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Athenodoros Cananites and the Ghost, by Henry Justice Ford, c.1900

Ghosts, in traditional beliefs, are the souls or spirits of deceased persons or animals which can appear in visible forms 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, in spiritism as a séance as the intercession of saints in Catholithism, and mediumship in religions such as Voodou or Tibetan Buddhism. 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.

Ghost redirects here; for the 1990 film, see Ghost (1990 film)
Poltergeist redirects here; for the 1982 film, see Poltergeist (1982 film)


  • Great Pompey's shade complains that we are slow,
    And Scipio's ghost walks unavenged amongst us!
  • Where entity and quiddity,
    The ghosts of defunct bodies, fly.
  • Behind every man now alive stand 30 ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living.
  • When thoroughly reliable people encounter ghosts, their stories are difficult to explain away.
  • 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.
  • Of calling shapes, and beck'ning shadows dire,
    And airy tongues that syllable men's names.
  • 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.
  • 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 (1717), line 1
  • 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?
  • A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
    Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
  • All on my own
    Here I stand.
    Am I humble, am I ghost?
    I’m on a limb to climb
    To something lawless I hope
    Am I humble, am I ghost?
    I found a way
    To look towards this day
    But it all hooked up
    This could only go one way
    I’m not alive, I’m not alive enough.
  • Here’s to the ghost
    We still seem to host
    How he’s becoming us
    Here come the vultures
    Here come the vultures
    Screaming down at us

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

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.
  • 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.")
  • Thin, airy shoals of visionary ghosts.
    • Homer, Odyssey, Book XI, line 48. Pope's translation
  • 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.
  • 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.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Encyclopedic article on Ghost at Wikipedia
  • The dictionary definition of ghost at Wiktionary
  • Media related to Ghosts at Wikimedia Commons