Created By: Motmot on April 16, 2012 Last Edited By: XFllo on August 11, 2013
Troped

Monochrome Apparition

Apparitions are rendered with only one color.

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Trope
Whether they appear wispy or solid, often a full-bodied, non-Bedsheet apparition is depicted in values of only one color, often white/grey or blue. If there is an exception, however, it will be for the eyes.

This refers to a disembodied apparition of some kind that appears in a full-color work and is monochrome for the purpose of showing that it isn't a physical presence.

Compare Monochrome Past, Deliberately Monochrome and Undeathly Pallor. Contrast Living Shadow.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In the Pokémon episode "The Tower of Terror", after Ash & Pikachu are (temporarily) killed by a chandelier falling on them, their spirits are a bluish-white.

Comics
  • In a couple of DC comics stories (Animal Man, Suicide Squad) the authors wrote themselves into the story and appeared as black & white images.

Film
  • Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey: When B&T are dead they're grayish-blue.
  • All the ghosts in Casper are ghostly white.
  • Coraline: The ghost children are a pale blueish color.
  • In Ghostbusters, most of the human-esque ghosts are depicted this way.
  • The ghosts in Disney's The Haunted Mansion film are whitish-blue, as are many of the ghosts in the actual ride.
  • In the British comedy How I Won The War, the soldiers of a platoon keep marching even after they are killed. The Stock Footage of each battle is tinted a different color, so each ghost soldier is the color of the battle they died in.
  • Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark has a white specter appear near the ending.
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Marley and Marley are pale blue.
  • Force ghosts in Star Wars are blue.

Literature
  • The ghosts in the Harry Potter books are described as 'pearly white', with the exception of Peeves. In the movies they are merely desaturated, however.

Live-Action TV
  • The Lady of the Lake in Kaamelott is pale blue when she appears to King Arthur.
  • In Supernatural, the ghost of a silent film star in the episode "Hollywood Babylon" was rendered in black and white, as well as the ghost of company founder P. T. Sandover in "It's A Terrible Life". Some other ghosts or death echoes in the series are static-y black and white as well, but often there is some color, particularly red blood to highlight various wounds they suffered when they died.
  • The X-Files:
    • "Elegy": People reported seeing injured pale women trying to convey a message. It was found out that at those moments, the women were already killed and they were seeing their ghosts, all in pale blue colour.
    • In "Tithonus", Alfred Fellig can recognize who is about to die. He sees the people going black and white when they are dying, while the background stays fully coloured. (Inverse of Splash of Colour.)
  • Saturday Night Live: In a filmed sketch parodying tween comedies, a commercial for The Disney Channel's "Aw Nuts! Mom's a Ghost!", mom had gone to South Korea and had an affair with a Korean official. He's worried she'll talk so he drowns her in a river and now she's a Mool-Gwishin - a Korean water ghost. She appears in monochrome gray while having wacky hijinks.

Video Games
  • The free-floating viral apparitions of Sigma and Zero in the Mega Man X series are violet-hued and glitchy.
  • In the Mystery Case Files games, Emma, Rose, and the twins are ghost-white. The the ghost pirate in 13th Skull is blue.
  • Pikmin: Dead Pikmin will evaporate into a colored ghost, the color depending on their color in life.
  • The Sims 2 and 3: Ghosts are color coded based on how they died. For example, Sims that died due to drowning become blue ghosts, and Sims that died due to fire become red ghosts. The original Sims averted this; the ghosts were the same colors as the living Sims, but transparent.
  • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, party members who fall in battle will be shown as opaque grey ghosts.
  • Bioshock: Ghostly hallucinations are grainy and blue.

Web Comics
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has a number of ghosts, including a Bedsheet Ghost and full-color varieties. The ghost of the woman by the Annan waters, however, is just a white figure.
  • The Phoenix Requiem: The ghosts of regular, non-Shade human beings are depicted as wispy white figures. The Spirits also start off this way as pale gold, but more color begins to show as they gain strength.

