[[quoteright:230:[[Manga/NagasareteAirantou http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cit_nagasarete_airantou.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:230:''I've been possessed. ;_;'']]

Japanese take on [[WillOTheWisp Will-o'-the-Wisps]] as ghostly possession.

Will O' Wisps are what happens when swamp gas ignites, resulting in spectral [[TechnicolorFire blue flames]] floating in the air. [[OlderThanDirt Ancient cultures]] [[UniversalTropes across the globe]] tended to associate this with the spirits of the dead and other supernatural forces.

Japan is no exception. Japanese ghosts and those they possess are traditionally depicted as [[WreathedInFlames surrounded]] by [[FauxFlame floating blue flames]] known as ''hitodama''. The victims of possession traditionally tended to keep their free will, but were plagued with fatal bad luck (although Western depictions of ghosts inducing DemonicPossession has spread).

The possession part is rarely played straight in {{anime}}. People dressing as a ghost will usually tie burning candles to their heads to simulate the light. Being surrounded by ghost lights are a visual indicator of someone who is already a ghost. (Which raises the odd FridgeLogic; if ''one'' Ghost light is a soul, why are ghosts surrounded by multiple ones?)

Sometimes, when a character is suddenly mortified or depressed about something, they will be portrayed as squatting in a [[CornerOfWoe (possibly nonexistent) corner]], back turned to the main cast, with a black halo and ghost lights.

Interestingly, ''hitodama'' (or ''kitsunebi'' or ''onibi'') are created by rotting compounds of a body. Although these lights give a ghostly/comical atmosphere on TV, it's perfectly possible to witness them in real life by this explanation, and who knows what they mean then...

Not to be confused with The ''Series/DoctorWho'' serial "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS26E2GhostLight Ghost Light]]" or the [[Music/GhostLights acapella group]]. See FauxFlame for "flames" that aren't actually fire.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Kikyo in ''Manga/{{Inuyasha}}'' is surrounded by the blue spheres of human souls at many times to sustain her resurrected body.
* The ghost girl who appears in two later-season episodes of ''Anime/RanmaOneHalf'' manifests ghost lights when she's trying to be scary or when she arrives/departs.
** Gosunkugi fakes this in the traditional way with candles tied to his head.
** Every single apparition in the Cave of Lost Love is accompanied by tiny ''kitsunebi'', "fox lights," yet another Japanese version of the will o' wisp.
* Ghost Aisaka Sayo in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' usually ''doesn't'' have ghost lights, but can produce them if needed.
* A ghost light symbolically appears in the background in ''Anime/DotHackSign'' when Bear explains to Mimiru that their enemy is not an entity that can be simply attacked but is both nowhere and everywhere.
* The ghost girl from ''Manga/SgtFrog'' is often accompanied by Ghost Lights, and Dororo tends to sulk in the corner with ghost lights around him when his "[[HeroicBSOD Trauma Switch]]" turns on.
* In an early ''Manga/DetectiveConan'' case, the detective boys think a house is haunted when they see Will O' Wisps in a window. (It turns out to just be from a candle.)
* In ''Manga/HayateTheCombatButler'' there is a priest who has those with him since the time it got revealed he's actually a ghost.
* Nube-sensei, from ''Manga/HellTeacherNube'', likes to introduce himself to his new class by strapping candles to his head to mimic this effect... and then swinging, Tarzan-like, into the classroom, or try to play-exorcise a doll. The irony is that Nube is such a tremendously powerful spiritualist and exorcist that he can summon the real thing at will, but will only do so [[LetsGetDangerous when he actually needs to]]. Of course, a vast number of the {{Obake}} he encounters is naturally surrounded by ''hitodama'' and ''kitsunebi''.
* Pops up in a couple of files during ''Manga/GhostHunt''.
* ''Manga/ShamanKing'' goes crazy with these. In the series, shamans can turn their ghost-pals into these, and then use it for body possession (later used for weapon possession. It's a long story). In this case, the Ghost Lights (hitodama) have faces, mouths, and usually part of the original spirit's clothes/hair.
* Kana from ''Manga/MyLovelyGhostKana'' naturally sports them. They are a good indication of her mood, since there are more of them and they make little "pop" sounds when she is especially happy.
** Also used amusingly when Daikichi finds an old "dead" cellphone and discovers that Kana can use it to keep in touch with him. A stylized ghost light is her chat icon and takes place of the signal meter on her phone.
* ''Manga/{{Kekkaishi}}'' has these following Madarao and Hakubi.
* ''Manga/CardCaptorSakura'': PlayedForLaughs when Kero dons these and a CreepyMonotone when he is particularly annoyed at Sakura - [[BigEater because she got to eat a delicious cake and he didn't]]. [[spoiler:[[MoodWhiplash Then Tomoyo appears behind Sakura and reveals she got him a slice anyway]]]].

