AUBURN — Wearing black capes, the students of “Hogwarts,” a school that teaches witchcraft and wizardry, crouched on a Central Maine Community College classroom floor.

The 14 boys and girls grew silent, closed their eyes and put their heads down.

One, playing the role of the villain Voldemort, crouched up and touched a victim, “killing” that wizard.
Two more students playing Dumbledore and Hagrid, who were investigating the murder, entered the room and began asking questions. All the student wizards grew excited and started talking at once.

“Quietus!” called out Professor Snizzlewhip, played by instructor Araminta Matthews. She, too, was wearing a cape.

The latest Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” was released this week. Fans around the world stood in lines for tickets.

This week was also the “Magic for Muggles” CMCC summer camp for children ages 7 to 11. Prerequisite: love and knowledge of Harry Potter books and movies. The campers had plenty of that.

“I have three Harry Potter books and two movies,” said Bailey Spurr, 9, of Lewiston. She especially likes the movie sound effects, “the three-headed dog’s roar and growling for instance,” she said. As she talked, Bailey worked on a magic spell for little snowmen she was building.

Ryan Courbron, 10, of Lewiston showed off his wizard wand. “This is made of dragon-heart string.”
Andrew Craft, 10, of Lewiston signed up for the camp after “my best friends told me it was really good.” The best part of Magic for Muggles camp, he said, is playing Quiddich.

Quiddich?

It’s a sport in Harry Potter, Andrew explained to a confused reporter. “There are seven people on each team. Three chasers, two beaters, a keeper and a seeker,” he rattled off.

Wyatt Miller, 10, of Lewiston, took a stab.

“In real Harry Potter they play Quiddich on brooms,” he explained. “We don’t have brooms. We just run.”
They play Quiddich outside, the campers said, pointing to Quiddich goal posts visible from the window.

Andrew said his friends were right about the camp. He’s having fun. “The atmosphere is really good. Everyone’s happy.”

Inside the classroom, walls were covered with granite-stone paper making it look like a castle. Black cloths covered desks. Wands, wizard hats, test tubes and magic spell potions littered the room.

On the blackboard were “Hogwarts’ house rules,” which included no interrupting, wizards must listen to the professors, no snooping, no forbidden curses.

During the normal school year, Matthews (Professor Snizzlewhip) teaches English at CMCC and is involved in theater. Patricia Freestone-Phillips, also known as Magic for Muggles Professor Philpot, is also involved in theater.

The campers are not only having fun, they’re using their imaginations and learning some science Matthews said she veils as magic.

“When they come through the door, they suspend their disbelief and pretend to be a Hogwarts’ student for a week,” Matthews said.”They get to live a book for a week.”

As long as that book has good things in it, “what could possibly be better than living your favorite book?”

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Araminta Matthews, a.k.a. Professor Snizzlewhip, shops year-round for props for Central Maine Community College’s summer camp Magic for Muggles.


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