- “Credence Barebone. Nearly destroyed by the woman who raised him. Yet now he seeks the mother who bore him. He’s desperate for family. He’s desperate for love. He’s the key to our victory.”
- ―Gellert Grindelwald
Credence Barebone (real name: Aurelius Dumbledore; born c. 1901) was an American wizard who lived during the 20th century. He was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, the leader of a No-Maj anti-witchcraft group called the New Salem Philanthropic Society. Due to the repression of his magic, Credence developed a parasitical force known as an Obscurus and became an Obscurial. While most Obscurials die before their tenth birthday, Credence lived into adulthood, which was previously unheard of in the Wizarding World, and a testament of his incredible power.
Credence was sought after by Gellert Grindelwald, who wanted to use his power to kill Albus Dumbledore. While in search of his true identity, Credence heeded Grindelwald's call and joined his army. Grindelwald then revealed Credence's alleged birth name: Aurelius Dumbledore.
Ship voyage to America (1901–1905)
- “A son cruelly banished
Despair of the daughter
Return, great avenger
With wings from the water.”
- ―A prophecy regarding Credence, from The Predictions of Tycho Dodonus
Born c. 1901 (allegedly to the Dumbledore family as Aurelius, according to Gellert Grindelwald) he was switched in the crib by a young Leta Lestrange for her half-brother Corvus during a voyage to America in 1901. When the ship sank during a storm, the life boat with Corvus capsized, drowning him and Aurelius' aunt. Aurelius was taken to America and put up for adoption in Corvus' place, unbeknownst to anyone but Leta.
- “His name’s Credence. His mother beats him. She beats all those kids she adopted, but she seems to hate him the most.”
- ―Tina Goldstein regarding Credence's family life
On 21 October 1905, he was adopted by Mary Lou Barebone, an American No-Maj woman who led the New Salem Philanthropic Society, a hardline anti-witchcraft group. She renamed him Credence Barebone, raising him in New York alongside her two other adopted children, Chastity and Modesty. Credence was the eldest of the three.
Whilst under Mary Lou's care, Credence was physically and mentally abused by her who attempted to suppress his magical abilities. She often used his own belt that left marks on his hands. The frequent abuse would cause him to become an Obscurial.
Mary Lou considered Credence's birth mother to be a "wicked, unnatural woman", suggesting that she was aware of his heritage.
Obscurus Manifestation 1926–1927
- “It’s okay.”
- ―Tina Goldstein comforting Credence
During one meeting, Mary Lou was physically abusing Credence but was magically assaulted by Auror Porpentina Goldstein. The open use of magic in front of a group of Muggles required extensive Obliviation and was a major scandal resulting in Porpentina's demotion to the Wand Permit Office.
Meeting Gellert Grindelwald
- “My vision showed only the child’s immense power. He or she is no older than ten, and I saw this child in close proximity to your mother—she I saw so plainly.”
- ―Gellert Grindelwald explaining his vision to Credence
By December 1926, Credence was losing control of his Obscurus, and it manifested in outbursts that were wreaking havoc in New York. These disturbances were noted both in the Muggle press such as the "New-York Clarion" and the wizarding press such as "The New York Ghost".
During that time, Credence came in regular contact with Gellert Grindelwald who's assuming the identity of Percival Graves. Due to a vision he had received, Grindelwald believes Credence to be connected to an powerful Obscurial that he was trying to locate. Grindelwald manipulates Credence into tracking it down for him. In exchange, Grindelwald promise Credence to free him from his abusive mother and teaching him magic.
Together with his adoptive family, Credence visits the newspaper company of Henry Shaw Senior. In an attempt by the Second Salemers to garner the support of Henry Shaw Senior, both he and his elder son the senator dismiss the Barebones as freaks, which appears to irk Credence. Later that night, Credence’s Obscurus manifested and attacked a fund-raising dinner at City Hall, killing the Senator as a result. This act unwittingly exposed the wizarding world.
Obscurial attack on New York City
- “Gellert Grindelwald: "You can control it, Credence."
Credence Barebone: "But I don’t think I want to, Mr. Graves."”
