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Ghost Amnesia

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"Go argue with a ghost. All they've got — all they are — are their memories, and they get them screwed up all the time."
Andy Mac, We Never Talk About My Brother, "Spook"

The tendency for ghosts or otherwise deceased characters, sometimes other types of The Undead, to forget the details of their former lives. Common things forgotten are: their cause of death, everything but their cause of death, or everything about their former life entirely. It's often a major problem when attempting to accomplish Ghostly Goals. At times, it may be a self-imposed Weirdness Censor / Laser-Guided Amnesia to avoid realizing they died in the first place. If a ghost has stayed on Earth for long enough then it might start to lose its memories as it begins to fade away/move on. May occur as a result of Afterlife Angst.

Compare with Death Amnesia (where a character comes Back from the Dead but can't remember their afterlife), Identity Amnesia (where a character forgets their entire life whilst still being alive), and Dead All Along (where the dead character forgets that they're dead). Not to be confused with Ghost Memory, where a character gains memories that are not truly theirs.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Angel Beats! uses this as a central plot point, since none of the already dead protagonists properly remembers how did they die or what their ghostly goals are... and only can go to the Afterlife when they remember their former lives and work towards passing on in peace.
  • Inhabitants of Soul Society in Bleach are sometimes portrayed as forgetting everything about their lives, although this is in no way a consistent portrayal.
    • It may not be that they immediately forget everything about their past lives. People age extremely slow in Soul Society. It could be that they've been in Soul Society so long (and age so slowly) that they just eventually forget. When Shibata Yūichi's soul was trapped inside of the parakeet, freed and passes on to Soul Society, he remembered Chad when he visited. It kind of implies that memories are maintained as he also tells Chad that he can't locate his mother. At least for a little while. Give him enough time, and he'll move on and blend in just like everyone else.
    • Hollows, as a general rule, don't seem to remember much about their lives after killing their families; prior to that, they cling to the darker emotions that drove them to transform.
      • Weaker Hollows may not remember back more than a few months, regardless of when they died.
      • It's also possible to die as a young child or even a baby (like Rukia), and come to Soul Society like that, then grow up a spirit. In that case they won't remember their living life because they barely had one to remember in the first place. For that matter it's also possible to be BORN a spirit in Soul Society in which case they'd never have had a living life at all.
  • Bokura no Kiseki has the Reincarnation version of this. Nearly all the characters in the series are reincarnated from a set of characters in the distant past. However, all of the reincarnated characters note they have extremely vague memories of how the war they died in started, and many of them can't seem to remember how it was they died. Especially prominent in the priests, who should have been evacuating the area, and thus would've been nowhere near the castle when it fell. (Even Gerald/Midou, who snuck out to the castle anyways, shouldn't have gotten there in time.) The protagonist Harusumi assumes that he's remembered all of his past life Veronica's memories over the years, but with Teshimano's revelation that he remembers seeing Veronica fighting with Lucas, Harusumi realizes that Veronica must have lived beyond the memory that he had always assumed detailed her final moments.
  • In the first Cardcaptor Sakura OVA, Clow Reed's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend (and former student) Mahoudoushi doesn't even realize that she's dead, or that Clow Reed is. This causes a lot of problems for Sakura.
  • The unnamed protagonist of Death Parade cannot remember her past or how she died. That's normal in Quindecim however people do get their memories back eventually; she is abnormal in that it doesn't come back within a few hours. It isn't until the end that she remembers her past: She was an up-and-coming professional ice skater named "Chiyuki" however she injured her knee. Being unable to skate anymore, she fell into a depression and ended up Driven to Suicide.
  • The manga Dusk Maiden of Amnesia has this as its central premise. A freshman sees a ghost girl named Yuuko and they seek out the reasoning and perpetrator behind her death in the old building of the school.
  • All of the shinigami in Full Moon forget about their past lives. Curiously, it seems that ghosts do not. For example, Eichi Sakurai.
  • The Haibane of Haibane Renmei can only remember generic skills, habits, and culture. Any memory specific to their previous lives is forgotten. This includes locations, friends, family, and their own name. For example, Rakka is riding a bike, and remembers that she usually sings songs while riding, but doesn't know any songs to sing.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable: In the final arc, Yoshikage Kira could not remember how he died at first, and initially believed he succeeded in activating Bites the Dust and turning back time. It's not until he is confronted by Reimi that he remembers.
    • In the spin-off Dead Man Question, after Kira escaped from the hands of the Ghost Alley, he can remember his name and his desire for a quiet life, but nothing else.
  • The titular character of My Lovely Ghost Kana has been dead for years by the start of the manga, and after spending all that time alone, trapped in the abandoned apartment building where she died, she's forgotten most details of her life. She isn't even sure how her name was spelled. She does have a pretty vivid recollection of how she took her own life, but she can't remember why she did it. The upshot of this is it allowed her to develop into a cheerful, energetic girl eager for company, quite the opposite of what you'd expect from the ghost of someone who gruesomely killed herself.
  • Sayo Aisaka from Negima! Magister Negi Magi. In both the original and Negima!?, she says she's forgotten just because it's been quite a long time. She doesn't really want to remember either since she bets it would be pretty depressing. The first anime does have A Day in the Limelight episode for Sayo that gave an explanation for her death: She died in World War II during a bombing run when she went outside in a storm to pick flowers for her sister.
  • In Recently, My Sister Is Unusual, the ghost Hiyori Kotobuki cannot remember anything about her life except she was athletic and she was in love with Yuya Kanzaki. She had wanted to confess to him, but got run over by a truck while walking to his house. In fact, Hiyori Kotobuki is not even her name. She couldn't remember it, so she took the names of two characters from a children's storybook in Mitsuki Kanzaki's room.
  • Some of the ghosts in RIN-NE have amnesia, and the shinigami sometimes need to figure out what they've forgotten before bringing them to the wheel of reincarnation.
  • There's a Ghost Behind That Gal is about a pair of high school girls who befriend a lonely Friendly Ghost who can't remember her life or real name, so she answers to the nickname one of them gave her, "Reiko".
  • Jibanyan from Yo-Kai Watch doesn't clearly remember his death. He has facts mixed up. He had forgotten the fact that he committed a Heroic Sacrifice for his owner. He misheard her mourning and thought she said she hated him, when in fact they were best friends and she was crying for him.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, The pharaoh can't remember anything but gaming; he only even knows he's a pharaoh because other people told him. This seems to have been a semi-explicit part of his Heroic Sacrifice, though. Maybe.
  • In Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs, Yuuna Yunohana doesn't remember anything about her life, so she has no idea what Unfinished Business she needs to do to move on to the afterlife. She doesn't even know her real name; "Yuuna Yunohana" was a name given to her by Chitose.
  • Zombie Land Saga:
    • Protagonist Sakura starts as the only (verbal) member of Franchouchou who can't remember anything from before her death, implicitly from a head injury sustained when she got hit by a speeding truck and died. Recovering her memories is her motivation for most of the first season. Played with a bit when she gets hit by a speeding truck again, and she spends most of the season's final arc in a deep depression because she regained her memories of her Dark and Troubled Past but forgot being a successful idol who formed strong friendships with the other zombies.
    • Tae, meanwhile... isn't all there, for whatever reason. If she remembers anything of her life, she doesn't give any indication.

