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Ghosts are humanoid representations of a deceased person's soul and major characters appearing throughout The Caged Underworld.

Overview

Ghosts first come into existence after a deceased human's soul is reaped by another ghost and are given the option of either living in purgatory to reap souls or to haunt the Earth. In the former case, the soul is consumed and rests in sleep inside the ghost until a new chief priest of purgatory is inaugurated; then the soul becomes a new resident of purgatory along with other reaped souls, and the cycle continues. In the latter case, the ghost haunts the Earth as an incorporeal supernatural being. They can either will themselves to be seen by humans, or they can be discerned by humans in certain mental states (such as Kotori's condition of having portions of Kleinod and Weltraum's souls embedded in her body, or the case of the Miyagi family in season two, where every firstborn son has an extrasensory ability to see and interact with ghosts), or, as in the case of festivals such as Obon, they are seen by all humans, regardless of mental capacity, until the holiday ends. From the time of their death, ghosts of all types do not age, either physically or mentally, and their ability to perceive time passing is heavily impaired, if not obliterated completely.


Ghosts on Earth

Ghosts on Earth can come into existence either by a reaped soul's free will, or if the ghost or team reaping the soul takes too long in obtaining it after an anobaith is defeated, as the soul will automatically evolve from its stationary Will o' Wisp form and become a ghost bound to Earth if left untended for more than five minutes. Ghosts on Earth are typically invisible to humans, but usually appear as pale, powder blue, wispy humanoids. Some subspecies of ghosts, such as Hungry Ghosts and Cannibalistic Ghosts are exceptions to this aesthetic attribute, and may barely even resemble the human they once were.

Ghosts in purgatory

Ghosts in purgatory come into existence after a chief priest is chosen, and all reaped souls become new inhabitants of the realm, while the previous ghosts relocate to the afterlife or to the river Styx.

Differences between Earthbound and purgatory ghosts

The location a human spirit chooses to reside in makes a huge difference in what kind of experience they will have as a ghost. Earthbound ghosts, despite being confined to the material world, exist outside of time and consequentally have no free will or concept of time. They are sometimes compared by purgatory ghosts to jellyfish; drifting along carefree. However, some Earthbounds will retain strong desires from their human lives and may become quite vengeful, posing a threat to human. Meeting other ghosts, Earthbound or otherwise, will help them restore their humanity by very small increments.

Purgatory ghosts all retain their human appearance, regardless of subspecies (although their skin will always be gray, and their hair and eye color will be different), and they all specific uniforms (which can vary greatly in style, but typically comes down to dark grey or black pants or bottoms, a black or white shirt and/or outerwear, black gloves, a white turtleneck and brown shoes). In addition, ghosts in purgatory are not as intangeble as ghosts on Earth, and the laws of physics still apply to them. In addition, all ghosts in purgatory have unique powers from the time they are created (usually based on their personality and method of death), which are vital for fighting anobaiths. One power they have in common is the ability to transform into what is known as a "bodiless form", in which the person turns into a two-foot tall creatures representing the monsters in Pac-Man. Ghosts in purgatory also are given different names, which are derived from German words and are known innately by them after their arrival in purgatory. They have a respective Will o' Wisp at their side at all times.

Subspecies

There are different types and varieties of ghosts, whether on Earth or in purgatory, with unique attributes and appearances. Although the physical appearances between groups can be drastic with ghosts who haunt Earth, ghosts in purgatory may only have certain physical indicators and attributes, but maintain an overall human appearance. Different subspecies can be easily discerned by their respective eye and Will o' Wisp color. The only canon ghost who does not apply to this color identification is Sternenglanz. Although he has his origins as a cannibalistic ghost, this discrepency is due to his tampering with and absorbing other ghost's powers, muddying up the color of his Will o' Wisp and turning his eyes black.

Below is a list of all ghost subspecies as shown in the series:

Ghost Subspecies: Corresponding Color:
Pedigree Ghosts Light Blue
Child Ghosts Pink
Loose-headed Ghosts Yellow
Long-necked Ghosts Brown
Rear-footed Ghosts White
Cannibalistic Ghosts Red
Hungry Ghosts Purple

See also

Trivia

  • The reason behind a ghost's change in hair and eye color after death is unknown, though purgatory's atmosphere resulting in this change is a plausible answer.
  • Another ambiguous theme surrounding purgatory ghosts is their name changes, and is a source of some moderate controversy in the fanbase.
    • In the 4koma, Weltraum and Kleinod suspect that Pluto and Persephone are Germanophiles, and implemented this naming system in honor of their bias.
      • Elle's explaination for this is that the name change is symbolic of the change in the person/ghost's undergoes once they die and go to purgatory and their new life state, summing it up with a "that was then, this is now" parallel.

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