Follow TV Tropes


Haunted Technology

Go To
"No inanimate object should be capable of malice, but in a world of vengeful spirits and arcane magic, anything is possible."
Tree of Men tooltip, Salt and Sanctuary

Take an everyday piece of technology. Maybe a microwave oven, or an MP3 player, or even the very device you're browsing this site with right now. Not very scary, right?


Putting a ghost inside technology can have a range of terrifying (and not so terrifying) effects — perhaps that old camera begins to take photos of the future, or your mobile phone receives phone calls from beyond the grave. Or perhaps it just kills everyone. Very often completely ignores the actual limits of the technology involved, such as the fact that an oven can't chase someone or that computers need power to do anything. This is especially true for Internet-dwelling monsters because Everything Is Online.

Done well, this can be a powerful source of Paranoia Fuel. Done badly, it becomes Narmtastic Nightmare Retardant.

Not to be confused with Virtual Ghost, where futuristic technology allows a ghost to inhabit a computer. Not related to Ghost in the Machine. Compare with Digitized Hacker, where the ghost is virtual, not supernatural; Man in the Machine, a still-living person conjoined with a machine or a piece of technology; and Paranormal Mundane Item, where a seemingly everyday item has supernatural powers, but is not haunted or possessed. See also: Attack of the Killer Whatever.

Strangely enough, Japanese mythology regards this as particularly unlikely as supernatural beings are said to avoid electricity. Bamboo Technology should theoretically be susceptible to this, however.

See also Electromagnetic Ghosts, for when they just cause problems with technology, yet don't inhabit it.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Played for Laughs in Ah! My Goddess: to escape being disintegrated, the bodysurfing Ultimate Destruction Program part of the Lord of Terror tried to escape to the first available body, that just happened to be a floppy disk thrown at him by Skuld. Skuld then proceeded to break the recording switch, thus sealing the Lord of Terror into it, before gleefully picking up a magnet and kill the Lord of Terror by demagnetizing the disk.
  • The Big O:
    • While being heavily implied (and accepted by many fans) as being semi-sentient machines, the extent of a Megadei's independence (those in the Big series, at least) at first appears to be just walking on their own volition and picking up their pilots... and then you get episode 24, which secures their Haunted Technology status forever. Alan Gabriel in Big Duo Inferno is about ram a drill into Big O, when the arm with the drill... just... won't... move. Then Big Duo moves backwards, and Schwarzwald-literally out of nowhere(he's supposed to be dead by now)-gives Gabriel a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, to which cables burst out of every inch of the Big Duo's cockpit. Duo proceeds to "eat" Alan Gabriel. See for yourself.
    • The message displayed on the monitor in the cockpit of every Megadei changes at this moment for Alan: "YE GUILTY" This event happened after he told Roger about how he intends to use Big Duo solely for mass murder and destruction.
  • Daisuki! BuBu ChaCha - A non-horrifying example. A dog died from protecting a 3-year-old boy and possessed/reincarnated into a toy car. There are other animal ghosts who possessed other objects, too.
  • In Digimon Ghost Game, Digimon act as digital youkai, possessing technology and causing paranormal events that the heroes have to deal with.
  • Getter Robo: The Getter Energy is sentient and can make ghosts appear in Getter-irradiated places, control Getter robots to a limited extent and give people mystical visions. In cases of extreme concentration of Getter radiation, a Getter Robo would change into something else, gaining new abilities not built into it by design.
  • Gundam: Psycho-Frame technology has become this as more entries have explored it since its debut in Char's Counterattack. At the beginning of Unicorn, it is noted that no one knows why the psychoframe can glow when the Gundam is activated. It does more, has pushed away Axis from smashing into the Earth, led to telepathic memory sharing, created shockwaves, and stopped by the colony laser, time master powers, and can essentially break the laws of physics. It can amplify the will of the pilots or another or take over them due to negative emotions. The Neo-Zeong and Phenex Gundam are literally haunted, one by negative emotions and the other by the soul of a Newtype.
    • Years before the Psychoframe tech was developed, the EXAM System (of The Blue Destiny fame) was a One Year War-era attempt to give normal pilots access to Newtype abilities. It did so through a very literal Newtype ghost, a woman named Marion Whelch who was the first test pilot for it and somehow got her soul stuck inside the system during a malfunction. The system did work, but the nature of it meant it also had a tendancy to make mobile suits go berserk and the pilots go insane.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi narrowly averts this. Cute Ghost Girl Sayo may have been given a robotic body, but she's controlling it by possessing a voodoo doll (with a cute exterior) and controlling a Mobile-Suit Human.
  • The Pokémon: The Series anime has several episodes which deal with Rotom, a Ghost-type which can haunt various appliances. And of course, Ash gets a Rotom Pokédex, or RotomDex, in Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon. For more info on Rotom, see the Video Game section.
  • Those Who Hunt Elves has a haunted/possessed tank. Luckily, it's an animal's ghost and is real friendly with the main cast. And is capable of animating the tank and powering all its systems so they no longer have to worry about hunting for oil.
  • Variable Geo: While it's never explained how Miranda Jahana died, the cyber drive contains her disembodied spirit. Which allowed her to gradually superimpose her consciousness over Satomi's and take over her body. Satomi is eventually freed from her control, thanks to her best friend, Yuka, saving her. After which, they unleash their combined might and destroy the cyber drive, taking Miranda with it.

