

Detail Seeker - Feb 5, 2003 2:06 pm

This posting is a little bit longer - in fact some theory I started writing up some time before this.

Interesting questions: How could muggles go detecting magic ? What would happen, if the magic society started using muggle science methods to develop magic further. So, if you like, gnabble yourself through this and flame me for it.

Magic and physical principles - a proposal

In the „Magical Theory"-Part of the lexicon, there is an implicit debate on wether magic functions according to the principles found in „„muggle" natural sciences or not. Unable to prove it, though, making a model and trying to fit any infomation we get to it, may help to find an answer to this question.

First thing, that can be stated, is, that magic works on „muggles". There is plenty of evidence, that shows, that not only killing spells, but also other ones including complicated memory modification can be performed on muggles. As magical results fit into a system within the models of natural sciences, there is seems to be no need for the causes of these effects not to do so. Basing on this assumption, we can start to derive a frameset of principles, on which magic could function and see, if we can explain things on these.

First thesis: Magic effect is done by transfer of the right amount of the right energy to an object

The problems of this definition are hidden in the words „„transfer" and „„right".

Second thesis: The ability to do magic is the ability to create, focus and release these energies by biochemical mechanisms, if necessary, aided by helpful instruments (wands, potions)

Traces of energy transfer are often referred to, when the effects of spells is told: The „Avada Kedvara" is connected to intensive green light, implying, that the energy doing the effect is of higher energy than the by-product. Other light effects are frequently referred to, though not for every spell. From spectroscopical analysis techniques, it is known, that not every sort of energy will have effects on substance. Take window glass as an example: Every human being will agree, that it is transparent. Spectroscopy shows us, that glass does not interact with energy in the scope of light visible to us. Ask an insect, whose vision is mainly in the energy scope, we call infrared: This that will tell us, that glass is not transparent at all, but iron is transparent. Spectroscopy will show us, that there is a lot of interaction, shown by absorption of energy, with glass in the IR-range, but iron has none. The right energy to do an effect is the one, that a) interacts with the matter it has to have an effect on b) reaches the desired effects

The „reparo", Hermione uses on Harry ´s broken spectacles could be imagined as a simple welding process, with any energy form able to perform a selective heating of the ends of the broken parts and to force them together: AC-current combined with magnetism would do as well as laser beam & magnetism or micro waves &magnetism.

So doing levitation might only be the ability to generate an energy fitting to that of gravitons (quantum parts respinsible for gravity, as proposed, but, to my knowledge, not yet identified, by quantum physisc), that annihilates their existence - to generate anti-gravitons in other words.

A summoning charm means to coordinate the motions of all the atoms of an object toward the caster, maybe combined with a levitation. Thermodynamically an absolutely unpropable process, but who would have predicted, that creating an absolutely coordinated beam of light, we know under the word LASER, thermodynamically as unpropable as the summoning charm, would be feasible before it was found.

Broomstick riding should be quite related with a summoning charm, but of higher complexity, as it is not just geting a known object to a known place at whatever speed happening, but levitating an object plus oneself, giving it speed an direction to a not predefined location. So it is interesting, that summoning is taught long, long after broomstick riding.

Transfiguration: This seems to be the most complex problem , consisting of chemical and physical changes, including nuclear fusion and fission.

These few examples show the patterns, along which the modelling of magic could work.

The familiarity problem addressed in one excellent essay in the lexicon could be explained by these lines, too: You need to know exactly what you are aiming at to know, which energies you have to release. The more experienced and powerful the magician, the more unprecise the knowledge can be, as exerience tells him, what to expect, which energies are needed and more power allows to release a wider spectrum of energies, which will only be used partly by the object meant and will run unused, if the object does not react on these. Problems occur, if the object reacts on other parts of the energy released upon it, too. Then, unwanted reactions take place. (See the by-effects described in the first levitation lesson (PS).

Explaining magic by energy transfer would explain, why the pupils in Hogwarts are often neough describedd to eat ernormous portions of food without getting fat. They simply need this energy to perform the magic. In the showdown in PS, Harry ´s energies were exhausted by the fight with Quirrel, so he had to recover for an unusual long time for Hogwarts standards.

Though a discussion about magical theory may not have much impact on the interpretation of the books, I think it is a nice field to speculate on. so I hope for some echo to refine this theory.


Mattew Bates - Feb 6, 2003 9:35 am (#2 of 71)

I think the "reparo" spell could have burned Harry if it was a spot-weld. I think we're talking a reversal of entropy in that case, along the lines of molecular re-assembly along the break. Plus, we don't even have science to explain the energy applications involved in time travel. Harry & Hermione were in two places at the same time. Some magic can be explained in terms of muggle physics, but some of it goes so against the rules as we know them that "magic" is the only explanation.


Detail Seeker - Feb 6, 2003 1:57 pm (#4 of 71)

Yes, Mattew, the time turner is a problem to think about. I admit having no theory on that at the moment nor seeing an approach to it. But these questions are the ones to be solved in this thread. "Reversing entropy", by which means ever acchieved, means to get atoms or molecules into a higher state of order than before, so some sort of energy must be transferred.

You said, we muggles had noc means of detecting these energies. If magical methods disturb muggle apparatus, it should be detectable by any passive receiver in the range of disturbed functions, as the disturbing signals are necessarily active. Example: Radio /TV- waves do not reach hogwarts nor can they leave it. So they must be either anihilated by some counter radiation or absorbed by a chemical wall hevily interacting with radio waves. So either the counter radiation should be detectable in the neigbourhood of Hogwarts or the chemical wall. (Take a specimen of air and analyze it in a lab far away in muggle land.)


