An engraving of the Hammersmith Ghost appears in Roger Kirby's Wonderful and Scientific Museum, a magazine published in 1804. The "ghost" turned out to be an old local cobbler who used a white sheet to get back at his apprentice for scaring his grandchildren.
soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that is believed to be able to appear to the living. In ghostlore, descriptions of ghosts vary widely, from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes to realistic, lifelike forms. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance
. Other terms associated with it are apparition, haunt, phantom, poltergeist, shade, specter, spirit, spook, wraith, demon, and ghoul.
The belief in the existence of an
ritual magic—are specifically designed to rest the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary, human-like essences, though stories of ghostly armies and the ghosts of animals other than humans have also been recounted. They are believed to haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life. According to a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, 18% of Americans say they have seen a ghost.
The overwhelming consensus of science is that there is no proof that ghosts exist.
Proto-Indo-European form is reconstructed as *ǵʰéys-d-os, from the root*ǵʰéys-, which is reflected in Old Norse geisa ('to rage') and *geiski ('fear'; cf. geiskafullr 'full of fear'), in Gothic usgaisjan ('to terrify') and usgaisnan ('to be terrified'), as well as in Avestan zōiš- (cf. zōišnu 'shivering, trembling').
The Germanic word is recorded as masculine only, but likely continues a neuter s-stem. The original meaning of the Germanic word would thus have been an animating principle of the
conductor of the dead and the "lord of fury" leading the Wild Hunt
Besides denoting the human spirit or soul, both of the living and the deceased, the Old English word is used as a synonym of Latin spiritus also in the meaning of "breath" or "blast" from the earliest attestations (9th century). It could also denote any good or evil spirit, such as angels and demons; the
The now-prevailing sense of "the soul of a deceased person, spoken of as appearing in a visible form" only emerges in
vital principle", "mind", or "psyche", the seat of feeling, thought, and moral judgement; on the other hand used figuratively of any shadowy outline, or fuzzy or unsubstantial image; in optics, photography, and cinematography especially, a flare, secondary image, or spurious signal.
The synonym spook is a Dutch loanword, akin to Low Germanspôk (of uncertain etymology); it entered the English language via American English in the 19th century. Alternative words in modern usage include spectre (altn. specter; from Latin spectrum), the Scottish wraith (of obscure origin), phantom (via French ultimately from Greek phantasma, compare fantasy) and apparition. The term shade in classical mythology translates Greek σκιά, or Latin umbra, in reference to the notion of spirits in the Greek underworld. The term poltergeist is a German word, literally a "noisy ghost", for a spirit said to manifest itself by invisibly moving and influencing objects.
A revenant is a deceased person returning from the dead to haunt the living, either as a disembodied ghost or alternatively as an animated ("undead") corpse. Also related is the concept of a fetch, the visible ghost or spirit of a person yet alive.
Although the human soul was sometimes symbolically or literally depicted in ancient cultures as a bird or other animal, it appears to have been widely held that the soul was an exact reproduction of the body in every feature, even down to clothing the person wore. This is depicted in artwork from various ancient cultures, including such works as the Egyptian Book of the Dead, which shows deceased people in the afterlife appearing much as they did before death, including the style of dress.
Another widespread belief concerning ghosts is that they are composed of a misty, airy, or subtle material.
, as a living soul, from the dust of the Earth and the breath of God.
In many traditional accounts, ghosts were often thought to be deceased people looking for vengeance (vengeful ghosts), or imprisoned on earth for bad things they did during life. The appearance of a ghost has often been regarded as an omen or portent of death. Seeing one's own ghostly double or "fetch" is a related omen of death.
Abrahamic religions that came to dominate the region.
Ghosts were thought to be created at time of death, taking on the memory and personality of the dead person. They traveled to the netherworld, where they were assigned a position, and led an existence similar in some ways to that of the living.
Relatives of the dead were expected to make offerings of food and drink to the dead to ease their conditions. If they did not, the ghosts could inflict misfortune and illness on the living. Traditional healing practices ascribed a variety of illnesses to the action of ghosts, while others were caused by gods or demons.
soul and spirit were believed to exist after death, with the ability to assist or harm the living, and the possibility of a second death. Over a period of more than 2,500 years, Egyptian beliefs about the nature of the afterlife evolved constantly. Many of these beliefs were recorded in hieroglyph inscriptions, papyrus scrolls and tomb paintings. The Egyptian Book of the Dead compiles some of the beliefs from different periods of ancient Egyptian history.
