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Monochrome Apparition

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Whether they appear wispy or solid, often a full-bodied, non-Bedsheet apparition is depicted in values of only one color, often white/grey or blue. If there is an exception, however, it will be for the eyes.

This refers to a disembodied apparition of some kind that appears in a full-color work and is monochrome for the purpose of showing that it isn't a physical presence. They somehow glow any color of vapor such as ghostly white or blue.

Compare Monochrome Past, Deliberately Monochrome, Undeathly Pallor and Hologram Projection Imperfection. Contrast Living Shadow.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Grant Morrison makes an appearance in their final issue of Animal Man, with their skin and hair rendered in black and white (although their clothes weren't). This version of Morrison later became a member of Suicide Squad as The Writer, with the same appearance.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey: When B&T are dead, they're grayish-blue. Looking closely, it's apparent they achieved this with monochrome makeup and costuming rather than using optical effects.
  • All the ghosts in Casper are ghostly white.
  • In Crimson Peak, ghosts appear as one solid color, though which color they are varies and correlates to the nature of their death. Most of the ghosts in Allerdale Hall are red, symbolic of the red clay beneath the land and of the violent nature of their deaths. The ghost of Edith's mother, who died of cholera and returns to warn her about Crimson Peak, is black. Another black-colored ghost is Lucille, who clings to the past and appears to haunt Allerdale Hall forever. The ghost of Thomas is white save for the bloodstains, indicating redemption and a peaceful afterlife.
  • The Frighteners has those when ghosts are in shades of blue.
  • In Ghostbusters, most of the human-esque ghosts are depicted in semi-transparent shades of blue/grey.
  • Goosebumps (2015) has Hannah as a ghost who is in shades of blue like the ghosts in The Frighteners and The Haunted Mansion are.
  • The ghosts in Disney's The Haunted Mansion (2003) are whitish-blue, as are many of the ghosts in the actual ride.
  • Haunted Mansion (2023): Almost all the ghosts except for the ghost of Alistair Crump are light blue.
  • In the British comedy How I Won The War, the soldiers of a platoon keep marching even after they are killed. The Stock Footage of each battle is tinted a different color, so each ghost soldier is the color of the battle they died in.
  • In Ju-on, Kayako and Toshio have a bit of a blue-ish hue to them. The latter more then the former.
  • The albino twins in The Matrix Reloaded sport white dreadlocks, pale skin and wear white suits in their normal form, but become gray/greenish translucent when in ghostly forms, as this is the default color of the matrix
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark: White specters appear when the Ark is opened. While they initially seem to be beautiful (and one of the bad guys calls them such), they quickly show a more eerie expression and proceed to kill all the people present except Indiana and Mario (because they close their eyes and the specters not only spare them but also burn the ropes that were keeping them tied).
  • Force ghosts in Star Wars are generally blue-tinted. They're distinguished from holograms, which also glow blue, because holograms are messy and covered in scan lines and static, while Force ghosts are not.

  • A Christmas Carol: Marley's ghost is said to have a "livid" note  colour.
  • The ghosts in the Harry Potter books are described as 'pearly white' (with the exception of Peeves the poltergeist, who is technically not a ghost but a kind of supernatural creature who was never human to begin with). In the movies they are merely desaturated, however.
  • In Haunting Christmas Tales short story The Investigators, an elderly man who fell downstairs to his death, is said to appear completely white.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Lady of the Lake in Kaamelott is pale blue with a wave texture when she appears to King Arthur.
  • In the 2006 Marple adaptation of The Sittaford Mystery, the ghost of murder victim Clive Trevelyan (played by Timothy Dalton) appears in shades of bluish grey at the end of the episode.
  • In the episode "The Ghost of Queen's Park" of Murdoch Mysteries, there are several mysterious deaths in a building near Queen's Park that look like murders. People report seeing a ghost that is blue and glows. It turns out the ghost was a woman who wanted a revenge for her mother's death. She looked exactly like her mother and her adoptive father was a scientist who experimented with radium. She rubbed herself with it, and radium is luminescent, glowing a faint blue.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has Moze as a green Cute Ghost Girl in Vampires, Ghosts, Werewolves, and Zombies.
  • Oz: At the very end of episode "Laws of Gravity", Jeremiah Cloutier appears to fellow inmate Jaz Hoyt in this form as Hoyt sits naked in solitary confinement frightened by the image he sees.
  • In The Pretender episode "Indy Show", Sydney dreams he's having a conversation with his twin brother Jacob, who has been in a coma for decades following a car accident. Jacob appears as he did before the accident, as seen in Monochrome Past flashbacks in earlier episodes — exactly as seen in the flashbacks, meaning he's monochrome in the midst of a scene that's otherwise in full color.
  • Saturday Night Live: In a filmed sketch parodying tween comedies, a commercial for the Disney Channel's "Aw Nuts! Mom's a Ghost!", mom had gone to South Korea and had an affair with a Korean official. He's worried she'll talk so he drowns her in a river and now she's a Mool-Gwishin - a Korean water ghost. She appears in monochrome gray while having wacky hijinks.
  • Supernatural: The ghost of a silent film star is rendered in black and white in the episode "Hollywood Babylon", as well as the ghost of company founder P. T. Sandover in "It's a Terrible Life". Some other ghosts or death echoes in the series are static-y black and white as well, but often there is some color, particularly red blood to highlight various wounds they suffered when they died.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Devil's Alphabet", the ghosts of the deceased members of the Devil's Alphabet Society are entirely green.
  • The X-Files:
    • In "Elegy", people report seeing injured pale women trying to convey a message. It's found out that at those moments, the women were already killed, and they were seeing their ghosts, all in pale blue colour.
    • In "Tithonus", Alfred Fellig can recognize who is about to die. He sees the people going black and white when they are dying, while the background stays fully coloured. (Inverse of Splash of Color.)

