A graveyard in Edinburgh has become the focus of Harry Potter fans, who believe the cemetery contains the final resting place of Potter’s nemesis, Lord Voldemort.
Every week hundreds of Potter fans (”often dressed as wizards”) leave messages at the grave of Thomas Riddell, esquire, a 19th century gentleman, who died in 1806, at the age of 72.
Riddell is buried in Greyfriar’s Kirkyard, which is best known for its association with “Greyfriar’s Bobby” the ever faithful dog that kept watch over his master’s grave for fourteen years, but now the graveyard is attracting Harry Potter enthusiasts from all over the world.
Fans believe Greyfriar’s was a source of inspiration to author J. K. Rowling, as it contains the graves of Thomas Riddell and world’s worst poet William McGonagall, whose names are associated with the characters Tom Riddell, aka Lord Voldemort, and Madam Professor Minerva McGonagall, the head of Gryffindor.
Rowling wrote many of the Harry Potter books in the Elephant House Cafe, situated across from Greyfriar’s, and has said she regularly walked through its grounds. Of further interest to Potter fans is George Heriot’s School, which borders the graveyard, and is said to have been the basis for Hogwart’s.
Last year, the Edinburgh Evening News reported on the many Potter fans leaving messages, letters and cards to Lord Voldemort at Thomas Riddell’s grave:
The notes appear to have been left by people from all over the world. One says, “RIP Tom, thank you for making us all believe in magic. You are an inspiration.”
But not all visitors believe the magic, with one mean-spirited note saying: “Dear idiots, you know there’s a difference between fiction and reality, right?”
Councillor Richard Lewis, city convener for culture and sport, is welcoming of yet another addition to the city’s tourist trail. He said: “If Thomas Riddell’s gravestone draws more visitors to this already popular destination then it is to be welcomed”
Now, Edinburgh City Council has decided to remove all notes and letters out of respect the real Mr. Riddell and his family. Officials also say they wish to “preserve the appearance” of the graveyard.