Location: Hogwarts is an extremely exclusive and prestigious school limited only to specific students of singular talent or aptitude (ages 11-18) from certain affluent and influential families in Great Britain. As such, the school grounds are closed off to outsiders, and visitors not connected to her students are not permitted. It's exact location is unrevealed, but it is located somewhere near Hogsmeade Village in the Scottish Highlands.
Description of Place: According to a source, Hogwarts is a huge rambling twelve story castle with a jumble of towers, parapets and battlements with extensive grounds of courtyards, sloping lawns, flowerbeds and vegetable patches, a loch known only as Black Lake, an athletics field, a neighboring dense forest and a number of out-buildings including greenhouses, huts, cottages and an owlery (a habitat for owls). It is claimed the structure is riddled with secret passageways atop a network of caves. It's a co-educational secondary boarding school with somewhere between six hundred kids to a thousand, outranking Edinburgh's Loretto School. There students preside in four houses on campus named for the four school founders.
Ghostly Manifestations: There are several locations that are just not open to paranormal investigations. Either the location no longer exists, the present-day owners refuse to have paranormal researchers traipsing around, or the location is so vague that the structure just may as well not exist. Hogwarts is one of them. The existence of the school borders between rumor and fact. There are no records that such a school exists; yet, two of her students have been quite open to the Collinsport Ghost Society about the ghosts that exist there. By their admission, "Hogwarts could be its name, but then, it could well be not. The school does exist, but I may be hiding it behind a different name, and then again, I may not be. I could be describing practically any school anywhere, but you may never know."
Rather than giving their own names, the two students instead decided on a bit of anonymity, instead referring to themselves as "Jason" and "Medea," the names of the two main characters from the Argosy. They are graduates of the elitist academy and can describe it with such fluid detail that it must be real. According to them, the school is quite haunted. The apparitions are varied; their nicknames based on their descriptions, such as "The Fat Friar."
The Fat Friar, according to Jason, is the resident ghost of his house on campus. There are four houses, and each of them have a spirit that presents himself eventually to each of the students eventually. He's a harmless ghost; his laughing can be heard from time to time in the dorm, even resonating out through the school. There's also the Gray Lady who presides in another of the houses. Jason doesn't know much else about her.
Medea speaks of a ghost she calls "Nearly Headless Nick" who haunted her house. According to her, he was in life a knight named Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington, who was improperly beheaded sometime around 1650. Despite his frightening visage sometimes carrying his head by his side, Medea claims he's a peaceful ghost who simply wanders the seventh floor of the east wing toward the hall although its rumored he's been seen elsewhere as well.
Of the fourth and last house, Jason and Medea have little to speak of the Bloody Baron, possibly the most frightening of the apparitions. He has been seen several times over hundreds of years and described with blank, staring eyes and covered in blood.
Of the other ghosts, Medea remarks that one of the girls bathroom is haunted by the apparition the other girls have nick-named "Moaning Myrtle." Her moans and recurring apparitions keep that third floor bathroom from being used. Myrtle supposedly died in there in 1942 of unrevealed reasons. Since then, her reflection has popped up several times and her moans have scared away many who accidentally wandered into the bathroom.
Another oft seen apparition is that of Professor Cuthbert Binns, a history teacher, who apparently one day "dozed off one day then went off without his body to teach his classes." While no one knows exactly just how long he's been haunting the school, it is known he's been seen several times near his old classroom, his voice sometimes echoing the teacher in there trying to teach class.
Beyond the gardens and manicured courtyards, there is a sports field and arena, the scene for several sports and sport-related gathering. The arena has its own ghost who has appeared at practically every tournament. It's believed the ghost is that of Edgar Clogg about which nothing else is known. Neither Jason or Medea are sure why he is haunting the arena or who he was in life beyond his name.
There is also one other headless apparition oft-times confused with the apparition of Sir Nicholas de Mimsy Porpington. Whether or not they are both apparitions of the same figure, this apparition has been seen on occasion wandering into the courtyard from the nearby forest. Supposedly, this specter could be that of Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore who lost his head in a fatal Eighteenth Century hunt. He's been blamed for the boisterous laughter heard in the entry way, but whether this is the same ghost, "Nearly Headless Nick" or yet another candidate is unrevealed.
There are at least two other ghosts not known to have nicknames. Around Christmas, the apparition of a ragged man dragging chains has been heard rattling his chains. Sometimes seen, but more often heard, Medea refers to him as Old Jacob, comparing him to the Ghost of Jacob Marley in "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Jason also repeats second hand of a revenant he heard about in passing. Some of the graduates describe a specter of a knight with an arrow through his head. He thinks it could be the ghost of King Harold II of Britain who was slain by William the Conqueror in 1066, but just what the Saxon ruler would be doing so far from his homeland is unrevealed. It is known that Harold II was slain by an arrow to his head. Another ghost is that of the Wailing Widow of Kent, believed to have followed a student here in the Seventies and stayed behind.
The school also has its resident poltergeist known for tossing books, moving things, hiding objects and sometimes screaming its head off once or twice a month. His appearance seems to appear with occurrences of the Bloody Baron, possibly suggesting they are one and the same. Nevertheless, the older student sometimes refer to him as Peeves as a sign of their frustration with him. It's possible this entity could actually be what is known as an elemental, a mischievous spirit known through Great Britain.
In addition to the hauntings, there are other phenomenon of a paranormal nature. Electrical devices don't work well or at all in the school. Paintings and decor seem to change. Jason reports that the portraits and sculptures seem to turn and watch the students passing through the castle. It's also claimed that rooms tend to move around, but this could be due to the eclectic layout of the interior. The location is riddled with secret doors, lost passageways and forgotten corridors. The grounds seem to have a mystical nature about them, and at night, the castle seems to come alive. Despite its self-imposed seclusion, Hogwarts seems to be a location harboring many secrets.
History: The history of Hogwarts is as secret as its reputation, but it has been a practicing institution for some time, maintaining a legacy of privacy and strict exclusion to the types of students it allows. According to legend, it was founded by four founders, names unrevealed, in the Tenth Century, making it possibly one of the oldest longest existing schools in history. (Much of the history and traditions of the school are not allowed to be revealed by its students.) However, there were no twelve-story castles in Tenth Century Scotland, so the location may have been added to and rebuilt over the years. The school could be linked to an obscure Celtic legend of a group of druids who vanished into Caledonia (modern Scotland) to avoid converting into Christian tradition. Ancient lore claims these druids taught their pagan arts and crafts to loyal followers to keep them from being forgotten, but there is no known connection to Hogwarts to this legend.
Identity of Ghosts: Beyond the identities already to attributed to several of the ghosts, the true names of the ghosts at Hogwarts are unrevealed. Not even the staff are sure how many ghosts on their grounds, but Jason believes there could be almost a hundred.
Source/Comments: Harry Potter (2001/2002/2004/2005/2007) Based on the series of books by J. K. Rowling. Research culled from Hogwarts Ghosts and the Ghosts of Hogwarts.