- For the SyFy remake's version of Ghosts, see Ghost (Syfy)
Ghosts (classified Type 1 by the Department of Domestic Defence, classified Type 2 by CenSSA) are post-human supernatural beings, who are the disembodied souls of once-living humans; having remained on the physical plane after they died due to failure to resolve certain circumstances when they were alive. Once the issue keeping a ghost from crossing over has been resolved, a door to Purgatory will appear for the ghost to pass through. If a ghost refuses to pass on, then the Men with Sticks and Rope will attempt to bring the ghost to the Other Side by force.
Ghosts are what a person lives on as after death. It seems that ghosts appear immediately upon the death of the person. (All God's Children) Once a person dies, as a ghost, they will either pass on through a door to Purgatory, or will not receive their door until they have resolved 'unfinished business' keeping them on Earth. Ghosts are in possession of a secret, known only to the dead and the immortal, which would send a living human insane if they heard it.
When a ghost has 'unfinished business' which means they cannot receive their door and pass on until this issue has been resolved, the issue can be practically anything. It would also appear that the issue a ghost must resolve can be changed over time, particularly if they've resolved their original issue but have turned down their door and have actually been allowed by the forces of the Other Side to remain on Earth. Annie Sawyer's unfinished business was initially getting Owen Norayan to turn himself in for killing her, (Where The Wild Things Are) but after she returned from Purgatory to the physical plane, (Lia) it changed to saving the world from the Old Ones and fulfilling the War Child prophecy. (The War Child)
Not only humans but also werewolves become ghosts when they die, although werewolves' ghosts don't seem to ever remain on Earth after death like humans' ghosts do. Vampires, while indeed sharing the fate of humans and werewolves in the afterlife, don't ever seem to become ghosts when they die.
To those who can see them, ghosts always appear wearing the clothes they were in when they died, which they cannot change. However, the clothes can subtly alter according to requirements or the mood of the ghost - Annie's basic outfit was seen to grow larger to accommodate 'swaddling' or if she felt in need of comfort, or occasionally shrink if she wanted to appear more attractive. In addition to the clothes he died in, Gilbert also had a cigarette behind his ear, which he could actually smoke. Though they normally lack the injuries that killed them, when in Purgatory (Lia) or (possibly) when being glimpsed by certain humans involved in their death, (All God's Children) apparently take on the injuries and bloody state their body was in when they died.
- Annie: "Do you know what I don't get? People still can't see me. I thought that at least I would be visible again."
- Sykes: "Annie, you were never meant to be visible in the first place. There's a natural order. There's life, there's the door, and then somewhere in between them, there's the ghosts. But you... You were something different. A crease in the cloth, a.... In a plane, you have this thing called an artificial horizon. It's this little gauge and you have to keep it flat. And that's order. You tipped the world too much in one direction and sooner or later, it had to right itself. "
- ―Annie and Sykes talk after Annie has managed to close the door.
- "Rentaghosting" - Ghosts can teleport over long distances at will. They usually seem to do this only in extreme circumstances; for instance, Annie teleported when she was frightened of George Sands' transformation. (Series 1, Becoming Human) If and when a ghost solves their unfinished business and then refuses to cross over, they can teleport at will. (Series 2 onwards). Furthermore they could also learn to teleport, even if they haven't resolved their unfinished buisiness. Annie teaches Alex how to rentaghost.
- Apporting - When rentaghosting, ghosts apparently cannot transport living things with them; although they can transport vampires due to their undead state. (The War Child)
- Intangibility - Ghosts can selectively and semi-involuntarily phase through solid matter. Ghosts can voluntarily phase through walls, floors and surfaces with concentration, (The Last Broadcast) and they are involuntarily unable to ingest anything. It is believed to be unpleasant and/or uncomfortable for a ghost to phase through solid matter. (Becoming Human)
- Invincibility - Ghosts cannot be physically harmed and cannot age beyond their death. However, it is possible for ghosts to interact with objects and other supernaturals within the physical world, and they can still be "destroyed" and forced to cross over to the afterlife or Purgatory by some means.
- Telekinesis - Ghosts are capable of telekinetically moving people and objects, though they rarely do it. Ghosts' telekinesis skills apparently develop with age, and they appear to be at their most powerful and skilled when the ghost is experiencing immense, righteous and furious emotions. Also, when a ghost becomes emotionally angry, vulnerable or unstable, it can cause objects around them to move on their own, and electronic devices to activate, overload, and/or go haywire.
- Invisibility - Other supernatural beings such as vampires, werewolves, succubi, the Devil, and other ghosts can perceive ghosts, but to humans, ghosts are usually invisible (although ghosts can still be briefly glimpsed when giving humans a bad vibe). However, it is possible for ghosts to become visible to humans, although their state can flunctuate between visible and invisible depending upon their emotional state; remaining invisible to humans whom they feel particularly emotional about. After According to Sykes, while ghosts can become visible to humans, it's a mistake which is never meant to happen.
