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* EverybodysDeadDave: [[spoiler:Merry's fate in the past timeline. Her whole family dies except her and she hides under the table for ''days'' until her aunt rescues her.]]

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* MidSeasonTwist: Although a book (and one about a television series), the revelation that [[spoiler:Merry's family were the victim of a massacre]] occurs exactly at this point and turns it from just a postmodern exorcism story to a whodunnit.


* AbusiveParents / ParentsAsPeople: A disturbing amount of overlap between them. John, the father of Merry and Marjorie, is suspected of abusing Marjorie, though it's just suggested that he can't handle what might either be her severe mental illness or her possession. While his behaviour is very concerning and definitely abusive at times - like the reality show - Tremblay goes to lengths to show that he's genuinely trying to help them to some extent. Sarah, their mother, is a full-blown AlcoholicParent and LadyDrunk by the middle of the novel, but it's caused by all of the stress of keeping her family together.



* AdultFear : Many, including unemployment due to the collapsing economy and a child's long illness.

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* AdultFear : AdultFear: Many, including unemployment due to the collapsing economy and a child's long illness.



* BigSisterInstinct: Averted, except in one possible interpretation of the ending where it's played straight, for NightmareFuel. [[spoiler:Marjorie may have faked her possession because she knew that it was actually Merry who was possessed.]]

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* BigSisterInstinct: Averted, Averted in Marjorie's behaviour, except in one several possible interpretation interpretations of the ending where it's played straight, for NightmareFuel. [[spoiler:Marjorie may have faked her possession because she knew that it was actually Merry who was possessed.possessed and she wanted to help her. It's also heavily suggested that, ''if'' Marjorie is behind the familicide at the end, that she deliberately spares Merry because of this.]]



* [[spoiler:Familicide]] : Attempted at the end of the novel, though the actual culprit is ambiguous, and Merry survives.

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* [[spoiler:Familicide]] [[spoiler:{{Familicide}}]] : Attempted at the end of the novel, though the actual culprit is ambiguous, and Merry survives.



* OnlySaneMan: Merry and Marjorie's mother, Sarah, who firmly believes that Marjorie is schizophrenic and needs psychiatric care, but is also the only person with a job and trying to keep the family together when John becomes increasingly obsessed with religion.
* RedIsViolent: Why else does older Merry wear a red coat in the final scene?



* ReferenceOverdosed: An extremely rare example of this happening in-universe. Karen, a.ka. [[spoiler:older Merry]] theorises that this is a direct cause of Marjorie's possession, that she is acting out stories and set pieces of other iconic horror movies, especially possession stories.



* ShoutOut : The text is littered with pop culture references.

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* ShoutOut : ShoutOut: The text is littered with pop culture references.



* SoleSurvivor: [[spoiler:Merry, of the familicide.]]



* TakeThat: Several, but particularly to Film/TheExorcist and Film/TheLastExorcism, with karen calling out the ending of the latter.
* {{Tuckerization}} : Merry's tutor is named for Tremblay's friend and sometime writing partner, author Creator/StephenGrahamJones.



* {{Tuckerization}} : Merry's tutor is named for Tremblay's friend and sometime writing partner, author Creator/StephenGrahamJones.



* VomitIndiscretionShot : At the dinner table, no less.

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* VomitIndiscretionShot : At the dinner table, no less.less.
* WallCrawl: In an {{Homage}} to Film/TheExorcist, Marjorie walls-crawls while on her period in front of her family.


* [[spoiler:Familicide] : Attempted at the end of the novel, though the actual culprit is ambiguous, and Merry survives.

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* [[spoiler:Familicide] [[spoiler:Familicide]] : Attempted at the end of the novel, though the actual culprit is ambiguous, and Merry survives.

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* [[spoiler:Familicide] : Attempted at the end of the novel, though the actual culprit is ambiguous, and Merry survives.

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* BigSisterInstinct: Averted, except in one possible interpretation of the ending where it's played straight, for NightmareFuel. [[spoiler:Marjorie may have faked her possession because she knew that it was actually Merry who was possessed.]]


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* MagicVersusScience: Of course, but deliberately evoked in the differing reactions of Marjorie's parents - her mother firmly believes that only therapy can help the schizophrenic Marjorie, while her father borders on religious zealotry.
* MaybeMagicMaybeMundane: Deliberately invoked. There's enough evidence in the book to support the belief that the possession is real or if it is just Marjorie's madness. [[spoiler:Or if Merry is possessed.]]


