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The Lethifold (also known as the Living Shroud) is a carnivorous and highly dangerous magical creature. It is also considered a Dark creature because of its aggressive and violent nature.

Physical description

"It resembled nothing so much as a rippling black cape, the edges fluttering slightly as it slithered up the bed towards me."
Flavius Belby's account of a Lethifold attack[src]

The Lethifold resembles a black cloak roughly half an inch thick, and appears slightly thicker if the creature has recently digested a victim. It glides along surfaces in an unknown form of locomotion in search of its prey, humans. It attacks at night, when the target is asleep, by suffocating and then digesting it.

Protection from a Lethifold

The only effective protection against a Lethifold is a Patronus (similar to a Dementor). Other spells such as the Stunning Spell will not work.[1]

History

The Lethifold is a very rare species, and is found only in tropical climates. The first recorded survivor of a Lethifold attack was a wizard named Flavius Belby. In 1782, Belby was on holiday in Papua New Guinea, and he managed repel the attack because he was not fully asleep at the time. After unsuccessful repelling attempts with various spells, Belby managed to conjure a Patronus, which caused the Lethifold to release him and slink away. Previous victims had apparently been unable to do this because they were either asleep or Muggles (or both).

It is virtually impossible to determine the number of Lethifold victims, as the creatures leave no clues to their presence. Much easier to calculate is how many people have faked a Lethifold attack, for their own reasons. One known case of an individual attempting to fake a Lethifold attack was Janus Thickey, who disappeared in 1973, leaving behind a note reading "Oh no, a Lethifold's got me, I'm suffocating". Because of this and his empty bed, Thickey's wife and children began mourning him. However, he was soon discovered living five miles away with the landlady of the Green Dragon.[1]

Celestina Warbeck's parents met when the man who would become her father saved his future wife from a Lethifold that had disguised itself as a stage curtain during one of her performances.[2]

Etymology

"Lethifold" comes from two roots: lethum, variation of letum, which is Latin for "death", "annihilation", "ruin", and fold, which possibly pertains to the creature's cloak-like appearance. Lethi- is also similar to Levi-, which is reminiscent of levitation (an ability of the Lethifold) and levis, a Latin adjective, meaning "light" (a quality that Lethifold also possess). It can also be related to "lethal", which means "causing death". It is possible that the Ancient Greek lethe, the name of one of the rivers of Hades and meaning "forgetfulness", is also a point of origin, since mortals touched by its waters forgot their lives, ceased to struggle, and (generally) drowned.

Behind the scenes

  • It is possible that the Lethifold is related to the Dementor, as they share similar forms of movement, inhumane behaviours, and vulnerability to the Patronus Charm. However, Lethifolds have been classified as beasts, whilst Dementors are considered non-beings.
  • According to W.O.M.B.A.T., Dementors may be unknown in tropical regions, while Lethifold are found only in tropics.

Appearances

Notes and references