- Swaddling - Ghosts can extend their invisibility onto other objects and living things by covering them up underneath the former's clothes. (Being Human 1955 onwards)
- Aura-reading - Ghosts are capable of seeing and reading humans auras. This allows ghosts to glimpse visually-invisible human ailments such as tumors. More experienced ghosts can even use this aura-reading ability to feel, read thoughts and memories, and experience sensations such as taste and sexual stimulation, that living humans are feeling through touching said humans on the head.
Ghosts do not need energy to function, and so cannot, nor do they need to, eat or drink. A ghost's abilities will fluctuate to match their mood and mental state; when Annie learned Owen Norayan's hand in her murder, her powers became more erratic and violent. John Mitchell warned her that unless she calmed down she would turn into a poltergeist. Kirby was able to kill a man by persuading him to have a heart attack. (A Spectre Calls)
Emotions and mental state
A ghost's abilities fluctuate with their emotions. Sometimes ghosts can be seen by living humans. Annie Sawyer was visible to non-supernaturals after she met George and Mitchell, but became invisible again after she learned of Hugh's romantic feelings for her. (Serve God, Love Me and Mend) Sykes told her that ghosts weren't meant to be visible. This is against natural order and Annie is an exception. (Educating Creature) Annie was also initially invisible to Owen due to her longing for him, but she became visible to him after she severed all emotional ties with Owen. (Where The Wild Things Are)
Ghosts can become dark and vengeful towards people who were involved in their deaths or unfinished business. (Where The Wild Things Are, The Trinity) It has also been shown with Lady Mary that when ghosts spend centuries on the physical plane, they develop a more vulgar, perverted and unstable personality due to boredom causing them to engage in dark activities. (Pie and Prejudice)
Although it is difficult, there are some methods of destroying ghosts or of at least reducing them to such a state that they're completely invisible, powerless and unfixed and just echoes on the wind. They also have a few non-fatal weaknesses.
- Each-other - When emotionally-empowered enough, a strong ghost can destroy a weaker one. (A Spectre Calls)
- Demons - The Men with Sticks and Rope seem to be able to suck Ghosts of their energy. (Sticks and Rope) Also, Captain Hatch was able to both banish ghosts and disable their teleporting abilities. (No Care, All Responsibility, The Last Broadcast)
- Trinity blood ritual -The Supernatural Trinity blood ritual which can destroy the Devil also causes the ghost participant to disperse and destroys them, possibly unless the Devil is killed first upon the ritual's completion. (The Trinity, The Last Broadcast)
- Unfixing - If the residence where a ghost died and which they're attached to (their "root") is destroyed, then the ghost will be rendered unfixed and powerless and left as nothing more than a drifting, invisible echo on the air. (Bad Moon Rising). Ghosts may be able to avoid this fate by following people they've become attached to (their "familiars") to a new home.
- Unbearable grief - If a ghost suffers too much grief and emotional stress and is unable to bear it, then it can cause the ghost to drift apart and disperse. This was what briefly happened to Annie when the household fell apart, before she was revived by Hal and Tom's return, (A Spectre Calls) and it apparently happened to Annie in the alternate Eve's future world from having so many of her friends die and be buried. (Making History)
A virtual dream reality engineered by Captain Hatch depicted that since ghosts' condition originates from the Devil, destroying him would cause ghosts to lose their astral state of existence and become living humans again. However, as this world was an illusion, it is unknown whether or not killing the Devil would have reverted ghosts to living humans in reality. (The Last Broadcast)
Additional Informations from the official Being Human novels
Ghost getting energy from other creatures
In the pilot episode it is shown that Annie suddenly becomes visible. She says that being with George and Mitchell, being known and recognised by them, made her real, thus visible. ("Seems like with George and Mitchell I have been feeling like... Before them I was all alone, like drowning. But now just being recognised by someone, being liked and known. Looks like that's what makes you real") Throughout the series, it is said, that ghosts slowly fade away when they have no one who sees them and talks to them. Herrick for example says that he only needs to kill Mitchell and George, burn Annie's house down and watch Annie slowly fade away. Hal tells Leo, "If a ghost loses their root and their familiars . . . they fade" and "disperse and drift away on the breeze like smoke." In the episode A Spectre Calls Kirby makes Tom and Hal leave the house. Then he tells Annie that he is a serial killer and that Annie is alone. Annie fades away. However when Tom and Hal return to the house this gives Annie the energy to come back and destroy Kirby.
