'The Folly of Wizarding Tattoos'

Daily Prophet March 1995

By Andrew Simmons

It's come to my attention that a few young fools have decided to restart the tradition of getting tattoos. It's a fad that reoccurs every few decades before some bright witch or wizard goes too far and scares everyone off the idea again. History has shown that any magical being who permanently inks anything into their skin is in for a, usually unpleasant, surprise.

What we have learned is relatively simple. If a wizard designs his own tattoo, and spells it on himself, the tattoo will do exactly as he wants it to… if he of course has the proper wandwork and pronounces everything specifically right. If he goes to the Ministry and gets a certified Magical Symbologist put the tattoo on, it will perform the magic he desires as well. However, you cannot simply turn the tattoo on or off. If you enchant your tattoo to move around your body, it will move no matter what. If you allow a dog tattoo to bark, it will bark whenever it wants. And magical tattoos have proven nearly impossible to remove. Simply cutting off the skin and using a re-growing potion will have the skin come back with the tattoo still prominent.

Magical Symbologist Jerry Klacker puts it this way: "When you ink a tattoo of any kind on your skin, it also tends to 'ink' itself on your magical core. Since it withdraws the magic to operate from your core itself, if you try to remove it, it will not leave unless you remove the magic it is drawing from…. In effect removing a portion of your magic".

This is a serious thing to consider when thinking about getting a tattoo. A few well known cases of Magical Tattoos gone wrong include Orion Decurus Lestrange in the early 1300's, who tattooed himself with black dragons that he intended to spit fire at enemies. However, the dragons instead set his clothing alight, and whoever came close enough were fair game for the pesky beasts. In the early 1900s famous Auror Grisle Falkonwore had an eye tattooed on the back of his neck so he could see enemies behind him. Unfortunately the mind was not made to have three eyes, and ever after he tended to stumble and stagger around, and soon was forcibly retired after accidently cursing Octavion Malfoy with a Balding Jinx instead of the coworker he was planning to prank. More recently, curse his name, the infamous You-Know-Who was known to force all his followers to receive his own magical tattoo that could allow them to teleport straight to his side, and if his Name were ever said in the presence of one who had the tattoo he would be able to listen in on anything that was said. And of course, in all the cases above the tattoos took up enough magic that removing them would result in immediate squib-hood.

But what about purely Muggle tattoos? If it is unenchanted, can it be easily removed? The answer is no. The few Wizards that have tried it have found it entirely unstable, and an even bigger risk then a purposefully enchanted tattoo. It seems, when a wizard gets a tattoo without it being applied with a spell and a purposeful intention, the magic of the recipient of the tattoo will spontaneously activate it. Mary Kiggler, bless her soul, who at the time was chaser for the Chudley Cannons, found this out when she went with her friends to get a small fire salamander tattoo on her shoulder in response to a lost bet. After waking up the day after getting the tattoo she felt a horrible burning sensation. Looking in the mirror, she saw that the salamander was dancing in fire that had not been tattooed there, and that the fire was actually burning her skin. After going to the hospital to be treated with the burns, and finding out that anytime it got dark the tattoo would again burst into the flames, she had to have it removed… and found to her horror that the loss of the magic that powered the tattoo took away her ability to fly on a broom.

As you can see, it is complete folly for any wizard or witch to get a tattoo of any kind. When looking at more unpleasant examples, Frederick Virefrock… (Cont. on Pg. 7b)