Ari - Feb 6, 2003 3:09 pm (#5 of 71)


So here is my idea about the time turner. Just suppose time is a constant, it doesn't really pass at all ,we just experience it as "passing" so that normal aging and other natural processes can take place. Kind of like a comic book that has been written, where all the characters have free will. However ,their decisions will continuously effect and change the entire story. (So in my example the past is a series of pictures as well as the present and future.) So Hermione just removes herself from one "picture" and "travels" to another "picture" in the past and moves then normally on through the "story" (or time), until she ends up at her original staring point. That would also kind of explain,how divination works. (As far as the future actually being part of the present.) I hope my post isn't too confusing. English is not my first language. ( and I can't really relate it to any "regular" muggle sience,but I just thought I mention it anyway.)


Nine - Feb 6, 2003 3:45 pm (#6 of 71)

I don't think that time is fixed, Ari, but I don't think your post too confusing. Many people on the forum do not speak English as their primary language, so you should find that everyone tries to be patient with everyone else.

I don't believe that future time is that fixed because choices make a lot of difference in the series. The past may be fixed, although not in the way that a given person saw it originally (the last few chapters of PoA). However, I would like to pose another possibility: wizards can tap into the fourth dimension, time, either to move backwards (or possibly forwards), or to get a glimpse at a possible future (which covers Seers). Very few people can tap into the fourth dimension on their own and a Time-Turner does so by transporting the person.

Finally, I've always thought of Transfiguration (and the Animagi transformation, and lycanthropy) as a sort of overlay of another set of DNA on the person. The only problem with this theory is that it would take a lot longer to cause the change to occur because all of the cells would have to alter their function at the same time and then produce dog or cat or ferret proteins instead.


Istari Jones - Feb 6, 2003 10:10 pm (#7 of 71)

Ari... English isn't your first language? I wouldn't have guessed! You write quite well, in my opinion.

This is a cool thread. For those of you interested in the possibilty of time travel, try reading "Time Travel in Einstein's Universe" by Gott. Quite interesting and fairly easy to understand, although I don't really agree with the string theory he talks about in the book.

An essay available I believe here on the Lexicon talks about the diet found in the books - a lot of high cholesterol, meats, etc. I thought the same thing - higher energy levels means needing a higher available source of energy in the body.


Madam Poppy - Feb 7, 2003 10:42 am (#8 of 71)

Is Hermione now older than her fellow classmates because she used the time turner for a whole school year? Was Hermione's health affected by her time travel?


Hermione Potter - Feb 7, 2003 11:42 am (#9 of 71)

Assuming that she use it for 10 hours a week for 30 weeks, she would age 300 hours more than her classmates, that is about two weeks (=336 hours)

Yes, she would get older, but not much older.

It should be clear that year at school was not conductive to her health, as school was on the edge of collapse all the time, but I would accept that as she realized it was to much after one school year, no grave lasting damage would be done.


Hermione Potter - Feb 7, 2003 12:00 pm (#10 of 71)

Detail Seeker

Magic is certainly detectable by electronic means, as magic causes electronic to malfunction. Does that imply that it is possible to make some electronic device that affects magic in some way?

And would a muggle be able to use an magic artifact? Would a muggle be able to for instance fly the Ford Anglia?

The dead wicths' tea set that attacked the muggle tea party show that the presence of the magicer is not needed to make the magic work. The muggles was not able to control the magic, but need that always be the case?


Detail Seeker - Feb 8, 2003 3:03 pm (#11 of 71)

Hello, Hermione ! Good questions ! If magic can be detected and decoded, a decoded spell may be repeated by a muggle, if he/she is, by some electronic device, able to create the needed energy. But, like a parrot having learned to repeat bits of language as sounds, he/she will only be able to repeat this specific spell. Flying the Ford Anglia could be possible, if all the spells needed - starting, landing, steering,.... have been decoded. You might end up started, but then staying in the air, until the car decides to land.

So is the story with the tea party set: Assuming the spell cast upon it leaves a detectable residue, you can only control it by erasing this residue, but you would not know, what you were doing. So analyzing spells and getting magic abilities to speak of from that would need quite a time. On the other way: If the wizarding community decided to use such measures to analyze their magic and especially the effects of magic on living beings, they might be able to systematic development of magic. For example: It seems, as if there is no known magic measure against the Avada Kedavra. But there must be, otherwise Harry would not live. By analyzing the effects of the spell by analyzing its energy spectrum and by analyzing the effects of the energies found on a body, it should be possible to detect, what the spell does. Then, one had clues to find an protection. But this would necessitate a different educational approach of teaching in Hogwarts, namely including natural sciences muggle style - and sending wizards to muggle universities...
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 49
Location : France

Back to top Go down

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) Empty Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) - Part II: How does Avada Kedavra function ?

Post  Elanor Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:42 am

Part II: How does Avada Kedavra function ?

Detail Seeker - Mar 23, 2003 1:37 pm (#12 of 71)

Just some thought about the Avada Kedavra spell. I always wondered, why people killed by this spell did show neither wounds nor signs of death struggle. My pet theory about energy transfer from the spell caster to the object of the spell made it necessary that results of that energy should be found in the victim other than that he was dead. The green light occurring together with the spell spoke for that, too together with the ruining of the Potter ´s haouse after the backfiring of Voldemort ´s spell.

Now it is not a new information, that people dying from undercooling show no signs of death fight and can naturally show no signs of injuries resulting from this. Combined with the knowledge that heat actually can flow towars a higher temperature level (remember the cooling effect of water vaporizing on your skin or on a wet bottle), the following theory comes up: The AK is a two part spell: First part (Energy transfer to the victim) stunns the victim. Second part drains the heat from the victim leaving him dead by undercooling.

The question remains, where the energy drawn from the victim remains: Either it goes to the caster or it contributes to either the green light or, next possibility, it heats the surrounding, perhaps adding to devastations around the place , where the spell was cast.

Any other ideas ??


Denise S. - Mar 23, 2003 5:45 pm (#13 of 71)

It's an interesting theory, Detail Seeker, except that AK leaves no mark of death and hypothermia (Unterkuehlung) does leave marks. (I wasn't sure so I looked it up)

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Coroners are able to identify that kind of death, and in GoF it said that the murdered Riddles were "perfectly healthy--except they were dead" (or similar quote). I think that the green light is part of the energy transfer (whatever that might be exactly), and that the energy of the AK bounced off of Harry and was what destroyed his house.


