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Memory extraction spell

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"Snape pulled out his wand from an inside pocket of his robes and Harry tensed in his chair, but Snape merely raised the wand to his temple and placed its tip into the greasy roots of his hair. When he withdrew it, some silvery substance came away, stretching from temple to wand like a thick gossamer strand, which broke as he pulled the wand away from it and fell gracefully into the Pensieve, where it swirled silvery-white, neither gas nor liquid."
—Severus Snape casts this spell[src]

The memory extraction spell (incantation unknown) was used to remove single, specific memories from one's own mind and place them in a pensieve or a flask for storage or if they wished to see the memory again. It is unknown if it has an incantation.


When witches and wizards who have memories that they either wish to see more than once or memories that they cannot stand to think about again they remove it by placing the tip of their wand to their temple, then they slowly pull the tip away and bringing a long, silver strand with it. The witch or wizard would then take the removed memory and store it in a flask for storage (or for easy reach to put into a pensive) or they would store it in a pensive to revisit the memory.

Behind the scenes

  • As seen in the film adaptions, the extraction of memories can be painful at times as this was shown by Professors Dumbledore and Slughorn who both at least once had facial expressions as if they were having head pain when they extracted a memory.
  • In Order of the Phoenix, Dumbledore loaned his pensive to Professor Snape, who used it to store some sensitive memories while he was attempting to teach Legilimency to Harry Potter.


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