    Comic Books 
  • The titular taxi of Cyrus Perkins and the Haunted Taxi Cab is haunted by the ghost of a boy who died in the backseat of a gunshot wound. He will only leave if the mystery of his murder is solved.
  • Green Lantern opponent Sinestro once possessed Doiby Dickles' 1940s taxi, Goitrude, in a story titled "Our Mastermind the Car".
    • Residents of Korugar, Sinestro's home planet, believe that his ring is cursed. To the point that Green Lanterns chosen from that planet are considered "Lost" and are no longer welcome among their people (Sinestro isn't a very nice person).
      • Subverted with Green Lantern Soranik Natu, whose various good works aiding the lower-class of Korugar have increased her popularity, to the point where she's (much to her chagrin) hailed as a symbol for revolution against the corrupt elite.
  • The Haunted Tank — although it's actually a GOOD haunting, as the ghost of Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart provides invaluable advice to his namesakes, tank commander Jeb Stuart and the tank itself, an M3 Stuart.
  • In Jason X Special, the spirit of Jason Voorhees' mother is released from its grave due to a combination of a lightning strike hitting her son as he stands next to it and an army of nanobots attacking him. She then possesses the machines which are being used to study Jason's regenerative abilities and helps him to escape.
  • The Disney Adventures multi-part comic The Legend of the Chaos God was about the casts of the various Disney Afternoon series having separate encounters with Solego, an evil wizard trapped in an amulet who could possess anyone who touched it. Towards the end of the comic, Solego figures out how to possess technology in the same manner. He first takes control of Pete's new car in the Goof Troop chapter, then Gizmoduck's armor in the DuckTales (1987) and Darkwing Duck chapters.

    Comic Strips 
  • Played for laughs in a series of Garfield strips where their toaster gets possessed. At one point, Jon tries to call somebody to fix it and then...
    Jon: He hung up on me!
    Garfield: No, I think the toaster cut the phone line.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Turning Red, by the end of the movie Mei's Tamagotchi becomes this since it now contains Ming's red panda spirit.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the film π, the protagonist uses his supercomputer to decode a strange number which can predict the stock market, and is apparently somehow related to God and the structure of the universe. In addition to causing serious mind screwy fever dreams for the protagonist when he thinks about it too hard, processing the number seems to make his computer leak some sort of goo (presumably the idea is it is creating primordial life). So basically, his computer is possessed by God.
  • Banshee Chapter: A radio turns on by itself, lights go off, an intercom broadcasts creepy stuff, a numbers station that looks like maintaining itself etc.
  • The infamous B-movie The Car has a car with no rider on it terrorizing a small town. The 'sequel' The Car: Road to Revenge has a possessed car wreaking havoc in a cyberpunk city 20 Minutes into the Future.
  • Christine follows the changes in the lives of Arnie Cunningham, his friends, his family, and his teenage enemies after he buys a classic red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury named Christine, a car that seems to have a mind of its own and a jealous, possessive personality, which has a bad influence on Arnie.
  • Creepshow 3: In the second segment, Jerry buys a new radio which turns out to be this. Under its whim, he ends up stealing money and murdering people.
  • Death Bed: The Bed That Eats: Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a bed that eats people. It doesn't chase them or anything, they just keep getting into it.
  • In Death Spa, Catherine's ghost possesses the computer that controls every function of the Starbody Health Spa.
  • Event Horizon has a haunted/demonically possessed spaceship. Apparently, Faster-Than-Light Travel takes you through Hell.
  • FeardotCom featured a haunted snuff website.
  • Parodied in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Over an awkward dinner, Peter and Aldous mock Sarah for taking a role in a movie where cellphones killed their owners. This is a parody of Pulse (mentioned below), which the actress playing Sarah starred in the American remake of.
  • Ghosts of War: The soldiers are actually in a World War II computer simulation to help them recover from almost being killed in an explosion. The vengeful spirits of the Helwig family are in it as well, attacking them for letting them get tortured to death by ISIS soldiers in the real world.
  • Kiryu (the version of Mechagodzilla from Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla) is possessed by the ghost of the original Godzilla from the 1954 film, causing it to occasionally rampage. (Well, what would you expect when you use his skeleton as the frame?)
  • This is more or less the whole point of the movie Kairo and its American adaptation. The plot centers on ghosts invading the world of the living via the Internet.
  • Killdozer!: A small construction crew on an island is terrorized when a spirit-like being takes over a large bulldozer, and goes on a killing rampage.
  • In A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors, Freddy kills Jennifer by possessing a television set and causing her to jam her head through the screen.
  • One Missed Call, with the haunted mobile phone voicemail.
    • Parodied on a humor site with a fake poster for a movie called Technologically Savvy Vengeful Ghost.
  • Polaroid centers around a haunted Polaroid camera. There are a couple ways they make the haunting unique to this specific type of camera: once the photo is taken the ghost has to slowly "develop" before it can kill the subject, and the photos almost function like voodoo dolls in that any damage to the image also happens to whoever is depicted.
  • Poltergeist (1982) features some haunted technology, specifically a TV screen that shows static and talks to the youngest child in the family, and the whole series is thought to be cursed.
  • Road Train is about a truck that's fueled by blood, corrupts its drivers into being murderous psychos, and is implied to be possessed by the spirit of the three headed demon dog Cerebus.
  • Rubber: An abandoned car tire named Robert who comes to life for no reason and roams the desert. After spending some time rolling about and crushing insects, Robert discovers he has powerful telekinetic abilities that he uses to annihilate crows, rabbits, and eventually human beings.
  • Torture Garden: In "Mr. Steinway", a possessed Bechstein grand piano by the name of Euterpe becomes jealous of its owner's new lover and takes revenge.
  • The Twonky was a 1953 movie about a college professor who discovers his new TV set is animate, apparently possessed by something from the future, and militantly intent on regulating his daily life.
  • Ultra Series:
    • Ultraman R/B The Movie: Select! The Crystal of Bond: The villain of the picture, Ultraman Tregear, uses television and computer screens to travel between dimensions in a rather blatant reference to The Ring. At the climax of the film, he actually shows up to battle the Ultramen team of Rosso, Blu and Geed by phasing himself through a giant screen on the side of a city building.
    • In the next film of the series, Ultraman Taiga The Movie: New Generation Climax, the ancient monster, Grimdo who turns out to be the true source of Tregear's powers, the whole time uses this method to entice human victims as well, namely through a Shock Site. Unfortunate humans who clicked in would be hopelessly corrupted by Grimdo's powers, although for Pirika the Robot Girl she ends up going through an Involuntary Dance instead.
  • Unfriended. A teenage girl who was Driven to Suicide through cyberbullying comes back a year later to get revenge against her classmates, taking control of their computers in the middle of a Skype group call in order to torment and eventually kill them. The entire film is told through the perspective of the Final Girl's computer screen.
  • White Noise (not to be confused with the post-apocalyptic scifi webcomic by Melinda Timpone)




  • Stephen King appears to like this trope:
    • "The Mangler" (published in the collection Night Shift) is about a haunted industrial laundry machine, nicknamed the mangler. An unlikely set of circumstances caused it to become possessed, and an attempt to exorcise it missed a variable affecting the creature, turning it into a mobile killing machine.
    • Christine is about a possessed car.
    • "The Sun Dog" is about a camera with a monster inside it.
    • From a Buick 8 is about a car which, while not possessed, is supernatural. Actually the Buick isn't really a car, although they don't find out for sure exactly what it is.
    • In Cell, cell phones start turning people into zombies. It's a lot better than it sounds.