  • The numerous ghosts in Haunted House are all in various shades of pale blue.

  • Many productions of The Addams Family have the ghosts of the ancestors in entirely white clothing and facepaint, or sometimes pale blue or grey.
  • Most productions of Blithe Spirit have the deceased wife Elvira and later the second deceased wife Ruth in monochrome dress and makeup (the stage directions say grey, but pale blue has also been done).

    Video Games 
  • BioShock and sequel Bioshock 2, as a Spiritual Successor to the System Shock games also feature ghosts, explained as memories being recycled through reused Bio-Augmentation material sold in vending machines. They're transparent with a blue or grey glow to them and a static Interface Screw effect occurs while the player is near them.
  • Divinity: Original Sin II: The spirits of the dead are the same teal colour as liquid Source. In Act 2, the player characters learn that spirits' spectral bodies are actually made of Source, and that they can devour spirits to replenish their own power.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Star Resistance: The ghostly Shakun warriors who haunt the latter half of Stage 3 are all uniformly green.
  • The free-floating viral apparitions of Sigma and Zero in the Mega Man X series are violet-hued and glitchy.
  • In Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light, party members who fall in battle will be shown as opaque grey ghosts.
  • The ghosts of the murdered children in Five Nights at Freddy's 3 are only ever represented in monochrome 8-bit, even in scenes where they should be by all rights have defining colors.
  • All ghosts in Ghost Master appear in greenish tint when they are in their normal mode. Some of them can materialize in mortal world and show themselves to people in their normal color pattern, scaring them and averting this trope.
  • In the Mystery Case Files games, Emma, Rose, and the twins are ghost-white. The ghost pirate in 13th Skull is blue.
  • The ghost of Mari in OMORI has only two colors in the sprite: black and white. Said ghost's portrait additionally depicts a gray skintone.
  • Pikmin: Dead Pikmin will evaporate into a colored ghost, the color depending on their color in life.
  • RuneScape Ghost monsters are monochromatic white, while their Wights are variations of green (and surprisingly opaque). Other non-hostile ghosts are usually some variation on bluish-green, almost teal. Revenants are largely gray. The Shades are Color-Coded for Your Convenience but are always a variation of a single color on any given example.
  • The Sims:
    • The Sims 2 and 3: Ghosts are color coded based on how they died. For example, Sims that died due to drowning become blue ghosts, and Sims that died due to fire become red ghosts.
    • The original Sims averted this; the ghosts were the same colors as the living Sims, but transparent.
  • Smoke 'Em Out Struggle has Garcello's ghost appear as one of four solid colors, depending on what note he's singing.
  • System Shock 2: The apparitions, which are explained in universe as the psychic remnants of the recently deceased interfering with your cybernetic Diegetic Interface HUD glow a pale blue-grey light.

  • A Girl and Her Fed ghosts are a very distinct bright blue when interacting with the world of the living.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court has a number of ghosts, including a Bedsheet Ghost and full-color varieties. The ghost of the woman by the Annan waters, however, is just a white figure.
  • The Phoenix Requiem: The ghosts of regular, non-Shade human beings are depicted as wispy white figures. The Spirits also start off this way as pale gold, but more color begins to show as they gain strength.
  • In Undead Friend, All ghosts are pure white and glow slightly. They can however become full color physical beings through a process called reversing.
  • In Wilde Life, Word of God notes that she had a few ideas of how to draw Sylvia, but opted for this trope so that she would look like a black and white photograph.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Spirit World", when Aang accidentally transfers himself into the Spirit World, he's shown as completely blue and translucent.
  • The Backyardigans has Uniqua, Tyrone, and Pablo are blue ghosts in "It's Great To Be A Ghost".
  • In Casper the Friendly Ghost, the ghosts are transparent, pale and white-ish and not detailed.
  • Mr Krbec and his Animals: The spirit of Duke Ruprecht who used to be the lord and owner of Castle Kulikov and now haunts the place is designed as a white ghost. In one episode, he uses a spell that allows him temporarily gain "body and colour".
  • Marley and the Ghost of Christmas Past in Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol are blue and orange respectively.
  • High-Five Ghost from Regular Show is white and transparent.
  • The Flying Dutchman in SpongeBob SquarePants is sickly green.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • The Teen Titans turn light blue after they die.
    • In "Hot Garbage", the ghosts of the Titans except Beast-boy are blue-ish green.
    • The ghostly grandma from "Grandma Voice" is light blue.


Video Example(s):


Spirit of Duke Ruprecht

Duke Ruprecht haunting Kulikov Castle

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MonochromeApparition

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