Tourists Flock to Harry Potter Grave in Israel

A grave in the Israeli town of Ramle is drawing Harry Potter fans. That's because the name on the tombstone is "Harry Potter."

The deceased is not the teenage wizard created by author J.K. Rowling, but rather a teenage British soldier killed in 1939. That fact is not stopping fans of the Harry Potter books and movies from visiting the site, however.

The backwater town hasn't been keeping track of visitor numbers, but tour guides say the tombstone has become a popular attraction, especially among Israelis.

"There is no connection with the Harry Potter we know from literature, but the name sells, the name is marketable," says Ron Peled, a tour guide who has brought dozens of groups to see the grave.

Ramle started promoting the grave this year along with its many archeological ruins.

Born in Birmingham, England, Pvt. Harry Potter joined the British military in 1938 and was sent to Palestine later that year. He was killed in a battle with an armed band in 1939, at age 18, though the grave says 19 because he lied about his age.

"It's a type of pilgrimage for some man whose name stands out. If you didn't say that Harry Potter was buried here, no one would come here," says one visitor, Josef Peretz, 76, from Tel Aviv.

Tourists similarly visit Fairview Cemetery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to see the grave of "J. Dawson." But in that case, film director James Cameron has said the tombstone of an Irish Titanic victim really did inspire Jack Dawson, the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in 1997's "Titanic."

The big-screen "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; Part 1," opens Friday.

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Travel Report by AOL newsletter to get exclusive deals and wanderlust inspiration delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.