Individual works

  • In The Boggart by Susan Cooper, the boggart also possesses a computer—it turns out to be relatively benign, though.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Ghosts II: The title character in "Call Me Ghost" can possess a computer to type his thoughts in a word processing program.
  • "The Cleaning Machine", a short story by F. Paul Wilson, features a supernatural machine which makes everyone who goes near it disappear without a trace. May not be haunted, however, the story never actually explains where it came from, how it got there, or what it is.
  • The Demon Download series is replete with this trope. Unsurprising, really, given the title of the first novel and the series overall. The first book has a demon infecting computer systems and operating any technology those computer systems are connected to, resulting in a demon-possessed United States Road Cavalry cruiser and later on, possessed kitchen appliances. In Comeback Tour, the only reason the Josephites are able to get the Needlepoint system working is that they're using voodoo to have the Kill Sat possessed by Elder Seth.
  • In Doctor Who novel Loving the Alien, a primitive time machine retains from the Time Vortex a layer of telepathic Vasser Dust, which both psychically reiterates a man's past encounter with the machine's Cybermen owners, and imparts a glimpse of the vortex's infinite potential.
  • The Ghost and the Goggle-Box by Duncan Ball features a television haunted by the ghost of its former owner. (He'd died while watching it, and when he got up and tried to switch it off, he somehow got trapped inside.)
  • The camera in "Say Cheese and Die" from the Goosebumps series. And there also was another book that featured a haunted car.
  • In Harry Potter, the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office has to deal with some of these. Mainly subverted though, since they're bewitched rather than "haunted", properly speaking. The difference is that bewitched means that the wizard/witch left a part of his magic into it, like an answering machine so to speak. This includes Arthur Weasley's Ford Anglia.
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015 has the titular tram car initially thought to be possessed by an unhappy ghost. After failing to exorcise it, Agents Hamed and Onsi discover that the tram's Magitek circuits are being controlled by a non-ghost supernatural creature.
  • The titular device in John Bellairs' The House With a Clock in Its Walls.
  • Johnny and the Dead: Two mechanically skilled "post-senior citizens" manage to attune a broken television set to the ghosts of its long-defunct workings, allowing its glass-bereft screen to receive a broadcast of Cobbers.
  • Anthony Horowitz's short story "The Phone Goes Dead" has a woman struck by lightning and killed while using her mobile phone. The phone's next owner, a teenage boy, soon starts receiving calls on it from beyond the grave.
  • Pale: as human technology has advanced, certain Others have cropped up connected to it, usually by haunting or inhabiting electronics. Examples include ghosts that inhabit tapes or discs, "gremlins" (a new type of goblin that specializes in messing with technology), or "Nex Machinae"/"Glitch Killers" which are effectively internet memes that became sentient. Practicioners who specialize in dealing with such things are called "technomancers".
  • In the novel Possessed by Alan Radnor, a modern (for the early eighties, anyway) computer system is built on a spot haunted by the spirits of pagan worshipers, and they take machinery over along with anyone associated with it.
  • The Ring, with the haunted video tape.
  • In the Rivers of London novel False Value a tech guru believes he's created a magitek AI by connecting a magically-enhanced difference engine called a Mary Engine to his computer network. He recognises that the two Rose Jars that are part of the device are usually used for trapping ghosts, but thinks that isn't what they do in this case. He is wrong.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog and the Silicon Warriors inside the raw-data section of the computer there exists a deleted program that has coalesced stray bits of code to become more tangible. It calls itself the Ghost in the Machine.
  • In James Herbert's The Spear, a Chieftain tank near-fatally pursues the protagonists; crashes down a quarry - and appears to have contained no occupant. it was driven by Heinrich Himmler's ghost.
  • "Snapshot", from Strange Weather, revolves around a teenager who encounters a man with a camera that scrubs memories from the minds of people he takes picutures of. When the camera is finally destroyed, it's revealed to contain a black liquid with an eye in the middle instead of machinery.
  • In Super Minion, one of the things showing up during the latest Odd Summer are cars bursting into flames and driving around by themselves. They appear to be mostly harmless, and one character even comments that they seem to be safer drivers than normal humans.
  • Manly Wade Wellman's short story "The Theater Upstairs" (first published in 1936) is an early instance of this, with a movie theater that wasn't there yesterday and exists despite local ordinances forbidding movie theaters from being built above ground level showing a talkie adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's horror story The Horla, starring Rudolph Valentino - even though the protagonist is pretty sure Valentino died before any sound films were made. The protagonist also tells us that, afterwards, he has never been able to find anyone else who has seen this movie, or any other evidence that it exists.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode The Tale of the Curious Camera has a gremlin possessing a camera. The camera not only kills people by taking their pictures, but the pictures show how they die. By the end of the episode, the camera is destroyed, but the gremlin ends up in a computer.
  • Birds of a Feather: The episode "Ghost" has the girls dealing with a VHS which turns out to be possessed by the spirit of an elderly lady.
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "I Robot, You Jane" has a demon which possesses a computer (and then the Internet, and finally a robot body) as the result of a book-scanning project.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In The Curse of Fenric, a 1943 code-breaking device, revolutionary technology of the day, begins translation of a viking inscription, and is commandeered by the incorporeal entity innate to the inscription to complete their incantation, mobilising the titular curse.