Western Animation
  • The Flying Dutchman in SpongeBob SquarePants is sickly green.
  • Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Past in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol are blue and orange respectively.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Spirit World", when Aang accidentally transfers himself into the Spirit World, he's shown as completely blue and translucent.

Community Feedback Replies: 40
  • April 16, 2012
    Tuckerscreator
    Video Games

    We should make a side-trope about monochromatic holograms too. The closest we have is Hologram Projection Imperfection, but that doesn't cover color.
  • April 16, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Technically they're monochromatic (mono + chromo = one color), not achromatic (a + chromo = without color).
  • April 17, 2012
    Generality
    A white or grey ghost could be considered achromatic, especially since they're representative of a human form which once had more colour.
  • April 17, 2012
    Motmot
    I see... Before posting, the first name I had for this was 'Greyscale Ghost' but I thought that would be too limiting. I'll change it to 'Monochrome Apparition' for accuracy but if any has any other name suggestions I'll certainly consider others as well.

    @Tuckerscreator, thank you very much for the example, although I'm not sure if that's a good example of the trope's consistency as Pikmin are primarily one color to begin with. As the trope's written right now it does fit due to a weakness in my description, so thank you for pointing it out! I'll elaborate on the description accordingly.
  • April 17, 2012
    aurora369
    Force ghosts in Star Wars are blue.
  • April 17, 2012
    TonyG
    In the British comedy How I Won The War, the soldiers of a platoon keep marching even after they are killed. The Stock Footage of each battle is tinted a different color, so each ghost soldier is the color of the battle they died in.
  • April 17, 2012
    thewriter
    • All the Ghost is Film/Casper are ghostly white.
  • April 18, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Bill And Teds Bogus Journey: When B&T are dead they're grayish-blue.
  • April 19, 2012
    Antigone3
    I think all the ghosts in the Mystery Case Files games are ghost-white -- Emma, Rose, and the twins definitely are, but I don't remember if the ghost pirate in 13th Skull is or not.
  • April 19, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    In a couple of DC comics stories (Animal Man, Suicide Squad)the authors wrote themselves into the story and appeared as black & white images.
  • April 19, 2012
    Generality
  • April 20, 2012
    hummingbirdcake
    The sprites from Homestuck aren't ghosts, but could fall into this category.
  • April 21, 2012
    Duncan
    In Star Wars, holograms are also monochrome.
  • April 22, 2012
    HyperTurbina
    All of the ghosts in the Harry Potter books and movies are translucent and gray, with the exception of Peeves.
  • April 22, 2012
    katiek
    The ghosts in Disney's The Haunted Mansion film are whitish-blue, and as best I recall, that is the color they are in the actual ride.
  • April 22, 2012
    Motmot
    Hm, I don't read Homestuck, but from what I can tell the palette is really limited to begin with and they seem to achieve the look of the sprites not being physical by changing the color of the lineart. Are there any opinions on whether or not that would count?
  • April 23, 2012
    cocoy0
    The Flying Dutchman in Spongebob Squarepants might not be a ghost, but still an apparition. He's colored sickly green.
  • April 24, 2012
    ImaginationInterpreture
    Dunno if this counts: The free-floating viral apparitions of Sigma and Zero in the Mega Man X series are violet-hued and glitchy.
  • April 26, 2012
    Nithael
    • The ghosts in Supernatural are black and white, like TV static.
    • The Lady of the Lake in Kaamelott is pale blue when she appears to King Arthur.
  • May 8, 2012
    NightNymph
    ^ Sometimes the ghosts in Supernatural are black and white like static, but often there is some color. One ghost who was entirely black and white was a ghost of a silent film star who commited suicide, seen in the episode "Hollywood Babylon." The executive seeing her commented that even though her effects make-up was great (he thought she was a live actress), her neck wounds didn't show well enough for the camera since they weren't red. The ghost of company founder P. T. Sandover in "It's A Terrible Life" was also black and white, I believe. In many other cases though ("The Usual Suspects," "Ghostfacers," "The Real Ghostbusters," etc.) red blood is often evident on the ghosts or death echos from the various wounds they suffered when they died.
  • May 12, 2012
    Motmot
    Edited, thanks!
  • May 12, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • This was originally planned for the hologram Rimmer in Red Dwarf, but the special effect was too expensive.
  • May 12, 2012
    Alvin
    Would the ghosts in {{Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol}} count?
  • May 13, 2012
    bwburke94
    Possible renaming to Monochromatic Apparition to make it clearer?
  • May 13, 2012
    Motmot
    @alvin, after looking it up on You Tube, it looks like Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Past would apply. I'll add it, thanks!