    Comic Books 
  • In Ghost (Dark Horse Comics), Elisa returns from the dead to avenge her death. However, she cannot remember how she died or who killed her.
  • In PS238, Satori says that a lot of ghosts have problems like this. There's a Native American ghost who haunts the school's lawn—in his case, he was actually cursed for his Pride, stuck in that spot until he saves a life and unable to remember anything that he was arrogant about in life (which was apparently everything, including his name). The experience does seem to have humbled him, at least.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardiansalthough he became a spirit of winter after his death, not a ghost. He eventually does get his memories back, which gives him his Heroic Second Wind needed to beat the bad guy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The ghosts in the film version of Casper have amnesia, though Casper himself eventually gets his own memories back, thanks to Kat.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: The novelization reveals that once Mechagodzilla's consciousness is fully formed by Ghidorah's consciousness hijacking the Mecha and devouring Ren's mind, the Mecha's newborn consciousness "did not know who it was or what it was, but it was full of rage and the black joy of finally being."
  • Just Like Heaven sees this for Elizabeth, who initially assumes that she's still fully alive before David makes her confront her lack of activity outside of her interactions with him (although she was just in a comatose state rather than being an actual ghost).
  • In A Pure Formality, the interrogated hero can't remember what he did the evening before, because that's when he committed suicide.
  • An important plot point from The Sixth Sense is that there's ghosts who don't even know they're dead and the protagonist turns out to be one of them.

