Ghost is unique in that they have a fairly extensive lore behind their music, which focuses on a number of unique characters.
- Ambiguously Bi
- Papa I once commented to a reporter that he'd like to 'poke the girls in the front row' and there's a photo of him grabbing ass of a fellow male musician.◊
- Papa II likes to party hard with women, but according to one interview, he and the band travel with their own harem/entourage. When asked if the members were male or female, Papa simply says "Well, in the dark you cant really tell."
- Papa III would often blow kisses to the crowd, and would hold female audience members' hands during "Cirice". He also would mimic some more...suggestive things involving male genitalia, and would get very touchy-feely with his Ghouls, all of them male, with the exception of a female water Ghoul in 2016.
- Cardinal Copia/Papa IV would be even more touchy-feely with his Ghouls, calling Aether "death on two legs" while caressing said legs and continuing Papa 3's tradition in holding female fan's hand during "Cirice". He would also like to boast that he wished he could take all of the audience members and fuck them off-stage while declaring how he'd tickle their taints and wobble their asses.
- Costume Evolution: The Papas showed considerable improvements in the designs of their facepaint and their papal outfits with each one that came along.
- Friend to All Children: Yes, even Papa II has been known to show his soft side to kids. It's not uncommon for them to scold any audience members for roughhousing during a concert—despite Ghost being a Satanic band, they do attract kid fans and the Papas (and Cardi C) have been known to be angered whenever there's a chance of the kids and their adult fans of being hurt.
- Red Right Hand: A subtle instance: all the Papas have a left eye which is so light blue it's almost white, with the right eye being normal. This feature was induced in the man who would become Papa Nihil, and carried over to the Papas, and then to Cardinal Copia.
- Signature Headgear: The first three Papas and Papa Nihil all wore miters with a prominent grucifix when in their papal robes. Papa IV's miter features a modified Seal of Solomon with a stylized G over it.
- Sinister Minister: All of the Papas are Satanic popes. Cardinal Copia was a Satanic Cardinal, but has taken the papal robes after becoming Papa Emeritus IV.
- Skull for a Head: All the Papas have black and white facepaint which gives them this appearance. Papas I and II were very literally skull-like; Papa III started out this way, but his makeup changed to be more stylised. Papa IV's makeup plays with the concept by being reminiscent of a rat's skull.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Each Papa became this for his previous version, as they are all pretty much the same character in a new outfit, although Papa III was much more charismatic and energetic than the previous two. Subverted for Era IV, where instead of a Papa, a cardinal was the front of Ghost, named Cardinal Copia. However, Copia has now become Papa Emeritus IV.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: With Cardinal Copia as the band's new singer, the previous Papas were no longer needed, so they were killed and their embalmed bodies were turned into display pieces for the band's tours.
Papa Emeritus I
- Bad Boss: Hinted in this interview. Apparently, he is quite inconsiderate to the Nameless Ghouls under him. One official backdrop art◊ labelled him as "Stronzissimo Primo Emeritus" or "Biggest/Extreme Asshole Emeritus I".
- Early Installment Weirdness: An early music video shows Papa I having two white eyes instead of the famous singular one sported by all the Papas and Cardinal. (Allegedly, Tobias Forge actually wanted the character to have two white eyes, but his right eye suffered from an allergic reaction, forcing him to don the iconic left eye instead.)
Papa Emeritus II
- Bad Boss: Papa II has been known to sic a dog on a poor Nameless Ghoul and generally treats them terribly. Sister Imperator called him a "a miserable, old, wounded, bitter man" and one Nameless Ghoul labelled him as a "narcissist" and an "asshole".
- Bald of Evil: He resembles Anton Lavey, right down to his bald head. Interestingly, when in character his entire head is painted black except for the skull markings on his face.
- Death Glare: Has a very impressive one as his default expression. Not for nothing was he considered the most terrifying and intimidating of all the Papas.
- Dirty Old Man: One definite change from the previous Papa is his being quite a lech. His album has two explicitly sexual songs ("Jigolo Har Megiddo" and "Monstrance Clock"), and in the "Papaganda" videos, he brags about his prowess, is shown at a party dancing with several beautiful women, and is later shown driving around with two women before going back to his hotel room with them. He also has a dildo with his face on it and flashed his ass and dick onscreen.
- Gag Penis: Claims he has this and is rather amused that all of the explicit fanarts of him tend to underestimate his size. That said, while the censored version of the video for "Year Zero" gives him a censor bar that backs up his claims when he lifts his robe, in the uncensored version he's not that gifted.
