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The Magnus Institute

A mysterious institution dedicated to researching the paranormal and cataloging paranormal artifacts. Officially, they're even more boring, staid, and unremarkable than any organization with that stated purpose should be.

Officially. There are occasionally hints that it's more than it appears, but exactly what is uncertain. Their most common activity, as shown in the podcast, appears to be taking statements of observers of paranormal occurrences and then investigating.

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    In General 
  • Artifact Collection Agency: It's downplayed considering that their most prominent activity appears to be taking statements and investigating them, but it's mentioned several times that they have an artifact storage room.
  • Eldritch Location: The building is built atop a network of catacombs. Disturbingly organic catacombs.
  • Lack of Empathy: Working in the archives for any length of time, especially as Head Archivist, leaves employees rather numb to the experiences of those giving the statements. For those who are being changed and warped by the Beholding, they're often more eager to observe suffering rather than provide aid. The founder of the institute at one point received a letter from an old friend begging for protection from supernatural forces, who he could easily have helped...but he preferred to do nothing in favour of seeing what would happen.
  • Mysterious Benefactor: Has one in the form of the Lukas Family, who are, well... not exactly trustworthy. And honestly kind of unsettling.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Their status as odd but harmless academics is a facade. While they're ostensibly a laughingstock among paranormal investigators, the Institute itself actually serves The Beholding, an extradimensional entity of unimaginable power.

    Jonathan Sims 

Portrayed by: Johnathan Sims

The new Head Archivist for the Magnus Institute after Gertrude Robinson's untimely death. This position involves less library science than you might think, and more slow transformation into The Archivist, a monster who serves the eldritch horror that uses the archives as a front.

  • Ambiguously Human: This comes with the job title, if you embrace it...which Jon has been doing by accident. As of season 4, he is now introducing himself solely as "Jonathan Sims, The Archivist", and is able to heal all the lingering damage from his coma simply by reading a statement. When he tries to cut off one of his fingers as an anchor to draw him back out of the coffin, the wound keeps healing. Even Helen pulls a Not So Different on him, claiming that he is currently as much "Jonathan Sims" as she is "Helen Richardson".
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: To an extent that might unsettle even Richard Strand - no matter how overt the circumstances of a statement are, he often discounts any possible paranormal influence. **This turns out to be a deliberate subversion. The Archivist is afraid that something is watching him and that it will get angry if he doesn't play up the skeptic angle. He admits in Episode 39 that he actually believes all the stories he's recorded are real.
  • Asexuality:
    Melanie: According to Georgie, Jon doesn't... Like, at all.
    Basira: Yeah, that does explain some stuff.
  • Compelling Voice: When The Archivist asks a question, even other monsters have no choice but to answer truthfully. As of episode 141, it seems that Jon may also be able to compel specific actions
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Jon’s parents died under questionable circumstances, and he wasn't close with the grandmother who raised him. Leaving him with no close ties to notice he's been claimed by The Beholding, or to distract him from his obsessive need to sort through and devour stories.
  • Determinator: Jon may be neurotic and frightened, but when push comes to shove, he won't let anything stop him from finding out what he wants to know... including the very real threat of death at the hands of monsters he interviews. This obsessive need for knowledge is what made him an ideal servant of The Beholding from a very young age. Not every child would, upon escaping a near-fatal encounter with a demon spider, chase after its new victim in order to see what will happen.
  • Distressed Dude: He has a knack for getting into trouble he can't get out of and then being rescued at the last second.
  • Dream Walker: Jon's bad dreams aren't merely a reaction to trauma. They're what makes The Archivist as monstrous as the other avatars. When Jon takes a statement directly from a victim, he causes them to have recurring nightmares, and enters their dreams to watch them suffer over and over again.
  • Healing Factor: As of the end of season 3, he heals quickly, even more quickly if he reads a statement.
  • Irony: Jon is implied to have mild arachnophobia following his first encounter with the supernatural, involving a Leitner book with connections to The Web. Not only is The Web on fairly good terms with the Beholding (to the point where it seems to have moved into the Magnus Institute in some capacity come Season 4) but it sends John a gift in the first season in the form of a metal lighter with a web design on it.
  • Meaningful Rename: Stops introducing himself as "Jonathan Sims, Head Archivist of the Magnus Institute" and begin introducing himself as "Jonathan Sims, The Archivist, reflecting his increasingly inhuman nature at the start of S4.
  • Omniglot: The Archivist can understand languages he has not learned.
  • The Paranoiac: Very much becomes this in season 2 after the body of his predecessor, shot three times, is found in the tunnels under the archives.
  • Painting the Medium: It's subtle, but whenever Jon uses his Compelling Voice unintentionally (such as getting Melanie to blurt out that she's started going to therapy) there's slight static on the recording.
  • Properly Paranoid: Jonathan is right to be paranoid about being attacked by whoever was behind Gertrude's death, although he doesn't express that paranoia in very productive ways.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Jonathan was taken in by his grandmother after the suspicious deaths of his parents.
  • Superior Successor: Jon to Gertrude, as Archivist. Largely because Gertrude spent her time actively plotting against the supernatural instead of feeding The Beholding.
  • True Sight: Jon uses this to counter the Unknowing and save the world.
  • The Undead: enters a state of reverse brain death after being blown up in the S3 finale. His body is dead, but his brain activity is off the charts.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Invoked almost word for word in Episode 78, in which he destroys the table binding the Not-Them, thinking it was their source of power.
  • Younger Than They Look: He is in his early thirties but comments that people are always surprised upon learning that fact due to his greying hair. Melanie King at one point even feels the need to ask Jonathan if he is aware of what a "meme" is.

    Sasha James 

Portrayed By: Lottie Broomhall (Sasha James)/Evelyn Hewitt (Not-Sasha)

One of Jonathan's assistants.

  • Big Damn Heroes: Bolts out of a sealed, relatively safe room during Jane Prentiss' attack on the Archives in the season one finale to save Tim. She also dives back into the building with Elias to turn the fire alarms on and get everyone else in the Institute out. This ends up becoming a Heroic Sacrifice, as she's separated from Elias and killed by the Not-Them.
  • Doppelgänger
  • Grand Theft Me: In the season one finale, courtesy of the Not-Them, who go so far as to somehow dispose of cases 0051701 and 0160204, on which Sasha's voice could be heard.
  • The Reliable One
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Due to the format of the podcast, we only get a few moments with Sasha before she gets killed and replaced by the Not-Them.

    Martin Blackwood 
Portrayed By: Alexander J. Newall

One of Jon's assistants. Jon starts the series with a dim view of his competence.

  • Action Survivor: Manages to survive being trapped in his apartment by the entity formerly known as Jane Prentiss for about two weeks.
  • Adorkable: Just listen to him.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Shows some definite signs of this with regards to Jon, to the point where his coworkers openly wonder if the interest is more than professional.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Successfully executes a plan to take down Elias at the end of Season 3, after all of Elias' employees get sick of his shit.
  • Human Sacrifice: Peter Lukas is grooming him into one for the Lonely's ritual, to stop the birth of The Extinction.
  • Iron Woobie: Stays empathetic and cheerful no matter what the Institute throws at him. Which is a lot.
  • Love Martyr: Towards Jon, particularly in earlier seasons, and his mother.
  • Meaningful Name: Martin's surname, Blackwood, translates to "Schwarzwald" — the location where Jonah Magnus first encountered the supernatural.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Averted by Martin, who is willing to walk into a creepy cobwebbed basement because he likes spiders. And he is right to do so. Eldritch spiders horrors are relatively benign compared to some of the other monsters out there. Sure, they sometimes eat people, but they also bind, suppress, and devour other supernatural forces.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Wants validation from his distant mother.