Detail Seeker - Mar 24, 2003 9:08 am (#14 of 71)

Oh, Denise !

How much time did you invest to this out ?? This really is a good point.

I was not aware, that hypothermia does leave marks. We would have to go into details of the origins of these marks to discuss deeper, if they could be avoided (the red marks by temperatures lower than the freezing point only ?, What does invoke the bleedings in the gastric area ?) Any medical skilled person around to find out about that ?


Cliff Hamaker - Mar 24, 2003 11:47 am (#15 of 71)

Well, in Chem. class we learn that there are 5 signs of a chemical change: heat is given off, light is given off, gas is produced, a precipitate (A solid or solid phase separated from a solution) is formed, and there is a color change.

So, with the AK curse there is light given off, which is evidence of a chemical change. Though, what would be changing is the question.

However, then molecules in the air could be excited to emit photons, which would imply some sort of energy, an idea already put forth on this thread.

Personally, until we get more information on the subject of the AK curse, we can't make a conclusive decision. Can anyone find a reference to heat in the Unforgivable Curses Curses scene in GoF when Moody performs Avada Kadavra?(I'm at school or I'd look it up myself. Smile )


Kathy Lynch - Mar 24, 2003 12:18 pm (#16 of 71)

Okay, have we ruled out taking AWAY energy? (GREAT thread, by the way.) I mean, what keeps us going? Our heart beats because our brain tells it to, right? And our brain pretty much operates through electrical charges, neurons firing, etc. SO, maybe the AK curse interferes with our "eckletricity," so to speak. Short circuits the brain, causes it to STOP relaying those messages to the heart to beat and the lungs to breathe. Zaps the energy in the brain, so there's nothing operating the involuntary nervous system. It would go with the theory that magic is some type of electro magnetic energy, right?


Buckbeat - Mar 24, 2003 6:04 pm (#17 of 71)

Hello Detail Seeker and Denise:

About the Hypothermia: this would in most cases imply people cooling slowly. And my pathology book says that once your temperature goes below 25 degres celcius, your blood starts clotting, and that would explain the bleeding/erosions a pathologists finds.

Anyway, an AK curse is quick and it could also be an energy transfer. A lot of enegy in the body is stored in molecules called ATP and those molecules can break down. As far as I remember chemistry, you can break down chemical bindings (or whatever the english word is) by transfering to much energy into them... could be a way the curse works.

I noticed that AK leaves no marks when is works (like Tom R. killing his parents, or Moody the spider) - no destruction anywhere. On the other hand the only time we see destruction of a house and somebody getting a scar is when the curse fails, so that would be a case of a lot of misdirected energy. At the end of GOF, Harry needs a lot of strength just to hold his wand, so that shows how much energy these curses (AK and expelliarmus) contain.


Denise S. - Mar 24, 2003 10:16 pm (#18 of 71)

(Ah, don't worry, Detail Seeker, it was only 10 min. or something:-))

From GoF Am. HB pg. 216: "There was a flash of blinding green light and a rushing sound, as though a vast, invisible something was soaring through the air..." (As Moody performs Avada Kedavra on the spider)

I'll admit straight up that I don't study chemistry or physics or such. But I think the sound that comes during the AK involves what it actually is that kills the victim. Maybe it could be a vacuum of some sort? Perhaps this vacuum is what sucks out the "life force" of the victim. If the energy made is a result of the caster of the spell "parting the air" to create a vacuum to send to the victim, who would be unable to live in such an environment, if it were to rebound, the amt. of energy needed to cast and hold such a vacuumed environment would be so great that it could easily destroy the house.

Granted, I don't know how all that would leave only a scar on a baby's head...on the other hand, I think it also explains why only a very skilled/experienced wizard would be able to do this spell.


Denise S. - Mar 25, 2003 7:58 am (#19 of 71)

I thought about this more last nite when I was off, and I guess the vacuum thing doesn't quite work, since a coroner would defintely be able to tell that something was up w/ the body of the victim. I guess it would have to be a different type of vacuum...perhaps it's the absence of life instead of the absence of everything.
goes off to think some more*


Detail Seeker - Mar 25, 2003 12:51 pm (#20 of 71) So, from the fact that AK-death is without marks, the following deductions can be taken: hypothermia does not work, as bleedings result from the clotting process of the blood. Besides: If a person dies naturally, the body does cool under 25°°C after some time, so the same marks would have to be found, too. So, how can the marks be distinguished ?

A high energy input resulting in higher temperatures can be ruled out, too, because otherwise there would be a denaturization of proteins in flesh and blood, too, resulting in clottings (As far as I know, fever over 42°C starts in some proteins clotting by denaturization). So there could be an energy changing for example ATP or other steering mechanisms in the brain to inactive molecules without heating the rest (special microwave frequency not interacting with other chemical valences in the body). The high energy thesis is pushed by the results of the rebounding curse energy, leaving a scar - propably a burned scar and the damages around Godrics Hollow. The repelling of the curse, I do imagine as an absorption of the energy done by the skin, resulting in emittance of energy quanta of a lower wavelength and heating of the skin as a loss.

Well, biology is a complex system, that makes thinking about it interesting.


Cliff Hamaker - Mar 25, 2003 7:57 pm (#21 of 71)

I like your "life vacuum" theory, Denise S. It makes sense. Smile

Though, how one proves this scientifically is another matter entirely. And just a thought, maybe the green light and whooshing sound are products of the spell? As in, the spell happens, speed-of-light kind of quick, and then we see the "life energy" being sucked out as green light and the whooshing sound is the air escaping the body because the muscles have all relaxed because of the sudden loss of their fuel supply.

So, the "life vacuum" would have to be some sort of "anti-energy"? Anyone have a background in physics or chemistry???


