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The Good, The Bad and the Ghostly

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I find that the possibilities within paranormal fiction are endless. For example, a ghost can linger on our plane of existence in order to wrap up any unfinished business they may have before moving on. Their unfinished business could result from a traumatic experience in their personal lives, or even their death itself. The classic trope is usually that the ghost was once a person who was slain, and now they haunt the location where they were killed. And it goes without saying that they won't let up until they have the satisfaction that justice has been done. Simple. What if the ghost was kind and good-natured as they were in their corporal life? They may choose to remain on earth because they willingly do so in order to assist in the care and provision of loved ones who are still among the living after they have passed away. They could warn the lovers of an adversary or inform the next victim before plotting their revenge.


The ghost doesn't even have a personal connection to the main character at all. It's possible that the protagonist will get hurt because of the ghost's haunting. For instance, a ghost may be destined to continue haunting the location where they died until they can discover the name of the person who murdered them. Therefore, anytime anybody goes to the location, the ghost appears in all of their gruesome splendor to plead for help, terrifying the living daylights out of whoever is present at the time. I know that is a bit dramatic, but it has been done.


The majority of ghosts search for answers, for justice, and for a conclusion to their unresolved issues. But let’s be honest, some ghosts are just jerks. They were bullies in life and death, or these ghosts have become so bitter as a result of their plight that they have given up all prospects of ever finding peace. All they want to do is cause as much anguish as they themselves have experienced.


So now that you want to use a ghost in your work, it needs a physical setting. If you don’t ghost hunt like me, you may want to use the old tried and true locations where ghosts are found.

Many supernatural ghosts are said to haunt (or be "connected to") one of several distinct categories of items, including the following:


  1. A room, structure, or location where they passed away. I have investigated homes, prisons, asylums, battlefields, and hospitals to name a few.


  1. Within an item that held significance for them or played a significant role in the manner in which they passed away. The most common objects that I found to have attachments are dolls, masks, jewelry, clothing, and portraits.


  1. Wherever the person they are attached to happens to be. If the person who is haunted is very unfortunate, the ghost may be able to materialize at virtually any time and in any location. For example, I have been on investigations at various locations, and entities from one location will follow the investigator to the next and call them by name.  


Obviously, the entity that can follow a person is pretty impressive. An entity like that should have a remarkable skill set. They should be able to pass through solid matter, enter people's dreams, possess and control other people, manipulate physical things like electricity, or take on a physical shape. These abilities must be consistent throughout the novel or develop over time as the entity grows more comfortable with its abilities.


But how does my antagonist get rid of it? Well, that’s assuming your antagonist wants to rid themselves of it and that the entity is not the antagonist. You probably already knew this, but in order for a ghost to be laid to rest, their unfinished business needs to be taken care of first. You must:


  1. Discover the cause of their deaths.


  1. Put their killer in jail


  1. Reveal the secret that died with the ghost.


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