- “Ghosts are just people. We just seem more frightening, I suppose, because we represent something unknown. We can’t usually be seen. We’re not supposed to be here. ”
- ~ Jo, from The Name of the Star
Ghosts are the spirits of humans who have died. Ghosts do not have the physical presence of a living person, and often exist unnoticed and unable to be perceived. The only exceptions are a select number of humans called Shades, who possess the power of the Sight.
It is explained that not everyone who dies becomes a ghost. When Rory is still adapting to her new found Sight in The Name of the Star, she visits Alistair's ghost to discuss why this might be the case. Rory brings up the popular and common cultural theory that ghosts could linger because they have 'unfinished business' from before their deaths, but Alistair rebuffs the notion. He is unaware of what happens to others who pass away and claims that he didn't travel back from death; he just never left.
Appearance and Form Edit
They are not transparent and appear as ordinary, solid-looking people to those who are able to see them. When Rory first developed the Sight, she mistook a ghost for another classmate; implying that at this stage she was unable to differentiate a ghost from a living person. The only odd aspect of the person's appearance was an unusual pallor. However, Rory discovers that something is amiss when she witnesses a pedestrian unknowingly pass directly through a ghost's 'body'. The most obvious identifier of a ghost is out-of-place clothing. When a person dies and becomes a ghost, they are represented in the fashion that they wore during their lives. Stephen theorizes that this is because the ghosts look how they saw themselves at the time of their demise.
Even the Shades who have had the Sight for years sometimes cannot differentiate between the living and the dead.
Because they do not have completely corporeal bodies, most ghosts possess a limited ability to pass through tangible objects such as walls and living people. Mastery of this skill tends to vary with time and practice, and it is mentioned to be an uncomfortable exercise. It requires a certain degree of concentration, and very few ghosts have the experience and will-power necessary to pass through within a short period of time. The Shades hypothesise that those who have difficulty passing through solids are more adept at grasping, shifting, and carrying light objects. The ghost of Alistair Gilliam has developed the necessary level of skill to flip pages, and to lift and carry library books. Josephine Bell is another example of a ghost who exercises this ability.
Known Ghosts Edit
- Alistair Gilliam
- Josephine Bell (Terminated)
- Alexander Newman (Terminated)
- Diane (Terminated)
- The man in Bristol (Terminated)
- Callum's Attacker (Terminated)
- The ghost in Stephen's flat (Terminated)
- The man at Liverpool Street station
- The teenage girl in the tunnel
- The ghost with the hammer (Terminated)
- Ghost of a Nurse.
- Peter (Terminated)
- Ol' Jim
- Lord Williamson (Terminated by Rory at his request).
- The malformed Highgate Cemetery dweller