  • Anna from Anna Dressed in Blood can't remember the details of her death. Cas Lowood helps her remember through a spell.
  • Alluded to in The Bible, in an unusual manner. "The former things shall not be remembered, they shall never come to mind." Unusual in that, after the Resurrection, everybody is alive, so it doesn't technically fit the parameters of this trope, but it's close enough.
  • By necessity, a ghost in The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness must have lost the third of their soul that defines their identity, so they cannot remember their names nor anything of their former lives.
  • Cirque du Freak's Harkat is a "Little Person", a solid ghost, who has absolutely no memory of his previous life. This is by design — he's been brought back as a servant for a malevolent godlike being, and he must complete his assigned task before getting his memories and identity back as a reward. It turns out he's actually been sent back in time to before he died, and in the series he not only meets himself but indirectly causes his own death (though Mr. Des Tiny says he would have died anyway). This trope is averted in the end when Darren himself is brought back as a Little Person. He needs his memory to complete his assigned task.
  • Discworld:
    • Only very Genre Savvy people notice their deaths — the majority get up and dust themselves off, wonder how anyone could have survived that, and have a nice chat with the tall skinny man in the cloak until realisation dawns.
    • Zombies often remember their pasts better than when they were alive, but in Soul Music, the skull Quoth the raven hangs out on in the wizard's place is pretty sure he used to be a philosopher or a teacher or someone fairly intelligent, but can't remember any of the actual details.
  • In Dante's The Divine Comedy, heretics in Hell "remember" the future, but not the past (except, apparently, their own sins, since they speak of those). This is part of the Ironic Hell punishment, since once time ends they will remember nothing at all.
  • In The Dresden Files, ghosts are psychic echoes left behind by the impression of a traumatic death. This means the ghost is the person's mind on replay, constantly trying to resolve old business.
  • In Neal Shustermann's book Everlost, the ghosts of children who didn't get "where they were going", called Afterlights, roam the earth until the end of time. They usually get a nickname and slowly forget their birth name and their lives.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: With a side of Laser-Guided Amnesia. Sid remembers what it's like to be human and has no problems functioning like one among those who know of his existence, but suffers Loss of Identity up until a chance encounter with someone he knew while alive causes him to recall just a little bit.
  • In A Fine and Private Place, the ghost Michael Morgan forgets how he died. Ghosts in general gradually forget their lives, and become less detailed and less definite in appearance as they forget what they looked like.
  • Ghost Cadet is a kid's novel about the ghost of a cadet from the American Civil War. He fell in battle, then hid his family pocket watch in his last moments so that Union soldiers wouldn't steal it from his corpse. He can't remember where, however, and his spirit can't leave the battlefield until he (or, in this case, the book's living protagonist) manages to find it.
  • Ghost Girl (2021): Abby mentions that some ghosts can get confused and forget their old life. When Deanna Jameson's ghost appears to Zee, she can't remember her name and isn't even aware that she's dead, instead just thinking that she's lost. She regains her memories when Zee helps her spirit pass on.
  • In The Graveyard Book, while the ghosts remember their pasts quite well, the ghouls have completely forgotten theirs.
  • In The Innkeeper's Song, Lukassa is brought back from the dead, but she can't remember anything from before or why this one guy (actually her lover) is so intent on finding her.
  • Downplayed in Jessica's Ghost. Jessica can't remember how she died at first, and whenever she tries to remember, she teleports back to the hospital where her body was taken. After she learns she committed suicide, her memories flood back.
  • Inverted in Johnny and the Dead, where the ghosts remember everything, which is why they're still so attached to Blackbury. They need to forget in order to let go.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen: Cartographer, a character introduced in the eighth book of the series, is an undead corpse and cannot remember anything from his mortal life.
  • In the Neil Gaiman short story "October In The Chair", the ghost of a little boy is named Dearly... because that's the only word still legible on his extremely faded gravestone. A living boy suggests that "Beloved" was the next word there. Dearly agrees, but doesn't seem too invested in it.
  • In Amy Tan's Saving Fish from Drowning, the narrator, Bibi Chen, remembers her whole life, but until the very end of the book, can't remember how she died.
  • In Septimus Heap, ghosts have vivid memories of their former lives. Though as the centuries stack up, they begin to grow more and more senile and forgetful of their past, as they become more and more translucent, to the point where they one day will vanish entirely.
  • In Snow-Walker's The Soul Thieves, ghosts that have not made either afterlife lose memory of their names and old clan affiliations.
    Ghost: We know no names. Names are for the living.
  • In Tamsin, the titular ghost appears to others as she remembers herself. Sometimes she remembers herself very well, right down to her crooked teeth; other times she has gaping holes in her body because she can barely remember anything. The driving force of the plot is finding out what the so-called Other One had to do with her death — which Tamsin herself has forgotten because she was so terrified of him.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Xhea states that it's not unusual for ghosts to forget details about their lives, though exactly how much varies from case to case.
  • In Warm Bodies the average zombies remember nothing of their past and can't express their humanity, and (judging from protagonist R) pass a lot of time silently trying to figure out what their former lives were from their clothes.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In both the British and American versions of Being Human, Annie/Sally has forgotten that her death wasn't just an accident; she was killed when she had a fight with her fiance and he pushed her down the stairs.
  • In the Dollhouse episode "Haunted," a paranoid woman named Margaret Bashford expects to die violently, so she has a backup of her mind made every month. Sure enough, she is murdered and her latest memories, made three weeks before her death, are uploaded into Echo, so that Margaret!Echo can attend her own funeral and figure out who killed her.
  • Ghost Writer (if he is in fact a ghost) knows only that he used to be human.
  • In Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes (2008) all the characters are dead and living in a kind of afterlife/purgatory and only the main protagonists Sam and Alex can remember their former lives as, confusingly, they are alive whilst in this purgatory (at first). The series finale has the Big Bad forcing the characters to watch their own deaths on TV, only then do they remember.
  • In Oh My Ghostess, Shin Soon Ae is a spirit who doesn't know why she can't move onto the afterlife, and assumes that, like the other ghosts around, it's because of a "grudge," meaning something she can't do in death that she wanted to in life, and reaches the conclusion that her "grudge" is that she never had sex with anyone, so she sets out trying to possess a woman and have sex with their boyfriend in the very limited window that the possession allows, since the woman's body always quickly boots her out. This leads her to sullen, reclusive, Unhappy Medium Na Bong-Sun, a chef who has a massive crush on her boss, Kang Sun Woo, and who just so happens to share the same psychic frequency that allows them to share a body long-term; and she promises to help her win Sun Woo over by possessing her body and exuding a more bubbly, playful personality. As time goes on, however, Soon Ae realizes that what's she's forgetting about her life that's preventing her from moving on is that she was murdered, and the killer was never caught.
  • Supernatural: Season 2 has Dean in a coma and his spirit haunting the hospital, searching for a way back into his body. He remembers being Dean, but the grim reaper who comes for his soul warns him that if he stays in the veil between life and death and doesn't move on, he'll go mad and forget who he is. When he does return to his body and awakens, he doesn't remember being a spirit at all.
  • In the Torchwood episode "Random Shoes", Eugene is Dead to Begin With and doesn't remember much about his life or anything about how he died, though his memories gradually come back throughout the episode as he sees things that remind him and helps solve the mystery of his own death, which turns out to be an accident.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Common in Greek Mythology and in Asian mythology. In fact, one of the main rivers of the underworld was the Lethe, whose water would explicitly cause amnesia. Drinking fresh blood (animal would do) would break the spell at least temporarily, as seen when Odysseus visited the underworld looking for advice from the by-then dead seer Teiresias in the Odyssey.