    Timothy "Tim" Stoker 
Portrayed By: Mike LeBeau

One of Jon's assistants.

  • Accuser of the Brethren: Does not forgive Jon for his association with The Beholding, in spite of Jon's efforts at reconciliation.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: What else do you call getting attacked by worms and treated as a murder suspect by your boss?
  • Bi the Way
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the end of season one.
  • Break the Cutie: Tim used to be far happier and less bitter from what we saw of him until the Season One finale.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: His brother was killed by agents of The Stranger. This also explains some of his other quirks, such as his familiarity with 19th-century circuses and the work of real-life architect Robert Smirke.
  • It's Personal: Joined the Magnus Institute to pursue the creatures that murdered his brother.
  • Resignations Not Accepted: Tim comes to hate the Institute, but he feels like there's something there that's preventing him from quitting. He later even tries running away to Asia but finds himself getting sicker the longer he stays away from the Institute.
  • The Skeptic: Tended to be dismissive of the veracity of the statements until he gets caught up in Jane Prentiss' attack in the season one finale.
  • Sour Supporter: He'll help the Archivist save the world, but that doesn't stop him from hating the Archives and everything they stand for.
  • Taking You with Me: Blows himself up in order to stop the Stranger's ritual of the Unknowing.
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    Elias Bouchard 
Portrayed By: Ben Meredith.

The head of the Magnus Institute and Jon's superior.

  • Ambiguously Human: An avatar of Beholding, one of the Powers. Although he looks human, he's just as monstrous as Jane Prentiss or Michael.
  • Boxed Crook: After the crew manages to put him in jail, he rapidly gains favor and privileges by using his Beholding powers to help catch other criminals.
  • Break Them by Talking: Does this to on a regular basis.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Head of the Magnus Institute. Also murdered Gertrude Robinson and Jurgen Leitner, and is not only a vessel for one of the Powers that the Archive is ostensibly supposed to record but actually Jonah Magnus.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Perfectly civil with his underlings, even when they tell him to shove it or try to murder him repeatedly. However, he is more than happy to psychically torture people at the drop of a hat as well.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Was once an ordinary archival assistant. People who knew him then are honestly shocked that he's now the Head of the Institute. Turns out this is both averted and actually Foreshadowing, as the "Elias" the audience knows is actually a bodyhopping Jonah Magnus. The real Elias Bouchard has been dead for years.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat
  • The Omniscient: His Beholding powers seem to extend to knowing people's deepest secrets, such as the incident mentioned in Break Them by Talking. Although he says he doesn't know everything, because it would be "exhausting", suggesting he knows things that pertain to him (like Melanie's murder attempt) or that he specifically looks for.
    • Not So Omniscient After All: For all his abilities, Elias is unable to draw meaning from the Archives' statements or to "just know" things the way that Jon can as Archivist.
  • Pet the Dog: While he does put his underlings through hell on more than once occasion, he won't stand for them being meddled with by the other Powers. Peter Lukas makes absolutely sure to confirm that a visitor to the Archive is not an employee, before cursing him with eternal isolation.

    Gertrude Robinson 
Portrayed By: Sue Sims

The former Head Archivist for the Magnus Institute. Initially a mysterious figure whose chaotic management of the archives infuriates Jon, her successor. As the story progresses we learn much more about her own handling and use of the Archive's statements and her efforts to thwart the Powers, including the Magnus Institute itself.

  • Big Good: Single-handedly foiled the rituals of the Powers for decades, defending humanity.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Gertrude was determined to stop the rituals that would help the Powers to warp the universe. Among other things, she sacrificed Michael Shelley to the Distortion/Spiral in order to bind and constrict it and murdered Jan Kilbride to use his dismembered corpse to stop the Buried's ritual.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Deliberately engineered sympathy and loyalty in Michael Shelley, so that he would do anything for her — because he trusted her.
  • Obfuscating Disability / Obfuscating Stupidity: Pretended to be much frailer than she actually was in front of her assistants, letting them believe she was a harmless older lady who needed help and protection. Likewise, the bad archival skills Jon bemoans at the beginning of episode 1? Entirely deliberate sabotage of her ostensible employer.
  • Pet the Dog: While intimidating Arthur Nolan, she makes clear that Jack Barnabus is to be left alone.
  • Posthumous Character: Jon at first merely bemoans her apparent lack of archival skills, but soon becomes curious about her death.
    • The finale of the first season reveals that she didn't just die in unusual circumstances but was actually murdered, as the team discover her body underneath the Institute; we get to hear recordings made by her beginning in the second season; and the third season focuses heavily on her research into, and thwarting of, the Powers.
  • Walking Spoiler: It's very difficult to talk about Gertrude without spoiling why Jon replaced her as Head Archivist and her relationship with the Powers.

Recurring characters

Characters who do not work at the Magnus Institute, but play a prominent role nonetheless:

    Alice "Daisy" Tonner 
Portrayed By: Fay Roberts

A detective turned disciple of the Hunt. The metropolitan police force turns a blind eye to her murderous activities, so long as she keeps hunting other spooks.

  • He Who Fights Monsters: There is very little except her friendship with Basira separating her from what she hunts. In the season 3 finale, she goes all the way off the deep end, tearing one of the deliverymen apart with her bare hands, and seems so overcome with bloodlust that she's no longer really a person.
    • As of episode 158, she fully gives into the hunt in order to defend Basira and Jon as the Institute is invaded by Julia Montauk and Trevor Herbert.
  • Hidden Depths: When cut off from the Hunt's influence, she reveals herself to be a far kinder and more vulnerable person.
  • Hunter of Monsters: Daisy's calling.
  • Morality Chain: Seems to think of Basira this way. Daisy agrees to work for Elias after he takes Basira hostage.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: It's not something she talks about a lot, but after she's rescued from the coffin, incarceration in which significantly lessened the Hunt's hold over her, she clearly feels bad about what she did while serving it, particularly because she abused her position as a police officer.
  • Sociopathic Hero: Kills monsters, but mostly because she likes killing.

    Agnes Montague 
An unsettling young lady connected to the Lightless Flame; servant of the Desolation.