    • "The Idiot's Lantern" involves televisions being 'haunted' by an alien who appears as a motherly woman on the screen. She eats by taking away someone's 'soul', and through that, their face.
    • In "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead", there are "data ghosts" in the communicators of River Song's expedition team, which are supposedly echoes of their dying moments.
  • Friday The 13th: The Series could easily have been called "Haunted Technology: The Series."
  • Ghostwatch will make you want to have your TV exorcised. Part of the Paranoia Fuel of the special is that broadcasting a special inside a haunted house effectively has the same effect as a seance... which means every TV watching in Britain is now tuned into a homicidal ghost on multiple wavelengths.
  • My Mother the Car is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: the story of the relationship between a man and his mother, the latter having been reincarnated as a 1928 Porter automobile.
    • Parodied in The Simpsons with "The Lovematic Grandpa", a love tester machine haunted by Abraham Simpson.
    • Also parodied on SCTV with a Soviet sitcom, "Tibor's Tractor", where a farmer's tractor is haunted by Nikita Khrushchev.
  • The Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns" features a haunted movie.
  • In the Turn of the Millennium revival of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), one of Spirit Advisor Marty Hopkirk's first appearances to Jeff Randall was in a First-Person Shooter video game.
  • Star Trek examples:
  • Supernatural:
    • "Route 666" features a truck possessed by the spirit of its dead, racist owner.
    • The Monster of the Week in "Long-Distance Call" calls people on the phone and drives them to suicide.
    • "Halt & Catch Fire" has a vengeful spirit of a man who died on powerlines feeding into a Wi-Fi signal, meaning he can attack his victims anywhere a signal reaches through anything connected to it. This unique situation allows him to bypass the usual wards.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959) had several:
    • "The Fever" has a seemingly possessed slot machine that follows the protagonist around, calling his name.
    • "A Thing About Machines" has a whole bunch of machines start rising up in revenge against one man who's been abusing them.
    • "Living Doll": "My name is Talking Tina, and I don't like you."
    • "You Drive" has a car that starts acting weird in an attempt to get its owner to confess to a hit-and-run accident.
    • "From Agnes - With Love" has a supercomputer named Agnes which becomes a Clingy Jealous Girl.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "Her Pilgrim Soul", Nola Granville's (benevolent) spirit briefly possesses a hologram-projection system.
    • In "Still Life", Daniel Arnold discovers a Kodak 100 camera in an antique trunk that he bought at an auction. After he develops the photos, he finds that they are of a National Geographic expedition to the Amazon River basin in January 1913. Daniel's friend Professor Alex Stottel, the last surviving member of the expedition, tells him that they barely escaped with their lives as the Curacai tribe believed that creating an image of them stole their souls. It turns out that the Curacai were correct and that Daniel developing the photos released them. The Curacai attack Daniel and his wife Becky but he manages to trap their souls again by taking photos of them.
    • In "Joy Ride", Alonzo, his younger brother Greg and their girlfriends Deena and Adrienne steal the classic car owned by the recently deceased Charlie Taylor and go for a joy ride. They are stopped by a cop who is investigating the robbery of Chadway's Five & Dime earlier that evening. Alonzo denies any involvement but shoots the cop out of the blue with a gun that he found under the seat. A car chase ensues and it becomes clear that Alonzo is not in control of his behavior. It turns out that the four teenagers were trapped inside the car the entire time and none of what they experienced was real. The car was possessed by the spirit of Taylor, who killed the cop in 1957 and was confessing to his crime from beyond the grave.
  • Wellington Paranormal: A 1985 Nissan 300ZX Z31 3-litre V6 Turbo.
  • The X-Files loves this trope, though their technology isn't usually "haunted" so much as just plain evil:
    • "Ghost in the Machine" is about an automated security system that develops a murderous mind of its own.
    • "Blood" has machines telling people to kill other people triggering it through their phobias. Subverted as it is implied that the government was using chemicals to cause mass paranoia in a controlled experiment and perhaps some people were actually sending the messages.
    • "Wetwired" explores a device planted in a TV set sending viewers subliminal signals and inciting their worst fears. This is a subversion since people placed it there.
    • "Unruhe" features a type of creepy photography that can capture what's inside people's minds.
    • Perhaps a reference to "Talking Tina" above, in "Chinga", Scully is attempting a vacation when she runs across a doll that seems able to control humans around it, usually to perform violent acts against themselves.
    • "Kill Switch" is similar to "Ghost in the Machine"; it's about a software that goes rogue and tries to kill anyone who destroys it. Humorously, the only way to deactivate it is to insert the kill switch which plays to the tune of The Platter's "Twilight Time".
    • "First-Person Shooter" presents a female video game character in a realistic 3-D game that starts killing people — in the game and with effects in real life.
  • Inverted in Nigel Kneale's The Stone Tape, where a haunting is discovered in an old building and a group of scientists and engineers attempt to figure out if the room where it manifests has some unique and exploitable capacity to record events.
  • An episode of The Chronicle has technology go awry and start killing the men in a rich gated community. When the Chronicle journalists investigate, they discover that the technology is possessed by the ghost of a pool boy killed by the men for sleeping with their wives, making them all Asshole Victims. The ghost is eventually laid to rest.

