TACOMA, Wash. — The chimes from a clock tower are ringing out and it appears Harry Potter is running late for another Defense Against the Dark Arts class -- but that's not actually what's going on here.
First of all, that’s Stadium High School, not Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. And that’s Harry Potter fan Mike Thomas, taking direction from husband Kent, posing for another on his ExpectoTacoma Instagram account.
“I think the main idea of the account is helping people see magic and beauty in the every day,” says Thomas.
He isn't the first to notice similarities between Stadium and Hogwarts, but he says he's found all kinds of Tacoma locations that suggest wizards are afoot.
“I have two pages full of different ideas of where to shoot pictures in Tacoma,” says Thomas. “It feels like you're part of the past and the present when you're in Tacoma. The buildings really do look like they kind of pop out of J.K. Rowling's books.”
Mike Thomas and Harry Potter go way back. “I've dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween every year since I'm 11,” he says.
Thomas has collected about 70 books in different languages.
“They helped me grow up,” he says. “I followed Harry as he was growing up, and so every big life stage I was right there with him.”
Mike Thomas is a grown up now but he's not ready to let Harry go.
“It's really fun,” he says. “I think it gives me a chance to kind of be a kid, be really playful, be really creative.
Together Mike and Kent Thomas have roamed all over Tacoma. They haven’t yet stumbled upon any secret train platforms or alleys accessible only to the wizarding world, but they both believe there really is magic in their home town.
“It's nice seeing it through Mike's eyes now,” says Kent who grew up in Tacoma. “Dressed as a wizard it's hard not to have a good time.”