  • The Ageless: Has looked in her early twenties for about twenty years.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The episode "Burning Desire" gives her this, showing she does not quite enjoy her position, and giving her a Last Kiss during which she accidentally mutilates quite possibly the only person who has ever been interested in her for herself.
  • Creepy Child: She was marked by the Desolation as a child, strongly enough that she terrified even older supernatural beings as well as normal people.
  • Dark Messiah: Created by the Cult of the Lightless Flame to assist with their plan for ascension.
  • Driven to Suicide: She convinced the cult that if she tried and failed to complete The Desolation's ritual, they wouldn't be able to try again for centuries. If instead she died cold and quiet, she would return to The Lightless Flame and hopefully be reborn to try again.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Like the rest of her friends. Her coffee is always piping hot even after she's been sitting there not drinking for forty minutes, to the point it horribly burns a man who wouldn't stop hitting on her; she never needs a coat; skin contact burns so hot that it liquifies the fat in her poor ex's face even when she's not trying to hurt him.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Multiple people have noted how beautiful she is. (Jude Perry was even partially attracted to the cult because of her.)
  • Evil Redhead: As an adult, she is described as having beautiful auburn hair.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Her behavior in "Burning Desire" suggests this—she spends the episode basically cosplaying an ordinary woman. The narrator describes her ordering black coffee at the diner as if it's some exciting novelty, and she tells him he's lucky not to have a destiny.
  • Pet the Dog: She seemed genuinely fond of Jack Barnabas and even though he unwittingly ruined her role in the Desolation's ritual by introducing doubt into her mind, she asks the cult not to destroy him.
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    Basira Hussain 
Portrayed By: Frank Voss
A police constable who deals with strange cases.

  • Action Girl: While most of her cases don't involve violence, merely the aftermath of it, she's prepared for the ones that do.
  • Badass Normal: Manages to defeat the dissociative illusions of the Stranger during its attempted apotheosis just by reasoning to herself.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Shows up just in time to keep Daisy from murdering Jon.
  • Emotionless Girl: In the early episodes of season 4, she seems to have totally shut down emotionally. It's unclear if it's due to the traumatic events that occurred in between seasons (i.e. a colleague and one of her best friends dying, another friend ending up in a coma, multiple Eldritch Abomination attacks on her place of work, yet two more friends being slowly taken away from her by other powers, and having to make sure thedepartment runs in the bargain), her being claimed by the Beholding or both.
  • Friend on the Force: To the Archives. She brings Jonathan tapes that were confiscated during a police investigation so he can listen to them for clues.
    • Initially subverted, as she was just pretending because she thought Jonathan killed Gertrude and wanted a way to surreptitiously investigate him, but then for real. Until she quits.
  • Hidden Depths: She handles being bound to the Institute better than anyone and seems to quite enjoy researching in the latter's library. As John puts it "maybe she just suits the academic life".
  • Morality Chain: Her fellow Sectioned cop Daisy Tonner has gone almost full He Who Fights Monsters. Basira is the only reason for the "almost".
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Eventually quits the force, because she's so disgusted at the way her superiors handled a coverup, and says the best way Jon can thank her for her help is for her to never hear about any of this again. It doesn't stick.

    Breekon & Hope 
Portrayed By: Martin Corcoran (Breekon) and Steve Violich (Hope).

A mysterious delivery company specializing in supernatural artifacts.

  • The Alleged Car: Their primary mode of conveying artifacts is a rusty, permanently grimy white van
  • Enigmatic Minion: Appear to work for multiple powers, including the Stranger, and the Hunger. The only consistencies are that they pick up and deliver artifacts, and bad things happen when they do. It's become clearer that they do have a main allegiance in the Stranger, but will help out others if they feel like it.
  • Giant Mook: The guys who work at B&H are big. Like "take-up-the-room" big.
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: Their primary role in the story. Deliver a chest containing what will become the not!Sasha to the Magnus Archives.
  • The Nondescript: The two deliverymen. The only thing anyone can ever remember about them is their size, their accents (the local lower-class kind, but overblown to the point of parody), and that they "look like you'd expect".
  • Nonindicative Name: There was actually only one founder, Breekon—he always wanted to start a business and call it "Breekon and Sons", but he never had any sons, so he added "Hope" as his own little in-joke. The name is even more nonindicative than it seems, as the delivery guys have in fact stolen the names "Breekon and Hope" and taken over.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The two deliverymen have existed since at least the middle ages, but have not always been Breekon & Hope.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Their deliveries are overseen by two large men with Cockney accents.

    Gerard Keay 
Portrayed By: Jon Gracey

A young man heavily involved in the supernatural. The son of Mary Keay, he appears in numerous statements at various stages of his life including after his own death.

  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • “I always wanted my friends to call me Jerry.”
  • Deader Than Dead: Gerard died of brain cancer, then had his soul bound to the skin book. In exchange for his help, Gerard demands that Jonathan burn his page, thus rendering him really, really and eternally dead. Probably.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father was a former Archivist. His mother killed him when he wanted to retire and raise Gerard.
  • Everybody Has Standards: Horrified by his mother’s request to have him skin her alive, binding herself to one of Leitner’s books.
  • Feel No Pain: Subverted after his death. Existence is literally agony for him.
  • He's Just Hiding!: Though Gerard has been legally dead for several years, Jon stubbornly refers to his death as alleged. Considering Jon's intuitive abilities as Archivist he's probably on to something.
    • In season 3 it is confirmed that he is indeed dead, but not gone, having been bound to the skin book against his will.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Implied to be a Type B. See the Affectionate Nickname entry for an example.
  • Mr. Exposition: Spends half of his statement laying out the ways that the Powers function.
  • My Beloved Smother: His mother decided even before he was born that he would follow in her steps. He eventually rebels and goes out of his way to track and destroy any Leitner book he can find.
  • Necromancer: Bound his to a magical book of undeath which he himself is now bound to.
  • Pet the Dog: He probably has the most of these out of anyone involved with the Powers, repeatedly saves civilians from A Fate Worse Than Death.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: One of the first things he demands upon being summoned by Jonathan is that Jonathan burn his page, effectively killing him. Jon reluctantly agrees.

    Georgie Barker 
Portrayed By: Sasha Sienna

The host of the popular What The Ghost! podcast, and colleague of Melanie King. Had a relationship with Jonathan Sims at one point that didn’t end well. They seem to have made up.

  • Amicable Exes: Is friendly enough with Jonathan to let him crash at her place indefinitely. When they later have a falling out, it's only because Georgie recognizes he's going to continue on a self-destructive path and decides to set boundaries to protect herself.
  • Bi the Way: She's Jon's ex and later gets together with Melanie.
  • Heroic BSoD: Suffered this after an encounter with an avatar of The End, and never regains her ability to feel fear.
  • Unfazed Everyman: Her response to Jonathan’s revelations about the existence of monsters and the Powers, and the fact that he is beholden to one is essentially "okay.” Justified as an encounter with the avatar of the End removed her ability to feel fear.

    Adelard Dekker 
A friend and colleague of Gertrude Robinson's. He shows up in several statements, cataloging and fighting against servants of the Powers.

  • Anti-Hero: He's willing to do some very unscrupulous things for the sake of protecting the world from the supernatural.
  • Occult Detective: Has shades of this, aiding individuals who have encountered the supernatural and taking it upon himself to destroy or contain certain entities.
  • Sadist: When he lobotomizes a servant of The End, the description he gives of it is... very detailed.

