Ghosts occupy a special place in my stories…

Ghosts are guides…

In the world of Fantastic America some souls linger after death. These are the pale green remnant of people not ready to move on. Ghosts remain close to the site of their death or a location important to them in life. The longer they are disembodied, the more tenuous their sense of self becomes. Only very strong personalities can linger beyond the lifetime of their loved ones.

Two very different ghosts appear in Fantastic America. You’ve met Pearl Barrymore in an earlier post. She passes on a relic from the last magical age to Ashley Monahan. The second ghost is the spirit of a Civil War soldier. He tragically encounters Jerry Farmer near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

After the return of magic, most ghosts perform a specific function among the living. They can act as guides to those who seek them out. Whether those seekers are direct descendants, spiritualists, or arcanists experiencing their spiritual awakening, ghosts can help them find their way. Many spiritual traditions around the world have recognized this process throughout human history.

Their other function is to protect the living from wraiths. These are the ladies in white, banshees, or lantern holders of legend. Their two weapons against wraiths are wailing cries and piercing light. The shadow people have no defense against these attacks. Only distance or shielding in enclosed containers can preserve their corruptive essence.

An incidental function of ghosts is to relay information. Ghosts don’t experience the flow of time in the same way as the living. This means they can sometimes predict future events. Their predictions are usually cryptic and their accuracy leaves much to be desired.

Ghosts can pass on anything they have known in life or witnessed since death. Strong spirits retain a residual self-image. The strongest spirits are free roaming, able to move small objects, and communicate with the living. Since the return of magic, weaker spirits and residual hauntings have disappeared. Those left behind bemoan the loss as a spiritual purge of uncertain origin.

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