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- The soul or spirit of a dead person or animal that can appear to the living.
- Descriptions of ghosts vary widely from an invisible presence to translucent or barely visible wispy shapes, to realistic, lifelike visions.
- The deliberate attempt to contact the spirit of a deceased person is known as necromancy, or in Spiritism as a séance.
- The belief in the existence of an afterlife, as well as manifestations of the spirits of the dead is widespread, dating back to animism or ancestor worship in pre-literate cultures.
- Certain religious practices—funeral rites, exorcisms, and some practices of spiritualism and ritual magic—are specifically designed to rest the spirits of the dead.
- Ghosts are generally described as solitary, human-like essences, though stories of ghostly armies and the ghosts of animals rather than humans have also been recounted.
- They are believed to haunt particular locations, objects, or people they were associated with in life.