In the Harry Potter books, the Department of Mysteries is a department within the Ministry of Magic which focuses on covert research and possibly development as well. Little is known about the workings of the Department of Mysteries within the general wizarding community, making the department analogous to other top secret government departments around the world. Readers are introduced to the Department of Mysteries in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Employees of the Department of Mysteries are called “Unspeakables.” Like other employees of clandestine organizations, they appear to lead largely closed and private lives, and they are not friendly or outgoing with other Ministry employees. The qualifications for being an Unspeakable are unknown, but presumably Unspeakables are very talented researchers and wizards.
To access to the Department of Mysteries, wizards take a Ministry lift down to the ninth level of the massive underground complex. A single door opens to a large circular room lined with more doors. When a door is closed, the circular room rotates, making it impossible to know where one has come from. In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione Granger very cleverly uses a spell to make large flaming “X”s on the doors, allowing the group of young wizards to keep track of which doors they have already tried.
Numerous different rooms can be found within the Department of Mysteries. They appear to be set aside for researching complex projects and very advanced magic. It is also possible that the Department of Mysteries conceals potentially dangerous items. Within one of the rooms is a power “at once more wonderful and more terrible than death,” according to Albus Dumbledore, and this room is always kept locked. Some of the rooms are explored in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth book in the series.
One of the pivotal rooms within the Department of Mysteries is the Hall of Prophecy, which contains archived prophecies about the wizarding world, held in small glass balls. Prophecies can only be claimed by the wizards involved in them. Another room holds a large tank of brains with linked thoughts, while one contains an assortment of planets floating in space. Time-Turners and other devices related to time are kept in large room, and they are largely destroyed during the battle in the Ministry. The characters also visit a room which appears to focus on death in the fifth book, with a mysterious veil hanging from a large archway.