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Ghost Invasion

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A ghost invasion is when the spirits of those who have passed encroach upon the Earth en masse. Such a supernatural onslaught can be the Big Bad's plan, a side effect of said plan, or a regularly occurring event (often on or around Halloween).

Compare Alien Invasion, Hell on Earth, and Zombie Apocalypse for similar, otherworldly events and trespassers. Cavalry of the Dead is similar, but those dead are usually good guys, not neutral or evil. Not to be confused with Legion of Lost Souls, which is about the French Foreign Legion.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within: Earth is attacked and nearly destroyed by an alien race known as the Phantoms, who can turn invisible, intangible, and destroy human souls. However, Dr. Aki Ross discovers that the aliens are in fact genuine ghosts who died during a civil war on their planet. When a piece of their homeworld crashed into Earth, their confused and tormented spirits wreaked havoc on the unsuspecting humans.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): After Lucifer evicts the residents of Hell and surrenders the key to Morpheus, the ghosts of the damned haunt the Earth en masse. However, all we see on the mortal side of things is a British boarding school filled with former staff and students, but the living staff pretend that things are perfectly fine.
  • Wonder Woman (2011): After the First Born kills Lord Hades, the shades of Hades flood the surface, where they drift listlessly everywhere among the living.

    Film — Animation 
  • Corpse Bride: The denizens of The Underworld arrive in the Land of the Living en masse, provoking a general panic in Victor's least, until the locals realize the ghosts and skeletons aren't causing harm and learn they've come to attend the title character's wedding.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ghostbusters (1984): Ivo Shandor, the architect of Dana's apartment building, designed it to channel ghosts for the purpose of ending the world. As a result, paranormal activity increases all over New York. Later on, Walter Peck forces the authorities to shut down the Ghostbusters' containment grid, causing all the ghosts they captured to be unleashed on the city.
  • Ghostbusters (2016): Rowan North, the film's Big Bad, kills himself so he can become a powerful ghost and command an army of spirits to bring about the apocalypse. North possesses the Ghostbusters' secretary Kevin and opens a portal that releases hundreds of ghosts on New York City.

  • Ghostbusters: As noted above and below, ghost invasions are basically the entire premise of the series regardless of medium.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In "Army of Ghosts", the Doctor and Rose discover that "ghosts" are now a common occurrence all over the world. They appear at specific times to walk among the living and are welcomed with open arms by the public, but the Doctor and Rose think it's horrifying and want to figure out what's going on. It's ultimately subverted. These aren't ghosts, but Cybermen trying to break out from a different universe. People allowing the Cybermen to walk among them as "ghosts" inadvertently allowed for a Cyberman invasion.
  • Ghost Wars features this as the basis of the series.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost features "Gamma" spirits attempting to cross over from their own realm to take over Earth. But it's played with when it's revealed that the Gamma are really still-alive Human Aliens using Magitek to separate their souls from their bodies.
  • This is the start of Chuck's plan against the Winchesters and the world in the last season of Supernatural, letting the souls out of Hell and allowing them to attack the earth en masse. This phase only really lasts for a couple of episodes, but ending it requires the death of Rowena.

  • The Vocaloid song "Halloween Requiem" tells the story of a legion of ghosts being freed on Halloween Night and waging war on humanity after finding out people nowadays view Halloween and the supernatural as lighthearted fun.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Geist: The Sin-Eaters: The rare and powerful "Crash the Gates" ceremony briefly transforms the caster into a living portal to The Underworld. Nothing compels ghosts to pass through, but the temptation of light and life usually brings a flood of ghosts seeking new earthly fetters.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has this as a long-term goal of the necromantic Giovanni Clan, the Restless Night. Thanks to a ritual found in an ancient tome, it's believed that the clan can tear down the Shroud that separates the dead from the living by gathering 100 million souls. The Giovanni plan to gather half the ghosts by collecting their Fetters, and the other half through a limited nuclear exchange. Of course, it's heavily implied that, should the Shroud fall, it's not going to work out the way the Giovanni hope...
  • Orpheus uses this element as the plotline of the books advances. Its very premise is based on this, as projector firms have become something of a fixture ever since something happened that caused an uptick in hauntings. As the plot goes along, activities from Spectres trying to deal with the approach of Grandmother cause greater and more cataclysmic disturbances in the world of the living, from a building collapse triggered by the manifestation of a shattered memory tower in Shadow Games to an outright rift in the Stormwall in End Game.

    Video Games 
  • In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, this is the entire plot. Ivo Shandor, deceased architect of the events of Ghostbusters (1984), not only built the high rise near Central Park; he also built a mandala out of several New York landmarks, including the Sedgwick Hotel and the Central Library. A series of underground tunnels channeled spirits from site to site, ending at Central Park. The end result is several locations completely overrun by spirits, and the barrier between the spirit world and the real world weakened until some areas were transformed.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario Party 6: In the minigame Boo'd Off The Stage, two dueling characters are placed in an outdoors hall in the midst of a haunted forest during late night. Several Pink Boos begin hovering through the hall, attempting to grab the players, and sometimes the Boos will split their rows to cover a wider area (and potentially fool a player into thinking that only one Pink Boo is coming from a specific angle). Whoever gets captured by the Boos loses and the other player wins; but if both are captured at the same time or both of them resist during 30 seconds, then the minigame ends in a tie.
    • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon: In the level "Paranormal Chaos", King Boo activates a portal that brings waves of ghosts from another world into Evershade Valley. Luigi then must race throughout the Treacherous Mansion and collect every ghost unleashed in a short amount of time before complete dimensional collapse.
  • Moshi Monsters: One of the plots involved the ghost of Dr. Strangeglove‚Äôs severed hand opening up a portal to another dimension, leading to an influx of ghosts entering the main universe and, among other things, locking Tamara in her lab.
  • The world of Death Stranding is set in the aftermath of an event that upended the rules of life and death, resulting in the creation of "Beached Things", otherworldly beings that started cropping up whenever people died.

    Western Animation 
  • The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo: Weerd and Bogel, the main villains, released thirteen ghosts from the Chest of Demons (stored in Tibet). It was a Race Against the Clock for Scooby, Shaggy, Scrappy, Daphne and Flim-Flam to get them back.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse: In the flashback episode "From Hedorium to Eternity", Zs'Skayr possessed the body of Thaddeus J. Collins and attempted to take over Earth by having his fellow Ectonurites possess people and having Kevin produce hedorium so he can block out the sun.
  • Danny Phantom: While it could be argued major ghost assaults are the entire premise of the series, there are a few notable instances of such:
    • Public Enemies features Walker launching the first major mass ghost attack on Amity Park, definitively revealing the existence of ghosts to the world in the process.
    • Reign Storm: The arrival of ghost king Pariah Dark causes all the ghosts in the Ghost Zone to flee to Earth. The Ghost King's armies also invade.
  • The Real Ghostbusters:
    • In the episode "You Can't Take It With You", a dying billionaire builds a machine to open a portal to the afterlife so he can take his vast fortune with him. Unfortunately, this causes a rupture in the separation between the human and spirit worlds, causing ghosts to invade the land of the living.
    • In "It's About Time", the Ghostbusters accidentally travel back to 1959, tearing a hole in the time fabric and allowing ghosts to invade The '50s.