[[folder:Card Games]]
* In mythology, Will-o'-the-wisps are considered to be ghostly lights that lure travelers to their doom. "Umbral Horror Will-o'-the-Wisp"'s art and effect in ''TableTopGame/YuGiOh'' reference that.

[[folder:Film -- Animated]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Brave}}'' has the [[FauxFlame Wisps]], which appears glowing blue lights and apparently have the power to change fate. At the end of the movie, it's shown that they are actual ghosts.

[[folder:Film -- Live Action]]
* In ''Film/TheSixthSense'', odd lights shine in the background of photos of Cole, who looks terrified in each one. It's subtle foreshadowing that ghosts have always been coming to Cole.

* Due to the limited sfx budget of a BBC 1972 television play, the ancient evil released in ''Film/TheStoneTape'' is only shown as glowing blue and red lights. [[NothingIsScarier Not that anything more is needed.]]

* In the section of [[Music/FranzSchubert Schubert's]] ''Winterreise'' titled ''Irrlicht'' or ''WillOTheWisp'', a young man who is wandering distraught after breaking up with his girlfriend follows an illusory light.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In the ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'' series, the demonic samurai Bishamon is accompanied by these; not only do they symbolize his own possession by cursed armor, he can dispatch them as an attack to temporarily "possess" (paralyze) an opponent.
* In ''VideoGame/KingdomHeartsII'' these float aimlessly and harmlessly through the underworld. Sora can [[RewardingVandalism smash them for money and health.]] Think about what this means.
* In ''VideoGame/GhostTrick'', the default form for a ghost is a little blue wisp of flame. After the spirit remembers what they look like ([[spoiler:or what they think they look like]]), they can take on the shape of their original body. [[spoiler:When Sissel realizes that he can't hold on to the image of himself as the blond-haired man anymore, he reverts to a blue flame with sunglasses.]]
* These exist in ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' as Poes. They can usually be captured in bottles and traded for money, plot coupons or upgrades.
** Bubbles are directly referred to as ''hitodama'' in the Japanese manual of the first game. When Link touches one, he generally loses the ability to draw his sword for a few seconds.
** The GhostShip in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' has blue flames floating around it.
** In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'', when Link enters [[DarkWorld the Twilight Realm]], normal humans become like spirits and appear as floating flames. Their real forms are only visible by using the animal senses of Link's [[VoluntaryShapeshifting wolf form.]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'' has several examples:
** As the princess of a ghost palace (and a ghost herself), Yuyuko Saigyouji seems to be continuously surrounded by these. Her [[BattleButler servant]], Youmu Konpaku, also has one of these next to her at all times, which happens to be half of her own soul -- because she's only ''half'' ghost (don't ask me how that works).
*** Both Yuyuko and Youmu use their Ghost Lights as {{Attack Drone}}s in the games where they are playable. So does [[BrotherChuck Mima]] from PC98 games.
** Rin Kaenbyou is surrounded by what appears to be ''skull'' ghost lights -- appropriate, since her job is to carry off corpses into the underworld.
*** In some spell cards, she is accompanied by ''zombie fairies'', which look pretty similar (though a later [[AllThereInTheManual guidebook]] claims that they're just normal fairies who like to dress up).
* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'' features a chapter searching for a pirate ghost's treasure. Will O' Wisps called Embers play a prominent role, attacking the ship at the start and as common enemies throughout the island.
