Whispering Ghosts

There's something about horror movies and that annoying and/or creepy whispering noise in the background. It seems to simply be a soundtrack thing; seldom do the characters actually hear it. Maybe it indicates that the supernatural horror is nearby? Perhaps it's simply indicative of the characters' paranoia? Who knows, but everyone uses it.


  • The American remake of Shutter was both extremely egregious and random in its use of the whispers. Hell, the whispers were used both so often and in such strange contexts that they were more likely indicative of the ghost not being present in the scene.
  • Friday the 13th (1980) has the "ki ki ki ma ma ma" leitmotif. Yeah, probably the Ur-Example considering how that movie predated most other uses.
  • Used in The Amityville Horror (2005). Here they symbolize the late Ketchum messing with the husband's head.
  • Whenever a Dementor shows up in the Harry Potter movies, whispers are heard in the background.
    • Also, whispering can be heard from the arch in the Department of Mysteries.
  • Lots of this in the background noise for Black Swan, along with what sounds like fluttering wings, to symbolize the protagonist's mental state.
  • In The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow, unintelligible whispering and echoing voices mumble and sussurate over the opening credits and through a pan over several Fictional Documents owned by an Occult Detective until settling on a photo (which contains evidence of a Mystery Cult), fading out when the opening notes of the soundtrack play. The whispering begins again during the closing credits.

  • Midnight Syndicate includes this on many of their tracks, especially in the Haunted House themed album The 13th Hour. "Footsteps in the Dust", "Sinister Pact", "Cellar", and "The Drawing Room" in particular make use of eerie whispers.

Live-Action TV
  • Lost, for apparently no reason but to be creepy. But wait! It probably means something after all!
    • Actually, the whispers are caused by people who died on the island and can't "move on". So, in fact, they are literally Whispering Ghosts.
  • In Teen Wolf, one of Lydia's powers is to hear the whispers of other banshees and, presumably, the dead.

  • While on a derelict space station in Galaxy of Fear: Ghost of the Jedi, Tash hears these even though no one else does. It's a while before she can better understand the ghost.
    • Army of Terror has the Kivan wraiths furiously whispering "Mammon! Murderer!" when a group that includes someone who helped kill them shows up.
  • A sign of paranormal activity in Lockwood & Co.. Only those with the particular Talent can hear them.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, Bogna can hear bodies of the dead whispering to her about how they died. It helps her work as a pathologist, even though they're cryptic sometimes.

Tabletop Games
  • In Wraith: The Oblivion, Pandemonium is the wraithly art used to create the sorts of things that go down during classic hauntings. One of its powers, "The Haunting", found in Wraith: the Great War, allows you to produce basic effects like this.

Video Games
  • Silent Hill The monsters the protagonists face are typically physical entities, insomuch as the creatures can directly interact with and kill them. However, there are several times where the player can hear voices and whispers in the background.
    • One really spooky instance is in Silent Hill 2, where James is in the apartment building. Upon entering a certain room, the soundtrack goes very quiet, and you an hear a soft voice whisper something unintelligible.
    • All over the place in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. The echoes of past events usually are preceded by spooky whispers in the background.
  • Quake's soundtrack either used these, or had other effects to play creepy music.
  • Spirit Healers in World of Warcraft, if you're dead along with them.
    • Such whispering noises also appear in some of the haunted areas in the game, though you tend to have to have your sound settings set so that you can pick them up along with the other noises that plays.
  • Used a lot in Chzo Mythos as background music.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth uses these in the sewer section. Creepy as hell.
  • In X-Men Legends 2, the Madri Temple has this as part of its background music.
  • Featured in at least one level of Blood.
  • Dead Space has this by the truckload.
  • Happens every time a ghost is near in Fatal Frame. There are also several whispers in the background at random times, just to keep the player on edge. Several recordings that can be listened to throughout the series combine this with the "electronic voice phenomenon".
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, whispers emanate from the ash pits in Tribunal temples and ancestral tombs.
  • From time to time, you hear harsh voices from nowhere in Eternal Darkness.
    • That and a woman quietly crying in the background. Well until she starts wailing at the top of her lungs.
  • In Luigi's Mansion you can hear the ghosts mumbling in the background of darkened areas.
  • Thief's undead levels. Join us. JOIN US NOW! Killing the wraith does calm down the more aggressive whispering.
  • In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the Black Slime causes this. Neutralizing the stuff with Green Slime removes it. Sometimes what they're saying is relevant to the plot. You shouldn't be here...you should have run away!
    Should we attack now? Wait until they get closer.
  • In Devil May Cry, as you run around the halls of the Mallet Island manor, you'll suddenly hear a rash of whispering voices.

Web Original
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, the Sinlarine can hear and see ghosts, allowing them to communicate with the spirits of the departed. This is why they are often referred to as ghost whisperers.

Real Life
  • Employed in Ripley's Haunted Adventure by means of sound positioning so that as you walk through one the hallways, you start getting voices whispering from right behind you.
  • "Electronic voice phenomena" are unexplained voices and sounds that seem to imprint themselves directly onto various recording media during paranormal investigations. Regardless of whether one believes they are actually the voices of the dead or caused by a more mundane explanation, they are certainly creepy to listen to.