A ghost is a supposed entity or spirit of a deceased person that is believed to appear to the living. The concept of ghosts is deeply rooted in many cultures and has been a popular subject in literature, film, and other forms of media.
Ghosts are often described as being translucent or transparent and may appear as floating orbs, misty shapes, or full-bodied apparitions. They are often associated with particular locations, such as haunted houses or graveyards, and may be perceived as malevolent or benevolent.
Belief in ghosts is often linked to the idea of an afterlife or the continuation of the soul or spirit after death. In some traditions, ghosts are seen as lingering in the physical world because they have unfinished business or unresolved issues that keep them tethered to the mortal realm.
Despite numerous claims of sightings and encounters with ghosts, there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of ghosts or the afterlife. Nonetheless, the idea of ghosts continues to captivate the human imagination and remains a popular subject of folklore and entertainment.
Ghosts differ a great deal in terms of appearance. The typical form isn’t so much a form as a presence – ghosts are almost always reported to be invisible, at least to most people. In fact, there are many types that don’t have a reported physical form at all.
This doesn’t stop the ghost from interacting with the physical form in most stories, but it does go a long way towards explaining why average people aren’t able to see spirits. When recorded, these ghosts may show up as balls of energy on film.
When a ghost does have a form, it will usually show up as something vaguely human. In some cases, the ghost will have a humanoid but indistinct form. In other cases, the ghost will look like a human but will appear in an ethereal or otherwise unearthly manner. In these cases, they are often referred to as apparitions.
In still other stories, ghosts look exactly the same as humans – they just tend to disappear when the observer is not looking. No matter what the case, ghosts tend to have variable appearances. Even the most humanoid of ghosts seem to be able to shroud himself or herself from sight.
Ghosts have been around longer than virtually any other type of monster. Spirits of the dead definitely predate written language. Many early civilizations both revered their dead and feared their spirits. Written ghost stories can be traced back to Rome, and stories of spirits can be found across the world.
The modern version of the ghost story can probably be traced back to Victorian England. Spiritualists and seances were all the rage during that era and many of the tropes associated with modern hauntings were codified during that age. These social events combined with the dissemination of literature through the middle and lower classes made the ghost story a part of the bedrock of society.
powers and abilities
There are several types of ghosts, and thus many different suites of powers that might be available to the spirits. The one unifying power that all ghosts seem to have is the ability to vanish out of sight. Some ghosts find invisibility to be a default form, while others simply disappear from view whenever appropriate. Invisibility seems to be the core conceit that unites all spirits.
Some ghosts seem to have the ability to interact with the environment. The degree to which this can be done varies, though. Some ghosts simply provide cold spots in rooms, while others seem capable of opening doors or moving around furniture. The most violent spirits seem to have the ability to toss heavy objects around a home, even hurting their hosts. These are commonly referred to as poltergeists.
There are also stories of ghosts who can interact directly with humans. Some of these ghosts are able to talk, while others send messages through less direct methods. Some ghosts are even able to compel humans to do their bidding, though this seems to be a fairly rare power in ghost tales. Ghosts who interact with humans seem to be rarer than their cousins but tend to get more focus.