Don't blame the Whomping Willow. The flying car featured in "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" that was stolen last October has been found in a castle.
The Ford Anglia was minding its own business last fall in South West Film Studios at St Agnes in Cornwall when it mysteriously disappeared. Fans feared that the film prop -- which had no engine -- would be sold on the black market.
British reports say that a group of five New Age travelers initially tried to sell the car they "found" earlier this week, but since the license plate was missing, no deal was made. In a panic, the gang moved the vehicle to the ruined 14th-century Carn Brae Castle in Cornwall and then called the police with an anonymous tip.
"It seems we have now located the Harry Potter car," says officer Tim Roberts. "We received an anonymous call from someone telling us its location. It still seems to be in good order and I would guess whoever left it there did so with their tongue firmly in their cheek. I'd love to think Harry himself had driven it there to take part in some adventure at the castle but the reality is probably a little less interesting."
In the second "Harry Potter" film, Harry and Ron Weasley take his dad's enchanted car and fly to Hogwarts. They crash land in the Whomping Willow, causing the car to eject them and then wander like a wild animal into the Forbidden Forest. The car is inspired by the turquoise Ford Anglia owned by J.K. Rowling's school chum Sean Harris, who was the model for Ron's character.
The fourth installment of the seven-part film series "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" opened worldwide in November and grossed more than $892 million worldwide. The fifth film, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," is currently filming and heads to theaters in July 2007.