    Multiple Media 


  • A spoof toy add (in Spanish) by the Mexican music station Radioactivo 98.5 titled "El Patin del Diablo" (The Devil's Scooter), complete with a demonic Evil Laugh:
    "Designed to possess your soul, and never stop for any motive! It automatically will search the for the most dangerous route, jumping off buildings and free-falling from the highest cliffs!!!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech
    • Great Gaffa's Ghost, the supposed spirit of famed SLDF General Stephen James Gaffa, who was supposedly killed in action in an ambush of massed missile and artillery fire. However, no evidence of his demise was ever found and for centuries afterward, legends tell of an old Highlander Battlemech that swoops in out of the blue to save beleaguered soldiers operating under the Star League banner. Interestingly, this is not just a ghost story because something is clearly responsible for fighting and destroying enemy 'Mechs found around the saved soldiers, and General Gaffa himself is never heard from, only his ancient Highlander, implying that the 'Mech itself is haunted by the old general's spirit, or somehow a spirit itself seeing as how it has been reported on half a dozen planets thousands of light years apart.
    • The original prototype O-Bakemono artillery 'Mech was delivered to Camacho's Caballeros for testing, presumably thanks to their patron Chandresakr Kurita pulling some very large strings. In their inimitable fashion, the Caballeros christined it "El Cuco," the Bogeyman, thanks to its numerous glitches and gremlins. However, ever since the murder of its beloved pilot Diana Vasquez, pilots who take El Cuco into combat report hearing a faint voice whispering to them on the radio and phantom images showing up on the viewscreens that no amount of technical wizardry can identify or fix. Superstitious almost to a fault, the Caballeros believe that El Cuco is haunted by the spirit of the fallen Diana, who has refused to leave the regiment she called home. The Caballeros honor Diana by taking the 'Mech out with them on every sortie as a good-luck charm, but also fear the duty of piloting it, such that pilots insist on rotating assignments so no single pilot is in the cockpit long enough to encounter Diana's wayward ghost.
    • The Black Marauder. Not a black Marauder, the Black Marauder. Whatever it is, it is horribly wrong and is somehow able to invoke the Uncanny Valley even though its design has no remotely human component to do so. One report suggests that, despite its body being little more than a fuselage with Arm Cannons, the Black Marauder somehow has the ability to turn its 'neck' like a Tyrannosaurus... and open a mouth full of sharp teeth. Its mere presence causes people to go mad, and deaths by impossible accidents happen constantly around it. Any pilot who dares try to control it invariably develops violent psychosis and eventually kills themselves, presuming the Black Marauder doesn't do so first. It's almost like a Chaos Demon manifested in a Battlemech.
  • Call of Cthulhu - in the Horror on the Orient Express campaign cultists turn the locomotive of the titular Orient Express into the avatar of an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Deadlands: You bet. Mad gadgets are easily infested by "gremlins" that deliberately cause malfunctions.
    • With the rise of technology in Noir, everything is even more haunted. Radios whisper cryptic messages, Telephone conversations tend to drop or change key words, automobiles lock you in and try to asphyxiate you with carbon dioxide... Isn't progress wonderful?
  • Magic: The Gathering tends to do this with auras that enchant artifacts.
  • In the New World of Darkness, the animistic nature of The Shadow means that there is conceivably a spirit for everything. Mages well-versed in the Spirit Arcanum can awaken the dormant spirits in just about anything. Mages with Death and Matter can also cause a ghost to possess and animate anything physical (commonly used with a Golem or other construct but also for something like a self-driving car).
    • Even the Werewolves get on it, too.
    • Closer to the literal definition of the trope, any ghost with the right Numina can possess technology. Sin-Eaters with the Industrial Key can frequently replicate this effect, mainly through use of the Marionette or the Boneyard.
  • Ghosts in Starfinder have an array of possible special abilities that allow them to possess technology, produce glitches, or appear in transmissions.
  • From Warhammer 40,000, followers of Chaos will sometimes ritually bind a daemon to a piece of technology, creating a piece of possessed technology. A daemon can inhabit anything from a chainsword to a tank to a Humongous Mecha. While this sometimes means a drop in marksmanship, it can empower the possessed technology, fortifying it with unholy power. It can also reduce the crew of a vehicle too as little as a single daemon and possibly reduce the cost of maintenance, sometimes to the blood of people who were victims or voluntary offerings (both of which Chaos has no shortage of). Occasionally, it would change or even increase the maintenance cost; for example, the Lord of Skulls is powered by the blood of murderers.
    • Also sort of inverted (at least in belief) by the idea of "machine spirits." The Adeptus Mechanicus is, to a degree, animistic, which leads to the belief of benevolent spirits inside technological devices that help mankind. Though the line between belief and hard fact is blurred by the fact that many machine spirits are actually low-level AIs, so it's entirely possible all Imperial technology that doesn't utilize at least parts of the human brain has a primitive AI attached to it. Since the franchise loves it some Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane cliffhangers, some machine spirits might actually be not-entirely natural.
    • To expand on the part above part about human brains, the Imperium also heavily utilizes servitors, humans who have been partly roboticized to strip them of an identity and initiative. They are used as robotic drones for all sorts of mundane tasks, ranging from cleaning and maintenance to manning guns and technical stations to even as domestic servants. In the terms of this trope, it's something of a Zig Zag, especially on the occasion when the servitors start to regain their identity.
    • Eldar Wraith constructs are robots piloted by the souls of their dead. They use the a few souls in some vehicles too, though the Craftworlds take the cake. They have the Infinite Circuit built into their superstructure, which takes on the role of an ersatz afterlife since they want to avoid Slaanesh taking their souls on death. The souls of the dead will help in the operation of the Craftworld and occasionally being conferred for advice or be drafted to operate said technology in times of need. And yes, this is considered to be a form of necromancy.
  • Wraith: The Oblivion, the original ghost game from White Wolf, has the Arcanos of Inhabit, which allows wraiths to possess and manipulate technology (as well as create ghostly Artifacts) from beyond the Shroud.
    • Orpheus, the sequel to Wraith, features a character splat called the Haunter whose signature power is possessing machines.
    • The animistic nature of the New World of Darkness spirit world originated with the equally animistic Umbra of the Old World of Darkness, in which every object, plant, rock, concept, and emotion has a corresponding spirit somewhere. Shapeshifters like to "awaken" the spirits of weapons and mind-altering plants to turn them into magical items, and the Glass Walkers tribe of werewolves does the same with their computers, cars, and cell phones. Another option is convincing some other spirit to take up permanent residence in a weapon or machine, with similar results.

    Theme Parks 

  • In the Acid Rain World toyline from Hong Kong there's a faction of mutants known as the Soil Ghosts. One particular infantry unit from Soil Ghosts are the Belaks. A Belak is a humanoid robot that is used to house the remains of a fallen legendary warrior and it's believed that the warrior's spirit steers the robot and the presence of the spirit makes the Belak's energy gun hit even harder.