(The following passage contains Spoilers from the official Being Human novel The Road)
In the books it is also shown that ghost are able to get energy from other creatures like vampires, werewolves or other ghosts. Mitchell gives the ghosts of Thomas Ho, Barry Jones, Chantell Roy and Lee Romain energy when he is around them. They stay near him, so that they can feel his warmth and do not fade away again. This doesn't have a negative effect on Mitchell. However there are ghost who can sap the life and energy out of other creatures. Gemma Romain is such a ghost. She already was like this as a human. Her husband left her because he felt that she is sapping the life out of him. Her son Lee also felt this way.
When Gemma comes to Annie, Annie suddenly feels like she has no energy and she is scared to go outside. George and Mitchell also don't like to be around Gemma, as they feel less powerful when she is around. At the end Gemma's son Lee finds out that Gemma has killed his friends. He sap Gemma's strength, like she has always done, even when she was alive. Now Gemma is unfixed, ungrounded and just an echo in the air, like Lee and his friends had been before, for eleven years. Mitchell, Annie and George are unable to see Gemma anymore, although she is still around.
Ghosts being seen by humans
According to the official Being Human novels, Ghosts can be seen by Humans who will be dying soon. Annie could be seen by Denise O'Halloran, Leo Willis and Moonpaw, but not by other Humans. All three of them were deathly sick.
Little is known about ghosts' general attitude towards vampires, but it is known that vampires themselves have some awe and fascination towards ghosts. Ghosts and vampires can feel close to each-other, because of how they share the death experience of the Men with Sticks and Rope, and because of how vampires are among the few beings able to perceive ghosts. Vampires and ghosts can build up friendships which last for a very long time, although this doesn't happen often since many ghosts don't like it when vampires are killing. Ghosts are also safe around vampires since vampires can't harm them.
Ghosts often like werewolves, because they, like psychics and vampires, can connect ghosts to the human world and can perceive and interact with them all the time. Ghosts are also able to help werewolves through their transformations without the risk of getting hurt by the transformed werewolf.
Ghosts love psychics, as they are the only humans that ghosts can talk to, and they can make contact to the ghost's living relatives and friends. Psychics are often surrounded by a lot of ghosts who talk to them all the time, which is why many psychics feel annoyed and unhappy with their gift due to the constant attention.
Ghosts are known to fear the forces of the Other Side such as the Men with Sticks and Rope, although after facing and defeating them ghosts can overcome and lose this fear.
List of known ghosts
- Annie Sawyer (died in 2007; crossed over)
- Sykes (died in WWII, presumably crossed over)
- Gilbert (died in 1985; crossed over)
- Kathleen (died circa 2008, presumably crossed over)
- Rufus (died circa 2008, presumably crossed over)
- Amy McBride (died circa 2009)
- Craig Ford (died circa 2009)
- Hazel (died in 2013)
- Billy (died in 2009, crossed over)
- Matt Bolton (died in 2011)
- Cathy Duffin (died in March, 2005)
- Landlord Keith Harvey (died in 2005)
- Jimmy (crossed over)
- Robin (died in 1998)
- Paul (died in 2011, crossed over)
- Alternate Eve Sands (died in 2037; erased from time)
- George Sands (died in 2012; crossed over)
- Alfie Kirby (died in 1975; destroyed)
- Pearl (died in 1950s; crossed over)
- Leo (died in 2012; crossed over)
- Alex Millar (died in 2012)
- Eve Sands (died in 2012; crossed over)
- Oliver Fitzwilliam Pryor (died in 1800s; crossed over)
- Albert Fitzwilliam Pryor (died in 1800s; crossed over)
- Lady Mary (died circa 1760s)
- Emil Parsons (destroyed)
- Emrys (died in 2012; crossed over)
- Lia Shaman (died in 2010; crossed over)
- Saul (died in 2010, crossed over)
- Mrs James (died in 2012, crossed over)
- Sean Hancock (died in 2011, crossed over)
- Mr Jacobs (died in 2011, crossed over)
- Lisa Monkton (died in 2012)
- Hennessey (died in 2010, crossed over)
- Natasha Miles (died in 2012 - 2013; presumably crossed over)
- Sasha (died in 2011, crossed over)
- The victims of the Box Tunnel 20 Massacre (Mitchell meets the ghosts in Purgatory) (died in 2010; crossed over):
- Gemma Romain (died in 1999)
- Lee Romain (died in 1999, crossed over)
- Thomas Ho (died in 1999, crossed over)
- Barry Jones (died in 1999, crossed over)
- Chantell Roy (died in 2010, crossed over)
- Rebecca Hywel-Jones (died in 2010, crossed over)
- Denise O'Halloran (died in 2010, crossed over)
- It was revealed in The Last Broadcast that like vampires' and werewolves' respective curses, ghosts' condition also originates from the Devil; although since ghosts are what any human can become after any death, rather than a supernatural virus like the former two species, how the Devil is the origin of their creation is unknown.