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Credence Barebone

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Credence Barebone[2] was an American wizard who lived during the 20th century.[3][4] He was the adopted son of Mary Lou Barebone, the leader of the New Salem Philanthropic Society, a No-Maj anti-witchcraft group.[3][4]

Credence had two adoptive sisters, Chastity and Modesty, and lived with them and his adoptive mother. Chastity is stated to be the middle of the three children and since Modesty is clearly younger than her siblings, this would mean that Credence is the eldest of the three.[5]

Credence was an Obscurial. He is also so far the most powerful obscurial known of in wizarding history and the longest lived. Where as most obscurials die before their 10th birthday, Credence has live well past that age. This is a testament to his incredible power as a wizard.


Early life

Credence was born to a loving unnamed witch and was well loved during the time that he was with her. Credence was not with his mother long though. She died when he was young. He was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, an anti-witchcraft preacher who physically abused him, causing him to suppress his magic. But there was more to this act than meets the eye. She knew what his mother had been and knew that Credence might hold the same taint as she had. Mary Lou referred to her as a "wicked, unnatural woman," suggesting she may have played some part in the witch's death. While the act of taking him in was a kind one, her true goal became perfectly clear as she did everything in her power to force Credence to suppress and hate magic.

Obscurus manifestation


Credence with Gellert Grindelwald

By 1926, Everything came to a head during one of the Second Salem meetings at the church. His mother was taking a belt to him when the witch Porpentina Goldstein rushed forward to his defense. Tina magically assaulted Mary Lou, saving Credence from that beating and comfort him with a hug. And even though he had been obliviated afterwards, Credence found himself dreaming of the woman who had saved him from his mothers wrath frequently after this event.

Credence was losing control of his Obscurus, and it manifested in outbursts that were wreaking havoc in New York. During this time, he was contacted by Gellert Grindelwald, disguised as Percival Graves, who asked him to help find the Obscurial child in the Second Salem Church; in return Credence was promised to be made free and taught magic.

On 6 December, after a failed attempt by the Second Salemers to garnish the support of Henry Shaw Senior and being insulted by his son the senator, Credence's Obscurus manifested and attacked a fund-raising dinner at City Hall, killing the senator.

The next day, Credence found a toy wand in Modesty's bedroom, but, despite Modesty admitting it was hers, their foster mother assumed it was his.[6] As Mary-Lou prepared to punish Credence, Modesty admitted it was hers, and the belt was torn from Mary Lou's hand. An Obscurus burst free at that moment and killed both Mary Lou and Chastity.[7]

Still in the form of Graves, Grindelwald came for him and demanded Credence take him to Modesty, who had fled the destruction to her home before she was adopted. Once there, Grindelwald told Credence that he had no further use for him and calls him a squib. This betrayal caused Credence to reveal his Obscurus, to the surprise of Grindelwald. Although Grindelwald attempted to apologise and offered to train him, Credence lost control and transformed completely into an Obscurus, going on a rampage. Grindelwald pursued him, and the pair were found by Newton Scamander. Newt managed to calm Credence down in a subway tunnel, only for him to start attacking Grindelwald before Newt can gain his attention; Tina manages to calm Credence once more. Soon after, Seraphina Picquery and Aurors from MACUSA arrive and proceed to attack Credence, only stopping when they believe he is destroyed, though a single shred of his Obscurus form flees the scene, unseen to anyone but Newt.

Personality and Traits

He is described as "troubled" and "mysterious."[3][4] Shy and withdrawn, this makes him far more vulnerable to the abuse that came in response to the slightest infraction of his adoptive mother's strict rules. His timid personality also makes him susceptible to manipulation by Gellert Grindelwald, who takes a personal interest in him.[2]

However, when Credence is insulted or threatened, his Obscurus form is unleashed, which is triggered by his negative emotions which he acts violently on, causing wide-spread destruction and death to those who provoke him. Namely, he attacks Mary Lou Barebone because of the abuse the latter inflicts on him for so long, and Henry Shaw Junior for the way he mocks him.

After years of abuse at the hands of his adoptive mother, Credence Barebone becomes a very timid and socially awkward young man. Credence's life is also micromanaged by his repressive and abusive mother, so he doesn't know how to handle situations outside of the norm. He is very withdrawn and easily intimidated by people in positions of authority. He is quiet and suffers from anxiety whenever he is forced to interact with new people, forced into stressful situations, or comes into contact with large crowds, which, for the most part, are fairly unusual to his daily routine.