In modern times, the fanciful concept of a mummy coming back to life and wreaking vengeance when disturbed has spawned a whole genre of horror stories and films.
Ghosts appeared in Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, in which they were described as vanishing "as a vapor, gibbering and whining into the earth". Homer's ghosts had little interaction with the world of the living. Periodically they were called upon to provide advice or prophecy, but they do not appear to be particularly feared. Ghosts in the classical world often appeared in the form of vapor or smoke, but at other times they were described as being substantial, appearing as they had been at the time of death, complete with the wounds that killed them.
By the 5th century BC, classical Greek ghosts had become haunting, frightening creatures who could work to either good or evil purposes. The spirit of the dead was believed to hover near the resting place of the corpse, and cemeteries were places the living avoided. The dead were to be ritually mourned through public ceremony, sacrifice, and libations, or else they might return to haunt their families. The ancient Greeks held annual feasts to honor and placate the spirits of the dead, to which the family ghosts were invited, and after which they were "firmly invited to leave until the same time next year."
The 5th-century BC play Oresteia includes an appearance of the ghost of Clytemnestra, one of the first ghosts to appear in a work of fiction.
The ancient Romans believed a ghost could be used to exact revenge on an enemy by scratching a curse on a piece of lead or pottery and placing it into a grave.
Plutarch, in the 1st century AD, described the haunting of the baths at Chaeronea by the ghost of a murdered man. The ghost's loud and frightful groans caused the people of the town to seal up the doors of the building. Another celebrated account of a haunted house from the ancient classical world is given by Pliny the Younger (c. 50 AD). Pliny describes the haunting of a house in Athens, which was bought by the Stoic philosopher Athenodorus, who lived about 100 years before Pliny. Knowing that the house was supposedly haunted, Athenodorus intentionally set up his writing desk in the room where the apparition was said to appear and sat there writing until late at night when he was disturbed by a ghost bound in chains. He followed the ghost outside where it indicated a spot on the ground. When Athenodorus later excavated the area, a shackled skeleton was unearthed. The haunting ceased when the skeleton was given a proper reburial. The writers Plautus and Lucian also wrote stories about haunted houses.
Disciples that he was not a ghost (some versions of the Bible, such as the KJV and NKJV, use the term "spirit"). Similarly, Jesus' followers at first believed he was a ghost (spirit) when they saw him walking on water
One of the first persons to express disbelief in ghosts was
Lucian of Samosata in the 2nd century AD. In his satirical novel The Lover of Lies (circa 150 AD), he relates how Democritus "the learned man from Abdera in Thrace" lived in a tomb outside the city gates to prove that cemeteries were not haunted by the spirits of the departed. Lucian relates how he persisted in his disbelief despite practical jokes perpetrated by "some young men of Abdera" who dressed up in black robes with skull masks to frighten him.
This account by Lucian notes something about the popular classical expectation of how a ghost should look.
In the 5th century AD, the Christian priest Constantius of Lyon recorded an instance of the recurring theme of the improperly buried dead who come back to haunt the living, and who can only cease their haunting when their bones have been discovered and properly reburied.
Ghosts reported in medieval Europe tended to fall into two categories: the souls of the dead, or demons. The souls of the dead returned for a specific purpose. Demonic ghosts existed only to torment or tempt the living. The living could tell them apart by demanding their purpose in the name of Jesus Christ. The soul of a dead person would divulge its mission, while a demonic ghost would be banished at the sound of the Holy Name.
Most ghosts were souls assigned to Purgatory, condemned for a specific period to atone for their transgressions in life. Their penance was generally related to their sin. For example, the ghost of a man who had been abusive to his servants was condemned to tear off and swallow bits of his own tongue; the ghost of another man, who had neglected to leave his cloak to the poor, was condemned to wear the cloak, now "heavy as a church tower". These ghosts appeared to the living to ask for prayers to end their suffering. Other dead souls returned to urge the living to confess their sins before their own deaths.
Medieval European ghosts were more substantial than ghosts described in the Victorian age, and there are accounts of ghosts being wrestled with and physically restrained until a priest could arrive to hear its confession. Some were less solid, and could move through walls. Often they were described as paler and sadder versions of the person they had been while alive, and dressed in tattered gray rags. The vast majority of reported sightings were male.