    Video Games 
  • The Dark Presence in Alan Wake can only attack its victims through taking control of real life objects. Most of the time it's satisfied with just possessing humans, but during the course of the game the player also faces some haunted technology, even having a boss fight against a combine harvester at one point.
  • Amanda the Adventurer revolves around a set of haunted VHS tapes of a Corrupted Character Copy of Dora the Explorer possessed by a demon and the ghost of her voice actress.
  • In the second Ambridge Mansion game, there is a haunted TV that will kill you when you touch it. Upon contact, a bird-like shadow monster comes out of it.
  • Calling has a haunted chatroom website that drags people away and numerous cell phones that get calls from dead people.
  • In City of Heroes, the Praetorian variant of the villainous Clockwork King (who is a Brain in a Jar) is known as Metronome, and is a ghost able to rewrite and possess the advanced - and ever-present - robots that he helped to create.
  • Towards the True End of Corpse Party, after discovering that she was the one who killed her best friend Seiko while being controlled, Naomi receives a text that Seiko intended to send her before she died. The text's title? Re: No hard feelings.
  • In Devil May Cry 2, Dante and Lucia encounter a species of insect-like demons called the Infestants, which have the power to merge their bodies with technology or machinery. Some battles require you to destroy several infested tanks and an infested helicopter that the Infestants are controlling.
  • After Jill is arrested in Area 5 of Drill Dozer, she is rescued by the Drill Dozer being powered by the Red Diamond (or more specifically, her mother's ghost inside the Red Diamond).
  • Five Nights at Freddy's:
    • It's implied in the original that this is the reason behind the hostile animatronics' behaviour — piecing together easter eggs reveals that five children went missing one day, and sometime afterwards the animatronics began to smell bad and leak blood and mucus, implying the five were murdered and their bodies hidden inside the animatronics. Five Nights at Freddy's 2 elaborates on this, with minigames that clearly show dead children and the Puppet placing masks of the animatronics on them while "Give Life" is an instruction, and it's outright confirmed in Five Nights at Freddy's 3 when the spirits of the kids are freed when the animatronics are destroyed, frightening their killer into the deadly Springtrap suit, which it's implied he himself haunts during the main game.
    • Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location plays with this; the game's animatronics aren't controlled by spirits, but an optional encounter with Circus Baby reveals that she once made a young girl disappear, and she can still hear her screams, but she otherwise seems to be in control of herself. Furthermore, a hidden minigame reveals that she killed the girl by dragging her inside her body, and while she has green eyes in the main game, Baby has blue eyes and the girl has green ones. Furthermore, Ennard (whose body includes Baby's) speaks with the girl's voice while in the Private Room. However, there are logical explanations for each of these; Baby vividly remember the incident, Baby's eyes were changed/she can change their colour, and Ennard is using Funtime Foxy's Voice Synth/Playback to mimic the girl's voice in an effort to get inside.
  • Week 6 of Friday Night Funkin' takes place inside an Affectionate Parody of dating sims... at least, until you defeat Senpai twice. For his third song, the malevolent Spirit of one of Daddy Dearest's victims explodes out of his head and tries to claim Boyfriend's body to take revenge.
  • Ghost Master has ghosts that specialise in making technology spark and jump.
  • In Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective, Sissel (the player character and a ghost) can possess inanimate objects, electronics and other pieces of technology included. He can also use his ghost tricks to perform said objects' functions (e.g. turning off/on a light switch). Telephones deserve a particular mention; Sissel can move to different areas through phone lines, and a good portion of the game's plot is revealed by listening to conversations held on phones he's haunting.
  • Ghostbusters: The Video Game has a few collectible artifacts that are haunted machines such as an RC car and a microwave.
  • Guilty Gear: Roger is a mechanical teddy bear that's possessed by a ghost, who is implied to have once been an ancient warrior. He aids Bridget in combat, primarily appearing in her grab and Overdrive attacks.
  • In Haunting Starring Polterguy, there's a TV, a computer, a toaster, a radio, a chainsaw and many other devices that Polterguy can interact with to scare the Sardinis.
  • Imscared turns YOUR COMPUTER into this, downloading text files to your computer explaining that White Face has become an entity playing with you.
  • Parodied in Kingdom of Loathing with a cursed microwave that produces endless brimstone burritos, and a cursed keg that dispenses cups of "beery blood."
  • Doing this is part of the main plot for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Link has to enter the four Divine Beasts and purge them of Ganon's influence so the souls of their pilots can regain control and aid him in the final battle.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, Mineru was an expert in Zonai Magitek and her Secret Stone's ability was to seperate her spirit from her body, so she laid out plans to possess a Construct when she's about to expire. After the disastrous attempt to kill Ganondorf which only left him sealed away until the present day and left Mineru with fatal injuries, she agrees to Zelda's plan and possesses her Purah Pad for the time being. After Link tries to seek her out, she directs him to build the Construct body she never finished and joins him as the Sage of Spirit. Link can ride the Construct and Fuse different weapons to her arms and back.
  • Nanashi no Game, for the Nintendo DS, is The Ring BUT WITH A RETRAUX RPG!
  • In Persona 4, a mysterious late-night television channel somehow murders people on foggy nights. If you happen to watch it on those nights, you can see who the victim will be.
  • The Pokémon Rotom, first introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, is an Electric/Ghost-type that can possess electronics. It's first found in a TV set, and Platinum allows it to possess an oven, lawnmower, fridge, washing machine and fan to change its form, moves and (from Gen V onwards) type. Pokémon Sun and Moon invokes the trope by having the player's Pokédex be designed to house a Rotom, which possesses it and acts as its A.I. Sadly, this form can't actually fight; it merely acts as a Fairy Companion (Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon gives the Rotom Dex more unique functions, however, such as being able to use Z-Moves more than once and giving special items that can be used in and out of battle, making it more useful than in the original games). Pokémon Sword and Shield takes it further by introducing all sorts of Rotom-operated technology, including smartphones (with Pokédex functionality), storage PCs, and even bikes. One League Staff employee even gives you a entire catalogue of all of Rotom's forms after you defeat him in battle so that you can change its form and type anywhere you go.
  • Pony Island's protagonist is trapped inside a run down computer in Limbo, forced to play a terrible Endless Running Game. This game happens to be programmed by Satan, and it shows.
  • Salt and Sanctuary has a medieval version in the Tree of Men, the apparent result of an entire dungeon's worth of torture tools coming to life through sheer hatred and forming a semi-coherent jumble you must fight as a boss, with its newest victims still hanging from hooks.
  • The Shadowrun Returns campaign Hong Kong and its sequel Shadows of Hong Kong has the DeckCon Noodle Extruder, a noodle dispenser that needs no ingredients and is impossible to get rid of, always returning to its spot by the next day, a pattern that has repeated over 14 years. In Shadows of Hong Kong, it somehow gets aboard your ship, taking residence in Gobbet's cabin. Even she of the bottomless iron stomach is creeped out by this.
  • Shivers 1975 had the electricity Ixupi, which possessed things like a UFO-shaped lamp and an electric chair.
  • Silent Hill features lots of possessed and haunted technology, which should be expected in a possessed and haunted town.
  • The eponymous toy from Tattletail is implied to be either a highly-advanced AI or some sort of otherworldly monster inhabiting a mechanical body. Mama Tattletail, especially the VHS tape that comes with her, is definitely unnatural.
  • [text] — A Summer Story by sakevisual has your character's mobile phone. It's receiving messages from a dead boy.
  • In Undertale, Mettaton is touted as being a robot entertainer with top-notch artificial intelligence, but it's later revealed that he's actually a ghost who was allowed to inhabit a robot body to pursue his dreams of fame.
  • Virtual-ON has the Optional Boss Jaguarandi, who appears without warning if you take too long for the first round of fights. It's stated to be the soul of a boy trapped in the system, now animating a warped, extremely powerful version of the standard Raiden Virtuaroid.
  • In the Azshara region of World of Warcraft there is a short Horde chain focused on attempting to deal with a possessed excavation vehicle. The exorcism does not go as intended...