    Jane Prentiss 
A woman seemingly turned into a hive of wormlike... things.
  • Arc Villain: Of season 1. Attempts to invade the Archive at the end, and is killed for her troubles
  • Hive Mind: To some degree, she is aware of all of her worms.
  • Pest Controller: Jane (or the being using her body) commands masses of strange silver worms worms which infest more people and thus kill or enslave them.
  • The Worm That Walks: Jane's body and mind are taken over by a colony of silver worms.
  • Was Once a Man: Was once an ordinary woman. There's some indication that she wishes she could go back.

    Julia Montauk 
Portrayed By: Francesca Renèe Reid

The daughter of notorious serial killer Robert Montauk. Was marked by the Darkness at a young age, but rejected it in favor of hunting monsters with Trevor Herbert.

  • Berserk Button: The closed-eye symbol. Given that the People's Church of the Divine Host were controlling her father and murdered him when he pushed back, this is not surprising.
  • Family of Choice: With Trevor Herbert.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: She spent a lot of time trying to be normal and outrun her father's infamy until she jointed the Hunt.
  • Jumped at the Call: Started slaying monsters without hesitation once she met Trevor Herbert.
  • Smiting Evil Feels Good: Really enjoyed her first kill, and likes monster hunting.

    Jurgen Leitner 
Portrayed By: Paul Sims

A rich Scandinavian eccentric who would pay exorbitant sums for various books. Unfortunately, the books in question were... Rather unsettling.

  • But Not Too Foreign: Despite being initially presented as a "Scandinavian recluse," speaks with a British accent and admits that he barely knows any Norwegian.
  • Character Death: Beaten to death by Elias at the end of Season 2
  • Collector of the Strange: The foremost collector of esoteric and rare books linked to the Powers.
  • Decoy Antagonist: Set up as a shadowy figure of influence in the first two seasons, and is hinted to be responsible for the various tomes bearing his name. When he finally appears in Season Two, he is revealed as a vain, somewhat pathetic old man whose only real power was his ungodly amounts of money.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Built his library to contain the incalculable power of the books held within it. The thought that the defenses should also be outside never occurred to him.
  • Non-Idle Rich: Was fantastically wealthy enough to remain a Rich Idiot with No Day Job, but chose to become one of these, collecting all the books he could get his hands on.
  • Pride: Admits that this was his primary sin, in thinking he could contain all his books.
  • We Have Reserves: Had a very cavalier attitude towards the lives of his assistants.

    Melanie King 
Portrayed By: Lydia Nicholas

Melanie King is an amateur ghost hunter who started to stray from the beaten path of haunted locations after witnessing a co-worker, Sarah Baldwin, peel back the skin of her arm and staple it back on. She occasionally consults the Magnus Institute for information until she's brought on as Sasha's replacement.

  • Badass Normal: After her crew disperses, she goes off hunting war ghosts on her own, regardless of the fact they can actually hurt her, unlike the Grey Ladies she used to investigate. Also tries to kill Elias multiple times, albeit unsuccessfully.
  • Instant Humiliation: Just Add YouTube!: In later episodes her solo career is ruined like this.
  • Jerkass: Big time. The first thing she does upon being interviewed is snobbishly chew out the very people trying to interview her, even though she went to them precisely because her coworkers wouldn't even listen to her. One of the things she criticizes is the Institute's policy of looking into stories that lack evidence. When she tells her story and Jonathan does his usual thing and say that the Institute will look into her story, rather than believing her outright, she gets pissed off and yells at him. Even though she arrived with no real evidence. (Although it's implied the abrasiveness is her way of dealing with how much Sarah scared her, and that she's much nicer when she's not scared.)
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Adopts this attitude after she has a bad encounter with a ghost and is drawn in by The Slaughter.
  • Not So Different: She and Jonathan don't get along very well, and they have two very different approaches to supernatural investigation, but in "The Smell of Blood", they start nerding out over historical documents she found while investigating in the exact same way, and they're both willing to almost totally disregard their safety in the pursuit of information. Underscored by her joining the Archives.
  • Paranormal Investigation: Her YouTube show is about this. She insists at first that it is more evidence-based than the Archives, although they sometimes ham it up because looking at temperature readings isn't very exciting on-camera, but later discovers that her show and others like it have been unconsciously avoiding real paranormal sites.
  • Opt Out: Melanie can't actually quit, but she can choose to just not do any work. Which she does, as she believes doing anything that powers up the Beholding is evil. And then when Jon discovers it is possible to unbind yourself from the Beholding by blinding yourself, she takes an awl to her eyes.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Becomes increasingly aggressive and abrasive over the course of the third season, culminating in a diatribe about how nobody appreciates the struggle she went through to start a ghost-hunting series.
    • She's taken another level as of Season 4. Upon her first reappearance, she nearly attacks Jon, blaming him for Tim and Daisy's deaths, and all but growls at him to stay away from her. All this Jerkass Level-taking may indicate that the Slaughter has a hold on her, especially as Basira says Melanie has been the main defender of the Archives during various attacks. It also probably doesn't help that she believes Jonathan Sims has been effectively subsumed by the Archivist—in her mind, it's not Jon she's yelling at, but a monster.
      • All but confirmed in episode 125: Jon realizes she was shot by a bullet from an avatar of the Slaughter, which was "infecting" her.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Having the cursed bullet out and going to therapy in the back half of season 4 have helped Melanie do this.

    Michael/Helen 
Portrayed By: Luke Booys/Imogen Harris

A... humanlike... being with unsettling powers that dives straight into the Uncanny Valley.

  • Affably Evil: In contrast to Michael, Helen is quite polite to John, and carries on a friendly conversation with Melanie.
  • Avatar: At the end of season 2 it's revealed that Michael is actually an aspect of an entity known as "The Distortion." It deals in fooling the senses, drawing you into mazes, and making you doubt your own sanity.
  • Creepy Long Fingers: Michael's hands are described as having long, stiff fingers that end in points.
  • Glamour Failure: When looked at directly, Michael appears to be a normal human. However, when seen through warped glass, it appears to be very tall and thin, with a body that appears to have no structure, and hands nearly as big as its torso.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted, with the other reoccurring (and equally villainous) Michael Crew.
  • Out of Focus: As of late, now that the Michael-form, which had a personal interest in the Archives, has been replaced by the Helen-form.
  • Reality Warper: Michael is able to make a door appear that leads to an Endless Corridor.
  • Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can: Michael was once an assistant of Gertrude Robinson's. In order to stop the apotheosis of the Spiral, Gertrude sacrificed Michael, effectively causing the Spiral to manifest in Michael. Enough of the original remains for it to want revenge.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: In episode 101, the Distortion destroys the "Michael" incarnation, because residual hatred for the Archivist temporarily overrode its actual aims, and makes Helen its new avatar.

    Michael Crew 
Portrayed By: Guy Kelley

A man who sought out Leitner books - his name is fairly common in any statement involving them. He's the vessel of The Vast.

  • Affably Evil: When Jon goes to visit him, he's a very polite host, and only attacks when he's asked a question he finds prying. Also probably because prying questions are extra prying when coming from the Archivist, which has to be uncomfortable if you can tell it's happening. Even then, he answers the question and makes sure his attack isn't fatal.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: By this point he has screwed up so many lives in the service of the Vertigo that he can't actually remember most of them.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: While he appears in multiple statements, his actual appearance in person is immediately followed by Daisy beating him to death.