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* SanitySlippage: Occurs to everyone. Obviously Marjorie is the most blatant example, but everyone suffers this under the stress of her illness/possession.


* TomatoInTheMirrorEnding: One possible interpretation, though WordofGod says it's deliberately ambiguous. [[spoiler: If you believe that demons did follow the family, the last lines suggest that Merry, rather than Marjorie, may have been possessed, and ''she is still possessed''.]]

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* TomatoInTheMirrorEnding: TomatoInTheMirror: One possible interpretation, though WordofGod says it's deliberately ambiguous. [[spoiler: If you believe that demons did follow the family, the last lines suggest that Merry, rather than Marjorie, may have been possessed, and ''she is still possessed''.]]


* TomatoInTheWindowEnding: One possible interpretation, though WordofGod says it's deliberately ambiguous. [[spoiler: If you believe that demons did follow the family, the last lines suggest that Merry, rather than Marjorie, may have been possessed, and ''she is still possessed''.]]

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* TomatoInTheWindowEnding: TomatoInTheMirrorEnding: One possible interpretation, though WordofGod says it's deliberately ambiguous. [[spoiler: If you believe that demons did follow the family, the last lines suggest that Merry, rather than Marjorie, may have been possessed, and ''she is still possessed''.]]


* DawsonCasting: An in-universe example. During the reality show, a 23-year-old actress is cast as 14-year-old Marjorie.

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* DawsonCasting: An in-universe example.example, lampshaded. During the reality show, a 23-year-old actress is cast as 14-year-old Marjorie.



* {{Tuckerization}} : Merry's tutor is named for Tremblay's friend and sometime writing partner, author Creator/StephenGrahamJones.

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* TwoAliasesOneCharacter: [[spoiler: Older Merry is revealed to be 'Karen', the horror blogger.]]
* {{Tuckerization}} : Merry's tutor is named for Tremblay's friend and sometime writing partner, author Creator/StephenGrahamJones. Creator/StephenGrahamJones.
* TomatoInTheWindowEnding: One possible interpretation, though WordofGod says it's deliberately ambiguous. [[spoiler: If you believe that demons did follow the family, the last lines suggest that Merry, rather than Marjorie, may have been possessed, and ''she is still possessed''.]]


'' A Head Full of Ghosts'' is a 2015 novel by Creator/PaulTremblay. A blend of Gothic horror and family drama, Tremblay's book won the 2016 UsefulNotes/BramStokerAward for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

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[[quoteright:350:https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/a_head_full_of_ghosts.jpg]] '' A Head Full of Ghosts'' is a 2015 novel by Creator/PaulTremblay. A blend of Gothic horror and family drama, Tremblay's book won the 2016 UsefulNotes/BramStokerAward for Superior Achievement in a Novel.


'' A Head Full of Ghosts'' is a 2015 novel by Creator/PaulTremblay. A blend of Gothic horror and family drama, Tremblay's book won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

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'' A Head Full of Ghosts'' is a 2015 novel by Creator/PaulTremblay. A blend of Gothic horror and family drama, Tremblay's book won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award UsefulNotes/BramStokerAward for Superior Achievement in a Novel.




Some examples of tropes appearing in the story include:

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Some examples of tropes appearing in the story include:


''Literature/AHeadFullOfGhosts'' is a 2015 novel by Creator/PaulTremblay. A blend of Gothic horror and family drama, Tremblay's book won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.

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''Literature/AHeadFullOfGhosts'' '' A Head Full of Ghosts'' is a 2015 novel by Creator/PaulTremblay. A blend of Gothic horror and family drama, Tremblay's book won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel.


* GenreSavvy : The adult Merry.

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* ChekhovsGun : [[spoiler: Spaghetti]], of all damned things.


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* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed : If you consider the Westboro Baptist Church a celebrity, the sign-carrying protesters make an appearance but aren't named outright.


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* {{Tuckerization}} : Merry's tutor is named for Tremblay's friend and sometime writing partner, author Creator/StephenGrahamJones.


** Because it's a RealityTV show, ''The Possession'' features several things that are common to the genre, including HistoricalReCreation , ManipulativeEditing, and a ConfessionCam.



* OldDarkHouse : The family home is very old and rambling, with odd staircases and crumbling plaster.

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* OldDarkHouse : The family home is very old and rambling, with odd staircases and crumbling plaster. This also subverts the RealityTVShowMansion trope.
* RedShirt : The "young exorcist" might as well be wearing one.

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