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Ghosts as seen in the 2001 film Thirteen Ghosts.

Ghosts are the spirits of the deceased that remain bound to earth after their deaths due to unresolved issues. They have appeared in the 1960 film 13 Ghosts, and the 2001 film Thirteen Ghosts.



A deceased person's soul becomes a ghost when it remains bound to earth after its death and unable to move on due to issues that weren't resolved when that person was alive. It has been speculated their formation may be a byproduct of a high concentration of great emotional intensity upon their moment of passing.

Appearance and AbilitiesEdit

In the 2001 film, according to Dennis, most ghosts can't harm the living even if they wanted to, but there are exceptions, such as the ghosts that make up The Black Zodiac, and the ghosts imprisoned in Dr. Zorba's mansion. These ghosts were capable of interacting with the physical world; moving or projecting objects and actually attack and even kill a living person.

Their appearance as a ghost may vary, though they mostly range from the most recent state they were in when, after or very shortly before they died. Additionally, special objects and devices relating to their persona or circumstances of their death may actually become as part of their apparition such as Jean Kriticos' IV rack, Royce Clayton's baseball bat and car, George Markley 's hammer, Harold's axe, etc. And like these ghosts, these objects can interact with the physical world as well and may become weaponized without moments notice.

For the 1960 film, the ghosts imprisoned in Zorba's mansion varied widely in appearance as some weren't even human. One was the ghost of a lion while the others were merely floating disembodied limbs and appendiges.

Ghosts can usually only be seen through specially made spectral viewers, though there have been some exceptions. In the 1960 film, ghosts were also semi-transparent when seen, while in the 2001 film, the ghosts were fully opaque when viewed through the glasses and faint whispers could be heard whenever they were present.

Personality and EmotionsEdit


Ghosts as seen in the 1960 film 13 Ghosts.

The ghosts that were imprisoned in Basileus's Machine and Dr. Zorba's house respectively (particularly the former group of ghosts) were shown to be extremely violent and prone to attacking or even killing a living person without conscience or reason. According to Dennis in Thirteen Ghosts, this is because ghosts who died violently are left in a tortured state if they do not cross over, and thus they eventually come to know nothing but rage and violence.


As strong as these ghosts could be, they do have frailties. For example, in Thirteen Ghosts, for reasons unknown, ghosts are forced to obey Latin spells and whatever they say, though a ghost can resist the spells if they are strong enough. Ghosts were not able cross barrier spells, and spells that command them to travel to a nearby location will force them to go to that place. 

Notably, in the 2001 film, ghosts such as The Jackal retreat from quicksilver flares and briefly disappear. According to the script, this is because burning metal temporarily disrupts ghosts' spectral energy. Also, in the 1960 film, when Dr. Zorba and the other eleven ghosts were placed in his mansion, they were trapped in the house and could only leave and move on when a thirteenth ghost joined them. The ghosts in the 2001 film, on the other hand, were presumably confined by none other than the barrier spells of Basileus's Machine and were free to roam the Earth once again upon it's destruction.

Differences between 1960 and 2001 versionsEdit

  • The ghosts in the 1960 film, when visible, were semi-transparent, while the ghosts in the 2001 film were opaque when they were visible.
  • In the 1960 film, ghosts could become trapped in buildings they were placed in (until enough other ghosts joined them), while in the 2001 film, this rule does not appear to technically apply.
  • The noises which are heard when a ghost is present are screaming, gasping and moaning in the 1960 film; while in the 2001 film it is faint, eerie shrieks and whispers.

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