A Brief Guide
By Dr. Mortimer Promelion
Though the word Ghost tends to conjure a negative connotation in scientific circles, it is nonetheless the most accurate term I can use to describe the various residual traces of terrestrial ethereal energy, i.e. the electricity generated by the nervous systems of Earth organisms, which has been documented time and time again by agents of this facility. This document is to be considered highly classified information, it is to be held in the Aea 51 facility until it is declassified.
1. What is Ethereal Energy?
Ethereal energy is a loosely defined term used to refer to both the electricity used to conduct nerve impulses as well as that which is used as the body of a race of incredibly powerful cosmic lifeforms we have tentatively dubbed Ethereal Beings, as both types of energy have so far been proven to be exactly the same. As this document is meant to help field agents for A51, I will not go in the specifics as to why the energy is considered different than normal electricity, as that is an essay unto itself. Needless to say the energy is different in significant ways, including being able to apparently warp reality. To say it is poorly understood would be an understatement at the moment it seems as though it is not only able to violate the laws of physics, but that it does so on a routine basis.
All living creatures generate some amount of this energy, though only a few terrestrial organisms seem to generate it in significant amounts. The terrestrial creatures that do generate enough of the energy to use it to its reality warping powers are called supernatural organisms, the various kinds of which will be described later. Those that only generate enough to power their nervous systems or, in the cases of creatures without such a system, simply carry a small charge of it as a sort of reserve energy source are called natural organisms.
Of natural organisms, those with the most complex nervous systems generally have the most ethereal energy, although size also plays a role. Humans have the highest content of this energy of natural organisms, and supernatural humans are likewise have high amounts compared to other supernatural creatures. The more energy a species has in its body, the more likely some of it will remain on earth as a ghost.
2. Ghost Basics
Organisms release their ethereal energy in one large burst when they die, with the energy leaving the host and (presumably) dispersing (no one has yet determined what happens to it in most cases of death, with the dispersing hypothesis being the most credible). Occasionally some or all of the energy settles in the nearby area. This is the formation of a ghost.
Ghosts are a complex phenomenon, taking many different forms depending on the amount of energy that settles and how the settling occurs. The phenomenon is divided into two main categories, each of which has several subsets. The two main categories are Apparitions, which are made of small portions of ethereal energy (considered by some to be that used in the creation of emotions), and Shades, which are made of large portions of energy and often manifest developed minds, capable of communication and reason. Take note that these categories (and their subsets) are poorly defined at best, as many ghosts mix the different criteria and rules set by each. In other words, these are not strict scientific rules, but rather a loose set of guidelines to help field agents determine what theyre dealing with.
All ghosts exhibit the ability to warp reality. This can be as simple as making one spot of the room colder than the rest, and as complex as creating physical manifestations, telekinetically moving objects, and crafting intricate mass hallucinations.
Apparitions are relatively simple compared to Shades, acting more like a force of nature than the life forms they were once a part of. The hypothesis that they are the residues of the emotions of their deceased hosts, though currently impossible to prove, does make some sense in application. Supernatural human sensitives often report feeling emotions that are not their own in the presence of apparitions, and even natural humans occasionally report unnatural mood swings in the same situations.
Most apparitions are stationary i.e. they reside in one spot, often the spot their host died or a place that was important to the host when it was alive, being unable to affect the world outside of their territory. Since they are created from a small portion of their hosts ethereal energy, apparitions often take a long time to grow before they become noticeable. Most only manifest as cold spots, which are just what they sound like areas of the apparitions territory that are colder than the rest. It is also not uncommon for apparitions to exhibit telekinesis or impress emotions upon living organisms.
There are two particularly strong apparitions that stand apart from others. The first of these is called a Poltergeist. Always stationary, poltergeists are particularly powerful and destructive apparitions. If apparitions are the residues of emotions, then poltergeists come from extremely strong negative feelings, such as hatred or rage. Poltergeists have powerful effects upon the human mind, giving their victims powerful and complex hallucinations. There have even been a few recorded cases of people going mad under a poltergeists influence. Poltergeists also have significantly more skill with telekinesis than other apparitions, being able to lift large objects into the air as if they were light as paper. They can also manipulate their terrain, as many cases have shown that Poltergeists will change the shape of their haunting place to intimidate and sometimes even harm their victims. It is believed that poltergeists take much longer to form than other apparitions, as it would take far longer for them to gain the necessary ethereal energy to manipulate reality as they do.
The other type of apparition that particularly stands out is the will-o-wisp or ghost light. It is the only ambulatory apparition known, meaning it is not confined to a single haunting place. Will-o-wisps, like poltergeists, have a powerful effect on their victims psychological health, and are almost always dangerous. They have a hypnotic hold on their victims, appearing as a ball of light or fire that the ensnared organism is enticed to follow. Victims of the will-o-wisp will follow it until death or, in rare cases, when the will-o-wisp itself releases them. Beyond this hypnotic ability and the ability to move freely, will-o-wisps have no other powers to speak of.
Shades are far more complex ghosts than apparitions, both in their powers and behaviors. For one thing, shades are at least semi sentient, often retaining aspects of the personality of their deceased host. Shades also have the ability to take on a visible form, whereas apparitions can not the closest apparitions come to such an ability is by making their victims hallucinate into believing they have a form. Like the beings they were in life, Shades have many different behaviors and thoughts, often acting on a true motive instead of the blind malice of strong apparitions.
Shades are divided into two groups: Specters, which are stationary, and Phantoms, which are ambulatory. Phantoms are further divided into ghosts whose forms are intangible, called Banshees, and those whose forms are physical, called Wraiths. Wraiths are particularly rare and dangerous, often using their dead hosts body as their physical form (though not always, as some wraiths have been known to use other material) even as it decays. Banshees are similarly dangerous, as their mere presence can drive people into suicidal depressions, as well as other psychological illnesses. While specters can also take both intangible and physical forms, they are considered far less dangerous, although there have been exceptions to this rule.
In the end, physical form or no, ghosts are simply energy. Dealing with them is a simple matter of containing that energy. In 1984 a trio of freelance paranormal scientists created upon a device that capture ethereal energy that is not contained by an organic form. One of these devices should be on the person of every field agent assigned to a ghost related mission, and will easily deal with any manner of intangible ghost. Those with physical forms are harder to capture, as the trap will not work on them, nor will any form of tranquilizer. Wraiths can be caught like any other physical life form, although special measures may still be needed to ensure a successful capture. Stationary specters with physical forms are even harder, as one will either have to move the entire haunting place to a new location or build a containment facility around it.
There are no strategies yet known to protect oneself from a ghosts reality warping powers or psychological attacks. Research is being done in both fields, but has yet to show any signs of promise.