  • Unwell Podcast: Wes only begins remembering his past life in season three, and still struggles to remember everything.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons's Planescape setting, this happens to petitioners in the afterlife and is tied into Death Amnesia as well. Souls of the deceased always pass through the Astral Plane before going on to the afterlife, where their memories naturally strip away - a resurrected soul follows the path backward and picks up their memories all over again, displacing anything they experienced as a petitioner. This means that, if you know how, you can locate a dead person's "memory core" in the Astral and plunder their secrets.
  • Ghosts in the New World of Darkness are described as being shells left behind by the souls of the departed. As such, they tend to retain little sentience, mostly confined to sticking to people, places, or objects associated with their death or some unfulfilled goal, and repeatedly act out their death or try to resolve their goal. Mages are capable of temporarily restoring a ghost's living personality, and ghosts start "remembering" once they resolve all their ties and move on to the Underworld.
    • And then there are the geists. Their amnesia, however, is more a result of giving up some of their former humanity in exchange for power as an aspect of death.
  • The Old World of Darkness likewise addressed the issue in Orpheus. Weak ghosts are little more than spiritual echoes, reenacting their last actions, but unable to recall anything before or afterward. Giving them Vitality can temporarily give them a boost for info to help them move on. Unfortunately, their inability to act means they also make good targets for Spectres.
    • Before that, Wraith: The Oblivion likewise had Drones - ghosts bound tightly to their Fetters who are nonsentient and just keep performing the same actions over and over again until Oblivion claims them. Given that they don't appear to be sapient and letting them carry on will eventually contribute to Oblivion's power, they're considered prime material for soulforging, as they won't protest and you may actually be doing them a favor.