There were some reported cases of ghostly armies, fighting battles at night in the forest, or in the remains of an
Wandlebury, near Cambridge, England. Living knights were sometimes challenged to single combat by phantom knights, which vanished when defeated.
From the medieval period an apparition of a ghost is recorded from 1211, at the time of the
heretics, launched three years earlier. The time of the Albigensian Crusade in southern France was marked by intense and prolonged warfare, this constant bloodshed and dislocation of populations being the context for these reported visits by the murdered boy.
Renaissance magic took a revived interest in the occult, including necromancy. In the era of the Reformation and Counter Reformation, there was frequently a backlash against unwholesome interest in the dark arts, typified by writers such as Thomas Erastus. The Swiss Reformed pastor Ludwig Lavater supplied one of the most frequently reprinted books of the period with his Of Ghosts and Spirits Walking By Night.
The Child Ballad "Sweet William's Ghost" (1868) recounts the story of a ghost returning to his fiancée begging her to free him from his promise to marry her. He cannot marry her because he is dead but her refusal would mean his damnation. This reflects a popular British belief that the dead haunted their lovers if they took up with a new love without some formal release. "The Unquiet Grave" expresses a belief even more widespread, found in various locations over Europe: ghosts can stem from the excessive grief of the living, whose mourning interferes with the dead's peaceful rest. In many folktales from around the world, the hero arranges for the burial of a dead man. Soon after, he gains a companion who aids him and, in the end, the hero's companion reveals that he is in fact the dead man. Instances of this include the Italian fairy tale "Fair Brow" and the Swedish "The Bird 'Grip'".
Modern period of western culture
By 1853, when the popular song Spirit Rappings was published, Spiritualism was an object of intense curiosity.
Spiritualism developed in the United States and reached its peak growth in membership from the 1840s to the 1920s, especially in English-language countries. By 1897, it was said to have more than eight million followers in the United States and Europe, mostly drawn from the middle and upper classes, while the corresponding movement in continental Europe and Latin America is known as Spiritism.
The religion flourished for a half century without canonical texts or formal organization, attaining cohesion by periodicals, tours by trance lecturers, camp meetings, and the missionary activities of accomplished mediums. Many prominent Spiritualists were women. Most followers supported causes such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage. By the late 1880s, credibility of the informal movement weakened, due to accusations of fraud among mediums, and formal Spiritualist organizations began to appear. Spiritualism is currently practiced primarily through various denominational Spiritualist churches in the United States and United Kingdom.
Spiritism has adherents in many countries throughout the world, including Spain, United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, France, England, Argentina, Portugal, and especially Brazil, which has the largest proportion and greatest number of followers.
David Turner, a retired physical chemist, suggested that ball lightning could cause inanimate objects to move erratically.
air pressure changes in a home causing doors to slam, humidity changes causing boards to creak, condensation in electrical connections causing intermittent behavior, or lights from a passing car reflected through a window at night. Pareidolia, an innate tendency to recognize patterns in random perceptions, is what some skeptics believe causes people to believe that they have 'seen ghosts'. Reports of ghosts "seen out of the corner of the eye" may be accounted for by the sensitivity of human peripheral vision. According to Nickell, peripheral vision can easily mislead, especially late at night when the brain is tired and more likely to misinterpret sights and sounds. Nickell further states, "science cannot substantiate the existence of a 'life energy' that could survive death without dissipating or function at all without a brain... why would... clothes survive?'" He asks, if ghosts glide, then why do people claim to hear them with "heavy footfalls"? Nickell says that ghosts act the same way as "dreams, memories, and imaginings, because they too are mental creations. They are evidence - not of another world, but of this real and natural one."
Benjamin Radford from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and author of the 2017 book Investigating Ghosts: The Scientific Search for Spirits writes that "ghost hunting is the world's most popular paranormal pursuit" yet, to date, ghost hunters cannot agree on what a ghost is, or offer proof that they exist; "it's all speculation and guesswork". He writes that it would be "useful and important to distinguish between types of spirits and apparitions. Until then it's merely a parlor game distracting amateur ghost hunters from the task at hand."