- ―Grindelwald argues with Credence's to control his Obscurus
The next day, Credence found a toy wand in Modesty's bedroom. Mary Lou immediately concluded that the wand belonged to Credence when she enters the scene, despite Modesty claiming it to be hers. As she prepared to beat him yet again, Credence's obscurus bursting free few seconds after. The dark force Kills Mary Lou and also Chastity in progress, causing heavy damage to the house.
Still in the form of Graves, Grindelwald arrives at the remains of the Second Salem Church and urges Credence to bring him to Modesty who had fled the destruction to her old childhood's home, since Grindelwald now believes she is the child that he foresaw. Grindewald believed Modesty to be the source of the Obscurus and not Credence, as Obscurials don't survive past age ten.
Once there, Grindelwald told Credence that he had no further use for him and dismisses Credence as being a Squib, despite his promises. This betrayal caused Credence to reveal his Obscurus, to the surprise of Grindelwald. Though Grindelwald attempted to apologise and offered to train him, Credence willingly let loose, transformed completely into an Obscurus and went on a mindless rampage of destruction through New York.
- “We see Credence from within the black mass, his face contorted, screaming. The barrage of spells continues and Credence howls in pain... Under this pressure, the Obscurus finally seems to implode — a white ball of magical light taking over from the black mass... All power subsides. Only small pieces of black matter are left — floating through the air like feathers.”
- ―Credence supposedly dies at the hands of MACUSA Aurors
Pursuing him to the subway station, Newt managed to calm Credence down only to engage in a battle with the treacherous dark wizard. Provoked by the fight, Credence resumed his Obscurial form, though Tina managed to get him to stop once more.
Rapported by the attack, Seraphina Picquery and Aurors from MACUSA arrived at the scene and proceeded to attack him with many spells, only stopping when they believed he was destroyed. However, a single shred of his Obscurus form fled the scene, unseen to anyone but Newt.
This attack resulted in Grindelwald's capture and the believed destruction of Credence. Ultimately, thousands of No-Majs were obliviated in order to protect wizarding secrecy.
Looking for his identity (1927)
Credence, in reality, survived and travelled to Paris, where he joined the Circus Arcanus, a travelling wizarding circus owned by the cruel ringmaster, Skender. There, Credence befriended a maledictus named Nagini, with whom he seemed to have a close relationship.
The escaped dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald also journeyed to Paris in search for Credence, in order to utilise his abilities to kill Albus Dumbledore.
Rumours surrounding Credence's identity began to circulate. Yusuf Kama believed he was Corvus Lestrange V, the son of Corvus Lestrange IV who Imperiused Kama's mother into marriage. Kama had made an Unbreakable Vow on his father 's deathbed to kill what Corvus IV loved most, which he believed to be Corvus V.
On the run with Nagini
Having had enough with their mistreatment, Credence and Nagini plotted their escape from the Circus Arcanus, where both Kama and Tina Goldstein had located him. Credence managed their getaway by releasing several of the beasts and fleeing in the ensuing chaos.
Following this, Credence found Irma Dugard, whom he believed to be his mother, as her name was on his adoption papers. Dugard revealed that she did not want to give him up, and noted that she was merely a servant to the Lestrange household. After a brief moment of tenderness, Gunnar Grimmson the bounty hunter murdered the half-elf woman, on orders of Grindelwald to keep Credence's identity a secret from him. The Obscurus manifested and Credence attempted to kill Grimmson, but failed to do so.
Grindelwald himself later offered Credence a chance to find out his true parentage, and gave him a map to the cemetery of Pere Lachaise. At the Lestrange Family Tomb, Credence and Nagini crossed paths with Kama; they were joined by Newt, Tina, Jacob, and Leta Lestrange, Kama's half-sister. Kama prepared to kill Credence, but Leta insisted that he was not her half-brother, as the real Corvus Lestrange died. Leta recounted her father sending her and her brother to America on a ship. Wanting to relieve herself of her screaming brother, Leta swapped him with another baby on the ship, that baby being Credence. The ship sank before Leta could switch the babies back, and the real Corvus Lestrange drowned.
Credence then attended Grindelwald's rally, which ended in the Aurors storming against the host. Grindelwald created a circle of blue flames, an enchantment designed to test the loyalty of his followers: those who enter with complete fidelity shall survive; those who do not, perish. Against Nagini's insistence, Credence entered the circle and joined Grindelwald, trusting that he had knowledge of his true identity.
