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Related: haunted - The Phantom of the Opera (1910) - supernatural

Phantom of the opera -
Cover of the first 1910 edition of Gaston Leroux's Phantom by the French publishing house Lafitte, Paris.

Phantom of the opera - illustration (1910, detail) by André Castaigne


Ghosts are the supposed apparitions of the dead. A ghost is often thought to be the spirit or soul of a person who has remained on Earth after death. According to some sources, a ghost may be the personality of a person after their death, and not tied directly to the soul or spirit. Every culture in the world carries stories about ghosts, but they vary across time and place, with disagreements both as to what ghosts are and whether they are hallucinations or a part of nature. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost#Ghost_stories [Jul 205]

Ghost stories

The malign ghost whose intent is either to set right an injustice or to be avenged upon the living, either in general or on a specific person, features in many fictions. In the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage, the vengeful ghost is a commonplace who sets plots in motion. However, the haunting and mystery/adversarial acts of the ghost appears later in the "ghost story." Hauntings feature in Eyrbyggja Saga for a section of the work, but the "Gothic novel" and later "Gothic fiction" introduced the use of ghosts for fear to literature. Horace Walpole's 1764 The Castle of Otranto was among the first to set up the rational but malign actions of a ghost to create an atmosphere of forboding, mystery, and fear. After Edgar Allan Poe, the "ghost story" began an independent generic history, and today the genre of horror continues the use of ghosts as villains in fiction. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost#Ghost_stories [Jul 2005]

A ghost story may be any piece of fiction, or drama, that includes a ghost, or simply takes as a premise the possibility of ghosts or the belief of some character(s) in them. In that sense The Tale of Genji contains ghost stories, and Shakespeare's Hamlet is a ghost story. Henry James used the ghost story premise. Stories involving ghosts are found in traditional cultures worldwide

In a narrower sense, the ghost story has been developed as a short story format, within genre fiction. As such, it may be a relatively restrained form of supernatural fiction, compared with the excess of the horror story. The ghost stories of Montague Rhodes James are a classic expression.

Many ghost stories are really folklore, passed on verbally. They may be about everyday life. An example is a subway train that comes at night and when you enter it you're doomed to go with it forever... --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghost_stories [Nov 2005]


A spectre is a (usually terrifying) phantom, apparition, or ghost, or an unreal appearance. It is common in some types of folklore and mythology. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectre [Nov 2006]

In 1848 when Marx and Engels stated “A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism.”

"A specter is haunting the cinema: the specter of narrative. If that apparition is an angel, we must embrace it; and if it is a devil, we must cast it out. But we cannot know what it is until we have met it face to face." - Hollis Frampton

Meaning #1: a ghostly appearing figure
Synonyms: apparition, phantom, specter --AHD

Meaning #2: a mental representation of some haunting experience
Synonyms: ghost, shade, spook, wraith, specter--AHD

Phantom (ghost)

  • A phantom is an immaterial being or ghost. There are reported phantom travellers, phantom monks, phantom nuns, and phantom vehicles, some driverless. Often synonymous with ghost, the word "phantom" can also refer to a vision of a living person or an inanimate object. Visions are often spoken of as containing phantoms as the protagonists.

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