  • In Hadestown, a combination of the endless work in Hadestown and being in the Underworld causes shades to lose their memories and senses of selves until they're just another cog in Hades' machines.
  • In Jasper in Deadland, souls who enter Deadland begin to forget their past lives, or to be more accurate, the water from the river Lethe makes them forget.
  • Ride the Cyclone both downplays and plays the trope straight for its ghost characters. As the show opens, the teenage members of the St. Cassian High School chamber choir die in a horrific roller coaster accident. Five choir members arrive in limbo slightly confused as to where they are, but retaining their memories of their lives up until the fateful coaster ride. The sixth choir member, Jane Doe, was decapitated in the accident and arrives without a head. She's missing all the memories of who she was in life, including her name and her appearance. (The actress who plays Jane Doe carries a headless doll and is made up with porcelain-pale skin, a pale blonde wig, and blacked-out contact lenses, as if Jane Doe has taken the doll's head for her own.) The other teens can't remember who Jane Doe was in life, and the narrator of the show (a fortune telling robot with legitimate in-universe psychic powers) is stumped when it comes to Jane Doe's identity. Her signature song is a Melancholy Musical Number where she laments her sad status:
    Jane Doe: Oh no soul, and no name
    And no story, what a shame
    Cruel existence was only a sham?
    Oh St. Peter, let me in!
    You must know where I've been
    Won't you tell me at least who I am?