According to research in
hauntings (Wiseman et al.. 2003) came to the conclusion "that people consistently report unusual experiences in 'haunted' areas because of environmental factors, which may differ across locations." Some of these factors included "the variance of local magnetic fields, size of location and lighting level stimuli of which witnesses may not be consciously aware".
Some researchers, such as
solar activity) could stimulate the brain's temporal lobes and produce many of the experiences associated with hauntings. Sound is thought to be another cause of supposed sightings. Richard Lord and Richard Wiseman have concluded that infrasound can cause humans to experience bizarre feelings in a room, such as anxiety, extreme sorrow, a feeling of being watched, or even the chills.Carbon monoxide poisoning, which can cause changes in perception of the visual and auditory systems, was speculated upon as a possible explanation for haunted houses
as early as 1921.
People who experience
V.S. Ramachandran have recently proposed neurological theories for why people hallucinate ghosts during sleep paralysis. Their theories emphasize the role of the parietal lobe and mirror neurons in triggering such ghostly hallucinations.
King Saul has the Witch of Endor conduct a seance to summon the dead prophet Samuel. A similar term appearing throughout the scriptures is repha'(im) (Hebrew: רְפָאִים), which while describing the race of "giants" formerly inhabiting Canaan in many verses, also refer to (the spirits of) dead ancestors of Sheol (like shades) in many others such as in the Book of Isaiah.
Jewish mythology and folkloric traditions describe dybbuks, malicious possessing spirits believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. However, the term does not appear in the Kabbalah or Talmudic literature, where it is rather called an "evil spirit" or ru'aḥ tezazit (Hebrew: רוּחַ טוּמְאָה). It supposedly leaves the host body once it has accomplished its goal, sometimes after being helped.
Disciples that he is not a ghost following the resurrection, Luke 24:37–39 (some versions of the Bible, such as the KJV and NKJV, use the term "spirit"). Similarly, Jesus' followers at first believe he is a ghost (spirit) when they see him walking on water.
Robbie Mannheim, a fourteen-year-old Maryland youth. The Seventh-Day Adventist view is that a "soul" is not equivalent to "spirit" or "ghost" (depending on the Bible version), and that save for the Holy Spirit, all spirits or ghosts are demons in disguise. Furthermore, they teach that in accordance with (Genesis 2:7, Ecclesiastes
12:7), there are only two components to a "soul", neither of which survives death, with each returning to its respective source.
Muhammad ibn Muhammad Shakir Ruzmah-'i Nathani - A Soul Symbolized as an Angel
Rūḥ (Arabic: روح; plural arwah) is a person's immortal, essential self — pneuma, i.e. the "spirit" or "soul". The term is also used for ghosts. The souls of the deceased dwell in barzakh. Only a barrier in Quran, in Islamic tradition this refers to an entire intermediary world between the living and the afterlife. The world, especially cemeteries, are perforated with several gateways to the otherworld or barzakh. In rare occasions, the dead can appear to the living. Pure souls, such as the souls of saints, are commonly addressed as rūḥ, while impure souls seeking for revenge, are often addressed as afarit. An inappropriate burial can also cause a soul to stay in this world, whereupon roaming the earth as a ghost. Since the just souls remain close to their tomb, some people try to communicate with them in order to gain hidden knowledge. Contact with the dead is not the same as contact with jinn, who alike could provide knowledge concealed from living humans. Many encounters with ghosts are related to dreams supposed to occur in the realm of symbols.
Belief in spirits have not ceased to exist in Muslim belief. Smile of new-born babies is sometimes used as a proof for sighting spirits, like ghosts. However, the connection to the other world fades during life on earth but is resumed after death. Once again, smiling of dying people is considered as evidence for recognizing the spirit of their beloved ones. Yet, Muslims who affirm the existence of ghosts, are carefully when interacting with spirits, as the ghosts of humans can be as bad as the jinn. Worst of all, however, are the devils.
Muslim authors, like
Suyuti wrote in more details about the life of ghosts. Ibn Qayyim and Suyuti assert, when a soul desires to turn back to earth long enough, it is gradually released from restrictions of Barzakh and able to move freely. Each spirit experiences afterlife in accordance with their deeds and condictions in the earthly life. Evil souls will find the afterlife as painful and punishment, imprisoned until God allows them to interact with other others. Good souls are not restricted. They are free to come visit other souls and even come down to lower regions. The higher planes (ʿilliyyīn) are considered to be broader than the lower ones, the lowest being the most narrow (sijjīn). The spiritual space is not thought as spatial, but reflects the capacity of the spirit. The more pure the spirit gets, the more it is able to interact with other souls and thus reaches a broader degree of freedom.