Denise S. - Mar 25, 2003 9:46 pm (#23 of 71)

Cliff, I was thinking about the ATP bit, and perhaps the vacuum is a lack of energy that will suck every bit of energy out of a victim. The problem with that, tho, as I understand it, is that when there is absolutely no energy, it will be extremely cold, since atoms are always energetically moving around except at absolute zero... Unless the shock of it is so fast that it doesn't leave a mark upon the body--it doesn't know what hit it.

I'm thinking I should maybe look through a Stephen Hawking book or something. Ack, I have no friends here in the real world who both are good at physics/chem. and will discuss the HP books! Alas!


Cliff Hamaker - Mar 31, 2003 8:34 pm (#24 of 71)

Yeah, I know what you're talking about. It's the Third Law of Thermodynamics. For any who are interested. Smile And yes, that does bring up an interesting point. Because absolute zero is REALLY cold ( 0K = -273 C= -186.8 F). However, it is for a short time. But how long does it take for someone to freeze or show signs of it at extreme temperatures?


Denise S. - Mar 31, 2003 10:10 pm (#25 of 71)

Judging by hypothermia, a relatively long while. But it would depend on how dense the matter would be. For example, you'll die of hypothermia a lot quicker when you're in 50*(F) water than when you're just standing in 50* air. Since AK would theoretically just stop the movement of air, it wouldn't affect them quite as immediately as if it were in water.

Maybe it's the shock of the cold that would help to kill the person; I know that quick temperature changes just from ca. 65*F to 90*F can stress a person's body, I'm sure 70*F to -186*F is no small feat to survive.


Saralinda - Apr 22, 2003 8:40 pm (#26 of 71)

Why can't AK just be a burst of electricity just sufficient to stop the heart, uh, dead? Sort of a reverse of the paddle-thingy?

:: starting to giggle uncontrollably ::

And maybe when it comes back out under priori incantatem you hear a spectral voice call "CLEAR!"

Aw, it's too late for me to be posting ...


Cliff Hamaker - Apr 23, 2003 10:44 am (#27 of 71)

If there was a burst of eklectricity, then there would most likely be eklectrical burns on the body. However, there was no sign of anything, internal or external, that told the doctors how they died. They just stopped living.


timrew - Apr 23, 2003 3:54 pm (#28 of 71)

Couldn't AK just make you die of natural causes? In other words, you just 'stop'? Not being medical in the slightest, I wouldn't know if this left any marks Smile


Meg L. - Apr 23, 2003 4:15 pm (#29 of 71)

I was thinking the same thing, Scrambledeggs (now timrew). If we can have magic spells that can transform a human into an animal, and that can make you disappear from one place and reappear in another almost instantaneously, then why can't we have a spell that just tells our body to stop living? I am ready to take that leap of faith, that with enough power and faith in the spell, you would be able to make that happen.


Denise S. - Apr 23, 2003 4:22 pm (#30 of 71)

Well, yes, it does stop the body from "just living"; the fun part is trying to figure out how.

I think I'm back to my ATP-vacuum hypothesis. But does a lack of ATP mean that no atoms are moving, or does it mean that atoms can still be moving (and therefore there is still heat) but the energy needed for the process of life is all that's lacking?


Cliff Hamaker - Apr 23, 2003 7:20 pm (#33 of 71)

The only way, with our current Theory of Thermodynamics, for atoms to stop moving is for a pure crystal to be cooled to absolute zero. First off, it has to be a pure crystal because oterhwise there would be energy transfer between two unlike atoms because they were unlike. Something to do with entropy. If they were two different atoms, then energy could be stored in one way in one and another in another and any combination in betwen the two atoms. Second off, absolute zero is VERY cold (it's 0 K. Thats -273 C and something even worse in Fahrenheit). So, I don't think the atoms stop moving, Denise S.

Though I do like the vacuum idea. Very interesting and makes sense


Denise S. - Apr 23, 2003 7:33 pm (#34 of 71)

Cliff, are you saying that a "lack-of-ATP vacuum" would still be able to have moving atoms?

(0*K is something like -186*F, if I remember right)


Cliff Hamaker - Apr 23, 2003 7:50 pm (#35 of 71)

Well, the *atoms* aren't moving technically. It's the electrons. And yes, according to the aforementioned Theory (wait, I am thinking they're laws....Oh well.) of Thermodynamics, the atoms would still be moving. And I don't think scientists know what makes somehting "alive" and "dead" yet so it's possible for that to happen.


Saralinda - Apr 23, 2003 8:22 pm (#36 of 71)

What about the generation of an electromagnetic field strong enough to irreversibly scramble the brain's ability even to perform not only cognitive and motor functions, but even brainstem activities like respiration and circulation?

Better still, how about a vaso-vagal reaction? It's brought on by terror, intense emotional trauma, and/or physical pain. It's the same thing that in lighter doses causes your knees to give way, the blood to drain from your face, or you to faint dead away. It is by no means unknown for people to just drop dead from a vaso-vagal event. In fact, many pathologists consider vaso-vagal reactions the root cause of people dropping dead of so-called "voodoo curses."

Darn, why didn't I think of that before?


Pinky - Apr 24, 2003 9:52 am (#37 of 71)

Ok, if I have to be scientific here... Saralinda, your post reminded of "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" a Sherlock Holmes story. In it, 2 men are driven mad, and 1 women dies from a powder that produces a hallucinogenic state of mind when burned in a fire. Almost immediately, the people begin suffering incredible delusions of great horror. Perhaps the AK spell does something similar. In a split second, the spell produces such a level of fear in the victim that they simply die of fright. I don't think this would leave a physical trace.


Saralinda - Apr 24, 2003 10:51 am (#38 of 71)

Pinky says: Saralinda, your post reminded of "The Adventure of the Devil's Foot" a Sherlock Holmes story

As JKR would say, well spotted. Wink Some of you may have noticed in my "about me" post that another of my obsessions is Holmesiana. Yet another is true crime, and I'd like to get back into writing a little suspense, so I'm hip deep in forensic pathology resources just now. It all just came together in one blindingly incomprehensible post.


