Ghost (trope)

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)appears as a ghost, appears as a spirit
Related tropes/genresDeathfic, Bodysharing, Afterlife
See alsoDead!Bob
Related articles on Fanlore.

Characters appearing as ghosts in fanworks is a trope that may take one of several forms:

  1. A popular ghost character from the source text may appear in fanworks
  2. A character who is killed off in the source text can be brought back as a ghost
  3. A character who is still alive in the source text can be killed off in the fanwork and then brought back as a ghost for extra angst.
  4. A character who is dead, still alive, or doesn't exist in the source text can be (re)cast as a ghost in a supernatural AU with no angst required.

Example Fandoms

In some fandoms, fanfic with ghosts is called ghost!fic. However, in Beauty and the Beast fandom, the term is appears as a ghost; a Catherine who appears as a ghost is a common trope in this fandom.

Often this trope arises due to the existence or appearance of ghosts in canon. The trope is fairly popular in Due South fandom because one character, Benton Fraser's father, not only dies in canon, but also makes regular appearances as a ghost in canon. In fanon, the character is referred to as Dead!Bob.

A ghost, Sai, is a main character in Hikaru no Go, and appears in many fanworks. Not only the high death rate, but also the canon ghosts in Harry Potter encourage the presence of ghosts in HP fanworks.

In Star Wars works, the canon existence of Force Ghosts results in many dead characters reappearing in fanfic. These works often overlap with Force Sensitive or Jedi AUs, as only characters with a connection to the force are believed to return as force ghosts.

In Supernatural fandom, stories in which Sam or Dean stay dead but, as a ghost, continue traveling or hunting with their brother (who is often working on bringing the dead brother back to a corporeal state) are fairly common.

Example Fanworks


Due South

Gundam Wing

Hikaru no Go

  • Going Under Part 1, 2, 3 by silverthunder. Gen. Hikaru encounters another ghost, this one much less friendly than Sai.
  • Even a Moron Connects by mousapelli. AU. Touya is haunted by his father, who died before he could acquire his first title as a pro.

Sherlock (BBC)

Stargate Atlantis


Archives & Links


  1. ^ archived, with 4,174 notes as of 28 April 2016