Tessa: Well, like you said. There's always a choice. I can't make you come with me. But you're not getting back in your body. And that's just facts. So yes, you can stay. You'll stay here for years. Disembodied, scared, and over the decades it'll probably drive you mad. Maybe you'll even get violent.
Dean: What are you saying?Tessa: Dean. How do you think angry spirits are born? They can't let go and they can't move on. And you're about to become one. The same thing you hunt.
– Tessa the Reaper and Dean, 2.01 In My Time Of Dying
A ghost or spirit remains connected to the mortal realm because it is attached to it through unfinished business or an unwillingness to move on. Many have a desire for revenge against those who they perceive to have caused their deaths, or will target people like them, for example Constance Welch and Peter Sweeney. Others like Dr Ellicott, Dr. H.H. Holmes, and Nurse Glockner were evil in life and continued this after death.
- Molly: I don't understand how a guy like this can turn into that monster.
- Sam: Well, spirits like Greely are like wounded animals. Lost... in so much pain that they lash out.
- Molly: Why? Why are they here?
- Sam: There's some part of them that... that's keeping them here. Like their remains, or unfinished business.
- Molly: Unfinished business?
- Sam: Yeah. It could be revenge. It could be love, or hate. Whatever it is, they just hold on too tight. Can't let go. So they're trapped. Caught in the same loops. Replaying the same tragedies over and over.
- Molly: You sound almost sorry for them.
- Sam: Well, they weren't evil people, you know. A lot of them were good, just something happened to them. Something they couldn't control.
A ghost who can move objects is referred to as a Poltergeist, and when they materialize or possess another person they may exude ectoplasm. Ghosts can also infect a person with Ghost Sickness, a disease that will make the sick person experience the ghost's feelings at the time of their death in slow motion. When Dean is infected, he experiences extreme fear and comes close to suffering cardiac arrest. How ghosts can effect the living and communicate after death is a topic of much debate. One common theory of ghosts is that they have the ability to manipulate electromagnetism, hence although they cannot always communicate in the normal human spectrum of hearing, they can manipulate electronic equipment to communicate by EVP.
Ghosts are not always present by choice or as a result of unfinished business. Ghosts can also be summoned and controlled by witches or demons. Walter Dixon uses necromancy to summon the ghosts of past hollywood actors and crewmen and forces them to kill people who have wronged him. The demon Lilith raises the Witnesses to attack hunters and break one of The 66 Seals. The demon Samhain summons ghosts and raises people from the dead, creating zombies.
The boys commonly force a ghost to move on by salting and burning its corpse. Sam admits that "My dad always said it's like death for spirits. But the truth is, we never know."
This method is successful in most cases, including those of Dr Ellicott, Nurse Glockner, and Jonah Greely. In 5.09 The Real Ghostbusters, the final salting and burning is performed by Demian and Barnes. Sometimes, however, an object can anchor a person's ghost in the living realm. With the Hookman, the Winchesters salt and burn the corpse but also have to melt all the silver from his hook. Cyrus Dorian is salted and burnt but only banished when he and his truck are lured onto holy ground. In most cases, the object that must be destroyed to force the ghost to move on contains a small amount of DNA that has been preserved. This is true of Melanie Merchant and Dirk McGregor, whose remaining hair has to be burnt. In the case of P.T. Sandover, his gloves, which may have contained some skin cells or fingernail clippings, have to be burnt. In one memorable case, Rose Brown's kidney, which she donated to her still living sister, Isabel, binds her ghost to a living, moving object. Even though her body is burned by Sam, she cannot be dispatched, and Sam and Dean consider using hoodoo to keep Rose in check. Before they can explore that option, Isabel's sudden death, caused by Rose herself, forces Rose's ghost to move on.
Iron repels ghosts. For example, Sam uses an iron poker to protect himself and Sarah from Melanie Merchant. The use of iron to repel ghosts has another link with the electromagnetism theory, as striking a ghost with an object made of iron grounds their electric charge, disrupting them and warding them off until they're able to recover.
- See also Vengeful Spirits
- Constance Welch, the Woman in White in 1.01 Pilot
- Peter Sweeney, aka the drowned boy in 1.03 Dead in the Water
- Mary Worthington, aka Bloody Mary (urban legend), and Jess in 1.05 Bloody Mary
- Jacob Karns from Hook Man Legend in 1.07 Hookman
- Mary Winchester in 1.09 Home
- Dr Ellicott from Rockford Asylum in 1.10 Asylum
- Cyrus Dorian's spirit possesses his truck in 1.13 Route 666
- Melanie Merchant in 1.19 Provenance
- Dr. H.H. Holmes in 2.06 No Exit
- Claire Becker in 2.07 The Usual Suspects
- Maggie Thompson in 2.11 Playthings
- Father Thomas Gregory in 2.13 Houses of the Holy
- Molly McNamara and Jonah Greely in 2.16 Roadkill
- Ghosts of old Hollywood actors in 2.18 Hollywood Babylon
- Nurse Glockner in 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues
- Callie in 3.05 Bedtime Stories
- Sailor’s Ghost in 3.06 Red Sky At Morning
- Freeman Daggett in 3.13 Ghostfacers
- The Witnesses in 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
- Luther Garland in 4.06 Yellow Fever
- Ghost raised by Samhain in 4.07 It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
- Dirk McGregor in 4.13 After School Special
- Cole Griffith in 4.15 Death Takes A Holiday
- P.T. Sandover in 4.17 It's A Terrible Life
- Leticia Gore and the children in 5.09 The Real Ghostbusters
- Rose Brown in 6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning
- Jo Harvelle and others controlled by Osiris in 7.04 Defending Your Life
- Kate Fox and Margaret Fox in 7.07 The Mentalists
Ghosts in Lore
Ghosts or spooks are controversial phenomena which have several possible definitions:
- The spirit or soul of a person who has died, especially one which haunts a place which was of emotional significance to that person when living.
- The personality of a person after his or her own death which is not directly tied to the soul or spirit. A sort of psychic memory-imprint.
- The character or memory of some being or thing which has died or, if it was never alive, been somehow destroyed or disassembled, which nevertheless remains existent (and sometimes detectable) in a semi-corporeal form.
According to reported sightings, ghosts have taken the shape of humans, animals, and even vehicles. There are reports of ghosts (usually of deceased humans) in most cultures throughout the world. There is a great deal of dispute whether ghosts are figments of the imagination or part of objective existence. Ghosts are among the subjects studied by parapsychologists.
- 2.16 Roadkill
- 1.01 Pilot
- 1.03 Dead in the Water
- 1.10 Asylum
- 2.06 No Exit
- 2.19 Folsom Prison Blues
- 1.09 Home
- 4.13 After School Special
- 4.06 Yellow Fever
- 2.18 Hollywood Babylon
- 4.02 Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
- 4.07 It's The Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester
- 1.07 Hookman
- 1.13 Route 666
- 1.19 Provenance
- 4.17 It's A Terrible Life
- 6.14 Mannequin 3: The Reckoning
- 3.06 Red Sky At Morning
- 4.15 Death Takes A Holiday
Pages in category "Ghosts"
The following 43 pages are in this category, out of 43 total.