Denise S. - Apr 25, 2003 4:46 pm (#39 of 71)

Saralinda, the vaso-vagal reaction (VVR) sounds possible. But could a coroner examine a body and be able to determine it as the cause of death?

For instance, during VVR, blood vessels in the arms and legs dilate, which draws the blood away from the center of the body where it is needed, which produces unconsciousness, and death as well if it is extreme again. If a VVR caused this, would a coroner be able to tell by the blood vessels what the AK victim had died from?

According to [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] , coroners can tell that a person has died of VVR:

Prisoner may die in custody due to

1. Injuries: Especially blunt injuries (by fists, legs or weapons).

2. Rarely, when police outnumber the offender leading to his death due to:

Traumatic asphyxia

Exhaustion and fear

Vasovagal shock as in Arm locks, Neck holds - bar arm control Carotid sleeper.

Of course, there's always the thing about the "look of sheer terror" on the Riddles' faces, so maybe fear factors in some other way.


Derby Nastyface - Apr 25, 2003 5:03 pm (#40 of 71)

Maybe the nearest coroner to the Riddle house, which I assume to be in a fairly rural area, in the 1940s, couldn't specify vasovagal shock as a cause of death...

I have no idea how to research that idea though. I suppose I could ask a pathologist.


Pinky - Apr 25, 2003 5:26 pm (#41 of 71)

Awwww, thanks, Saralinda. I love Holmes' stuff - as well as the other non-Holmes works by Sir Doyle.

I really like the theory that the AK curse works on "scaring people to death." And like Derby said, maybe they couldn't pinpoint that in the 1940's. Also, maybe the AK curse comes with a coroner repelling spell. *grin*


Saralinda - Apr 25, 2003 6:08 pm (#42 of 71)

Denise, some vaso-vagal reactions skip the interim steps and go straight to bradycardia and -- crrrroak. Or so say my resources.

For instance, there was some talk a few years ago when a bunch of Asian men just dropped dead -- coroners found nothing. Turned out the drive to succeed had been so acute that fear of failure literally sent them dropping dead on the pavement. No cardiac abnormalities, nothing. VVR was eventually cited as the cause of death.

So I'm not ready to let it go yet.


Cliff Hamaker - Apr 25, 2003 6:22 pm (#43 of 71)

VVR sounds like a possibility. And, from watching CSI (a cool American show about a forensic team that investigates homicides and finds out what really happened. And of course, they *always* do... Smile) and maybe even The X Files, I get the sense that there are different types of autopsies; or levels might be a better word. Anywho, would doctors, not knowing any better and being in the 1940s as Pinky pointed out, know to perform the more invasive and conclusive autopsy instead of the one that where they look at the the body and ask each other,


Denise S. - Apr 25, 2003 7:00 pm (#45 of 71)

I suppose this is becoming a little "un-scientific" (as in, not based in anything we know), but perhaps the AK spell produces an energy field of fear and casts it onto the victim.

tries to relate it somehow to past posts* Perhaps it's a combination of fear and ATP-void in the spell...


Cliff Hamaker - Apr 25, 2003 7:09 pm (#46 of 71)

Maybe it makes the brain produce too much of the fear hormone somehow. That'd make sense. Of course, *how* it made it produce it is another question entirely....


Buckbeat - Apr 27, 2003 2:52 pm (#47 of 71)

Hmmm,the fear - vasovagal reaction theory sounds convincing, I just can ´t imagine why this should blow a house into ruins when it fails. Apart from that - have you any similar good ideas on how the other unforgivable curses (and everything Madam Poppy does) work?


Denise S. - Apr 27, 2003 3:15 pm (#48 of 71)

But couldn't the fear hormone be found in an autopsy? (Then again, this is 1940s medicine we're talking about, not CSI ;-]) And Buckbeak, it's been said that the amt. of energy needed to produce such a spell would be so great that if it rebounded, it would focus the destructive force somewhere else (i.e. a flammable house instead of a baby boy).


Saralinda - Apr 27, 2003 4:52 pm (#49 of 71)

Fear isn't a hormone. It's one of the four basic emotions (sad, happy, angry, scared); a condition that triggers a bunch of predictable chemical processes in the human body -- most obviously, adrenaline, the old fight-flight-or-lie-your-way-out-of-it instinct.

A detailed autopsy can often determine whether the decedent was in mortal fear or agony before the death. Under normal circumstances, it isn't in itself the cause of death. People can die of fright, but it's tough for the pathologist to figure out what to put on the death certificate.


Mattew Bates - Apr 29, 2003 3:30 pm (#50 of 71)

I'm pretty sure the Killing curse attacks brain functions. Why else would Harry's scar be on his forehead? So, assuming it's a neurological thing, I hypothesize that the spell stops all electrical activity in the nervous system, starting with the frontal lobe and spreading down the spinal column. It would be the most efficient way to kill someone without leaving a trace of death. It may also explain why Voldie wanted to face Harry to kill him in GoF; the curse is most effective when it's well-aimed at the forehead. This spell itself may not take enough power to justify the Potter house explosion on the spell's rebound, but that may have been more from the reflected spell's reaction to Voldie's death-resistant body. Or maybe I'm underestimating the power necessary to halt cellular electrochemical reactions.


Derby Nastyface - Apr 29, 2003 4:33 pm (#51 of 71)

Another problem with the fear theory is that Avada works on spiders, which don't have circulatory systems and only very rudimentary nervous systems. Also, can a spider really be scared?


Denise S. - Apr 29, 2003 7:23 pm (#52 of 71)

Everything fears; that's what helps to keep them alive. Example: if spiders didn't fear things that were bigger than them and made sudden moves, they'd be eaten much more often.