Humr people of southwestern Kordofan, Sudan consume the drink Umm Nyolokh, which is prepared from the liver and bone marrow of giraffes. Richard Rudgley hypothesises that Umm Nyolokh may contain DMT and certain online websites further theorise that giraffe liver might owe its putative psychoactivity to substances derived from psychoactive plants, such as Acacia spp. consumed by the animal. The drink is said to cause hallucinations of giraffes, believed by the Humr to be the ghosts of giraffes.
Belief in ghosts in European folklore is characterized by the recurring fear of "returning" or revenant deceased who may harm the living. This includes the Scandinavian gjenganger, the Romanian strigoi, the Serbian vampir, the Greek vrykolakas, etc. In Scandinavian and Finnish tradition, ghosts appear in corporeal form, and their supernatural nature is given away by behavior rather than appearance. In fact, in many stories they are first mistaken for the living. They may be mute, appear and disappear suddenly, or leave no footprints or other traces.
Urdu: بهوت, Bengali: ভূত, Odia: ଭୂତ) is a supernatural creature, usually the ghost of a deceased person, in the popular culture, literature and some ancient texts of the Indian subcontinent
Interpretations of how bhoots come into existence vary by region and community, but they are usually considered to be perturbed and restless due to some factor that prevents them from moving on (to transmigration, non-being, nirvana, or heaven or hell, depending on tradition). This could be a violent death, unsettled matters in their lives, or simply the failure of their survivors to perform proper funerals.
In Central and Northern India, ojha or spirit guides play a central role. It duly happens when in the night someone sleeps and decorates something on the wall, and they say that if one sees the spirit the next thing in the morning he will become a spirit too, and that to a headless spirit and the soul of the body will remain the dark with the dark lord from the spirits who reside in the body of every human in Central and Northern India. It is also believed that if someone calls one from behind, never turn back and see because the spirit may catch the human to make it a spirit.
Other types of spirits in Hindu mythology include
There are many kinds of ghosts and similar supernatural entities that frequently come up in
, its folklores and form an important part in Bengali peoples' socio-cultural beliefs and superstitions. It is believed that the spirits of those who cannot find peace in the afterlife or die unnatural deaths remain on Earth. The word Pret (from Sanskrit) is also used in Bengali to mean ghost. In Bengal, ghosts are believed to be the spirit after death of an unsatisfied human being or a soul of a person who dies in unnatural or abnormal circumstances (like murder, suicide or accident). Even it is believed that other animals and creatures can also be turned into ghost after their death.
There is widespread belief in ghosts in Tibetan culture. Ghosts are explicitly recognized in the
Sanskrit: प्रेत) has a tiny throat and huge stomach, and so can never be satisfied. Ghosts may be killed with a ritual dagger or caught in a spirit trap and burnt, thus releasing them to be reborn. Ghosts may also be exorcised, and an annual festival is held throughout Tibet for this purpose. Some say that Dorje Shugden, the ghost of a powerful 17th-century monk, is a deity, but the Dalai Lama
asserts that he is an evil spirit, which has caused a split in the Tibetan exile community.
are shared throughout the region.
Ghosts are a popular theme in modern Malaysian and Indonesian films.
There are also many references to
ghosts in Filipino culture, ranging from ancient legendary creatures such as the Manananggal and Tiyanak to more modern urban legends and horror films. The beliefs, legends and stories are as diverse as the people of the Philippines
There was widespread belief in ghosts in Polynesian culture, some of which persists today.
After death, a person's ghost normally traveled to the sky world or the underworld, but some could stay on earth. In many Polynesian legends, ghosts were often actively involved in the affairs of the living. Ghosts might also cause sickness or even invade the body of ordinary people, to be driven out through strong medicines.
An image of Zhong Kui, the vanquisher of ghosts and evil beings, painted sometime before 1304 A.D. by Gong Kai
There are many references to ghosts in Chinese culture. Even Confucius said, "Respect ghosts and gods, but keep away from them."