    Mikaele Salesa 
A black-market fence for paranormal artifacts. Little is known about him beyond the fact that he is Samoan and is quite good at his job.
  • Badass Normal: He's an entirely ordinary human who, at least so far as the listener currently knows, has escaped ill effects from his immensely dangerous wares. He also survived working for Leitner, whose OSHA compliance was apparently as good as his external security, which is to say nil.
  • Black Market: Is willing to buy and sell artifacts, both magic and mundane, of questionable origin.
  • Intangible Price: Some of the items he deals in come with this. Salesa himself deals in cold, hard cash.
  • Posthumous Character: Apparently died circa 2014, if Episode 141 is to be believed.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Unlike some of the other players in the supernatural world, Salesa's actions seem to stem from a desire for profit, rather than evil. That being said, he will happily sell customers immensely harmful objects without bothering to inform them, and he's not above making bets or jokes out of their effects.

    Peter Lukas 
Portrayed By: Alasdair Stuart
A member of the Lukas family, servant of the Lonely and new head of the Magnus Institute. Appears to be on good terms with Elias.

  • Affably Evil: Is quite cordial with everyone he meets, and is quite supportive with his subordinates. Not that it stops him from serving an Eldritch Abomination representing isolation.
  • The Captain: Of the Tundra.
  • Kick the Dog: His first appearance has him dooming a random man to eternal isolation for no apparent reason.
  • Meet the New Boss: After Elias is incarcerated at the end of S3, Peter takes over the administration of the Magnus Institute. He all but tells Martin that nothing of any importance will change.
  • Painting the Medium: When he talks to Martin, the recording makes loud, whirring sounds, as if the reels are being spun out of sync.
  • Villainous Friendship: Has this, or at the very least, Villainous Professional Respect, with Elias. He knows better than to ply the Lonely's effects on Elias's subordinates, in any case.

    Jared Hopworth 
Portrayed By: Alexander J Newall

Better known as The Boneturner. A former delinquent who gained the ability to mold and manipulate flesh and bone after encountering The Boneturner's Tale.

  • A Lighter Shade of Black: While not as heroic as Gerard, he still qualifies by virtue of being one of the very few things associated with one of the Powers that doesn't want the world to end. He likes the world fine as it is, thank you.
  • Body Horror: Where to start? He can control his own flesh to the point where he can make his ribs come together like a vice when someone punches him, can attach extra limbs to himself, can remove bone while leaving the skin intact, and can generally cause you supernaturally grievous bodily harm without actually killing his victims. When the Flesh attacks the Institute in between Seasons 3 and 4, Melanie stabs him in three hearts and he doesn't die. By the time John actually meets him in Episode 131, he doesn't even look human anymore.
  • Delinquent: Was supposedly an alright person as a kid, but grew into 'a bit of a crook' after he finished secondary school.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: After the Flesh attacks the Institute between seasons 3 and 4, the Spiral intervenes and locks him in one of its corridors.

    Robert Smirke 
A 19th century architect whose works and theories somehow moderate or even nullify some of the effects of the Powers.

    Trevor Herbert 
Portrayed By: Ian Hayles

An elderly vampire hunter. He's spent most of his life homeless and on heroin, but that doesn't keep him down.

  • Blood Knight: Trevor lives for the Hunt. He doesn't much care what he's hunting, so long as it's a challenge.
  • Family of Choice: With Julia Montauk.
  • Jumped at the Call: Killed a vampire as a young teenager and never looked back.
  • Oop North: A homeless junkie, murderer, and lifelong Mancunian.
  • The Nose Knows: Trevor can sniff out other servants of the supernatural.
  • Throwing Off the Disability: Age, heroine addiction, and lung cancer all seem to have been alleviated by Trevor's devotion to the Hunt.

    Antonio Blake/Oliver Banks 
Portrayed By: Russel Smith.

A man with prophetic dreams of people's death. He occasionally tries to warn victims of the supernatural. An Avatar of The End

  • Dreaming of Things to Come: A dark variation. In his dreams, his spirit wanders London, where he can see the tendrils that indicate how someone will die. A man who will die of heart attack may have tendrils snaking up his leg into his chest, while a car crash victim might have them piercing their face, arms, and legs. His powers eventually manifest while he's awake
  • The Cameo: In 32: HIVE and 42: Grifters Bone
  • Heroic BSoD: He attempted to run away from his gift at one point by taking a boat trip to one of the most isolated places on earth. His patron instead had him direct the boat to its doom
  • Shadow Archetype: To Jon, as highlighted by their interaction in 121. Oliver was like Jon, trying to use his gift from the Powers for good. However, Sanity Slippage caused by his powers eventually resulted in him giving in, killing a group of innocent people and completing his transformation into a monster... a choice Jon will soon have to make as well.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: His experience. Once he can see the tendrils, death is not following far behind

The Powers

The Powers are a rough grouping of unimaginably powerful entities that exist “beside” our reality. The Powers manifest themselves in our reality as monstrous phenomena and entities. They and their human (or formerly-human) followers are responsible for all of the case files the Magnus Institute collects - as well as for the Magnus Institute itself.

    As a group: 
  • A Form That Terrifies You: They exist outside our universe as abstract concepts. In our reality, they manifest as a variety of horrifying creatures. Although they may also manifest as actual personalities; Antonio Blake explicitly refers to the End and the Web as 'him' and 'her' respectively.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Season 4 introduces the possibility that the Powers can manifest not just as various monsters and weird phenomena but also as something approaching actual identities. The End is apparently male, and the Web female.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Powers tend to manifest certain objects with unusual characteristics.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: “You feed them, and they feed you.” The longer one serves the Powers (becoming stronger in the process), the more alienated from humanity one becomes.
  • Blue and Orange Morality
  • Devil, but No God: The closest thing the setting has to a benign faction is the Beholding, and that’s only insofar as their body count primarily comes from depraved indifference, rather than outright malice.
  • Eldritch Abomination
  • Enemy Civil War: Not that the Powers represent a united faction per se, but there seems to be some pretty strong hostility between the followers of various factions. The Hive, the Earth, the Stranger have all attempted to invade the Institute at various points. Meanwhile, the Spiral hates the Hive, and the mention that the fractals on the table locking down some of one of the Not-Them's power look more like spiderwebs suggest the spiders don't like the Stranger.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Spend enough time as the focus of one of the Powers, and your appearance will become increasingly inhuman.
  • God of Evil: What else do you call beings of immeasurable scale and power that feed on and embody the primal fears of humanity?
  • Greater-Scope Villain: In Seasons 1 and 2, the primary antagonists are Jane Prentiss and Not!Sasha. The Reveal in the Season 2 finale shows that even these entities are mere servants of the powers, who want to reshape reality itself.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Most of the Powers have a Ritual, which is capable of restructuring human reality to make it more amenable to them.
  • I Have Many Names: The Powers each have several different ways people refer to them—the Distortion is also the Spiral, the Hive is also the Filth, the Stranger is also I Do Not Know You, etc.
  • In the Blood: Collaboration with various Powers seems to run in certain families. This includes the Carlisles and the Hans (the Flesh), and the Lukases (the Lonely).
  • Mysterious Backer: Sometimes Powers will save random humans from each other, like in Recluse, when Agnes saves the statement-giver from the Web. In the best-case scenario, this is for the simple satisfaction of putting one over on an enemy, meaning the person in question will probably get left alone afterwards. In the worst-case scenario, like poor Father Edwin, the Power does care, because it wants to use the human for something.
  • Personality Powers: Most of the main servants of the Powers are chosen because their personalities suit their patrons. Avatars of The Filth want (to be infested with) a family, avatars of The Hunt love the chase, avatars of The Beholding crave knowledge, etc.
  • The Power of Love: Has been shown repeatedly to be somewhat of a weakness of the Powers. If someone has an emotional anchor they can hold on to— such as the voice of Evan Lukas in Episode 12, Andrea Nunis's mother in Episode 48 and the sheath to a beloved Kukri in Episode 129— they can escape alive, if not unharmed.
  • Primal Fear: Each of the powers is an embodiment of a primal fear, e.g. fear of the unknown, fear of the dark, fear of being hunted, etc...
  • Religion of Evil: A few of the Powers, such as the Desolation and the Lonely, have an organized faction of worshipers.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Of various human fears.
  • Was Once a Man: The eventual fate of those who follow a given Power long enough. Some may appear quite human, but the resemblance is only superficial.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Followers of various Powers seem to be at odds with one another as often as not. The fact certain powers appear to draw their power from opposing fears doubtless has something to do about it.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Those who serve as avatars of the powers generally have a tenuous grip on reality as we understand it. (Of course, that's assuming they still have minds as we understand them; "Michael" seems to consider itself more of an appendage than a person, but it's further gone than most others.)
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: As they exist outside of human reality, it’s not even clear if they have a true “form.”

