Witness Stone School of the Magical Arts is a wizarding school located deep in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil. Wizarding children from all over Brazil come to Witness Stone for their magical education. (It is not known whether Witness Stone also serves other South American countries.) There are two main groups of students: those from the cities, mostly of European descent, and those who come from the native Indian tribes of the Amazon.
As recounted by Mr. Argelitum, the Witness Stone librarian:
“At the end of the fifteenth century,” Mr. Argiletum began, “European Muggles found the Americas. Thousands of them came to settle this vast continent, and European wizards came too. For in those times we still commonly lived and travelled among Muggles. The unexplored lands of South America, especially the rainforest regions, were said to teem with magical creatures and plants that European wizards had never seen or learned of.”
“They journeyed into the wild in search of these rumored species, but found nothing. Often wizards became lost for weeks, enveloped in disorienting mists that no spells could dissipate. Bright clear trails became dark trackless jungles before their eyes and lands that their revealing spells showed were uninhabited moved with shadowed figures.”
“There were rare encounters with a mysterious group, when young Indian children of no known tribe were surprised and captured. Violent battles were fought for their release and the European wizards became aware of a hidden magic culture with powers to equal their own. Powers they had never known and that only the rainforest’s secrets held.”
“In 1599, a Portuguese witch who had disappeared thirty years earlier emerged from the rainforest and told of her life among wandless wizard tribes whose ancient magics protected their lands from any intrusion. These New World wizards were once the shaman and priests of Muggle civilizations, whose powers helped Mayans, Aztecs and Incas raise mighty cities. Though their own cities and their wandlore had been lost in a terrible war, the wizard tribes held three thousand years of herbology knowledge that made them immeasurably powerful potions masters.”
“The immigrant wizards wished permission to harvest the magical plants of the forests. The native wizards wished to return wands to the lives of their children. The two groups proposed a truce to talk of sharing their skills and learning.”
“To show their willingness to share the rainforest’s secrets, the wizard tribes invited the others to a hallowed place where their own Wizard Council had met for millennia. They called it ‘where rock reaches for sky by warring river’. Four hundred years ago they gathered at Witness Stone, as we will gather today.”
Witness Stone, like Hogwarts, has a magical train, the Witness Stone Line, which brings students to the school at the beginning of each year. This is how students from Brazil's towns and cities travel to the school. However, children from the Indian tribes come by foot or by boat.
While returning students arrive directly at the school's entrance, first-years must land or otherwise arrive at the docks on a tributary to the Amazon river that flows past the school. From here, they march along a wide stone pathway through the forest, through the Chasers Courtyard, and then to a huge stone wall, with large stone steps at its base. This wall, said to be two thousand years old, is a magical gate which must be opened with the incantation "Ingressus discipulus." Only after passing through this gate will anyone be able to see past the Disillusionment Charms hiding Witness Stone.
Witness Stone has four Houses, like Hogwarts. However, the founders of the school were not able to agree upon who to name them after; the Indian wizards did not like the names proposed by European wizards, and European wizards couldn't pronounce names like "Morubixaba Tupinambarama." So instead, they chose four native animals of the Amazon.
Unlike Hogwarts' Houses, the Houses of Witness Stone are not determined by personal traits such as courage, intelligence, etc. There is no Sorting Hat or other object to do the job of Sorting the students. Instead, the House Leaders of each house pick first-years one at a time, much like picking sports teams. Because of this, family legacies are very strong and distinct Sorting patterns are observed with regards to the students' heritage.
Every round of sorting alternates between boys and girls: each House must pick one boy, then each House picks one girl, and so on, until every first-year has been chosen. However, as in the case of Marissa, a Head of House can apparently make a special selection for a particular student.
The four Houses of Witness Stone are:
Due to its location in the southern hemisphere, the school break begins in December, and the new school year at Witness Stone begins in mid-February.
Classes are divided into various subjects, most of which are very similar to those taught at Hogwarts. As at Hogwarts, each class typically includes students of the same year from two different Houses.
Most classes are held somewhere in the stone pyramid that houses the Great Hall. While classrooms within the pyramid do not move, reaching them requires walking through an ever-changing Hallmaze. For this reason, students are given Guide Frogs to help them find their way.
Besides students and staff, Witness Stone has a number of other magical residents. It is "haunted" by a poltergeist-like spirit named Saci, who sings a song for the school at the beginning of each term. There are also ghosts haunting the school, such as the Negrinho do Pastoreio, and others who can be found reading books in the library.
Being located deep in the Amazon jungle, Witness Stone hosts a number of magical creatures in and around school grounds. Pink Dolphins live in the river, the school's ponds are occasionally infested with Re-piranha, and a large Slothish named Mappy hangs from a tree near the school's dormitories. There are also creatures kept in the school for Care of Magical Creatures classes, such as Thestrals and Hierotapirs.
Additionally, Witness Stone, like Hogwarts, is staffed by house-elves, who are called "little ones" by Brazilian wizarding families. Witness Stone's elves do cooking and cleaning, usually late at night when students cannot see them.