The Shrieking Shack is an abandoned house in Hogsmeade. For many years, villagers thought it was haunted because they often heard screams coming from inside, and Albus Dumbledore encouraged the rumour, as he was the one who commissioned it, due to Remus Lupin's Lycanthropy.
According to Nearly Headless Nick, not even the Hogwarts ghosts will enter it. The Shrieking Shack's entrance from the Hogwarts Grounds is the base of the Whomping Willow. The trick is to poke the knot in the trunk, which paralyses the tree. The secret passageway can be seen on the Marauder's Map.
- "This house, the tunnel that leads to it-they were built for my use. Once a month, I was smuggled out of the castle, into this place, to transform. The tree was placed at the tunnel mouth to stop anyone coming across me while I was dangerous."
- —Lupin reveals the Shack's history[src]
In reality, the Shrieking Shack was only used so that Remus Lupin would have a place for his monthly transformations into a werewolf in secret and in safety, during the time he was a student attending Hogwarts. Madam Pomfrey used to escort Lupin into The Shrieking Shack before his transformation. The yells and shouts heard by the villagers were really Lupin biting and scratching himself due to lack of humans to infect.
The "shack" actually has no working doors or windows that allow entry or exit of the premises. The entrance is through a tunnel under the Whomping Willow on Hogwarts's school grounds. This allowed Remus Lupin (and James Potter, Peter Pettigrew, and Sirius Black) to pass between the two locations unnoticed (as Animagi or Werewolf).
One year Sirius thought it would be funny to lure his arch-nemesis Severus Snape to the Shack where Lupin was due for his monthly transformation, in order to eliminate Snape from spying on them. James saved Severus in time, but not before Snape witnessed what Lupin was, though he was forbidden from telling anyone else.
In 1994, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were led into the shack when Sirius Black, as a dog, dragged Ron off into the underground passage, located underneath the Whomping Willow. While inside the shack Harry then found out who had really betrayed his parents and Scabbers' true identity was revealed. During the confrontation, Remus Lupin and Severus Snape also entered the shack. Remus entered to assist his friend in exposing the true betrayer, and Snape attempted to capture Sirius.
The Shrieking Shack was later used by Lord Voldemort and several of his Death Eaters in 1998 as a hideout during the Battle of Hogwarts. Severus Snape was killed by Nagini in this very building, while Harry, Hermione and Ron watched helplessly from their hiding spot. It is unknown whether they knew that if they went down the stairs and through a passage they would be in the Castle Grounds next to the Whomping Willow. It is also unknown if it was disassembled, but it is likely the house remained on Hogwarts grounds.
- "It was a room, a very disordered, dusty room. Paper was peeling from the walls; there were stains all over the floor; every piece of furniture was broken as though somebody had smashed it. The windows were all boarded up."
- —A description of the Shack[src]
The Shrieking Shack was an abandoned house, with the windows and doors boarded up. The rooms and halls were all dirty, covered with dust, and the furniture was moth-eaten and broken. There was a chair in the foyer of the Shack that had one of its legs ripped off.
In the foyer, a staircase leads to the second floor. In one of the rooms, there is a magnificent but dusty four-poster bed with rickety doors, and in the film adaptations, the walls are shown to slowly move. This room is also where Peter Pettigrew was caught.
Behind the scenes
- Severus Snape had a terrible history with the Shack. In 1975, Sirius Black told Severus that if he went under the Whomping Willow, he would find out what was wrong with Remus; this would have lead to his death, as Remus was in werewolf form. On 6 June, 1994, Severus was disarmed, and knocked unconscious. On 2 May, 1998, Severus was ultimately killed in the Shrieking Shack by Nagini under Voldemort's orders.
- In the film adaptation Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Snape instead dies in the Boathouse.
- In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the walls of the Shack are shown to slowly move.
- The Shrieking Shack is shown more as a large two-story house rather than a shack in the film adaptations.
- The second moment of Chapter Fourteen on Pottermore, in which the Shack first appears, is titled "The Shrieking Shack".
- Given a werewolf's superhuman strength when transformed, Dumbledore likely enchanted the shack's structure to be abnormally durable and possibly added enchantments to make it impossible for Lupin to exit during his transformations.
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