* In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', night elf characters will turn into small glowing blue balls (with, if you zoom in close enough, a face) similar to this as they return to their body.
* Will O' Wisps are a discovery in ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia''.
* In the ''VideoGame/ShiningForce'' series, whenever a playable character is seen while dead they have a large ghost light as their sprite until they're revived.
* Will o' Wisps are the souls of dead children in ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryIV'' and appear as colored lights above the swamp at night.
* The Pyreflies of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' are Will O The Wisps [[CallARabbitASmeerp by a different name]]. Nowhere is this more apparent than the Moonflow, a swampy area where they are in abundance.
* Appear in a single stage in ''VideoGame/GuardianHeroes''. They don't attack, can be hit, but can also possess killed enemies and reanimate them.
* ''VideoGame/GhostbustersTheVideoGame'' (and by extension the TabletopRPG where the classification system comes from) identifies these as Class 1 paranormal phenomena, alongside things such as cold spots and spectral voices.
* In ''VideoGame/SuperMarioWorld'', the ghost enemy Fishin' Boo dangles a blue flame from a fishing rod.
* In ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' ([=GameCube=]), when wandering the town at 3AM you can sometimes be disturbed by an unknown presence whispering, which reveals itself to be a ghost if you stay in one place long enough. He explains his dire situation, where he needs to retrieve 5 Ghost Lights which slowly float around the town. If you don't, his Master (whose name changes every time) will be very displeased. Collecting them for him before Sunrise will have him perform a favor for you, one of which is simultaneously plucking every Weed in town for you.
** He also appears in the Wii version, but instead requires his missing Lamp or else he is stuck in town for the night.
* The Zombie Possessor in ''VideoGame/EarthBound'' inflicts this as a status ailment.
* In ''VideoGame/GotchaForce'' The demonic samurai borg has two floating skull ghost lights that can be used for attack.
* Will O' Wisp is one of the attacks in ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}''. It is classified as a Fire-type move and burns the opponent, although most Pokémon that learn it naturally are Ghost-type. Only two Fire-type lines learn the move naturally ([[{{Kitsune}} Vulpix and Ninetales]], as well as Litwick, Lampent, and Chandelure, which are Ghost/Fire and themselves Ghost Lights).
** And we can't forget Gastly, who is a ball of gas with smoke or flame-like energy trailing off of its body.
** The German Name of Duskull, "Zwirrlicht" is composed of "Zwielicht" (Twilight) and "Irrlicht" (Will O' Wisp).
* Phantoon, the boss of the Wrecked Ship in ''VideoGame/SuperMetroid'', appears surrounded by ghost lights, and uses them as weapons against Samus.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Okami}}'', You'll see these around some cursed zones and around several ghosts you encounter. [[spoiler: When you find the corpse of the real Priestess Rao, there's a single one floating around her too.]]
* ''VideoGame/MuramasaTheDemonBlade' uses them in two ways:
** Green ghost lights represent souls that can be gathered for crafting the Demon Blades (or learning skills in DLC chapters). They're found either floating in stages or released by dead enemies.
** Ghost [=NPCs=] usually have a couple lights floating nearby and hostile ones use them as an attack.

* The form Musashimaru takes when on the physical plane in ''Webcomic/CircumstancesOfTheRevenantBraves'' is essentially this.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In the first season finale of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' after being transported to the spirit world, Aang runs through a swampy region chasing a mysterious small light sphere. When he climbed up a tree and grabbed it, it made the tree branch dissolve.
* [[PixarShorts "Mater and the Ghostlight"]]