In traditional belief and fiction, a ghost (sometimes known as a spectre (British English) or specter (American English), phantom, wraith, apparition or spook) is the soul or spiritual essence of a dead person or animal that can appear, in a visible form or another manifestation, to the living.

Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to a translucent or barely-visible, wispy shapes, to realistic, life-like visions. The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in spiritism as a séance.

The belief in manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures. Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to rest the spirits of the dead. Ghosts are generally described as solitary essences that haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life, though stories of phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.

Ghosts in other media


  • The ghosts depicted the 2001 remake of "Thirteen Ghosts" are members of the fictional Black Zodiac, and each ghost is shown as they were upon death or after death. Some of the ghosts were also depicted as being violent towards the living if they died violent deaths. They were captured in an attempt to power a house-like machine designed during the 1600s.
  • The live-action film "Casper" features the titular character as a ghost that is in search of a friend and doesn't like to scare anyone and lives with his three uncles, also ghosts, who enjoy scaring people.