- Gratuitous Italian: All the Papas speak with an Italian accent, but in the "Papaganda" videos, despite being heard singing in English, he only speaks in Italian to the interviewer.
- Iconic Item: His grucifix-topped ferula, which was unique to him and as integral a part of his image as his facepaint.
Papa Emeritus III
- Benevolent Boss: The Nameless Ghouls find that Papa III is nicer and cooler than his elder brothers.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment in "Chapter Three: Back On the Road", as the Papas are being embalmed, his foot twitches on the slab, implying that he was Not Quite Dead when he was embalmed.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In his first few appearances, he had a different facepaint◊ that was quite similar to his brother's before he switched to the more streamlined paint he used for the rest of the tour. This design is reflected in the effigy of Papa III on the cover art of Meliora. It was also used for the kid Papa in the music video of Cirice (though some argued the child was Papa II because the facepaint is that similar).
- Humiliation Conga: He is the only Papa who has the distinction of being forcibly dragged off stage as his final public performance. Soon after that he was poisoned, embalmed alive and had his head chopped off and used for a photo-shoot by Copia.
- Iconic Item: In a humorous take, when Ghost did acoustic tours and performances during his tenure, he would sometimes play a kazoo which he dramatically called "The Kazoo of Destiny".
- The Klutz: While not as extreme as other examples, Papa III is known for his penchant of falling down while performing. There's even a compilation video of him tripping over his own feet.
- Mr. Fanservice: In direct contrast to his predecessors, he seemed to have been designed with this role in mind. His charming demeanor during live shows, rather form-fitting casual wear, and enthusiastic onstage speeches about the female orgasm certainly helped.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Self-lampshaded, especially if kids were in the audience. He would apologize for cursing, admit that he had a foul mouth, and then go right back to it.
- The Talk: One of his famous acts was giving this speech to an entire crowd.
- Younger and Hipper: He was more charismatic and charming than Papa II, and despite his wrinkles, he had a full head of black hair which, combined with his makeup being limited to just his face, made him look much younger.
Cardinal Copia / Papa Emeritus IV
- Animal Motifs: Copia debuted on Prequelle, which was themed around the Black Plague, his first appearance as Ghost's singer was in the video for "Rats", and "See the Light" includes a lyric about befriending rats. Since then he's tended to be associated with rats by both fans and some licensed merch, such as here◊. This carried over to his becoming Papa IV, as his facepaint resembles a rat's skull.
- Badass Cape: He often wore a black, purple-lined cape scalloped to resemble bat wings◊ with his black suit, giving him an almost vampire-like appearance.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Parodied. Despite his claims that he'd take the crowd to a parking lot and bang them, when the crowd actually takes him up on the offer, Copia would quickly backpedal, exasperatedly claiming that he was only "kidding". It still doesn't stop him from flirting audaciously to the crowd, however.
- Classy Cane: He carried a snakeskin-patterned cane whose handle resembled a snake's head◊; it first appeared in the "Rats" video and he would sometimes do some very suggestive things with it on stage.
- Dancing with Myself: He does this in the video for "Rats", possibly as a subtle reference to "St. Vitus' Dance", a strange phenomenon during the Middle Ages, where victims would sing and dance until they collapsed (or died) from exhaustion.
- Iconic Item: His tricycle and bat-winged biretta.
- Manchild: Has shades of this, from his entering with a boombox playing a background track, trying to fist bump Papa Nihil, fooling around while Nihil argues with Imperator about his suitability, riding a tricycle around the Ministry and onstage, and much more.
- Mr. Fanservice: He picked up where Papa III left off in terms of on-stage energy and fan interaction.
- Nice Hat: His formal vestments included a biretta◊ modified to have two sharply pointed ridges and one shaped like a bat's wing. When in his suits and caped tuxedo, he often sported a fedora◊.
- Ugly Cute: The general consensus of his plushie. Just LOOK at that thing!
- Younger and Hipper: One of the reasons given by Imperator to Nihil as to why the Cardinal should be the next frontman of Ghost. While he does appear younger than all the previous Papas, Copia's age seem to still be in middle-age range.
The Nameless Ghouls
- Ambiguously Bi: All of them to a certain degree, especially the Era III and IV Ghouls, as they play along with Papa III and Copia's touchy-feeliness and sometimes do the same with each other.
- Costume Evolution: Each change in the band's singer saw a drastic change in the Ghouls' appearance:
- Papa I's Ghouls◊ wore black or white hooded robes and their faces were fully covered by cloth.
- Papa II's Ghouls◊ switched to more elaborate, black monk-like robes with larger hoods and wore black bauta masks.
