Death of a human being releases us. When our existence ends we lose the ability to form new memories, to move and to act. However the memories we formed are not as part of our brain, not really, the mind transcends the brain and its physical existance. Some call this the soul. This focused collection of memories and thoughts form the ‘I’ we feel every day, and since it was formed in the human mind this is how it sees the world. It needs the body to continue to act as itself. It needs to be bound by something that keeps it focused, or else be dissolved into the void. No one knows what really happens after death, if our existence as an ‘I’ lives on somewhere, in some other place.
When death occurs the memories of the mind do not want to leave. This existence is all that they know, and everything they remember. Just as they did before death, they try to cling onto that which grounds them in the universe. As all things, they wish to continue existing. However, without a focus the pull of the void is often powerful enough to break them apart from the physical domain, and with the self dissolved or transferred, they disappear.
So what is a ghost? The soul is sometimes powerful enough, or persistent enough, to not let go. The soul can attach itself to something other than the body of its’ living self, using its memories as tendrils, as chains to not let go. Sometimes this thing is another human being, sometimes it is a building or even stranger things still. In all cases it is something the memories can latch onto, something that feeds them with recognition and familiarity.
For the spirit, it exists in a confused state between places. Between the physical domain and other modes of existence, or non-existence. Time does not flow in the same way for it as it used to. Time does not lead to inevitable change for the spirit, as it does for human beings. The spirit is instead defined by the memories it still retains of its living self, and often the most powerful ones that remain. In the case of a spirit almost all of these are powerful emotional moments, such as traumas. Other memories may still linger, but many have faded away, leaving a confused and distorted being left with only parts of itself. It has a deep feeling of something being wrong, but unable to understand what. The more memories that fall away like autumn leaves, the less rational the ghost becomes. The more focused it becomes on reliving the few memories it still retains.
When the ghost is inactive or dormant it exists in a kind of sleeping state, and temporarily dissolved into the dark void without a focus. It is less aware of itself then, since without a focus it loses its sense of being. When something activates a memory or pulls it back close to the physical plane it is like waking from a deep slumber, often without the sense of where or how it ended up where it is. The waking ghost can be angry, sad or confused. Since the soul cannot easily form new memories, every experience like this is equally confusing or traumatic. It only has its old memories to guide it, very rarely forming new ones. In its wakeful state it is wise to treat it with great care, and avoid it completely if given the chance.
A ghost is bound to the physical domain, and prevented from passing on by memories of its traumatic past. These are the chains that keep it grounded in the environment where they were caused, and is what pulls the ghost back in again and again. These ‘chains’ of memories are also the easiest path for the ghost to interact with the physical domain and what causes the ghost to relive and repeat these horrible events over and over again. Just like it is bound to physical reality by these chains they are also its vessel of manipulating it. The more emotional it becomes, the more powerful it becomes, but simultaneously loses control over itself. Finally it can become enraged, uncontrollable, lashing out at everything around it to get rid of the pain and confusion it feels, without understanding why.