A Lethifold is a magical creature called the “Living Shroud”. It is a highly dangerous creature that is aggressive, attacks people, and is carnivorous.
Lethifold Quick Facts
|Eats human flesh, looks like a flying black cloak
This magical creature looks like a flying black cloak. The cloak is relatively thick and gets thicker if the creature has recently eaten human flesh, just like how human stomachs protrude after a heavy meal.
These creatures glide along physical surfaces worldwide, searching for humans to attack. When they find humans, they attack them at night while the human still sleeps. They suffocate the sleeping human and eat them.
The only protection against the Lethifold is to use a Patronus charm. They are related to Dementors, so it makes sense that the Patronus charm could be used to fend against attacks from either. Flavius Belby is the only character to have ever survived an attack. No other spells or jinxes work against the Lethifold.
There is very little known about these creatures. They are one of the most mysterious in the Harry Potter world. This rare species was originally found in tropical climates by a single wizard by the name of Flavius Belby.
Flavius Belby described a Lethifold attack as follows:
“It resembled nothing so much as a rippling black cape, the edges fluttering slightly as it slithered up the bed towards me.”
Flavius was on holiday in Papua New Guinea in 1782. He was attacked while asleep but managed to use the Patronus charm to repel the creature because he wasn’t fully asleep at the time of the attack. No other victims could protect themselves because they were asleep during the attack.
It is impossible to know how many victims this creature has taken because there are no clues about the creature or its victims. The victims disappear entirely after they are attacked, leaving no trace or evidence behind.
The name contains “Lethum,” which relates to the Latin word for death, ruin, and annihilation. It also contains the word “fold,” which is likely a reference to the folding of the clock as it moves.
Lethifold and Other Mythical Creatures
There hasn’t been much information readily available about these creatures because they only appear in the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
There are no books or written content from the author. The only information we have comes from the dialogue in this single movie, and it seems that the creature was designed specifically to help move the plot forward. In the film, a resolution comes at the end, and the creature has yet to be mentioned again in other films or books.
Still, there are connections to be made between this creature and other creatures not only in the Harry Potter universe but in ancient mythology.
The Lethifold is a large, flying creature resembling a dark cloak. They are one of the most mysterious magical creatures.
Nearly nothing is known about them other than how dangerous they are, how they move, and that they are carnivorous and attack humans in their sleep. They hunt at night so that they can strangle sleeping humans and devour them. Lethifolds are considered one of the most dangerous dark creatures.
They share many similarities to Dementors and are thought to be distant relations:
They move in similar fashions and share a few characteristics in terms of their appearance, although they are much more dangerous and carnivorous. It is very likely that they are related to the dementors but are a cousin to the dementors that only reside in tropical areas.
In ancient Egyptian mythology, there was a beast called Ammit. This Beast was responsible for devouring The Souls of the Dead, who could not achieve balance on the scales of truth.
Whenever a creature or person died, they would go to the hall of judgment, and their heart would be weighed on a set of scales against a feather. If they had been righteous and honest, there would be a balance between the feather’s weight and their heart.
But the Devourer would consume their soul if they didn’t achieve balance because they hadn’t been a good person. This shares many similarities with the Dementors who devour the souls of those considered bad, at least in the eyes of the Ministry of Magic.
I have to say I much prefer the concept of a single, all-knowing deity who has already listed what you need to do to not have your soul consumed over a Ministry of magic whose leadership is constantly changing and is fallible.
Ghosts and Poltergeists
I received a wonderful book, Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic as a gift one year. The British Library published the book. They published this book as part of a new Harry Potter exhibition in the UK.
Inside you’ll find images of artifacts released from the British Library archives as well as previously unseen manuscript pages and sketches. The book’s purpose is to provide some truth behind many of the themes, animals, potions, and other aspects of the magical Harry Potter world.
Each page is bursting with colors and graphics, and prints. In the chapter on the care of magical creatures, you learn outstanding things, like how people once believed that earthquakes resulted from giants moving around underground.
On one page, you learn that ghosts were meant to be the spirit of dead people or animals that haunted specific places, while Poltergeists were noisy ghosts whose purpose was to cause physical disturbances. This is important given that many of the aspects of the Dementors as well as the Lethifolds, share similarities with ghosts in terms of their movements, being slightly visible and sliding around wherever they travel.
Depression and Dementors
There are other arguments to be made that the dementor is a physical manifestation of depression.
In an interview with Oprah, JK Rowling noted that the dementor served as an avatar for depression because of the way they provide:
- That cold absence of any feeling.
- A complete loss of hope.
- An inability to think happy thoughts or protect themselves.
However, she did say that this was unintentional and that aspect came genuinely from the depression she experienced in her late twenties while she was writing the characters. If the dementors then represent depression, the Lethifold might represent unbridled anger or psychosis, where an individual no longer has control and gives in only to their darker side.
Lethifold Trivia and Fun Facts
- Technically the creatures are related to dementors. They share the same vulnerability to the casting of a Patronus charm, the same behavior, and they move in similar fashions. However, the wizarding world classifies them as beasts and classifies the Dementors as non-beings. Another key difference is that Dementors only eat the soul of their victims, whereas Lethifolds eat the entire victim.
- It seems that Lethifolds are only found in the tropics, and so far, there is no evidence that Dementors are found in the tropics, which supports the theory that they are a distant relation that simply survives in other environments.
Lethifold Appearances in Films:
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them