- Papa III's Ghouls◊ traded in the robes for form-fitting black suits and balaclavas, and their masks became steel-colored full-head masks with horns and mouthless faces with sharply pointed chins that reflected the bauta masks of the previous era.
- Cardinal Copia's Ghouls slightly modified their look, going for a different style of black suit and having chromed masks that keep the previous look but now have cutouts that frame the wearer's mouth and chin. They also debuted the longer-haired, more feminine mask. It remains to be seen how, or if, their look will change now that Copia has become Papa Emeritus IV.
- Papa Nihil's Ghouls, reflecting the late '60s era of the "Kiss the Go-Goat" video◊, are in jeans, t-shirts and jackets and wearing simple, cheap-looking masks that only cover their faces.
- Deadpan Snarker: "Special Ghoul", who handled all the interviews pre-Era IV, had quite the dry wit. He was actually Tobias in disguise, helping to preserve the band's anonymity. However, once Tobias was outed, he started doing interviews out of costume and Special was quietly retired.
- The Faceless: This is the prime theme of the Nameless Ghouls. All you can see when they're in costume is their hands (usually with make up to hide tattoos), and even then some (like Earth) wear gloves.
- In the Hood: They started out wearing black hooded cassocks and face masks. Currently no longer the case, as they now wear balaclavas covered by full head masks that parody angelic sculptures.
- No Name Given: In keeping with their anonymous status, the Ghouls are only referred to by their alchemical symbols, Fan Nicknames notwithstanding.
- Dislikes the New Guy: Nihil made it very clear that he is not fond of Cardinal Copia. He only reluctantly agreed to let him become the Ghost's frontman because of Sister Imperator. At one point, he declared that despite Copia's success, his sons did it better (which didn't stop him from having them killed, however). He also harps on Copia's failure to win the Grammys and shows nothing but disdain whenever the man is in his presence.
- Early Installment Weirdness: When he was first introduced, his mannerisms and make-up◊ were decidedly sinister and in tune with the ominous proclamation that the Dark Ages had begun. The video chapters, however, showcased a more affable (if somewhat amoral) Papa Nihil with a dork-ish slant.
- Fatal Method Acting: He "died" on stage during the last show of the 2020 tour, collapsing just after completing the saxophone solo in "Miasma" (although Copia's comments afterward imply that it wasn't an accident).
- Iconic Item: His saxophone.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Nihil was very handsome in his younger days, which not only attracted Sister Imperator to him but helped his on-stage presence. However, he's become very decrepit in his old age and is wistful about his golden years.
- My Greatest Failure: He's haunted by having driven Imperator away with his lustful on-stage behavior and would like nothing more than to get her back, although she's made it clear that's not going to happen.
- Offing the Offspring: He's the Papas' father, and based on what happened to them, he had to have been at least complicit in their deaths, if not actively involved in setting it up.
- Senior Creep: He did not age well; his eyes are so filmed over that he looks like he's blind, he's visibly wrinkled (although his makeup may make this look worse than it is), and his hair is stringy and frizzy. Additionally, when he first appeared at the end of Papa III's last performance, he was using an oxygen mask and tottering on a cane, although this is very downplayed in the "Chapter" videos.
- Berserk Button: For the love of Satan, don't smoke around her when she's (implied) to be pregnant, as one poor fan learned. Also if you're Nihil don't fucking cheat on her.
- The Corrupter: She was instrumental in creating Papa Nihil, by seducing a guy who showed up at a party and opening him up to the wonders of serving the Devil.
- Dragon-in-Chief: While Papa Nihil is ostensibly the head of the Church, it's Imperator who is shown to be the real boss of the operation.
- My Secret Pregnancy: The "Chapter" videos strongly hint that Cardinal Copia is her child by Papa Nihil, conceived at some point between the "Dance Macabre" and "Kiss the Go-Goat" videos but kept secret by Imperator due to her leaving him after seeing him kissing other women.
- Working with the Ex: While she does show that she may have hold some affection for Nihil (once trying to flirt with him only to be thwarted because he missed her cue), she could not trust him due to his past behaviour. She also makes it clear in "Chapter Eight" that, for all her anger at his betrayal, she still stayed on in the Ministry because her faith and duty was far stronger.
- Creepy Twins: Their stringy hair, pale skin, and the black circles around their eyes reflect the look of the guy at the door from the "Dance Macabre" video. They are known to speak backwards, and part of "Chapter Seven - New World Redro"'s The Shining references include them spooking Cardinal Copia by muttering "Come and play with us" like that film's twin girls.
- Sdrawkcab Speech: In "Chapter Four - The Accident", when Nihil dismisses them, they say "Prepare for your worst" to him backwards.