Sometime later, at Nurmengard Castle in Austria, Grindelwald reveals to Credence that the baby bird he has been caring for is actually a phoenix. According to legend, a phoenix will appear to anyone of the Dumbledore Family in dire need. Grindelwald then presents him with a wand, as well as his birth name: Aurelius Dumbledore.
He has black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin. Credence Barebone often appeared to be troubled, nervous, or embarrassed. He tends to stand with his head bowed.
Credence was described as "troubled" and "mysterious". Shy and withdrawn, this made him far more vulnerable to the abuse that came in response to the slightest infraction of his adoptive mother's strict rules. His timid personality also made him susceptible to manipulation by Gellert Grindelwald, who took a personal interest in him.
However, when he was insulted or threatened, Credence's Obscurus form was unleashed. This Obscurus form was triggered by his negative emotions and experiences, and therefore was induced by them to act violently. This caused widespread destruction and death to those who provoked Credence. Namely, he attacked Mary Lou Barebone because of the abuse the latter inflicted on him for so long, and Henry Shaw Junior for the way the arrogant No-Maj politician had mocked him.
After being nearly killed by over 20 MACUSA Aurors on the orders of President Picquery, Credence became embittered towards most of the magical community, and, desperate to survive, and learn his true heritage, he joined the Circus Arcanus, and befriended fellow outcast Nagini. However, Grindelwald was once again able to manipulate Credence - taking advantage of the youth's desire to learn of his true heritage, Grindelwald convinced Credence to join his acolytes, convincing Credence so effectively, that even Nagini couldn't dissuade him. After finally being given a wand by his new master at Nurmengard Castle, Credence accepts his true heritage as Aurelius Dumbledore, accepts the gifted Phoenix, and seemingly agrees to help Grindelwald bypass the blood pact and kill Albus Dumbledore.
Magical abilities and skills
- High Magic Capability: While Credence never developed his magical abilities initially due to Mary Lou Barebone, his latent magical powers were immense, which allowed him to survive long past the age of 10, despite having an Obscurus inside him. After being given a wand for the first time, Credence instinctively cast a spell that fired a bolt of fiery energy so powerful, that it instantly destroyed a mountainside.
- Obscurus Transformation: Credence was an Obscurial, prone to unleashing or embodying an Obscurus due to years of being forced to suppress his magic. He was immensely more powerful than other known Obscurials, living longer than any previously known, and requiring over 20 MACUSA Aurors unleashing destructive spells to nearly destroy Credence, though the latter still managed to survive. Ever since then, Credence had acquired complete control over his Obscurus, being far more precise with his Obcurus attacks than before while fighting Gunnar Grimmson, with the bounty hunter being forced to constantly hold up a Shield Charm, Apparate away to safety. Gellert Grindelwald went so far as to claim to his acolytes that Credence's Obscurus was the only being apart from himself powerful enough to defeat and kill Albus Dumbledore, the so-called greatest wizard of all time.
- Charms: Credence, even prior to being officially trained by Grindelwald in the subject, was able to cast an incredibly powerful fiery spell.
- Wand versatility: Credence was able to effectively use the wand gifted to him by Grindelwald, without having been officially chosen by said wand, and Credence was even able to instinctively cast an extremely powerful fiery spell from that wand, pulverizing a mountainside.
- Apparation: Although where he learned how to was unknown (though possibly during the travels that lead to him joining the Circus Arcanus), Credence was able to Apparate away from Grindelwald's rally in Paris.
- Wand: After joining Grindelwald's army, Credence was given a wand by his new master.
- Phoenix: At Nurmengard Castle, this baby Phoenix approached Credence (now revealed to be Aurelius Dumbledore), fulfilling the Dumbledore family legend of a Phoenix coming to any Dumbledore who is in desperate need.
Credence is derived from the Latin credere, meaning to trust and to believe, and from credentia, meaning belief.Barebone is an Anglo-Saxon surname, thought to be taken from the name of an English village, Barbon or Barbourne.
On the other hand, Credence's alleged birth name Aurelius is derived from Latin aureus, meaning golden and gilded. Marcus Aurelius was a 2nd-century philosophical writer and Roman emperor. Aurelius was too the name of several early saints, such as Saint Aurelius.
Differences from the source material