    The Stranger 

AKA, I-do-not-know-you

Plays on the fear of the unknown, the unseen, and the uncanny. Its Ritual is known as "The Unknowing".

  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Joseph "Joey" Grimaldi, a famous clown during the early 1800s, is a servant of the Stranger, being remade into the form of Nikola Orsinov.
  • Circus of Fear: The Soviet Tsirk Drugoy, or "Other Circus", was a circus of Stranger agents.
  • Creepy Doll: As part of their "things that look like people but are not people" theme.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Everyone the Not-Them takes is stated to be killed.
  • Doppelgänger
  • Easy Impersonation: When the Stranger replaces someone, it doesn’t even bother creating a similar replica. However, because of its Reality Warper abilities, it simply writes the original out of existence, overwriting photographs, videos, and even memories with this new version.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Manifestations are superficially polite and cheery and sadistically violent (especially Nikola, who seems to delight in pretending to have a civil conversation while explaining how she's going to skin someone).
  • Gender-Blender Name: Nikola Orsinov is a woman (inasmuch as a mannequin created to enact an apocalypse can have a human gender, anyway). She has the male ending because it's originally her father's name; she took it after she murdered him.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Some of the Stranger's servants murdered Tim Stoker's brother Danny; years later, Tim gets his revenge by blowing up the ritual of the Unknowing.
  • Human Resources: When they don't straight-up replace someone with a Not-Them, they use their body parts for disguises. (Nikola, being an actual mannequin, has borrowed a voice box from some unlucky soul — likely Lana from Episode 83 — so she can talk.)
  • Kill and Replace: The Not-Them's MO. The twist is that the form it takes actually looks nothing like the original person, but it alters records of them to match its new appearance. It can't manipulate audio recorded on magnetic tape, however.
  • Murderous Mannequin: Frequent, playing into the 'uncanny valley' aspect. Its head avatar, Nikola Orsinov, is one.
  • Monster Clown: As mentioned, the Stranger at one point operated through a circus, so of course there were some scary clowns.
  • Repulsive Ringmistress: Nikola may not be a literal ringmistress, but she's in charge of the Other Circus and she dresses like one.
  • Uncanny Valley: In-universe, this is their thing. In addition to their control over mannequins and taxidermy, the Not-Them practically ooze it; even if you don't know someone is one, there is always something off about them. Before Jonathan realizes that Sasha has been replaced, he muses that all the pictures of "her" with her boyfriend look like stock photos for some reason he can't pin down.

    The Spiral 

AKA, Es Mentiaras, The Distortion, It-is-not-what-it-is

Plays on madness and doubting one’s own sense of reality. Its Ritual is known as "The Great Twisting".

  • Alien Geometries: A common element of Spiral episodes is warping geometry.
  • Eldritch Location: While almost all places associated with the powers have some level of bizarreness, the Spiral really plays it up.
  • Endless Corridor: In "The New Door", the statement-giver ended up in one of these. And has to go ''back''.
  • Sinister Geometry: If there's a pattern associated with the Spiral somewhere, it will either drive a character mad or actively try to kill them.

    The Corruption 

AKA, The Hive, the Filth

Plays on the visceral fear of insects, vermin, infection, and decay.

  • Alien Kudzu
  • Arc Villain: Of Season 1.
  • Festering Fungus
  • Flies Equals Evil
  • Hufflepuff House: The least-known about of all of the powers. The name of its Ritual isn't known, none of its avatars have spoken on recording outside of Jane Prentiss rattling out an "Archivist" in Episode 39, and it has been generally Out of Focus since Season 1.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: Curiously, a strong motivation for many of those who fall under its sway. Much like followers of Nurgle, they associate the creatures and diseases that reside within them as showing them the affection they often lacked in their everyday lives.
  • The Plague: One of its manifestations in the form of a Deadly Book modeled after Journal of a Plague Year. Its exact effects are unknown, but involve the infection of buildings.
  • Pest Controller
  • The Swarm
  • The Worm That Walks: Jane Prentiss, one of its avatars, takes this form after she was exposed to a "wasp's nest".

    The Slaughter 

Plays on the fear of war, violence, and slaughter. Its Ritual is known as "The Risen War".

  • The Berserker: One statement-giver describes a recently-touched fellow soldier as being the most ferocious and savage soldier he had ever seen in the entire war. He clarifies that it is not a compliment.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The early twentieth-century poet Wilfred Owen was touched or claimed by the Slaughter. Apparently, his best poetry came about after he "saw" the Slaughter while charging the Hindenburg Line.
  • Magic Music: Quite a lot of the encounters with it involve some kind of musical motif— from its manifestation as the Piper to the fact that its Ritual, The Risen War, is played to the tune of several drums and things that sound like trumpets.
  • War Is Hell

    The Hunt 

Plays on the fear of being hunted. Like The Flesh, this is a fear that is stronger within animals than in humans. Its Ritual is known as "The Everchase".