Olivia Wood - Apr 30, 2003 5:05 pm (#53 of 71)

Okay, I like Mattew's idea about the stopping of the brain functions. That's pretty much how I always assumed it work. However, who's to say the Avada Kedavra curse doesn't kill people in a way that would cause physical marks, and then fixes the marks. Healing spells work on live people, why wouldn't they work on a corpse? Or if you think the person's help is required with the healing, think of it as transfigurations. You can transfigure the blood in the victim back to normal once it clotted or whatever.


Cliff Hamaker - Apr 30, 2003 6:32 pm (#54 of 71)

Why would a person performing the Killing Curse want to cover the body up and make it look normal? Maybe a serial killer, but I don't know how many serial killer wizards there have been.


Olivia Wood - May 1, 2003 7:34 pm (#55 of 71)

'Cause it's more dramatic if the body's unmarked, or something... Who cares? If it's combined into the spell and doesn't require any extra time, why not? I'm assuming there are other ways of killing wizards, that do leave marks. Why does Voldie prefer Avada Kedavra? And wouldn't he classify as a serial killer?


Cliff Hamaker - May 2, 2003 7:19 pm (#56 of 71)

He's showing off. It's a high level curse and he can do it so gosh darn it! he's going to use it! That and the scare factor. Imagine walking in on a loved ones dead body, seeing no marks, only a look of pure terror on their face. That and the Dark Mark above your house.


Dr Filibuster - May 3, 2003 4:59 am (#58 of 71)

Remember that the A.K curse DIDN'T work on Harry. Normally there would be no mark, the scar is a visible sign that it didn't work.

I know we don't know the full details of that evening yet but is anyone brave or daft enough to attempt to explain it scientifically?

It would include Old Magic and Lily transfering something to Harry or against Voldemort.


Cliff Hamaker - May 3, 2003 7:36 pm (#59 of 71)

Question: Everything we know about the AK Curse is that it kills you with no mark on your baody and that there is no stopping it (CONSTANT VIGILANCE!). So, how could Lily's Love Charm stop it? Why would it leave a mark when it shouldn't? Moody would have said womething along the lines of, "Nothing can stop it, except for a few things none of you kids can do." or something. I's been bothering me for a little bit now.... Any help?


Denise S. - May 3, 2003 8:09 pm (#60 of 71)

The way I understand it, love is the exact opposite of fear. If we go under the premise that the AK curse kills by overloading the body with fear to the point that it shuts down, then perhaps the force of Lilly's love was so great that it was able to stop the AK. As for the mark...Perhaps if the AK kills the body by overloading the brain with fear, it would enter through the head. The protection provided by Lilly's love would block it from entering the head, and perhaps it was sort of like a chemical reaction--two things that when by themselves do nothing, but when combined leave some kind of mark. In this case, the mark would be in the form of Harry's scar.


Detail Seeker - May 4, 2003 5:05 am (#62 of 71)

I would not consider love to be the opposite of fear, but the idea, that the scar results from a reaction of love protection and AK seems very plausible - The Love protection absorbed the AK energy and transformed it to a different form. Transforming will certainly have some energy dissipated as heat, this heat forming the scar, the rest perhaps resulting in the destruction of Godric ´s Hollow.

A short trial to sum up the dicussion ´s results about the mechanism of the AK: Likely seem to be

1. an interruption of nervous communication by destruction of messenger molecules (ATP), which would make the brain stop working ,too. But this would mean, that the corpses should be found totally relaxed. The Riddles ´ "look of sheer terror" does not quite sound relaxed.

2. the vaso-vaginal shock has not been debated thoroughly

Another idea: Nervous overload. It is known, that high-speed bullets may kill, even if the only hurt the victim peripherally, hurting no important functional parts of the body, just by overloading the nervous system. Something like that could be another mechanism, AK works on. Too much information to be transferred by the nervous system may either consume all the messenger molecules available, so the result of overload is the ATP-lack from possibility 1 or the brain has no capacity left to keep up other life functions.

Inducing fear would be a good means of overloading the nervous system. The (subconscious) knowledge of a backup - love e.g. - would help to reduce the fear induced, which would make the protection mechanism understandable. Being heavily drunk should help to survive an AK, too, if this theory were correct.


Denise S. - May 4, 2003 2:00 pm (#63 of 71)

I don't think that the effect of love would stop the person from feeling fear, but it meets the force of the fear straight on before the body has a chance to react with it. The "mixing" of the two would take place outside the body, so being drunk would not stop the AK (hee hee).


Dr Filibuster - May 4, 2003 5:18 pm (#64 of 71)

Nature sometimes gives babies a helping hand in survival...eg bouncing down stairs unscathed, surviving extremely cold conditions, and the ability to breathe and swallow at the same time.

We just don't know if a baby had been attacked by the AK curse before. Would he be able to know what was happening to be scared enough for the curse to take effect?

I think that Lily's protection, and something to do with her and Harry's eyes must be the key...aren't they the same colour as the spell? could reflection occur?


Cliff Hamaker - May 4, 2003 7:05 pm (#65 of 71)

I think it's something like the ATP one. However, the fear would come before hand. People have been killed before with looks of terror on their face. So, i think that thevictims are terrified BEFORE They are killed by the AK curse which does it's magic on the ATP things.


Denise S. - May 4, 2003 7:28 pm (#66 of 71)

That makes sense. The amt. of fear used in the killing of the victim would seem to me to be why it's an Unforgivable Curse (as I am assuming there are a numbers of ways to kill someone with magic).

Last edited by Elanor on Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:44 am; edited 1 time in total
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 49
Location : France

Back to top Go down

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) Empty Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) - Part III: The nature of Imperio and Crucio

Post  Elanor Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:43 am

Part III: The nature of Imperio and Crucio

Detail Seeker - Jun 14, 2003 6:53 am (#67 of 71)

Having reached a status of discussion concerning the Avada Kedavra, I now want to start a discussion on the mechanistics of the other unforgiveable curses.


