It captured the imagination of millions but it seems the magical world of boy-wizard Harry Potter is just too much of a threat to one school in America’s South.

The Catholic school in Nashville, Tennessee has banned the book series on the advice of exorcists amid claims the spells contained can conjure evil spirits

Wait, what?

Yup, the private school has removed all copies of the books from its library saying they include “actual curses and spells, which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits”.

A pastor at Saint Edwards Catholic school warned parents that after consulting exorcists in America and Rome, it was recommended the books be banned.

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Why were exorcists consulted - isn’t that a bit extreme?

Reverend Dan Reehil decided to ban the seven-book Harry Potter series from the school library, without input from teachers, school administrators, or parents.

In an email, Reehil wrote, “The curses and spells used in the books are actual curses and spells; which when read by a human being risk conjuring evil spirits into the presence of the person reading the text,”

The Harry Potter books have drawn criticism by mostly Christian groups who claim they undermine Christian values and promoted paganism and occultism.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was released in 1997. In 1999, it was the most challenged book in the US, and the series topped the American Library Association’s list of the most frequently challenged books of 2000-2009, with people calling for them to be removed from schools’ libraries.

In 2001, the pastor of Christ Community Church in Alamogordo, New Mexico oversaw a burning of the Potter books. While he was still a cardinal in 2003, the future Pope Benedict XVI described the books as “subtle seductions which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul before it can grow properly”.

What spells do we need to watch out for?

Nobody wants to be set upon by someone uttering one of the three Unforgivable Curses, tools of the Dark Arts that could really cramp your style: the Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra), does what is says on the tin, while the Cruciatus Curse (Crucio) inflicts untold pain. The Imperius Curse (Imperio) binds the caster to the subject, who will perform their bidding unchallenged.

But many of the other spells in the series are downright helpful - who wouldn’t want to make things levitate, or unlock doors, or find things that have been lost forever down the back of the sofa?

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Is Harry Potter really a risk?

Maybe, if you hit someone over the head with a hardback version repeatedly, but there have been a total of zero reports of possession and the supernatural development of magic skills after reading.

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books, published between 1997 and 2007, spawned eight films, an amusement park and merchandise a-plenty, so many parents could argue that having a Potter fan in the family poses a real threat to the purse strings.