The ghosts take many forms, depending on how the person died, and are often harmful. Many Chinese ghost beliefs have been accepted by neighboring cultures, notably Japan and southeast Asia. Ghost beliefs are closely associated with traditional Chinese religion based on ancestor worship, many of which were incorporated in Taoism. Later beliefs were influenced by Buddhism, and in turn influenced and created uniquely Chinese Buddhist beliefs.
Many Chinese today believe it possible to contact the spirits of their ancestors through a medium, and that ancestors can help descendants if properly respected and rewarded. The annual
ghost festival is celebrated by Chinese around the world. On this day, ghosts and spirits, including those of the deceased ancestors, come out from the lower realm
. Ghosts are described in classical Chinese texts as well as modern literature and films.
An article in the China Post stated that nearly eighty-seven percent of Chinese office workers believe in ghosts, and some fifty-two percent of workers will wear hand art, necklaces, crosses, or even place a crystal ball on their desks to keep ghosts at bay, according to the poll.
Yūrei (幽霊) are figures in Japanese folklore, analogous to Western legends of ghosts. The name consists of two kanji, 幽 (yū), meaning "faint" or "dim", and 霊 (rei), meaning "soul" or "spirit". Alternative names include 亡霊 (Bōrei) meaning ruined or departed spirit, 死霊 (Shiryō) meaning dead spirit, or the more encompassing 妖怪 (Yōkai) or お化け (Obake).
Gallup Poll News Service, belief in haunted houses, ghosts, communication with the dead, and witches had an especially steep increase over the 1990s. A 2005 Gallup poll found that about 32 percent of Americans believe in ghosts.
Ghosts are prominent in story-telling of various nations. The
morality tales. Ghosts often appear in the narrative as sentinels or prophets of things to come. Belief in ghosts is found in all cultures around the world, and thus ghost stories may be passed down orally or in written form.
Hamlet, Prince of Denmark. In Hamlet, it is the ghost who demands that Prince Hamlet investigate his "murder most foul" and seek revenge upon his usurping uncle, King Claudius
English Renaissance theater, ghosts were often depicted in the garb of the living and even in armor, as with the ghost of Hamlet's father. Armor, being out-of-date by the time of the Renaissance, gave the stage ghost a sense of antiquity. But the sheeted ghost began to gain ground on stage in the 19th century because an armored ghost could not satisfactorily convey the requisite spookiness: it clanked and creaked, and had to be moved about by complicated pulley systems or elevators. These clanking ghosts being hoisted about the stage became objects of ridicule as they became clichéd stage elements. Ann Jones and Peter Stallybrass, in Renaissance Clothing and the Materials of Memory, point out, "In fact, it is as laughter increasingly threatens the Ghost that he starts to be staged not in armor but in some form of 'spirit drapery'."
Professional parapsychologists and "ghosts hunters", such as Harry Price, active in the 1920s and 1930s, and Peter Underwood, active in the 1940s and 1950s, published accounts of their experiences with ostensibly true ghost stories such as Price's The Most Haunted House in England, and Underwood's Ghosts of Borley (both recounting experiences at Borley Rectory). The writer Frank Edwards delved into ghost stories in his books of his, like Stranger than Science.
Children's benevolent ghost stories became popular, such as
With the advent of motion pictures and television, screen depictions of ghosts became common, and spanned a variety of genres; the works of Shakespeare, Dickens and Wilde have all been made into cinematic versions. Novel-length tales have been difficult to adapt to cinema, although that of The Haunting of Hill House to The Haunting in 1963 is an exception.
The 1970s saw screen depictions of ghosts diverge into distinct genres of the romantic and horror. A common theme in the romantic genre from this period is the ghost as a benign guide or messenger, often with unfinished business, such as 1989's Field of Dreams, the 1990 film Ghost, and the 1993 comedy Heart and Souls. In the horror genre, 1980's The Fog, and the A Nightmare on Elm Street series of films from the 1980s and 1990s are notable examples of the trend for the merging of ghost stories with scenes of physical violence.
Indian ghost movies are popular not just in India, but in the Middle East, Africa, South East Asia, and other parts of the world. Some Indian ghost movies such as the comedy / horror film Chandramukhi have been commercial successes, dubbed into several languages.
In fictional television programming, ghosts have been explored in series such as
Nietzsche argued that people generally wear prudent masks in company, but that an alternative strategy for social interaction is to present oneself as an absence, as a social ghost – "One reaches out for us but gets no hold of us" – a sentiment later echoed (if in a less positive way) by Carl Jung.