This might simply be a powerful technique of hypnosis. Following points favour this idea:

+This curse can be fought against - you must be ready to be taken over. In the beginning, this curse is said to be relieving of the burden to think by yourself.

+The curse wears off and has to be renewed

+The curse is a two step or even multi step process: First the caster subjugates the victim and after that gives specific orders. The subjugation may be combined with a specific order, but need not be. Once the subjugation has been completed, further orders do not need the incantation „Imperio“ anymore - they seem to be nonmagic orders afterwards.


Possibly an electric impulse, ordering all the muscles hit to contract with all the power inherent. If both of a pair of antagonistic muscles are hit, the stronger of both will determine the direction a movable part of the body (limb, spinal chord) will take, leading to high strain on both muscles, this being a painful process and an exhausting one. If only one muscle of an antagonistic pai is hit, it lead to uncontrollable movement of the part and overstretching and even rupture of the counterpart, both being painful processes, too.


shepherdess - Jun 14, 2003 11:51 am (#68 of 71)

Both are interesting theories and food for thought. But I can neither argue nor support them because I'm not a scientist or doctor and don't fully understand the all inner workings of the human body. Definately interesting, though.


Headmistress King - Jun 16, 2003 4:52 pm (#69 of 71)

Righto, I haven't been able to read through all of this but from what I have seen an awful lot of time and energy has gone into working these theories. I think they're fantastic! The tricky thing is though, some of the spells and potions we see (In fact, an awful lot) are performed by 11 year old students of magic. Now, if we dug up any spell in the HP World I'm sure you could give us an explanation which would allow it to work according to Muggle physics. But would it be an explanation I (At 17 years) would understand? Would an 11 year old witch understand it?

It's a great idea, but have you ever thought that there might be a whole new set of physics and laws in the world J.K Rowling created? I to have deleved into this track of magical theory, but have changed tack on to something much simpler. Magic is energy. Think about it...

O, I can go the whole scientific route claiming that nuclear physics is actually just magical energy used incorrectly. That magic comes from a chain, or current of Neutrons flowing through an elements atomic core; intead of Muggle nuclear science, where by packing in too many Neutrons (or removing too many) it creates an un-balanced atom and you get your pretty little bang. Then again, you can break it right down to Quarks. Did you know there's a quark (Which possibly makes up the Neutron) that's named 'charm'?


Detail Seeker - Jun 17, 2003 12:01 am (#71 of 71)

Hello, Headmistress King ! You can ride a bicycle without understanding, why it works. Wizards can do magic without knowing, how it works physically. They just know, how to activate it. It is interesting to (at least some) muggles, to try and explain in our way, how certain magic activities may work. Many things will certainly remain wonders, e.g. I doubt, if I will ever find an explanation for transfiguration...

Because - at least to our knowledge of the HP world - wizards lack the necessity to know, what happens in a spell, progress in wizarding seems to be somewhat unsystematic. As said before on a different thread, I would like to teach the wizarding world chemistry, biology and physics - that would be a challenge and an interesing scientific perspective.

Magic is energy - yes. And it works on us muggles, too, so it has to be consistent with our physics, too. That there will be energy spectra, we have not yet found or not yet discovered all the effects of, can be assumed, of course. Finding them is made easier, if you know, what they are doing.

Why should nuclear physics be magic energy used incorrectly. As long as it describes nature, it is maybe a different approach to things as a magic one, but it tries to deal with the same stuff. Altering things is a different question- there, I think, it is playing with things not yet fully understood, but this is the only way of understanding. A magic approach would not be different in this respect - it would only use different means and- perhaps- would have other purposes. Which model would be the better description - well, I can ´t say, because nothing is known about the magic approach - at least to me.

It would be nice to know a bit more about the approaches and objects of "magical science", as imagined by JKR.
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 49
Location : France

Back to top Go down

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) Empty Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) - Part IV. Possibilities and Use of "Accio"

Post  Elanor Wed Jun 22, 2011 1:45 am

Part IV. Possibilities and Use of "Accio"

Liz Mann - Jan 4, 2003 10:28 am

I was thinking, why can't wizards just accio things they need within Hogwarts? I mean, when Moody was searching Snape's office for the Polyjuice potion ingrediants, why didn't he just accio them to him? Hermione said it doesn't matter how far away you are, it'll still work.


Alianora - Jan 4, 2003 10:31 am (#1 of 24)

It was probably locked, and he would have to go there to break the spell "none but a wizard could break" as Snape said it.


dudley - Jan 4, 2003 10:33 am (#2 of 24)

Also,I think that you can only accio things when you know where they are, for example Harry did it when he knew where his broom was. Damn! Where did I leave my keys! I think they have been shrinking again.


Liz Mann - Jan 4, 2003 3:05 pm (#3 of 24)

But Moody did know where the ingredients were. However, you are probably right, Alianora, about breaking the spell thing. But what about other things they want? Hey, here's a thought. Do you think the accio spell works on animals? Small animals, like? Because then Sirius could have just said "Accio rat" or something and got Scabbers. Imagine Scabbers flying through the air around the Hogwarts corridors!


Neilisa - Jan 4, 2003 3:20 pm (#4 of 24)

I agree the accio spell would work but it would be too risky because everyone can see the ingredients traveling to wherever Crouch/Moody is located. If Snape saw the ingredients traveling, in mid-air, and recognized them from his storeroom, he'd simply have to follow the ingredients to discover the identity of the thief. I think HRH discussed something similar to this when they were considering what Harry could use to breathe underwater in the 2nd task. I don't have my book in front of me but there was something at Hogsmeade that Ron, (I think it was Ron), suggested that Harry could just summon for the task, but they decided against it because muggles in the area were likely to spot it making its way to Hogwarts, which means a serious violation of Ministry rules.


Choco* - Jan 4, 2003 4:08 pm (#5 of 24) They considered accio-ing an Aqualung, but decided that it would look very suspicious to Muggles.


