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Elias Bouchard is the Head of the Magnus Institute. He has held the position since 1996 when he took over after James Wright.

Elias earned a third class honours degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Christ Church (Oxford). He was also apparently "something of a pothead" in his university days.[1]

This article covers events up to episode 160 and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.


In MAG 192, during her job interview, Rosie describes Elias Bouchard as seeming far too young for his role and having an old-fashioned haircut. She says his eyes as "cold and grey, and somehow so much older." Nikola Orsinov describes Elias as a "grinning little freak."

Elias is a servant of Beholding and the head of the Magnus Institute. Initially, he presents as sceptical of Jonathan Sims's supernatural claims regarding Jane Prentiss and her abilities. Later, it is revealed that Elias is an avatar of the Beholding and possesses powers of his own.

He states that he is trying to help John grow his abilities, but Bouchard is ultimately loyal to the Institute. He killed Gertrude Robinson and Jurgen Leitner, as he considered them both threats to the Institute.

Elias has used his Beholding abilities to traumatize his employees into compliance, including implanting disturbing knowledge into the minds of both Melanie[2] and Martin[3] about their respective parents.


At some point before joining the Institute, Elias experienced a supernatural event involving a mysterious book which caused the death of his friend, Allan Schrieber.[4]

In 1991, Elias received a letter from the Magnus Institute inviting him to interview for a job, despite having not sent out a CV (resume). When asked by James Wright why he chose to "heed the call" of the Institute, Elias replied that "this is the place I know I should be."[4]

The current Elias Bouchard holds the consciousness of Jonah Magnus, founder of the Magnus Institute. Jonah has been 'body-hopping' to both stay alive and remain Head of the Institute by replacing the stolen body's eyes with his own. In 1973, he left the body of Richard Mendelson for that of James Wright, and in 1996, he possessed Elias Bouchard, who climbed to the top remarkably fast as Head of the Institute.

In MAG 29, John says that Elias claims to have been working as a filing clerk at the Institute in 1972. However in MAG 49, John observes that it "looks like [Elias] only joined the Institute five years before, in 1991, working in the Artefact Storage." This was seen as a contradiction in the timeline until the reveal of Elias's true identity.

Gertrude became suspicious of Elias's promotion but didn't act until decades later when she planned to burn the Institute down and destroy the original body of Jonah Magnus, which resides in the Panopticon beneath the Institute. It took her the better part of a decade to navigate the tunnels to find the centre. She hoped he would be distracted with The Dark's ritual, but Elias shot her in the chest, killing her, moments before she could set the fire.[5]

After Gertrude's death, Elias promoted Jonathan Sims to head Archivist, grooming him to develop his powers with the ultimate goal of having him initiate The Mass Ritual. During seasons one and two, John was kept largely in the dark. Elias slowly fed him information that he thought would best manipulate John into accomplishing Elias's eventual goal. Jurgen Leitner's sudden appearance to John in MAG 80 threatened to ruin his plans if Leitner gave John too much information. After a brief conversation with Leitner and getting his statement, John stepped out for a cigarette. Elias seized this opportunity, entered John's office, and beat Jurgen Leitner to death with the same metal pipe John had been carrying for protection. (Elias would later admit in MAG 102 that he "possibly overreacted.") When John returned and realized Leitner had been murdered in his own office with a pipe that was in his hands minutes before, he went into hiding.

While John was wanted for Leitner's murder and hiding at Georgie Barker's house, Elias anonymously sent him statements focused on how to stop The Unknowing, the ritual of The Stranger. Elias had hoped that by showing him where to start, John would find answers on his own and develop the powers and skills he needed to survive The Unknowing.

After being confronted by Daisy, Basira, and John about Gertrude and Leitner's murders, Elias revealed to them and an audience of Martin, Tim and Melanie, that he had killed them to protect the Institute. He also threatened to tell the police of Daisy's past murders[6] if she tried to kill him, which would land Basira in trouble as well. Daisy stood down, and Elias had Basira sign a contract of employment as a form of collateral. Elias explained that since they are all now tied to the Institute, should he or the Institute be destroyed, they all would "follow suit."[7] Later, in MAG 158, Elias admits he doesn't know if this is entirely true because their ties to the Institute may not be as strong as he originally implied. However, he assures that at very least, "it won't be pleasant for them."

After escaping from Nikola in MAG 101, John scolds Elias for not rescuing him. Elias reveals he wasn't able to see where John had been taken. He tells John he can't spend his time helping him develop his powers and explaining things to him "like a child" and that John must find out information on his own to grow his abilities.[8]

In MAG 120, Elias chronicles John's coma dreams. He commends John's progress as the Archivist and hopes he can continue growing. Martin brings an officer to arrest Elias, who then spends MAG 121 to MAG 157 in prison, occasionally advising Basira. Martin comes to visit him once in MAG 138 to ask a few questions.

Elias escapes from prison in MAG 158 and meets Martin and Peter Lukas in the centre of the tunnels. It is revealed that Jonah Magnus had long been inhabiting the body of Elias Bouchard and that it's Jonah's original body that sits in the Panopticon "binding it all together." Peter had been manipulating Martin over time in hopes that when this moment came, Martin would kill Elias and take his place in the Panopticon. Peter is shocked and apparently frightened when Martin refuses to kill Elias. Martin explains that it was he who had been manipulating Peter, allowing things to play out in hopes of discovering his end goal. In MAG 159, Peter informs John that he and Elias had made a bet. If Martin didn't kill Elias, then Peter would let John in The Lonely, the pocket dimension of the entity with the same name. John's entry to this dimension would cause him to be marked by The Lonely, furthering Elias's ultimate goal to groom John for performing the mass ritual.

A few weeks after John and Martin return from the Lonely, Elias sends John a statement in MAG 160 with the deceptive appearance of being about a fire in the childhood home of Hazel Rutter. Unaware that this statement is a trap with global repercussions, John begins to read it aloud, soon discovering he is unable to stop. He quickly realizes the statement is in fact from Elias, detailing his experience as Jonah Magnus up until the present time. Elias talks of his failed attempt at The Watcher's Crown ritual and how he eventually learned that individual rituals always fail because the Fears cannot be separated. To resolve this apparent impasse, he details how he prepared a mass ritual that would use The Archivist to bring all the Fears into the world at once. However, in order for this to work, he explains The Archivist must be "marked" by every Entity individually. John's recent encounter with the Lonely in MAG 159 was the final mark. At the end of the statement, John is compelled to perform the ritual by reading an incantation aloud. As soon as he speaks the final words "I open the door", The Change takes place amidst the sounds of glass breaking and static rising. John is immediately rendered unconscious as Elias's ultimate goal appears realized.

As of MAG 196, Elias resides in the Panopticon at the "centre" of the nightmare domains, though John notes that it "wasn’t made for him."[9]

Known Powers

  • Limited Omniscience — Elias has noted his ability to see and know anything he puts his mind to, but it requires concentration. He was not able to locate John when he was taken by The Stranger,[10] was unaware of Basira's actions while he was talking with Melanie, and was unaware Martin knocked over a stack of papers during Melanie's "performance review."[11]
  • Memory Insertion — Elias can put any information he wants into another person's mind. It is implied that this information must be true, and he is not capable of "removing" information.[8][12]
  • Limited Technopathy — Elias was able to doctor the CCTV footage of the security cameras inside of the Institute to give himself an alibi during the murder of Gertrude Robinson.
  • Incarnation — Elias describes himself as the "heart" of the Magnus Institute and that if he were to be destroyed, everyone who serves the Institute would die along with him.[7] Later, he specifies this may not happen if their ties to the Institute are not as strong as he had implied. Elias speculates that John might be strong enough to "weather" the effects.[5]
  • Body-hopping — Elias can take over the body of another person to extend his life. This is implied to happen when he transfers his eyes to the new body. If his original body were to be harmed, however, Elias has stated it would harm both him and those connected to him through the Magnus Institute.[5]
  • Watcher's Call — Elias can call Jonathan Sims to himself, allowing John to easily find and navigate to him. It's unclear whether this will work on anyone else since it has only been used on John.[5]

Episode Appearances

Bold marks episodes where Elias has read the statement.

Episode Appearances


  • Elias's D&D class would be cleric.[13]
  • Elias drinks his coffee black.[14]
  • Elias tends to pick employees who won't be noticed if they've gone missing — John is an orphan, Martin has an absent father and a mother who hates him, Tim has a dead brother and no mentioned parents, etc.
    • Melanie comments in MAG 102 that crimes committed in the Archives tend to go unnoticed.
  • Ben Meredith, the voice actor for Elias, has once gotten into character by saying "John, do better," in a disappointed tone.[15] (He's also read Toto's Africa in Elias's voice — it's worth the listen.)
  • Prior to MAG 158, it had been a popular theory that Elias was Jonah Magnus. The evidence being Nikola Orsinov asking "Can I call you Elias?"[16] "It's Elias now, is it?" and the statement Elias reads in MAG 92 about Jonah Magnus and the subsequent comments he makes.
    • In was also theorized that there was an original Elias Bouchard, as the description of him before becoming Head of the Institute didn't match the image of current Elias. Fans pointed to Maxwell Rayner's body-hopping as a possibility.
  • Jonny Sims was surprised at how big of a fan base Elias got and how sexy people found him, something he blames entirely on Ben Meredith's performance.[17]
  • Ben Meredith and Alasdair Stuart, voice actor of Peter Lukas, are both amused by the fandom shipping their characters together and have occasionally created non-canonical sound bites for the ship.[18]