Harry Potter: Why Moaning Myrtle's Murder Case Was Never Solved
Talking to the ghost of a murdered person seems like an easy way to solve the crime. Why hasn’t anyone bothered to ask Myrtle about the monster that killed her?
- After Myrtle was killed, the Ministry investigators didn’t bother talking to her ghost to solve the case.
- Moaning Myrtle didn’t want to speak up herself and was busy tormenting her bully away from Hogwarts.
- The Ministry was happy with pinning the blame on Hagrid since it provided a quick closure to the case.
Moaning Myrtle is one of the most iconic ghosts of Hogwarts despite being a relatively new arrival at the local specter company. Murdered during Tom Riddle’s time as a student, Myrtle only died a few decades before Harry Potter enrolled, but she managed to take up more page time than any other ghost thanks to her case.
In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, we learn more about Myrtle’s murder and learn that the Ministry and Hogwarts authorities didn’t investigate it properly, pinning the blame on Hagrid. But why didn’t anyone ask Myrtle herself about it?
Reason One: Myrtle Was a Spiky Teenager
Ghosts are but imprints of the real people they once were, doomed to forever remain the same. Myrtle, for one, was a shy young teen who was bullied by her classmates and felt like she had no one — and in death, she stayed like that. Snarky and always offended, Myrtle saw her own death as some sort of retribution for her bullies.
Worse yet, Myrtle was a little girl afraid to speak up. In life, she feared drawing attention to herself; in death, she was the same. The idea of speaking to the authorities terrified her, and she would never do it herself. Her ghost even told Harry that she didn’t share her story because “no one asked her.” What did you expect?
Reason Two: Myrtle Didn’t Stay at Hogwarts
Now we know why Moaning Myrtle didn’t talk to the investigators herself. But what about them — why didn’t they speak to the murdered girl’s ghost to learn the truth? Well, most likely, Myrtle wasn’t in their reach at the time of the investigation. She was busy using her specter powers to get back at some of her old offenders and haters.
According to Myrtle herself, when she discovered that she’d become a ghost, she immediately decided to torment one Olive Hornby who used to bully her. Myrtle haunted Olive until the latter died, too — and if the bully was older than Myrtle at the time, it means that the unfortunate ghost was physically away from Hogwarts.
Reason Three: Hagrid Was the Perfect Suspect
Over the course of the Harry Potter franchise, we’ve seen more than enough ignorance and incompetence from those in power to assume that they were not interested in solving the case. They merely wanted it to have a satisfying conclusion so that the voters (for the Ministry) and the investors (for Hogwarts) would relax.
In this scenario, it’s clear why no one bothered to dig deeper. The best student, Tom Riddle, conveniently provided the investigators with the perfect suspect — a scruffy half-giant with a pet Acromantula. The wizarding community has always hated half-bloods like him, so it was the most comfortable solution for the officials.
Most likely, the investigators themselves didn’t believe Hagrid was guilty: otherwise, he would’ve been sent to Azkaban for murder. But for the public, pinning the blame on the half-giant provided a quick and satisfying resolution to the notorious murder at Hogwarts. So what if a little girl remained unavenged, an innocent person was punished, and the real murderer walked free and even received an award for it?