Nick Harkaway has considered that all people carry a host of ghosts in their heads in the form of impressions of past acquaintances – ghosts who represent mental maps of other people in the world and serve as philosophical reference points.
Object relations theory sees human personalities as formed by splitting off aspects of the person that he or she deems incompatible, whereupon the person may be haunted in later life by such ghosts of his or her alternate selves.
The sense of ghosts as invisible, mysterious entities is invoked in several terms that use the word metaphorically, such as
"ghosting" a date
(when a person breaks off contact with a former romantic partner and disappears).
^"In the immediate aftermath of a death, the deceased is removed from the bed he died in and placed on the prepared floor, called a 'comfort bed.' His jaw is bound up and his feet tied together (usually at the big toes)." Kultur.gov.tr (archive version)
^"If a man lives and moves, it can only be because he has a little man or animal inside, who moves him. The animal inside the animal, the man inside the man, is the soul. And as the activity of an animal or man is explained by the presence of the soul, so the repose of sleep or death is explained by its absence; sleep or trance being the temporary, death being the permanent absence of the soul... " The Golden Bough, Project Gutenberg. Retrieved January 16, 2007.
^In Canada, Spiritism is an officially recognized religious denomination (unique in the world) as The National Spiritist Church of AlbertaArchived 2010-05-04 at the Wayback Machine (Church #A145 registered by Department of Vital Statistics, Government of Alberta – under The Marriage Act of Alberta) with government-licensed clergy and legal authority to perform marriages.
"Once the idea of a ghost appears in a household ... no longer is an object merely mislaid .... There gets to be a dynamic in a place where the idea that it's haunted takes on a life of its own. One-of-a-kind quirks that could never be repeated all become further evidence of the haunting."
^Nickell, Joe (2018). "Hawking 'Ghosts' in Old Louisville". Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (2): 26–29.
(2018). "The Curious Question of Ghost Taxonomy". Skeptical Inquirer. 42 (3): 47–49.
. Retrieved 14 November 2015. Jesus then walks out to them, on the water. When they see him, in the middle of the lake, the disciples are terrified, thinking it is a ghost. Jesus assures them it is he, and then Peter, in a characteristically unreserved moment, calls out, "Lord if it is you, command me to come to you on the water" (Matt. 14–28).
. Retrieved 2010-03-27. if we have ghosts, then where do we put them in the Christian universe? While they are tied to the earth, they are no longer living on the material plain. Heaven and hell are exclusive places, so it's extremely unlikely that people come and go from these destinations as they please. There must be a third state in the afterlife where souls linger before continuing their journey.
on April 21, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-27. John Wesley believed in the intermediate state between death and the final judgment "where believers would share in the 'bosom of Abraham' or 'paradise,' even continuing to grow in holiness there," writes Ted Campbell, a professor at Perkins School of Theology, in his 1999 book Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials (Abingdon).
. Retrieved 2010-03-27. Primarily the Purgatory ghost appeared only to ask for masses, alms, fasts, pilgrimages, and, above all, prayers.
^Fathers, Paulist (1945). Catholic world, Volume 162. Paulist Fathers. Retrieved 2010-03-27. That the Ghost comes from Purgatory is evident from his description of his abode in the other world as primarily a state of purification, consisting of...
^"Ghosts, Fairies and Omens". University of Wisconsin–Madison. Archived from the original on 2004-04-23. Retrieved 2010-03-27. The Roman Catholic Church taught that at death the souls of those too good for hell and too bad for heaven were sent to Purgatory. Here they were purged of their sins by punishment, but might on occasion be allowed to return to earth to warn the living of the need for repentance.
^"Do You Believe in Ghosts?". Catholic Exchange. 2006-10-07. Retrieved 2010-03-27. Ghosts can come to us for good, but we must not attempt to conjure or control spirits.
. Retrieved 2010-03-27. Jews have sometimes engaged in conjuring spirits when worried, even though the Bible prohibits this behavior.
^"A Christian Perspective on Ghosts and Hauntings". Spotlight Ministries. Archived from the original on 2010-01-09. Retrieved 2010-03-27. The Bible warns of the very real danger of seductive spirits that will come to deceive people and draw them away from God and into bondage: "But the Spirit [the Holy Spirit] explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons..." (1 Tim. 4:1).