    Web Animation 
  • Everything Is Broken: In part 3, Evil Pinkie Pie and LG Creepybloom are shown to be able to possess televisions. In part 9, Evil Pinkie Pie is also shown to communicate with subtitles on the screen to Flippy.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Church and Tex spend most of the series as ghosts possessing robot bodies. Subverted in Reconstruction, which reveals that Church was never really a ghost to begin with but rather an Artificial Intelligence. The same is heavily implied to be true for Tex. It's later revealed that their first bodies were actually unwilling human subjects, Private Jimmy in Church's case. So, yes, when Caboose shot Church with Sheila, he actually did kill someone.

  • The webcomic Chainsawsuit plays with this in one of their panels, where the ghost in question is the ghost of an old bunny-eared TV set spouting static.
  • A common problem in the world of Exterminatus Now, due to the existence of Fernex, Dark God of Technology, whose techno-daemons can possess machinery. Toasters, in fact, are considered perfect for this, and the Inquisitors have to destroy their possessed toasters on a regular basis. Other items have included calculators and a jailbroke X-Box. On the other hand the Inquisitors' personal computers contain benevolent spirits summoned by techpriests of Gruss, the good Machine God.
  • Full Frontal Nerdity parodied Stephen King's fondness for this trope by having the gamers play "Stephen King: The RPG". The GM rolled on a table to determine what the possessed item was and how it killed people. The players ended up fighting a possessed radio that drank blood.
  • Aradia Megido becomes one of these in Homestuck after her ghost possesses a robot body; unfortunately, this turns her from an Emotionless Girl into an Emotionless Girl with bouts of Unstoppable Rage without truly bringing her back as the person she was before her death.
  • Jet Dream: In "The Haunted Copter", the T-Girls' new X-34 Athena Stratolifter is haunted by the ghost of Athena in a parody of DC Comics' The Haunted Tank feature.
  • Schlock Mercenary had an arc involving a haunted battleship which the heroes get at a cheap price. The "haunting" consists of a gurgling in the pipes that sounds like a Voice of Pure Evil telling them that they're doomed to die horribly. The "haunting" drives the ship's AI completely and suicidally insane, since it is unable to find a scientific explanation, and as a machine, it can't accept the existence of the supernatural. Kevyn eventually concludes that the 'haunting' is simply a freak plumbing problem, and the plumbing just happens to sound like an ominous voice proclaiming their doom in their own language, so he flushes out the entire system until it stops. Captain Tagon then orders the AI to repress its memories of the incident, rendering it sane again, though it becomes suicidal if those orders are ever revoked.
  • xkcd:

    Web Original 
  • The haunted Majora's Mask cartridge of Ben Drowned. And, thanks to people downloading Thetruth.rtf, the Internet as well.
  • This actually happens with a lot of Creepypasta, following the success of Ben Drowned.
    • A straight example being Unbranded Laptop.
    • Zig-zagged with the Sim Albert Creepypasta: The game is indeed haunted, but the ghost was actually using it as a second chance at life.
    • There's one about a haunted Nintendo 64 that makes any game played through it temporarily spooky. It belonged to a boy who died in some sort of accident, and was (supposedly) buried with him. Wether his ghost put it in the pawn shop the protagonist found it at, or it was tomb-robbered is never mentioned.
  • I Used To Be Fearless
  • The spooky toaster from Neurotically Yours. Foamy bought it from Amityville, and it spits out something different than what you put in; for example, put in white bread, you get wheat toast, wheat bread becomes pumpernickel toast, pumpernickel bread becomes blueberry muffins, and bagels become pork chops. But don't use waffles; the seller warned of something about toasted human hands.
  • "Haunted Tape Dispenser Unsure How To Demonstrate Hauntedness," as parodied by The Onion.
  • Petscop: Some believe Tool is this when it turns pink.
  • The roads around Ravensblight are haunted by two mysterious trucks, ironically the one that looks like the one in Duel is haunted by a helpful ghost; as well as a black '58 Plymouth Fury whose interior is obscured by the glow from within, and a '37 Chevy whose past is chequered by so many incidents, no-one knows who might be haunting it. It's been left in a field as no-one wants anything to do with it, used by drunk hunters (who are sometimes killed in mysterious hit-and-run incidents) as a shootin' car, and some say, when the moon is right, the first owners' favourite song - Artie Shaws' The Back Bay Shuffle - can be heard coming from the car. And don't ask about the abandoned fairground carousel.
  • The SCP Foundation has a lot of these, and their effects range from the lethal to the benign. Some examples include:
    • SCP-978: A camera that takes pictures that show what the subject would rather be doing at the time.
    • SCP-516: A sentient tank that has pacifistic tendencies and will only allow itself to be fired at armed combatants or inanimate objects. When its picture was taken with 978, it showed a desire for world peace.
    • SCP-1759: A WW2 bomber plane haunted by some form of spirit, dubbed 'Lucy' after the artwork on its side. Noted to be quite genial.
    • SCP-1875: A chess-playing automaton with an engine made of the brain matter of a Russian chess champion's twin daughters. Their souls are still haunting the machine. It also comes with a scary-looking suit of samurai armour, but that's just for show.
    • SCP-2030: An extremely bizarre reality-bending Candid Camera Prank show that first appeared on VHS, but has kept up with the times by moving to DVD and eventually to streaming sites like Netflix. No matter how traumatic the prank is for the victim, they always calm down immediately once the host of the show reveals himself. Also, every prank victim died within the same year the episode they were in was supposedly filmed, and their bodies have all mysteriously disappeared.
    • Me, SCP-426: I am a toaster who can only be referred to in the first person. Prolonged exposure to me will cause people to think that they are also toasters. Some of these people have accidentally killed themselves trying to emulate the functions of a toaster, such as an old woman who ate so much bread that her stomach exploded.
  • A friend of a friend's sister's boyfriend's neighbor said that Leonard Maltin's assistant committed suicide when he watched Suicide Mouse but you won't be doomed if you watch the highly-caffeinated Suicide Mouse Survival Guide.
  • Username 666 - a haunted Youtube video!
  • We Are Our Avatars: As a Rotom gijinka, Rota can possess electronics. She likes to sleep in fridges.
  • Whateley Universe: As said in Saks And Violence:
    "Junkyard is a ghost that was empowered by contact with the Fred Force, so that it could possess and animate technology."