    @bwburke, not sure. Anyone else have thoughts about Monochrome/Monochromatic for the title?

    Also, a lot of people are talking about holograms, but I'm not sure if this is quite the same thing. When people allegedly witness ghosts, they often don't say that they were only one color -- it actually seems to me that in a lot of alleged ghost encounters people don't realize they're looking at a ghost until after the fact. I kind of wonder if artistic depictions of ghosts, Bedsheet Ghosts, or even early 'ghost photography' gave rise to the perception that they're wispy white figures? (...Come to think of it, does anyone have any examples that pre-date photo?) Monochromatic holograms seems more like a nonsensical limitation in technology in a similar vein to No Waterproofing In The Future. Someone mentioned Hologram Projection Imperfection and I feel like it's more related to that trope than this one. Other thoughts?
  • May 14, 2012
    robinjohnson
    Monochrome and monochromatic mean exactly the same thing here, but one of them is two syllables longer. Stick with monochrome.
  • August 11, 2012
    TBeholder
    Bedsheet Ghost actually overlaps so heavily it became a subtrope. And they aren't all white - see the pale violet one on that page picture (from Calvin And Hobbes).
  • June 30, 2013
    XFllo
    Live Action TV
    • The X Files:
      • "Elegy": People reported seeing injured pale women trying to convey a message. It was found out that at those moments, the women were already killed and they were seeing their ghosts, all in pale blue colour.
      • In "Tithonus", Alfred Fellig can recognize who is about to die. He sees the people going black and white when they are dying, while the background stays fully coloured. (Inverse of Splash Of Colour.)

    Another trope to compare to: Deliberately Monochrome.
  • July 26, 2013
    XFllo
    BUMP.
  • July 26, 2013
    DAN004
    Can it be shortened to Monochrome Ghost instead? It's shorter and easier to understand.
  • August 4, 2013
    XFllo
    ^^ "Apparition" is synonymous with "ghost". I prefer the current working title.
  • August 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Sorry, just didn't understand at first what "apparition" mean. (I'm not a native English speaker, btw)
  • August 4, 2013
    DAN004
    Oh btw
    • In Avatar The Last Airbender episode The Spirit World, when Aang accidentally transfers himself into the Spirit World, he's shown as completely blue and translucent.
  • August 4, 2013
    XFllo
    I'm not a native speaker either and I definitely agree that "ghost" is easier word. It depends what majority of tropers will like:-)
  • August 4, 2013
    IAmATropist
  • August 4, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ The OP isn't active which makes this Up For Grabs. Meaning you can launch it yourself.
  • August 4, 2013
    eowynjedi
    Going to add this:

  • August 4, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Saturday Night Live: In a filmed sketch parodying Tween Comedies, a commercial for The Disney Channel's "Aw Nuts! Mom's a Ghost!" mom had gone to South Korea and had an affair with a Korean official. He's worried she'll talk so he drowns her in a river and now she's a Mool-Gwishin - a Korean water ghost. She appears in monochrome gray while having Wacky Hijinks.
  • August 5, 2013
    arbiter099
    Bioshock: Ghostly hallucinations are grainy and blue.
  • August 11, 2013
    XFllo
    I'll lauch it then.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=m7kw8vs3a0d705j91hshrwb0&trope=MonochromeApparition