Genipher - Jan 4, 2003 4:26 pm (#6 of 24)

Plus, Molly accio-ed the forbidden candy from the twins' pockets without knowing exactually where it was.


Jackie Smith - Jan 4, 2003 4:29 pm (#7 of 24)

If wizards can only accio objects when they know where they are, how did Mrs. Weasley accio all the candy and stuff from "unlikely places" on Fred and George???


NoVeil4Me - Jan 4, 2003 4:36 pm (#8 of 24)

More than raising the eyebrows of muggles, the trio nixed the idea of an aqualung because Harry didn't know how to use one and there is a strong possibility that it would not work at Hogwarts.


Marè - Jan 5, 2003 2:16 am (#9 of 24)

Jackie, a lot of people think that Molly could accio all the candy because she did know her sons well enough to know they had candy on them.

In another thread ( no longer existing, Editor ) someone suggests that a wizard with more power doesn't have to be so precise to use the accio spell. It is also mentioned there that Crouch/Moody accio-ed without a wand.


azi - Jan 5, 2003 6:33 am (#11 of 24)

There are limits on magic and what's the point of using magic to search for something when you don't need to?


Nine - Jan 5, 2003 8:20 am (#12 of 24)

There's an essay about this on the Lexicon. It says, in short, that familiarity, being able to see the object, or knowing the object well and knowing where it is would be required to accio an object, depending on the wizard's power level. The essay, if you want to go look, is at [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]


ex-FAHgeek - Jan 6, 2003 8:34 am (#13 of 24)

There's an essay about this on the Lexicon. It says, in short, that familiarity, being able to see the object, or knowing the object well and knowing where it is would be required to accio an object, depending on the wizard's power level.

An excellent essay, although I do think that there's another reason why Molly could Accio the twins' secret stash - aim. She's pointing directly at their pockets at very close range, so regardless of familiarily and knowledge it should be relatively easy to pull out their little surprises.


NoVeil4Me - Jan 6, 2003 8:52 am (#14 of 24) The toffees come zooming out of the rolled up hem on their pants too....I doubt Molly was aiming there. I think it was more a very focused accio that encompassed what she was looking for...the candies.


Lenka - Jan 6, 2003 9:20 am (#15 of 24)

Yeah, so you basically have to be pointing your wand in the direction. Like if Harry tried to summon (yes, that's the propper word when dealing with 'accio' charm) his broom, and was pointing the opposite way from where the castle was, the would likelly be no effect. Plus, as someone mentioned earlier, I think it's very likely one can summon animals, and even people (banishing charm is supposed to be very alike to the summoning charm, only with opposite effect, and Neville banishes Professor Flitwick). I think you can't summon things where there's barier between you and them, because Harry opened the window of his dormitory on purpose before the first task, and took the firebolt out of his trunk.


Detail Seeker - Feb 3, 2003 3:13 pm (#17 of 24) Nine wrote : There's an essay about this on the Lexicon. It says, in short, that familiarity, being able to see the object, or knowing the object well and knowing where it is would be required to accio an object, depending on the wizard's power level.

The familiarity may be necessary to know the exact amounts and types of powers to activate to summon something. A "Summon everything" charm may either go over the powers of the summoner or alter or destroy the summoned thing.


Nine - Feb 3, 2003 3:34 pm (#18 of 24)

A "summon everything" spell would probably require a few more specific parameters, such as area (probably limited to sight), type of object, or limitations on amount to be summoned (limited by power).


hogwartsexpress - Feb 4, 2003 4:44 pm (#19 of 24)

Plus, as someone mentioned earlier, I think it's very likelly one can summon animals, and even people -

If this so, why didn't the ministry just summon Sirius Black while they were looking for him.

Also, for the third task, why didn't harry just summon his broomstick, and fly over the hedges, to the cup in the middle?


Nine - Feb 4, 2003 4:48 pm (#20 of 24)

I think sentient or partially sentient creatures would be able to resist a summoning charm. And I doubt that familiarity or knowledge of location applies to someone trying to summon Sirius because they don't know, so one would have to be very powerful to even try, and then it would be limited by distance, obstacles, etc.


Lenka - Mar 13, 2003 12:27 pm (#21 of 24)

I think it gets harder with increased distance (didn't Hermione say summoning a broomstick from the castle was hard because it was too far?) and you need to try to point accurately.

As for Molly Weasley saying just "Accio", I have a theory that you need to say the spell exactly if you're learning(vingardium leviosa), but when you get good at it, you don't need to say the words any more (Dumbledore's silent wand-waving). makes sense?



Nine - Mar 13, 2003 4:19 pm (#22 of 24)

It depends on the spell and the caster's power level. Some spells may become wordless or wandless with practice, others (such as the Patronus) may always require both wand and words


Detail Seeker - Apr 28, 2003 2:19 pm (#23 of 24) The incantation of a spell seems to me to be just a means of activating a special energy pattern in the caster ´s brain and body. This energy pattern is the spell, not the words. So doing the incantation silently or just thinking and concentrating on it will do the job, too.

We hear on at lest three occasions, that bad pronounciation of an incantation can make , that it does either not work or have unforseen effects.

So it seems, that the incantation is unconsciously connected to energy patterns in a "magical brain", That means, casting a spell has something of a reflex action. You know, what you want to be done, you have learned an incantation to effect this - but you don ´t know what exactly you are doing.

This implies, that synthesizing new spells faces the problem to work with subconscious knowledge. The main point being to find the point, where a new problem can be attacked by means, you know already- the normal scientific approach, considering conscious knowlegde, but doing this on unconscious knowledge is quite hard. Added to this comes the lack of analytic abilities, that are taught at Hogwarts.
Hufflepuff Prefect
Hufflepuff Prefect

Posts : 1440
Join date : 2011-02-19
Age : 49
Location : France

Back to top Go down

Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread) Empty Re: Mechanisms of Magic (Condensed Thread)

Post  Sponsored content

Sponsored content

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum