Ghosts are the spirits of the departed, a lifeforce which has become a psychic entity lingering on the mortal realm. There are dozens, perhaps hundreds, of types of ghosts, changing based on region, method of death, background, or the anchors that keep them from passing on. Even ghosts which into the same categories can be remarkably different. Also, there are cases of "oddities" such a ghost type only native to a small region in Asia rising from the passing of an American farmer in Kansas, or a type of ghost common among drowning victims to come in the wake of a fatal car accident. Basically it boils down to every ghost is different and while the following labels could help a novice ghost hunter, most experienced exorcists live by the creed "expect the unexpected."
Without effort, only those with supernatural senses can see and interact with an idle ghost. Some are so weak that their form doesn't even appear human, and may just be an orb, a mist, single body part, or maybe a small animal. Most ghosts worth discussing however appear in what is called their "corpus," a psychic representation of them at the moment of their death or thereabouts.
Many also possess trappings, simple possessions of some significance to them which they had on or near their person at the moment of their death. Nearly all ghosts have trappings of the clothing they were wearing when they died, a wristwatch is another common trapping.
For whatever reason, most corpus have limited color. Most colors are reduced to pitch blacks, stark whites, and shades of gray, with the only exceptions being all reds and yellows being blasted to a popping brightness. Ghosts' eyes are almost always red and yellow as well.
Visible injuries which caused the death of a ghost are often visible. Bleeding wounds are replaced with smoking gashes or gunshot wounds that belch pyre-fire.
Most ghosts are pretty lame. Many just go about the most mundane tasks repeatedly, caught in a loop or unaware of their death. Many have such a weak psychic presence that they are unable to perceive other ghosts around them or acknowledge the living. Even when there is nothing inherently spooky about these sorts of shades, many common people are horrified to witness one of these as the psychic energy from the ghost causes a clash of living and unliving Odic energy which is often felt as an irrational fear or dread in living auras.
Ghosts who are particularly strong willed or emotional tend to "evolve" down different paths, gaining new powers and techniques which find ways to utilize their new state of being. These can allow them to perform feats such as gain psychic powers like telekinesis or clairvoyance, allow them to teleport, possess people, defy gravity, physically manifest for a short-time, alter the appearance of their corpus, or even appear completely human. Some ghosts also know magic themselves.
Ghosts have something that keeps them attached to the mortal plane. These are known as fetters or "anchors".
"Remove the fetter, remove the ghost" is usually the most reliable means to get rid of the ghost.
Some fetters are physical (the ghost's corpse, a prized object, a murder weapon, the ghost's murderer, or even a descendant). Of course, fetters are just as often more emotional or abstract (wanting to see the ocean, a proper burial, see justice served, see their daughter married, or keeping meddlesome kids out of their old family mansion). When one can't remove a fetter whether for lack of being able to remove it or figure out what it is, there are exorcism rituals and warding practices that can dispel a ghost for a certain period of time or keep it at bay from a specific person or place. There are also magical means to destroy a ghost outright, but those usually aren't completely permanent.
Powers and Abilities
- Electromagnetic Interference: All ghosts disrupt nearby electronics with their presence.
- Thermokinesis: Nearly all ghosts can lower or drop the surrounding temperature with their presence.
- Invisibility: Ghosts can remain invisible to the living, but they may appear as a blur or faint light. However, when they want, they can appear as they were in life though it takes a while to gain that level of strength. They appear in wispy, distorted, flickering forms.
- Telekinesis: They are able to move virtually anything with their minds if they have enough concentration on the objects. With practice, they can become stronger telekinetics, able to manipulate many simple objects at once. Very powerful ghosts are highly capable telekinetics, able to throw people like demons can.
- Teleportation: Ghosts can teleport (be able to move in the blink of an eye to other locations). They often display a flickering appearance when using this ability. They appear in wispy, distorted, flickering forms that allow them to move at great speed, as when they flicker, can end up either inches away each time they flicker or several feet or miles away.
- Super Strength: Many ghosts are much stronger than when they were as humans, being incorporeal and able to generate great amounts of force without discomfort, relying on emotional and psychic energy instead of physical muscles. Many have demonstrated being strong enough to easily beat down, lift, toss, maul or mutilate the strongest humans, as well as overpowering some other monsters. Vengeful, angry ghosts, have proven to be strong enough to fight with much higher order beings like elder vampires or alpha werewolves. Even Superman could be challenged if forced to fight such beings. As I alluded earlier, a ghost's strength can be considered a manifestation of their willpower.
- Super Speed: Many ghosts are able to move at incredible speeds, especially through teleportation. They appear in distorted, flickering forms that allow them to move at great speed, as when they flicker, can end up either inches away each time they flicker or several feet or miles away.
- Astral Perception: After accepting their death, ghosts can see beings that are naturally invisible like Fae, Spirits, Godlings, Angels, Demons and other Ghosts.
- Intangibility: Without a body, these spirits are able to move without hindrance even if objects are in their way, as they can phase through them with ease. Though they are naturally intangible, ghosts not having come to the full realization of their state often have psychic restrictions on themselves causing them to subconsciously resist passing through matter. This is why they don't just fall through floors. Particularly nasty or vile spirits can phase their hands through people to cause internal injuries or stop the heart.
- Environment Manipulation: Most ghosts have shown to have the ability to manipulate the elements like wind, fire, electricity, water, and dropping temperature. Affinity to fire or water is usually because of the manner of a person's death and the ghost's origin. Manipulating electricity and dropping temperature are the two common signs that indicate a ghost's presence. Ghost usually have a natural affinity to what killed them, such as if they drowned, some, if not all of their victims are drowned by either the ghost pulling them into water with ease and making it impossible or nearly impossible to get the victim out of the water.
- Material Attachment: Ghosts could latch their essence to objects that have been very close to them in their life. Until these objects are destroyed, the ghost could continue to manifest itself and haunt. Other ghosts could relocate the objects, allowing them to move around and away from their original haunting location.
- Ectoplasm Creation: Very angry ghosts, can create Ectoplasm, but it is generally beyond the anger range of most spirits, even most violent spirits.
- Possession: A rare ability, a ghost can possess humans like demons do. Ghosts capable of this without other rituals aiding them are among the most powerful ghosts I have encountered.
- Electrokinesis: A step up from Electronic Manipulation, rather than simply interfering with electronics, some stronger ghosts can generate electricity themselves, control and manipulate machinery, and even use electricity offensively.
- Biokinesis: Some ghosts can inflict wounds like the ones they received on others. Stronger ghosts can create the wounds in the victims, without needing to have received the wounds themselves. Some ghosts can infect people with sickness and disease. Some can infect people with a supernatural disease called ghost sickness, which is flu-like and causes extreme fear and anxiety, to the point of hallucinations and fatal heart attacks.
- Pyrokinesis: Some ghosts can manipulate and control fire.
- Mental Influence: Angry, vengeful ghosts or spirits can sometimes manipulate peoples' minds and drive them crazy and can then manipulate the people they drove crazy to do their will. This will change the person's personality and turn them violent and suicidal. Other mind altering effects can occur as well, for instance we encountered a ghost that made us feel an intense, overwhelming desire for carnal pleasure. Another had us believing we were in characters in an internet fan-fiction based on comic books and a Saturday morning cartoon show. Jinkies, that was a weird case.
- Hydrokinesis: Some Ghosts (Like ones that drowned, or whose deaths were linked to water) can, to an extent, manipulate or even create water. Such ghosts can cause any victim that goes into or near a body of water, sometimes even bathtubs, able to be easily drowned.
- Voice Mimicry: Some powerful ghosts can perfectly imitate others' voices.
- EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon): A rare ghost ability, where they can communicate through electronic devices, cassette records, cell phones etc.
- Soul Absorption: A powerful ghost can destroy other ghosts, absorbing their essence and thus increasing their own power.
- Shapeshifting: Some ghosts have displayed the ability to alter their form.
- Flight: Some ghosts are able to hover above the ground.
- Immunity: Very powerful ghosts can develop corpus that a resistant to other weaknesses, such as ghosts that don't require intact fetters or ghosts that can enter holy ground.
- Repellents: Hunters have only two real methods to repel ghosts:
- Salt: Ghosts can be repelled by salt and can't cross a line made of salt. Some hunters use rock shot rounds to dissipate ghosts by blasting them with it. Salt is also useful whenever a ghost is possessing a human. Feeding salt in the mouth of the person a ghost is possessing, will cause the ghost great pain and force the ghost out and free the human from the ghost's control. Shooting the person with rock salt will also break a ghost's possession.
- Iron: Like salt, iron keeps spirits at bay. In a lot of ways, an iron weapon is a good fundamental choice when dealing with any ethereal being. You can use an iron crowbar or fire poker in a pinch. Contact with it will dissipate a ghost for a couple of minutes. Touching iron to the skin of a person possessed by a ghost will break their possession.
- Hoodoo: Hoodoo can be used to stop ghosts, and keep them under control, however, this is not a solution and is merely a preventive measure. As such it will stop working eventually.
- Putting a Ghost to Rest:
- Salting and Burning the Bones: The best and most common method to put a ghost to rest. Digging up a ghost's remains and salting and burning the bones, will help the spirit to cross over to the next life. When a ghost's bones are successfully salted and burned, it will go up in flames. This method is used for violent and vengeful spirits.
- Destroying the Haunted Object: Salting and burning a fetter which the ghost is using to stay active in the human world, will put a ghost to rest.
- Resolving the ghost's issues: Helping a ghost to resolve its issues can put a ghost to rest. This method is best used when dealing with benevolent ghosts.
- Ghosts: If two ghosts fight each other, they will both destroy each other and will no longer exist... usually. Sometimes there will be a survivor but they are often weaker and easily to dispatch through other means. There are other ghosts known as Thanatosi or Reapers that are able to destroy wayward spirits, though summoning a reaper to do so can be tricky.
- Holy Ground: Most ghosts can't walk on holy ground. It will either dispel them, ward them off, or outright destroy them. Keep in mind that it has to be truly holy, sanctified ground and that can be hard to come by and you won't really know if it is until you put it to the test.
- Last Rites or Exorcism: The Last Rites performed by a priest can often dispatch a ghost. An exorcism ritual designed for ghosts is another means to accomplish the same.
- Others Ways:
- Overstraining: If a ghost is too weak, and/or overstretches its abilities, it can stop them for a while until they recover.
- Divine Intervention: Okay maybe this isn't practical but in our zany adventures we have found that angels are particularly well-suited to dispatching ghosts and also encountered a God of Death who took down a thousand year old ghost of a viking berserker with nothing more than a glare. Hades, if you're reading this, we would like to again thank you for the assist.
- Proton Pack & Proton Wand: Designed in 2010 by Egon Spengler and Ray Stantz, the Proton Pack can negate the essence which ghosts and other entities are made of with a Proton Stream, a stream of charged ions which can stall or bind a ghost. The Proton Stream is very dangerous as the proton packs are nuclear powered and require "specialized precision handling" to control. The exact construction of these devices is a guarded secret which the Ghostbusters claim as proprietary technology. What is known is that the technology consists of a hand-held wand known as a "Wand" (also called a Proton Gun or Particle Thrower) connected to what appears to be a backpack-sized particle accelerator. The Proton Pack functions by using a miniature cyclotron to concentrate protons by channeling through a "positron collider" and then to the wand, emitting a way-fire positronic ionized stream of proton energy that polarizes with the corpora of ghosts (or other essence-rich entities). The resulting feedback generated by the immense energy colliding with the essence causes such beings to be in the stream of positronic energy as they are forced to fluctuate out of phase with reality. In practical terms, the Proton Gun fires a stream of energy that allows a wielder to snare a ghost. The stream reacts to ghost energy and uses that energy to hold the ghost in place so it can be positioned above a Muon Trap for capture (though for weaker entities, sustained exposure to positronic streams might cause the entity's essence to outright rupture, effectively dissipating the entity entirely). Even if a ghost becomes invisible or intangible, their energy still exists in that defined location, though it is slightly out of phase with normal reality. The positronic stream can neutralize their invisibility or phase-shift ability if enough power is directed into the stream. Sustained exposure to the stream weakens entities, allowing them to be captured. For more powerful beings, the use of multiple proton packs seems to be the recommended tactic. However, when delivering multiple streams to the same entity, it is recommended that the users practice extreme caution not to "cross the streams."
- Muon Trap: The Muon Trap (or "Ghost Capture Trap" or "Ghost Trap" - or GCT) is a sealed container that allows the Ghostbusters to transport the spirits to the Containment Unit, where they would be released into the Ghostbusters' specialized containment grid. It is unclear what happens to the trap once placed inside the grid, though I theorize that when a captured ghost is put into the Containment Unit, the entity is pumped out of the trap cartridge so it can be used again. To my understanding, once a trap has captured a ghost and has closed, it cannot be re-opened without releasing the ghost contained within. For this reason, the Ghostbusters must each carry several traps. They must empty each trap once it is used, though I have heard that they have been conducting recent field tests on traps which may incorporate some sort of cylindric rotating ghost trap cartridges that allow the storage of multiple, low-power entities. While Proton Streams are usually used in conjunction with the trap to position a ghost for capture, it is not always necessary. Thanks to the unstable particles used in the traps' construction, traps appear to have some sort of singularity effect contained which allows it to pull entities inside it when in close range.
Trivia and Notes
- All information about ghosts can be found at Velma Dinkley's blog: "Velma Dinkley's Guide to Monsters, Spirits, Occult Phenomena, and the Weird: A Technical Examination of Based on Field Encounters and Observations of Mystery Incorporated."
- Ghost can spectrally flicker and emit spectral wails.