It’s Just A Job – Ghost
This is a continuation of the It’s just a Job series.
Ghosts come in a range of shapes and sizes, from visible apparitions, to spirits that show their presence only by what they move and/or effect. Most ghosts are anchored to a building — usually the building within which they died and while their physical body has been buried or burned, their spirit has been trapped in this world for some reason, unable to move on to the hereafter, heaven or ‘the next plane’.
Logically, ghosts are the most doomed and unromantic species in the paranormal pantheon – even worse than werewolves (in my opinion). They have no corporeal body with which to touch another person, one of the most fundamental senses upon which a relationship is built. Often, any type of communication is difficult. The prospects for a long term relationship aren’t good.
An author has to really screw around with the fundamental characteristics of a ghost in order to make any relationship with another human work in the normal world as we know it. The author must endow the ghost with the ability to communicate freely and well. This brings the ghost a long way from the traditional spirit-only being who has lost their physical body and is trapped between this world and the next, when even speaking is difficult.
There is an alternative: Ghost spirits can re-enter the physical world by taking over a human body. This was an idea used in the Patrick Swayze movie Ghost, where the body in use was a medium, played by Whoopi Goldberg. The movie suggested that this was a temporary state. As a permanent solution, it would require a human body that had no spirit/soul already in place — or else questions of moral and possibly murder raise themselves.
I haven’t yet thought to use ghosts in my own stories but suspect they would be a challenge to write as the main character of anything but a short story. And just saying that makes my writing muscle twitch…
So who knows? One day, perhaps, I might try to resolve the basic issues of a ghost as a lead character.
Have you read any good urban fantasies that feature ghosts? Hit reply and tell me about them. I’m listening!