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Ghostly Chill
"You ever feel the prickly things on the back of your neck?
And the tiny hairs on your arm, you know when they stand up?
That's them. When they get mad... it gets cold."
Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense

One side-effect of the manifestation of ghosts or other spirits of the dead is coldness. Mirrors and windows may frost over, people's breath may make visible steam, and someone may comment on how cold it has got all of a sudden. The feeling may be especially acute if someone is being walked through, or is walking through, an immaterial ghost.

Sometimes this is explained by the ghost drawing on ambient heat energy to manifest (often with a fine disregard for thermodynamics), but just as often it's merely an unexplained side effect of ethereal activity. Objects that are ghost-touched often exhibit this trait as Thermal Dissonance.

Compare Evil Is Deathly Cold and I'm Cold... So Cold......


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In the 60 years of her haunting seat number 1, Sayo of Mahou Sensei Negima! gained almost complete exclusivity of the spot since it had become infamous as the seat that gives an otherworldy chill to those who sit there.
  • This is used often on Ghost Hunt. The Shibuya Psychic Research team even has special thermal cameras that measure room temperature to help them detect ghosts/supernatural activity.
  • The title character of My Lovely Ghost Kana is observed chilling a beer in her cleavage. The male lead insists that she does have a warmth (and even a heartbeat!), but it's difficult to detect.
  • While not technically a ghost, Brook of One Piece learns how to use his power to channel the energy of the Underworld through his attacks, which gives them an additional icy effect.

Film
  • The Sixth Sense: The presence of ghosts makes one's breath visible. This is one of the ways the protagonist understands he's actually dead.
    • This actually only happens if the ghost is hostile (which most of them usually are). For most of the film, the protagonist doesn't have this effect... but when he gets frustrated with Cole, the boy's breath becomes visible.
  • In Rose Red, Cathy wanders into a room, unknown to her that a ghost is present, and she remarks about how freezing cold the room is.
  • In Ghost Town, people sneeze whenever they walk through a ghost.
  • A major feature of the demon's presence in The Exorcist. It's freezing in there. When they were making the film they built the set for Regan's room inside a freezer, so you could see everybody's breath. One day it actually snowed inside the set. Though hundreds of hours of filming, Linda Blair wore nothing but a thin nightdress. To this day she cannot stand being cold.

Literature
  • Ghosts in Harry Potter are intangible heat sinks; walking through one is like taking a cold shower. Dementors also fit, freezing the environment around them.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, an atrocity's vengeful ghosts are "glacial cold."
  • In Bones of Faerie, ghosts are the shadows of the dead give off a cold aura.
  • Dimity used this cold as one of her weapons against an unwanted visitor in Aunt Dimity's Death
  • Ghosts in Feliks, Net & Nika can be detected by drop of temperature they cause. It's not much - 3 degrees at most - but it's enough for main characters to track ghosts with strategically placed thermometers with Bluetooth.
  • Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi has the presence of the titular ghost cause a chill in the air.
  • In J.R. Lowell's Daughter of Darkness, you could always tell when Willie's mother was about to show up. The temperature dropped by a good fifteen degrees.
  • In Smoke and Mirrors, ghosts function exactly as specified in this trope. They draw on ambient heat in order to physically manifest, and contact with them chills living people.
  • One of a few signs of ghostly activity in Lockwood & Co..

Live-Action TV
  • Used a lot in Supernatural to signify that a ghost is lurking somewhere nearby. Usually noted by the character's breath fogging up suddenly in a room.
  • Occurs occasionally in Ghost Hunters, usually followed by the explanation that "cold spots" may or may not be ghosts depending on the specific circumstances of the spot itself. Always discounted by the investigators as it's not conclusive evidence of anything, and a lot of cold spots can be faked.
  • Ghost Adventures have pointed out themselves with goosebumps as well carrying meters that read temperature, all the more noticeable whenever the locations they're locked down are either during the summer or it's usually warm/hot.
  • In The Master's Sun Kang Woo shudders when running past the piano players wife. She's been kept in a deep freeze since her death so that may be part of it.
  • In The Stone Tape (1972) the scientists speculate that the chill is caused by heat being drawn out of the air and converted to other forms of energy, to create the physical manifestation of the ghost.

Video Games
  • A good sign that you're entering a crypt or other haunted place in Avernum is the sudden chill in the air.
    • It's also used in the Geneforge series to signify hauntings. Shades, which seem to spontaneously generate in areas of high ambient magic, don't have the same effect.
  • Several ghost Pokémon cause this, referred to as draining the energy from their surroundings.
    • Special mention goes to the Pokemon Froslass who goes so far as to actually be an Ice type.
      • Justified, since Froslass is a yuki-onna and comes from a line of (living) Ice-types.
  • In the The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, in Sandas Ancestral Tomb you'll find the skeletons of 2 noble guards, you'll find a key on one of the skeletons and a key on a pillar next to the other skeleton which lead to a room and a cursed chest respectively, if you open this chest you'll receive a message saying "You suddenly feel quite cold...". The skeletons become alive and will attack you.
  • In Luigi's Mansion Luigi's breath is always visible in rooms that have not yet been cleared of ghosts.
  • Ghosts encountered in Dubloon breath ice as their main attack and are weak to fire to boot, except on Bowish Island where they are fire-elemental.
  • Taken to a logical extreme in Warcraft 3, where the element of cold belongs to The Undead.
  • Referenced in the opening cinematic for Resident Evil 4, where one of the Spanish police officers escorting Leon to the village in search of Ashley complains it's gotten so cold all over a sudden. Shortly afterwards, Leon finds the entire village has been turned into Ganados.
  • In Cursed Treasure, a skill in the Undead skill tree gives all undead Crypts a chance to cause freezing when they attack an opponent.
  • Ghosts in Touhou are stated to be so cold that contact with the specters can cause frostbite.

Visual Novel
  • An early hint in Hatoful Boyfriend of supernatural elements in Nageki's route is when the heroine complains about the cold and wonders who turned on the air conditioner— the air conditioner is broken.

Webcomics

Web Original
  • In Marble Hornets, J in Entry 17 complains of being cold. Considering who is watching him, that's not surprising. In another entry, Tim asks "Why is it so cold in June?" The...creature in question doesn't actually appear in that entry, but its presence is definitely felt.

Western Animation
  • The eponymous character in Danny Phantom has the ability to sense ghosts, which manifests as a sudden chill and mist coming out of Danny's mouth. Later in the show, this was expanded into full-on freezing powers.
  • Inverted in the Transformers Generation 1 cartoon, when the ghost of Starscream complains that he's getting cold without a body to occupy via possession.
  • Ben 10: Alien Force: This trope is probably why Big Chill has both intangibility and freezing powers.
    • The original series played this straight with Ghostfreak... once. Only when he passes physically though people. All later instances of Ghostfreak passing into people has Demonic Possession written all over it.

Real Life
  • Truth in Television: As untold numbers of parapsychologists can attest, the notion of a conspicuous lack of heat due to unexplained causes, in locations attested to be haunted, is quite grounded in eyewitness testimony that goes back centuries, or even millennia.


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