- "Ghost" redirects here; for the 1990 film, see Ghost (film)
In traditional belief, ghosts are the souls or spirits of deceased persons or animals that can appear, in visible form or other manifestation, to the living. Descriptions of the apparition of ghosts vary widely: The mode of manifestation can range from an invisible presence to translucent or 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 appease 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 the phantom armies, ghost trains, phantom ships, and even ghost animals have also been recounted.
- Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow,
And Scipio's ghost walks unavenged amongst us!
- Joseph Addison, Cato, A Tragedy (1713), Act II, scene 1.
- Where entity and quiddity,
The ghosts of defunct bodies, fly.
- Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part I (1663-64), Canto I, line 145.
- Of calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire,
And airy tongues that syllable men's names.
- For spirits when they please
Can either sex assume, or both.
- Whence and what are thou, execrable shape?
- All heart they live, all head, all eye, all ear,
All intellect, all sense, and as they please
They limb themselves, and colour, shape, or size
Assume, as likes them best, condense or rare.
- The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.
- There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the grave.
To tell us this.
- I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
Why, so can I, or so can any man;
But will they come when you do call for them?
- What are these,
So wither'd, and so wild in their attire;
That look not like the inhabitants o' th' earth,
And yet are on 't?
- Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand?
- A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
- Now it is the time of night,
That the graves, all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 33-34.
- Who gather round, and wonder at the tale
Of horrid apparition, tall and ghastly,
That walks at dead of night, or takes his stand
O'er some new-open'd grave; and, (strange to tell!)
Evanishes at crowing of the cock.
- Robert Blair, The Grave, line 67.
- The Nightmare Life-in-Death was she.
- Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Ancient Mariner, Part III.
- The unexpected disappearance of Mr. Canning from the scene, followed by the transient and embarrassed phantom of Lord Goderich. (Quoted, "He flits across the stage a transient and embarrassed phantom.")
- Benjamin Disraeli, Endymian, Chapter III.
- Thin, airy shoals of visionary ghosts.
- Homer, Odyssey, Book XI, line 48. Pope's translation.
- So many ghosts, and forms of fright,
Have started from their graves to-night,
They have driven sleep from mine eyes away;
I will go down to the chapel and pray.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, The Golden Legend (1872), Part IV.
- What beck'ning ghost along the moonlight shade
Invites my steps, and points to yonder glade?
- Alexander Pope, Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady, line 1.
- My people too were scared with eerie sounds,
A footstep, a low throbbing in the walls,
A noise of falling weights that never fell,
Weird whispers, bells that rang without a hand,
Door-handles turn'd when none was at the door,
And bolted doors that open'd of themselves;
And one betwixt the dark and light had seen
Her, bending by the cradle of her babe.
- Alfred Tennyson, The Ring.
- I look for ghosts; but none will force
Their way to me; 'tis falsely said
That even there was intercourse
Between the living and the dead.
- William Wordsworth, Affliction of Margaret.