  • It's the Journey That Counts: The hunt doesn't have to be the literal hunting of living creatures— Episode 133 reveals that people obsessed with reaching an undiscovered location like the Northwest Passage, or a non-existent location (such as the Lost City of Z and Sannikov Land) can be drawn into its influence, as their hunt is never-ending, and Victory Is Boring to the Hunt.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Naturally. The Hunt's disciples often seem to target other hunters, as seen with the werewolf going after the game hunters, the true-crime group hunting each other, and the monster hunters tracking down servants of other powers (or their own).
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Played with. Members of a true-crime reading group end up doing this, but they only hunt one another.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Seem to have some association with vampires (here, silent telepaths more akin to solitary predators than humans), as well as with the people who hunt them.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: One unfortunate hunter finds himself encountering one in the United States, albeit he looks like a normal human. A very sharp, drooling human capable of tracking and running through a forest with ease and surviving two rifles' worth of gunshot wounds.
  • Victory Is Boring: For the Hunt and its disciples, the chase is all that matters and once their quarry is caught, they quickly move on to another. This is even present in the Hunt's Ritual, the Everchase: as the name implies, the ritual never ends and simply sends disciples on an eternal chase for something they will never find, with the occasional prey thrown their way to keep them going.

    The Desolation 

AKA, The Lightless Flame

The fear of destruction and pain. Its ritual is known as "The Scoured Earth".

  • Always Chaotic Evil: It comes with the territory, but the followers of the Lightless Flame relish Cold-Blooded Torture and cruelty for its own sake. Inverted with Agnes Montague their messiah, who at least shows hints of compassion, which lead directly to her suicide.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: Its worshipers have created the Cult of the Lightless Flame, embracing all of the bad associations of fire (destruction, burning), while rejecting its positive associations.
  • For the Evulz: Why they do things.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Its most devoted servants immolate themselves and become...something else. The something is wax, which is why they don't age or need to eat.
  • Jerkass: See the entry for Sadist, below. Every encountered member has been cruel, malicious, and needlessly dickish.
  • Sadist: The Cult of the Lightless Flame worships meaningless destruction and cruelty as an end in and of itself. It especially loves to destroy things people love; one of the cultists, Jude, says she chose her first murder victim specifically because his life was looking up and he had lots of people who would miss him.
  • Token Good Teammate: Agnes Montague, arguably. She saves the life of a statement giver in Episode 59, and seems to genuinely care for Jack Barnabas in Episode 67.

    The Lonely 

AKA, Forsaken, The One Alone

Plays on the fear of isolation.

  • Achilles' Heel: The Power of Love, and being reminded that You Are Not Alone. Three statements that deal with The Lonely (Episode 013, Episode 48 and Episode 150) have those involved escape through some reminder of love— episode 13 has the voice of Naomi Herne's seemingly-dead fiance, Episode 48 has the face of Andrea Nunis's mother, and Episode 150 has Herman Gorgoli coming to the realization that he still loves his partner.
  • Always Night
  • Creepy Family: The Lukas family appear to have long-lasting connections with the Lonely, dating back at least as far as the lifetime of Jonah Magnus himself.
  • Deadly Road Trip: One of the sub-themes of The Lonely seems to center around travel— many statements involve people getting lost in foreign countries or cities they're unfamiliar with.
  • Space Isolation Horror: Have subjected multiple people to this, for unknown reasons.
  • Token Good Teammate: Evan Lukas, introduced in Episode 13, was implied to not want anything to do with his family's business of vanishing innocent people. Episode 111 implies that he was killed by the Lukases specifically for this reason. It doesn't stop him from saving his former fiance, however.

    The Flesh 

Plays on the fear of the visceral and being consumed. Unique in that its primary source is animals (it gained strength after humans discovered industrial farming). Its Ritual is known as "The Last Feast".

  • Evil Is Visceral: A statement outright compares the Flesh to the Demiurge from Gnosticism Appropriately enough, the Last Feast is held beneath a Gnostic temple.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Cannibalism is a frequent element in Flesh events. As they say, “MEAT IS MEAT.”
  • Sickening Slaughterhouse: Due to gaining power from the fear of industrial farming created by animals, it has some degree of control over these, as seen in Episode 30.

    The Buried 

AKA, Choke, Too-close-I-cannot-breathe

Plays on claustrophobia and the fear of suffocation. Its Ritual is known as "The Sunken Sky".

  • Achilles' Heel: Its ritual, Sunken Sky, is foiled by Gertrude introducing a body touched by the Vast into it.
  • Buried Alive: The fate of several people who encounter it. It's not always literal, however - Episode 129 shows that drowning is under its influence, as are metaphorical forms of burial, such as being buried in debt.
  • Madness Mantra: The man from "Dig" becomes somewhat obsessed with the word.
  • The Walls Are Closing In: Its manifestation as the book The Seven Lamps of Architecture causes people to be entombed within walls when read, unless it's read within a building designed by Robert Smirke.

    The Web 

AKA, The Spider, Mother of Puppets

Plays on arachnophobia, as well as the general theme of entrapment, stasis and being manipulated by an outside force. On relatively good terms with the Beholding. Has also been shown to keep an interest in Jon. It apparently either does not have a Ritual, or at least has no interest in performing one.

  • All Webbed Up
  • Giant Spider: Appears in "Creature Feature", where it eats the entire cast of a film, as well as the director. Bodies of the cast are found washed up on a shore near Los Angeles every February, completely desiccated.
  • Horrible Hollywood: Seems to have at least some pull over the film industry— two Famed In-Story figures associated with Hollywood (a director and a stop motion artist) either served the Web or fell under its influence.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In seasons 3 and 4, it becomes increasingly clear that Jon’s ascension as The Archivist has been orchestrated and abetted by The Web.
  • More Than Mind Control: It has the power to co-opt people's will—not so much making them do things as making them decide to do things. It takes a strong will or a mark from another Power to snap out of it.
  • Paranoia Gambit: One of the Web's favorite shticks is to let everyone else tie themselves in knots thinking about whether this or that action plays into the latest game of Xanatos Speed Chess, until they freak out and do nothing at all.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Peter Lukas points out that, like the End, its followers have never attempted a ritual of any kind. Unlike the End, who claims everything eventually, Lukas speculates that The Web likes the world the way it is, as people can be manipulated very easily.
  • The Worm That Walks: Humans sufficiently corrupted become filled with tiny spiders, as Trevor the erstwhile vampire hunter discovers.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Of course, this probably applies to all the Powers, but it has targeted children in the statements we hear more than most.
    • In "Recluse", it turns out the foster home is run by one of its agents, and kids who "age out" are actually used as hosts for spider eggs.
    • In "A Guest For Mr. Spider", the titular children's book not only contains a fly feeding his unfortunate child to Mr. Spider but enchants children to summon the Spider and give themselves to it.

    The Vast 

AKA The Falling Titan

Plays on agoraphobia, vertigo, and the fears of the weather, emptiness and the incomprehensible scale of the universe. If they have an "official" ritual, it is unknown. Simon Fairchild once attempted to enact one called "The Awful Deep".

