Ghosts are intangible entities which exist in Twilight, and are believed by some to be the remnants of the souls of those who have departed the world of the living, hanging on to conclude unfinished business. They are among the most frequently encountered supernatural entities in the Chronicles of Darkness and range from barely self-aware shades to frighteningly lifelike spectres.
While they are composed of the same ephemera and share many basic characteristics, ghosts are not spirits (despite the use of that term in the World of Darkness Rulebook). They dwell in Twilight, and are never found in the Shadow, the natural home of spirits.
Mages believe that ghosts are not proper beings, but rather echoes left by the passage of a burdened soul through Twilight ephemera. They may mimic consciousness, and even seem to possess memories of a mortal existence, but according to Atlantean lore have no true life of their own. Most mages therefore have no qualms about using ghosts for their own ends.
Not all of those who encounter ghosts believe this, however; some consider a ghost to be the actual soul of the deceased which has become lost on its way to the next life, somehow cursed by unresolved desires to a horrifying existence of repetition and insanity until it can be freed.
Either theory may be supported by the fact that only humans (and possibly other beings who possess souls) may leave ghosts behind when they die. Equally, the fact that ghosts may be manipulated by mages using the Death Arcanum in the same way spirits are affected by Spirit does not sway the debate either way, as that Arcanum also has power over true souls. Their ephemeral bodies, however, are severely damaged by blessed artifacts (blessed weapons, holy water and so on), which may lend weight to the mage theory.
All ghosts are bound to one or more anchors: places, objects or even people with whom the ghost has a strong emotional connection. Ghosts are unable to move far from their anchors, and will act to protect them at all costs, for without them they cease to exist. Should a ghost linger because of unfinished business, it will disappear if that business is concluded. It is almost impossible to destroy a ghost except by destroying its anchors, though they may sometimes be exorcised, and certain rites known as abjurations may keep them at bay for short periods.
Powers and abilities Edit
Ghosts do not really possess normal skills or attributes (unless they possess a mortal body), though as mentioned above they may mimic such things. Unlike spirits, ghosts possess a human sense of morality, along with virtues and vices. While initially as moral as they were in life, ghosts degenerate over time and can never regain the compassion they lose (potentially more evidence that they are not truly souls).
Ghosts may also possess Numina, supernatural powers that allow them to manifest a variety of horrifying effects. Like spirits, they channel essence, the raw spiritual energy of the Shadow and Twilight, to create these effects. They draw essence from their anchors and from the memories of the living.
Ghosts are naturally able to manifest themselves in the Material Realm, though they find this (and the use of Numina) easier in places associated with strong emotions, like graveyards, churches and old buildings, and when near their anchors. It is harder to manifest in the presence of large numbers of mortals. While they may make themselves visible at will once manifested, they possess no voice or true physical form and must use Numina to make sound or interact with physical objects.
Those ghosts of great age and passion who spend extended amounts of time in the Underworld and lose most of their anchors have the potential to become powerful ghost-spirit hybrids known as geists. A few (as revealed in Mummy: The Curse) also develop the Lucid Dead Numen, causing them to regain most of their living personality, a normal attribute spread, and the ability to gain morality again, though it is still difficult for the incredibly old (i.e., over a century) to avoid degeneration.