Professor Natasha Datura
Natasha Artemesia Datura (her very few friends call her Nastya) is a wandering witch who attributes her survival in this world to always staying one step ahead of the revolution. She was born under a cursed star in a city on the North Sea that was founded according to the caprice of her Uncle. Her mother was the most celebrated business woman of her generation specializing in predilections, tastes and obsessions of the most carnal kinds. Her father was as decadent and royal as he was rotten and depraved. Natasha, hair still moist with amniotic fluid, was handed over to the protection of traveling Romani who promised to take her far away and never to return to the North. Royal blood, even the illegitimate kind, was the tinder feeding a revolutionary fire soon to burn out of control across Russia.
In a Romani caravan traveling across Europe, Natasha escaped revolution and conflict for a while as she spent a peaceful and happy childhood studying plants and magical healing from the wide variety of non-human forest dwellers that she met. However, the hatred and conflict into which she was born followed her eventually and as the Global Wizarding War heated up across Euorpe, other European xenophobic movements arose in the muggle world. Natasha’s adopted Romani family, unable to protect her anymore from pureblood fanaticism, sent her to Paris in hopes that she might survive hidden in the plain sight of a bohemian metropolis.
One evening while collecting leaping toadstools under the light of a waning moon in the Cimetiere du Montparnasse, Natasha met the famous and ancient Dame Phyllidia Spore, a former headmistress of a famous British school of magic and author of One Thousand Magical Herbs and Fungi. Dame Spore, already into her fourth Century of life, rejected the elitist pure-blood politics of the time sweeping Europe and decided to “adopt” Natasha as her niece all the while apprenticing her to be both her heir and her legacy in magic and herbology. Together they lived for many years in Paris, and when Natasha was not learning about how to avoid literally laughing to death after eating a leaf off of the Hyena tree or cultivating Wiggentrees for protection from Dark creatures, she was falling in love with the sensuality of both the city and people of Paris.
In July 1931, Dame Spore, Natasha and Natasha’s beloved muggle friend June Miller, were standing outside the bookstore Shakespeare and Co when the revolution caught up with her once again. Gellert Grindelwald and his army had already killed a number of famous witches across Europe who had openly spoken out against pureblood politics and the dissolution of the International Statute of Secrecy. And on that day, Gellert Grindelwald found yet another outspoken opponent, Dame Spore. In front of muggle witnesses, he aimed a disintegration curse directly at Dame Spore and she exploded instantly. Muggle law enforcement blamed the explosion that “luckily did not injure any bystanders” on Russian anarchists who were well known in Montparnasse. Natasha was forced into hiding with June and a few days later she decided it was once again time for her to run. As the sole heir to Spore’s entire herbology library of nearly 1000 unique and antiquarian volumes spanning almost 500 years, Natasha devised an Undetectable Extension Charm to place all her belongings and the Spore library into her purse. In the Fall of 1931, she and June boarded a steamship to America.
Since living in America, Natasha has lived a quiet life posing as a No-maj (American for “muggle”). She has worked as a nurse at a number of psychiatric institutions.
A little known fact among an elite group of American witches and wizards is that muggle psych hospitals double as excellent places to take magical relaxation and rest sabbaticals. Not all dress code violations in the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy are unintentional. As many of these elite wizards and witches know, wearing a ladies nightgown on a highway in the daytime while waving a wand at passing cars is the fastest path to admission for a few months holiday and rest at a nice hospital in the countryside. What could be better than lovely meals that deviate from standard house elf recipes, comfortable cotton robes without constricting undergarments, fresh air and sunshine, helpful staff (assisted by alohomora and obliviate) and always a few familiar faces of fellow witches and wizards? As their nurse, Natasha has been lucky enough to have access to study with some of the most talented and renown witches and wizards of this Century as they enjoyed their holiday at her hospital. Over the years, her magical patients have spoken about the Worthwich School and about the larger American magical community that remains hidden from muggle eyes. Recently, one of Natasha’s patients, a quirky, blonde-haired and deep blue eyed magizoologist returned to her husband and twin sons thereby ending an intense and heartfelt relationship with Nastya. Broken-hearted, Natasha realized that it was finally time to stop running from the revolution and to seek out a closer connection with the magical community that she has only ever seen from the periphery.
In honor of Dame Spore’s bold belief that anyone, magical or muggle born, has the potential to be a great witch or wizard, Natasha will be teaching herbology for the first time this year with the newest generation of bright and brilliant students at Worthwich. It seems fitting that students whose letter never came or who discovered their magic later in life should be taught by a witch who has lived her life half hidden in plain sight to survive.
Natasha believes above all that the oddballs, the marginalized, the strange, misunderstood and oft diagnosed are the creative shape shifters who are the hope for the future of magic.