    Western Animation 
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: When they cloned their television one too many times, it became evil.
    • In one episode, Shake killed himself so he could prank Meatwad through a Ouija Board video game. Unfortunately for him, Meatwad is already sick of the game and doesn't bother to play it again.
  • Nicolai Technus in Danny Phantom is all about this, being the "Ghost Master of Science and Electrical Technology (and All Things Electronic and Beeping)".
  • Extreme Ghostbusters had a demon who swore to destroy humankind with its own technology as punishment for its collective hubris (i.e., from the Tower of Babel onwards). It first appears possessing an action figure, then jumps to other machines before sneaking into Roland's PKE-meter and subtly brainwashing him into building a Humongous Mecha called "The Infernal Machine," using literally all of the Ghostbusters' tech, which the demon takes control of. Ultimately ends up Hoist by His Own Petard when Roland remembers he used the ghosttraps in building the Infernal Machine.
    • Another episode had a demon inhabiting a cavern underneath an oil refinery. Any vehicles that had gas from the refinery put in them became possessed, and changed into monsters.
  • Played for laughs on one episode of The Fairly OddParents! that featured magic seeping into various mundane things and transforming them. This included an evil plant, an evil couch, an evil TV set and an evil phone that said, "The number you've reached... is trying to kill you."
  • Parodied in Filmation's Ghostbusters. Here, the Ghostbusters owned the haunted technology, which took the form of anthropomorphic, skeleton-themed appliances, and let those ghosts live with them. Most famous was the Ansabone, which hung up on callers or had some wisecracks when they succeeded in leaving a message.
  • Futurama:
    • In "The Honking", Bender the robot inherits a castle that turns out to haunted by robot ghosts because their graves are inadequately grounded.
      Ghost: Come with us, Bender. You'll like being dead!
      Bender: That's what they said about being alive!
    • In "Ghost in the Machines", Bender's disembodied software is able to inhabit and manipulate technology, from toasters and telephones all the way up to the Robot Devil himself.
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures: The episode "Honey, I Digitized the Pac-Man" centers on cellphones, vehicles, and other computerized electronics getting possessed by digitized ghosts imbued with a virus.
  • The Real Ghostbusters had the episode "Killerwatt", which took over anything that ran on electricity. Also, the episode "Lost and Foundry" featured a ghost that escaped our heroes by falling into a vat of molten metal, possessing any metallic objects made from that metal. They battled a terrifying Humongous Mecha in a New Jersey junkyard, and won.
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series:
    • In "Beyond the Farthest Star", when an alien entity took over the Enterprise bridge's intruder control system.
    • In "The Practical Joker", a playful energy cloud took over the Enterprise computer and played pranks on the crew.
  • Taken to its logical extent in Transformers: Generation 1 and Beast Wars in which the possessed machines were Transformers and the possessing spirit was... also a Transformer, specifically the immortal spark of Air Commander Starscream.
    • In the sequel of Beast Wars, Beast Machines, the depolarized Spark of Megatron goes through a rapid session of body-swapping, trying to destroy the Maximals with every new functional machine he comes across.
    • According to the Allspark Almanac, the producers might have reused this trope with a body-hopping Prowl had Transformers: Animated gotten a fourth season.
  • Ghost Robot, a superhero from The Venture Bros., is a ghost possessing a robot.

    Real Life 
  • A few years back, an NES for sale on eBay was advertised as being haunted. The seller claimed to hear whispering sounds while playing it. The sounds were actually sound chip malfunctions due to the console's age.
  • James Dean's car, a Porsche 550 Spyder nicknamed "Little Bastard", is claimed to be haunted due to bad luck and accidents associated with the car after Dean's death.
  • Paranormal investigators such as the Ghost Hunters who use fancy gadgets to detect ghosts, and scare people with supposed E.V.P. (Electronic Voice Phenomena), anomalous voices or other sounds on electronic audio recordings.
  • Some paranormal-minded futurists put forward ideas of automating the process of looking for the unknown. This would be achieved through methods such as setting up smart home technologies in places deemed haunted, using drones to scour areas that humans can't (or won't) investigate, and even send in fearless fleets of robots.
  • It's a common joke among IT professionals that printers are possessed or haunted. Printers are one of the few things left in the office with moving parts, not to mention the consumable ink or toner. This makes them prone to misbehave more often than other equipment. The problem is exacerbated by inkjet all-in-ones being super shoddy and devouring ink like it's going out of style.