Credence is scared, lonely, and down right terrified of making any mistakes that would displease his mother. He has no friends outside and has been publicly humiliated more than once by his mother's open abuse in front of the Second Salemers. Credence is compliant and passive in most situations as he already knows the punishment if he decides to step out of line or defend himself.

Be that as it may, Credence is actually quite desperate for love, affection, and acceptance to the point that he is easy to manipulate and control, particularly by Grindelwald, to the point that he is willing to risk the wrath of his mother to help his manipulator or friend.

While Credence will keep his head down in most cases, name calling affects him far deeper than one might think reasonable and betrayal even more so. He is easily overwhelmed and has been known to have emotional breakdowns that are usually done in private where no one can see unless he is with someone that he truly trusts.

Despite the tragedy and negative influences in his life, Credence is quite curious regarding magic and the wizarding world. He listens closely to Grindelwald's words and eagerly believes his promises to teach him magic and allow him to be part of the wizarding community. He is also exceptionally polite and well mannered (probably because of Mary Lou's strict up bringing) and follows the rules given to him unless they interfere with more important matters.

Magical abilities and skills

  • Obscurus Transformation: Credence is an Obscurial, prone to unleashing or embodying an Obscurus due to years of being forced to suppress his magic. According to Newt Scamander, he is notably more powerful than other known Obscurials, living longer than any previously known.
  • High Magic Capability: While Credence never developed his magical abilities, his ability to survive for so long despite being an Obscurial indicated he had an immense amount of latent magical talent.


Mary Lou Barebone

Credence fears his mother due to years of emotional and physical abuse. She beats him with the intent of teaching him to suppress and be ashamed of his magical traits. By suppressing his magic, he develops an Obscurus. It is noted by Tina Goldstein that out of all Mary Lou's adopted children, Credence is the most hated, most likely because of his magic. Credence learns over the years to willingly surrender his belt for a beating when he knows he does something wrong. He tends to be passive when it comes to the beatings and he learns to take them without complaint. Despite living in an environment where magic is shunned, Credence tends to explore the ideas of wizardry and even entertain the thought of becoming part of the wizarding world. Mary Lou seems to be aware of Credence's interest in magic and does not hesitate to beat him if he shows any type of magic or interest in such.

Modesty Barebone

Since Modesty is young and curious, she shares Credence's secret interest in magic, therefore they trust each other very well. When Henry Shaw Junior insults Credence, she takes his hand to reassure him. Modesty often witnesses the beatings he gets from their mother and attempts to comfort him. Modesty occasionally confides to Credence that she misses the brothers and sisters she had before she was adopted, showing that she trusts him. When Credence finds the toy wand under Modesty's bed, Mary Lou believes it to be his and beats him, despite Modesty's attempt at convincing her it is hers. Modesty and Credence are very close, but after the Obscurus takes control of him and kills their adoptive family, she becomes fearful of him.

Chastity Barebone

The relationship between Chastity and Credence is unknown. They attend their mother's anti-magic rallies and meetings together and pass out leaflets, but not much interaction happens. Chastity witnesses Credence's beatings but makes no attempt at intervening or defending him.

Gellert Grindelwald

Grindelwald disguises himself as Percival Graves and uses Credence to try and locate the Obscurial, whom he believes is Modesty Barebone, promising him entrance into the wizarding world and training to perform magic. To Credence, Grindelwald is his only friend and the only person who truly understands and supports him. He heals his hands and comforts him when he confides in him about his mother's mistreatment. When the Obscurial attacks, Grindelwald tells Credence he has no use for him, calling him a squib, and goes after Modesty. Because of the emotional strain, Credence loses control over the Obscurus and Grindelwald realizes it was him, offering his partnership and training in wizardry. Credence is deeply hurt by his manipulation and runs at the sight of him. MACUSA's Aurors chase and attack him, and when Newt and Tina attempt to calm him and protect him, Grindelwald interrupts them to provoke Credence to cause more destruction; his goal was always to use the Obscurus to start a war between magical and non-magical people.


Credence is derived from the Latin credere meaning to trust and to believe, and from credentia, meaning belief.[8] Barebone is an Anglo-Saxon surname, thought to be taken from the name of an English village, Barbon or Barbourne.[9]

Behind the scenes


Notes and references

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