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Are you afraid of ghosts? I’m willing to bet that every person on this planet has or will have some kind of ghostly experience in their lifetime, whether it be unmistakably seeing your dead grandma in the mirror of your childhood bedroom, hearing footsteps in the attic above you late at night or finding your hairbrush in a different spot across the room when you swore you left it on your dresser. One of the highlights of being a kid was turning off all the lights at a sleepover, sitting in a circle on the floor with a single party-goer wielding a flashlight and telling the most spine-tingling ghost stories until someone caved from anxiety and turned on the lights.

Ghosts are often seen as malicious and deceptive creatures, but they’re really nothing more than a once-human being who has moved over into the spiritual realm after death. Sure, maybe you should be afraid of the ghosts of people you’ve wronged who’ll be fixated on haunting you for the rest of your life—who wouldn’t want to wreak some havoc on their enemies as a ghost? Or, if you’re one of those people that likes to hang out in graveyards and mess with the tombstones, you’re definitely asking to be visited by a vengeful spirit, too.

But for the most part, ghosts are just chilling on their own metaphysical plane, not trying to hurt or get in anyone’s way. I’d like to think that when I see or feel a ghost in my daily life, they merely slipped up for a second by exposing themselves to our mortal selves, or got bored and decided to fuck with us by moving our stuff around or swinging a door open. But above all, they usually mean no harm. This is my theory at least.

Now, may I direct your attention to a list of ghosts that we all know and love—some who intend to scare the crap out of you, and some who just want to be your friend. From films to shows and video games, ghosts have been depicted as menacing characters; of course, there’s the Pac-Man Ghost Gang: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, and King Boo from the Mario games. But how about the gentle giants and pure souls like No Face and Casper? These guys are living—well, maybe not “living”—proof that not all ghosts are out to get you.

What I find most appealing about ghosts in media is that there are literally endless ways to portray them. Slimer from "Ghostbusters" looks different from "SpongeBob"'s Flying Dutchman, and Ghostface in "Scream" is a whole different beast than Samara from "The Ring." Each of these characters possess different personalities, from hateful to grumpy to endearing, but all proudly share their phantom forms in common. That being said, who are some of your favorite ghosts from your childhood? Which ones scared you, and which ones were your comfort character? We want to know! And on that note, please refrain from dancing around in a graveyard and inviting a new friend into your home. We warned you.

NO-FACE ("Spirited Away," 2001)


GHOST GANG (Pac-Man 1980)

KING BOO (Luigi’s Mansion, 2001)

SLIMER ("Ghostbusters," 1984)

GHOST SPONGEBOB ("SpongeBob SquarePants," S1 E13, 2001)

THE FLYING DUTCHMAN ("SpongeBob SquarePants," S1 E13, 2001)

DANNY PHANTOM (Danny Phantom, Aired 2004)

GHOSTFACE ("Scream," 1996)

SAMARA MORGAN ("The Ring," 2002)

BEETLEJUICE ("Beetlejuice," 1988)

MOANING MYRTLE ("Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," 2002)

RYUK ("Death Note," Aired 2006)

BLAIR WITCH ("The Blair Witch Project," 1999)