  • Eldritch Ocean Abyss: The Awful Deep was an attempt by Fairchild to harness humanity's fear of the ocean during the Victorian era. It didn't take, because as it turned out, people cared less about it than Simon had hoped.
  • For the Evulz: While the servants of the Lightless Flame derive power from wanton destruction and the Lukases derive it from isolating people, the Fairchilds seem to just give people to the Vast just because they can. When Simon Fairchild finally appears, he actually says he may throw Martin off of a roller coaster for a laugh, and only decides against it when Martin says he isn't afraid of them.
  • Humans Are Insects: Even moreso than the other Powers. Say what you will about Desolation or Meat, at least they operate on a human scale. The few glimpses we've gotten of the Vast indicate that humans and their Insignificant Little Blue Planet don't even register as a noteworthy speck.
  • In the Blood: Subverted. The Fairchilds — the family most closely associated with the Vast — are not blood relations. Later played with, in that there is only Simon Fairchild, and he has not always been Simon Fairchild.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet
  • Meaningful Name: The Fairchilds may derive their name from Fairchild Aircraft Ltd.
  • Puny Earthlings
  • Straw Nihilist: People who follow the Vast have become content with the fact that they don't matter in the face of their Power— and in their eyes, neither does anyone else, so it's perfectly okay to strand them in vast, empty spaces for the rest of their puny existences.
  • Weather Manipulation: Has at least some control over storms and lightning.

    The End 

AKA, Terminus

Plays on the fear of Death. It apparently either does not have a Ritual, or at least has no interest in performing one.

  • Chess with Death: Or backgammon or roulette or trivia. It's mentioned Chess is generally a bad idea, as the game has zero luck in it and Death will win every time.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: One of its Deadly Books details a series of gruesome deaths throughout the centuries, including the death of whoever the reader is. The more frequently this book is read, the closer and more gruesome the death becomes.
  • Foreseeing My Death: Not his death, but Antonio Blake can see those around him who are fated to die soon.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The End has ways to keep certain people around, but they're not exactly alive anymore. Become a Grim Reaper, and you won't be able to eat, or sleep, but you also won't be able to stop. Get stuck in the skin book and you're in for a world of constant pain and being summoned whenever someone wants information you have.
  • The Grim Reaper
  • Necromancy: One of the Deadly Books associated with it, simply referred to as "The Skin Book", is made of human skin and can have the souls of the dead bound to it.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Peter Lukas theorizes that the End will never attempt a ritual because the End has no reason to. It's already getting everything it wants—only beings already specifically committed to another Power are immortal, so it has a nice fat piece of the pie—and as the fear of death, if it took over the world it might actually run out of people to be afraid of it.
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The End has more association with dreams than the other Powers— Antonio Blake is able to see omens of death in his dreams, and Justin Gough from Episode 113 seemingly loses his ability to kill people through carbon monoxide poisoning after Dekkar removes his ability to dream via lobotomy.

    The Dark 

AKA, Mr. Pitch, The People's Church of the Divine Host

Plays on the fear of the dark. Its Ritual is known as "The Extinguished Sun".

  • Darkness = Death
  • Grand Theft Me/Back from the Dead: Maxwell Raynor has existed for several centuries, and death doesn't seem to keep him down for long. However, he does appear to switch bodies at several points.
  • Light Is Not Good: Servants of the Dark, such as Manuela Dominguez, regard light as destructive and corrupt, and darkness as the true beneficial state.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Their ritual, The Extinguished Sun, would create a world of total darkness where light isn't even a concept.
  • Prophet Eyes: Several people influenced by the Dark gain milky-white eyes.
  • Serial Killer: The first we see of The Dark is through its servant Robert Montauk, who is one of the most prolific serial killers in the United Kingdom.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Apparently had a good relationship with The Beholding at one point. Now, they seem to be closer to Arch Enemies.

    The Beholding 
AKA, The Eye, the Ceaseless Watcher

Plays on the fear of being watched. The Beholding is the true patron of The Magnus Institute, empowering some of its employees to record and observe the supernatural in an unusually focused manner. Its Ritual is known as "The Watcher's Crown".

  • Achilles' Heel: Servants of the Beholding have immense difficulty viewing the activities of those who serve The Dark.
  • Lack of Empathy: Jonah Magnus, founder of the Institute, received a letter from an old friend, pleading for help against malign supernatural forces that were closing in around him. Elias notes that Jonah could easily have saved him, but chose not to, simply out of curiosity for what would happen.
  • Mind Rape: There's a sliding scale of how badly the Beholding and its servants do this to statement-givers. People who give statements of their own free will (particularly if the statements are written to be recorded later, instead of taken direct from subject) are generally fine, trauma from the original event aside. But if the Archivist forces you to give a statement, you are fully aware you're being forced and can do nothing but calmly tell every last horrible detail. Worse, being Beheld in this way seems to mean you can never move past whatever horrible thing your statement was about, even if you were getting better before. Oh, and that the Archivist can watch you whenever you think about it.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Inverted in the most horrifying way possible. Sometimes not knowing what happened is the better option—and the Beholding isn't going to let you take it.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The Eye’s schtick, and a primary ability of its followers. Elias has the ability to remotely view multiple people at once, and also to view past events. Jon can see into the dreams of those who give him statements. And, now that he's started hunting, he can watch his victims while they're awake too.
  • Telepathy: Elias is able to look into people's minds, and can forcibly confer knowledge on people. Jon can also read minds and tear statements directly out of other people’s brains.
  • Villains Act, Other Villains React: Seemingly least proactive of all the Powers, in keeping with its inclination to simply observe. However it may just be playing the Long Game. The Archivists have used their intel advantage to disrupt rituals that would have brought the other powers to ascendance, leaving the way clear for The Beholding's own ritual, The Watcher's Crown.

     The Extinction 

A new emerging Power. Plays on the fear of catastrophic change and one's world or one's self being replaced with something terrible. So far, statements involving it have touched on nuclear warfare, transhumanism, and The End of the World as We Know It.

...Except maybe not; in Episode 157, Adelard Dekker, the one who has most believed in the emergence of the Extinction, concluded that the fear may not yet be prevalent enough to manifest. Instead, he speculated that maybe such a fear currently only runs through the other fears in an undeveloped state, or that maybe the proper formation of such a fear takes longer and is more complicated than previously believed.

  • Abandoned Area: Some statements suggest that it tends to manifest in run-down, man-made locations. In "Decrypted" (Episode 144), it appears near a vacant lot with a rusty old pylon in the middle of a practically deserted rural wasteland. In "Reflection" (Episode 156), it appears in an old, abandoned amusement park.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Martin notes that a lot of statements involving it could be the work of other powers— the artificial structures in the Amazon might be under the Stranger's influence due to the uncanny human figures, the Amusement Park in Reflections may be the work of The Flesh, Terminus might be responsible for Sergei, and even the Spiral could, at a stretch, be responsible for creating the image of Paris post-Extinction. Episode 157 strongly indicated that the other Powers were at work during those manifestations, and that maybe the fear of an apocalypse is something that the Powers share on an existential level.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Emphasis on "as we know it": unlike the End, a key part of Extinction is that the world we have is replaced with something far worse.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: It's implied that one of the major drivers of Extinction's emergence is climate change and environmental degradation: much like factory farming spawned the Flesh, mass extinction of animal species has helped spawn Extinction.
  • Implacable Man: If you have the misfortune to be sucked into one of the Extinction's...pocket universes? manifestations?...getting back to the normal world is only a temporary reprieve. What exactly it does is not clear yet, but Dekker says that both the people he's taken Extinction statements from were living on borrowed time, and the second one explicitly says he's being followed.
  • Transhuman: One statement involves a (possible) transhuman experiment Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • Walking Spoiler: The very existence of a 15th Power is a spoiler in an of itself.
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