This is my sixth time doing this! This time, I talked to our Ghoul Studies Professor, Professor Esper. He has strange tattoos, and really likes dead people. He talks to them a lot. Maybe more than he talks to living people. I am not supposed to call them dead people, though, or ghosts. He likes to call them ‘people who have difficulty living’ or something like that. I looked up a bunch of words in my Welsh-English dictionary, because I did not know the exact word he was using. Maybe we should call them ‘breathing-challenged,’ or ‘vitally-limited,’ or even ‘corporeally disadvantaged,’ but probably not ‘past their expiration date’ or ‘full-body amputee.’
We met in his office, and it was the first time I had been in a Professor’s office. So I first asked him:
Do you live here? There is no bed
He said he lives in the castle, but not in this room. Which is why there is no bed there. He said there is a Professors’ Dormitory, and he lives there. He has his own room there! I remember having my own room at Caermynydd. But now I have to share with four other girls. It is not bad, but sometimes Jericho snores.
What is your first name?
He said his name is Edward. That is a famous English name, of course. There were evil kings named Edward who invaded Wales many years ago. But I did not ask him about that, because I thought he might be sensitive about that sort of thing, kind of like Flutterby being raised by wolves.
Where did you grow up?
He said ‘Kent.’ But that is all he said. So I asked him:
Did you grow up on a farm? What was it like? I mean… If you did not grow up on farm, then you do not know what a farm is like. But you grew up somewhere. What was it like?
Professor Esper grew up in a village called Pluckley. Maybe they pluck chickens there. His family had an estate in the village, but it must not be a very big estate because villages are very small. He said Pluckley is the most haunted village in the UK. He said he spent most of his childhood looking for ghosts. I suppose maybe we could call them ‘formerly embodied people.’ I think he said he did this until this May of his mother, but I think I might have misunderstood.
Why are there so many ghosts in Pluckley?
He said it is because there are so many ghosts there already. Or perhaps ‘corporeally differently-abled people.’ So when people grow up there, they see all of these corporeally differently-abled people and decide they can do that too. But he did not say anything about plucking chickens, so it probably has nothing to do with that.
Is that why you teach Ghoul Studies?
He said yes, because he has always been interested in the deceased. Or maybe ‘post-vital people.’ He says his father thought he would be like this because there were many ghost sightings… Sightings of the apparitionary individuals… The year he was born. But he also says that it was Muggles who said they were seeing the formerly physical citizens, so perhaps they did not actually see them.
Have you been at Hogwarts a long time?
He was a Hogwarts as a student. But this is only the second year he has been having a vacation at Hogwarts. But that does not make any sense, because we go home for vacations. Then again, he does live here, so maybe Hogwarts is his vacation. Except that maybe I heard the word wrong.
Where were you before you were a Professor here?
He said he worked in Spirit Divisions at the Ministry of Magic for 18 years. Dividing spirits sounds very painful for the spirit. So just to make sure what he was doing there, I asked him:
What did you do there?
Professor Esper said that Spirit Divisions do many things. It is everything having to do with spirits. But this is not just ghosts (diaphanous post-human personages), it is also other things like boggarts and other words that I did not understand at all. He said that they also talk to the vivacity-challenged about their needs.
What is your favourite sweet?
He said he likes something called ‘taffy’ with salt water in it. I think that sounds disgusting, but Professor Esper is a little bit strange.
Why do you have the black marks on your face? Are they tattoos? Do they mean something?
The Professor has many tattoos. They are marks on his neck and face, and maybe other places too. Many of them are lily flowers, because they are for dead people. Or ex-biologicals. He said that the lilies are for specific respirationally challenged people who are important to him.
What is your favourite colour?
He said blue. And he said it right away, too! He thinks a lot before he talks sometimes.
Is that because you were a Ravenclaw? Were you a Ravenclaw when you were a student?
Professor Esper said he was a Ravenclaw, but that is not why he likes blue. He said he liked blue first, so being a Ravenclaw made Hogwarts easier for him. In Gryffindor, everything is red. There are red tapestries and red beds and red curtains and red towels. So if Ravenclaw is like that with blue, then he had a lot of blue around him.
What do you like most about Hogwarts?
He likes the translucent metabolically challenged residents. The ghosts. Hogwarts has more of them than anywhere else in the world. But he also said that now he is a professor, he also is starting to like the students. I did not ask him if he did not like students when he was a student.
What do you think about detentions? Do you give a lot of detentions?
He thinks detentions are good for learning. But he has not given one yet. Maybe he will now. Sorry about that. And then he talked about respect. Because there is something about respect and detentions.
Do you have anything you want to say to the students of Hogwarts?
He said that he wants to watch us perform. I think. And that a person has to have substance to see value in lesser things. I think. But he is very proud of us for being nice to the substance-disadvantaged (ghosts) at Hogwarts. And he said he wanted to thank the students for our efforts in and out of the classroom, so hopefully he will do that very soon.
Do you have a pet?
He has a cat, but it is not all his cat. Only some of it is his cat. It is not a dead cat, though. Or a materially post-actualization cat. It is a living cat who has another owner who is a ghost. So a materially post-actualization person. His name is Ash. He is shy. I asked how the ghost feeds the cat, but he feeds the cat. He said that the girl who first owned the cat was supposed to come to Hogwarts. She would have been a Third Year, and the cat was supposed to be with her at school. But she died, or rather, she transitioned to a corporeally nonmaterial state, before she could come to Hogwarts. And that is very sad. He seemed sad.
Can I make a picture of you?
He said yes, so here it is.
Professor Edward Esper is a nice man who likes formerly vital individuals very much and likes to teach us about them. He lives here in the castle in his own room in the Professors’ Dormitory, and he has a cat named Ash who also belongs to a post-respirational girl who was supposed to come here but did not make it in her still-biologically-active form. He is from a village named Pluckley in Kent where they probably do not pluck chickens, but where Muggles claim to see many vaporous post-corporeal citizens, but maybe they do not actually. And he has tattoos. He has never given a detention, but maybe after reading this he will start. Sorry about that.