ByAndrew Morrison, writer at
Andrew Morrison is a twenty something year old theatre nerd with a passion for all things Potter.
Andrew Morrison
"Of the Horcrux, wickedest of magical inventions, we shall not speak nor give direction —"
--Magick Moste Evile

What is a horcrux? The simplest explanation is that a horcrux allows for a witch or wizard to live even if their body is destroyed. A more complex explanation is given to us by Dumbledore's trusted ally.

"A Horcrux is the word used for an object in which a person has concealed part of their soul... Well, you split your soul, you see, and hide part of it in an object outside the body. Then, even if one's body is attacked or destroyed, one cannot die, for part of the soul remains earthbound and undamaged."
--Horace Slughorn

This explanation, and Dumbledore's subsequent search for Voldemort's horcruxes, is what drives the entire plot of "Harry Potter".

But do horcruxes actually exist? Can one preserve one's body? Is there even a way to preserve one's soul?

Since ancient times, humans have always been fascinated with preserving one's body. The Chinchorro culture in the Atacama desert -- present-day Chile and Peru -- are the earliest known people to have performed artificial mummification to preserve the body; also known as embalming (5000-6000 BC). Perhaps the best known cases of embalming come from the ancient Egyptians; who believed that the soul would return to the body in the afterlife.

Embalming was practiced in many early cultures; such as the Ethiopians, Peruvians, and Indians, but was not widely adopted by Europeans until the dawn of the Roman Empire.

Today, embalming is a much more common practice than one may realize. Even without the open-casket viewings of deceased loved-ones; it is generally required for morticians to drain the blood and replace it with embalming fluid.

Some people are even cryogenically frozen until such a time as the medical field advances far enough to reawaken them from their frozen state in a fully functioning manner.

I will admit that body preservation is not necessary in the creation of a horcrux. It just provides a vessel for the soul.

But what of souls? Can we preserve them as well?

The soul is harder to understand. It is thought to be the spiritual and immaterial part of a human being and; therefore, immortal. Of course, being immaterial, there are no physical methods of preserving the soul.

It seems everyone these days is obsessed with their phones. We have Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and other social networks in which we are constantly engrossed. Anything and everything that has ever been done online has been saved in cyberspace and cannot be destroyed by anything that we know of. That sounds a lot like a horcrux to me.

In "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince", we learn that a horcrux can only be destroyed by something that would put the vessel beyond magical repair. Basilisk venom, Feindfyre, and the killing curse are the only known forces that can put an object beyond magical repair.

Cyberspace is digital space. What can destroy digital space? According to, digital files are not deleted; but overwritten. This means that the original information always underlies whatever information replaces it. Nothing that we know of can destroy digital space.

I submit that, in this analogy, digital space is the vessel and our thoughts and ideas; our "soul", is the horcrux. But there is one element missing; a supreme act of evil.


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