    Video Games 
  • The whole point of AMBER: Journeys Beyond. Ghosts wander in a strange limbo-world based around the moment of their death, echoes of which appear in the world as a haunting. They can't remember they died or even that the corpse they see is themselves. You have to take care of their Unfinished Business, help the ghosts remember the circumstances of their death, and remind them that they are indeed dead before sending them on their way.
  • "D" from the DS game Another Code (Trace Memory in the States). Recovering his memories is a subplot.
  • All of the ghosts in The Blackwell Series fall into this, as they can't find peace and move on to the afterlife before they are remember they are dead. The problem is that their death is often such a traumatic event, that most ghosts subconsciously avoid thinking about things that can remind them of the event, and some even actively attempt to suppress the memory, so they need a little push (and sometimes more than that) to regain the memory.
  • Misha in Chulip loses more of her memories every time you meet her.
  • Dark Souls:
    • In Dark Souls II, one side effect of the Undead Curse is gradual memory loss. It's implied that the player character remembers nothing at all, save their own name, and the fact that they remember that is a bit of a surprise to the Firekeepers who "welcome" you to Drangleic. Throughout the game, other Undead characters you meet will lose their memories as the game goes on, some more quickly than others.
    • One character in particular, Lucatiel, begs you to remember her name, because she's starting to forget it. Dark Souls III reveals that the Bearer of the Curse went above and beyond: one of the helmets is "Lucatiel's Mask", and its lore reveals that it was named such so that everyone would remember her name.
  • In The Dead Case, all ghosts seem to lose their memories. The library ghost gets his back after extensive research, while the church, hospital, and school ghosts regain theirs after being shown objects that remind them of important things. The protagonist is unable to regain his memories for most of the game until entering a serial killer's room reveals that the killer shot him to get him out of the way of murdering his fiance.
  • Used in Ghost Trick, where the dead take time to remember who they were, and what they even looked like. The plot is spurred by Sissel's search to find out who he is. Sissel himself can't even remember a lot of basic concepts such as "science" or "jail", or even how to read. There's a good reason for this— he never knew them to begin with. He's a cat. Ghost Trick uses some pretty interesting concepts to explain why Sissel has memory loss that's lasted more than everyone else, too. Apparently, if a ghost is somehow misled into thinking a body other than theirs is their own, they won't regain any memories. Conversely, once a ghost does identify their body, their memory starts coming back nearly immediately afterwards. Essentially, Sissel's memories stayed gone for so long because he was trying to remember the wrong person.
  • League of Legends drops this on at least some of its undead characters. Hecarim has apparently forgotten his mortal existence, and one of the spirits on the Twisted Treeline map tells him to "remember who he once was"; this is something of The Artifact, given that we've learned who Hecarim once was and he was an asshole even then. Kalista is losing her memory and identity, although part of it is that she's absorbing bits and pieces of souls. Pyke's memories are there, but they keep changing; whenever a new name pops up on his list, he "remembers" the new person being present at his death. Thresh, on the other hand, kept his identity just fine; the memory problems he has are more of a But for Me, It Was Tuesday nature. Physical or semi-physical undead like Sion, Yorick, Karthus, and Mordekaiser seem to keep their memories pretty well.
  • The wolf's spirit companion in Lost Ember was Barred from the Afterlife and over the years has forgotten who he was in life, resulting in him losing his form and becoming a red point of light. The plot is driven forward by helping him regain his memories.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor, the main character Talion is possessed by the wraith of a long dead elf lord that has no recollection of his past or even his own name. As the story progresses with Talion recovering the wraith's relics and artifacts he remembers his past bit by bit and his power increases each time. His identity is revealed to be none other than Celebrimbor, the One Ring's very creator. With that said, its strongly hinted that it might not be the case as the Bright Lord DLC implies that just before taking Talion's body he still remembered his old self while declaring that "all will fear me and rejoice" and he used him to re-acquire his old powers.
  • Pony Island: The protagonist has been in Limbo for so long, they know nothing about themselves. Only through encounters with Baphomet, can you hope to regain any memories at all.
  • Yu and Rei from Puyo Puyo do not remember anything about their past before they became ghosts... not that Yu minds, anyhow, since she actually likes being a ghost due to its perks. A trivia tidbit in Puyo Puyo!! 20th Anniversary suggests that Rei forgot something important because of how shocked he was at becoming a ghost.
  • Quest for Glory IV:
    • The Russalka was once a young woman who was murdered by being pushed into the lake, and can now remember little of her past life.
    • In the same game there is a ghost in the forest who does not remember dying, until you interact with her.
  • Säid the Mummy of The Secret World has almost completely forgotten the events of his life prior to his death and resurrection; he can recall the broad strokes of the period like the reign of Akhenaten and the Red Nights, and he can remember a few events — such as his involvement in the Cult of Osiris, dalliances with girls in Abydos, and serving as a prince at some point - but other than that, his life prior to undeath is a blank. He doesn't even remember his real name, having adopted the name "Säid" out of convenience. At present, it's not known if the other members of the Kingdom suffer from the same condition.

    Visual Novels 
  • Hatoful Boyfriend:
    • One example is Nageki, a ghost who has forgotten almost everything except for books. Initially he can't even remember the fact that he died. He does figure out that he's dead and regain some of his memories in his ending, but he still doesn't fully remember the circumstances of his death; he knows that he killed himself, but lacks most of the details and is thus unable to explain them to the player. His memories are extremely fuzzy to the point that believes that he committed suicide in the library, not in the underground medical center directly beneath it. To learn the rest, you have to play the full version of the game, because the route where he regains the rest of his memories (Bad Boys' Love) isn't in the demo.
    • In Holiday Star, we get to see a little of the bird afterlife. Gradually forgetting everything while wandering across the stars is a prerequisite to being reborn, and the memories the birds give up make the stars shine.
  • Inverted in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice, where it's stated that ghosts called back to the living world are unable to remember their afterlife. This becomes a plot point in the final case, where this trait is used to trick a ghost into thinking he didn't die, which the ghost's killer used to trick a witness into reporting that the victim was still alive hours after his death.

  • Betelgeuse in Cobweb and Stripes remarks to Lydia that he has no memory of who he was when he was alive, and at some point hopes to find out.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name features an undead Supporting Protagonist (or something) who has no memory of his previous life, including his own name. Hanna calls him whatever name he can think of at any given moment, trying to find one that will jog his memory; the author and fans generally call him "{...}" or "Zombie." He is trying to move on to create a new life for himself, though he admits to feeling guilty about whatever loved ones he has presumably left behind and can't remember.
  • Aradia "AA" Megido in Homestuck may be an example. She is mentioned to have "lost interest" in her various hobbies, and forgets what having emotions feels like.
    • While not actually losing her memories, Feferi seems to care less about whether what she's saying offends or not, whereas before her death she usually took care to be very polite and courteous and was willing to drop her quirk when requested, indicating a change between this and the last time she talked to someone. Why is she listed here? Because, stupid. She's D------EAD!
    • "Dream ghosts" that reside in the setting's pseudo-afterlife take a while to realize they're dead in the first place, as living characters visit it in their dreams. Jane and Jade memorably once assumed they were dead just because they were there, only to remember that they had been merely knocked unconscious.
    • Several other characters that are ghosts or have come back to life don't seem to have this going for them. Especially since Jaspersprite says that he loved his owner even back when she was a little girl and he was an alive cat.
  • Scarlet from I'm the Grim Reaper wakes up in hell with no memories. Strangely enough, no other sinners seem to have this problem. Satan claims that she did it to herself. It's eventually revealed that the source of her amnesia was the Scarlet Rot she contracted targeting her brain.
  • Lapse: Eli claims he remembers everything, but his demonstration is less than convincing. [1]
  • Ghostly child PJ in Paranatural doesn't remember his own name; his title comes from his pyjamas. When he's asked about it by Mr Spender, he panics:
    Max: What?
  • At first Dell from Pumpkin Flower can't remember his own name, let alone how he died, but the cause is hinted at frequently.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The dead Luteran pastor has forgotten her name, the exact circumstances of her death and the location of her church, the latter of which is problematic due to fiding it being a possible solution to solving one of the crew's most persistent problems.
  • Mahalah from Undead Friend has no memories of her life or what it even was like to be alive, making her a bit ignorant of what is appropriate human behavior. She is different from the other ghosts in the series who tend to only not be able to remember how they died.
  • The title character of Zom Com has no memory of her life before undeath. Zom herself isn't terribly broken up over it either.

    Web Original 
  • The Adventure Zone features an inversion: because the Voidfish's memory blockers only affect the Prime Material Plane, dead characters (including liches and spirits forced out of their bodies) are able to remember all of the memories they had been unable to access in life. The visions of the past that Magnus receives after having his soul knocked out of his body in Wonderland are some of the first clues that he and the rest of the main cast are actually interdimensional travelers from a parallel universe, who forgot a century and have been living fake lives during the twelve years since their arrival.

    Western Animation 
  • Ghosts in Adventure Time can apparently suffer from this trope, and need to remember how they died in order to reach the afterlife. The episode "Ghost Princess" involves Finn and Jake helping the title character, as well as another ghost named Clarence, discover their pasts. It turns out she was called Warrior Princess in life, and Clarence was her lover, though they fought on opposite sides in a war. Clarence killed her, then was so miserable he ate himself into an early grave.


Casper Doesn't Remember

Casper has no memories of his life.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GhostAmnesia

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