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Powers via Possession

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The character gets superpowers by allowing themselves to be possessed or by channeling spirits (usually ghosts) through them, by which they can access the skills and abilities the ghosts had in life or new powers that the ghost possesses by dint of, well, being a ghost such as unearthly wailing, freezing touch, moving things around like a poltergeist.

Of course, this requires the ability to see and talk to the ghosts in the first place.

May end up with the character possessing such powers referred to as being a medium, channeler, shaman, or witch doctor.

See Also: Demonic Possession, Heroic Host, Powers as Programs, Powers via Weapon, Our Ghosts Are Different, Willing Channeler, Possession Levitation and Possession Burnout.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle:
  • In a sense, the titular parasite of Baoh grants this as it transforms it's host into an armored bio-weapon with varying abilities when it's in danger.
  • The Dark Triad in Black Clover are the hosts of high-ranking devils, and gain their devils' magic on top of their innate magics: Lucifero's Gravity Magic for Dante, Beelzebub's Spatial Magic for Zenon, and Megicula's Curse-Warding Magic for Vanica. Their devils also enhance the power of their innate magic, with Dante's Body Magic boosted to the point he can instantaneously regenerate from would-be fatal wounds. As it turns out, Asta himself benefits from this since his Anti-Magic belongs to the devil within his grimoire, Liebe, and so does Julius/Lucius since his Time Master magic comes from his own devil Astaroth.
  • Bleach:
    • This is how the Visored's Mask of Power functions. The Visored have all been Hollowified (meaning that they have had a Hollow's soul inserted into their own, or an Inner Hollow has formed within them). By donning the Hollow's mask, they gain access to that Hollow's powers. Ichigo is an odd example in that his Inner Hollow has been there since the day he was born since it's also his Zanpakuto spirit, meaning once he tapped into his proper Soul Reaper powers Hollowifying was inevitable.
    • It turns out that this is how the entire Quincy race works. They are possessed by pieces of the original Quincy's soul, which he can distribute at will and then reabsorb at will (or after their deaths) to gain all of their skills, memories, etc.
  • Dandadan: Turbo-Granny's possession of Okarun allows him to go into a Superpowered Evil Side twice a day, with superhuman speed, strength, and reflexes. He needs Ayase to use her Psychic Powers to keep Turbo-Granny from taking over his body, though. Eventually, Turbo-Granny is exorcised and put in a Maneki Neko doll, but most of her power is left in Okarun's body permanently.
  • Devilman kicks off with the main character Akira becoming possessed by Amon, the most powerful and evil demon in Hell. Amon's power allows Akira to become Devilman. As long as Akira can hold onto his ability to think rationally, Amon cannot take control of him, though Akira does become stronger and more aggressive after his possession. When Akira loses his reason after his girlfriend is violently killed by an angry mob, Amon takes control of him, and this becomes straight up Demonic Possession.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Shen, AKA Hero, is a nerdy accountant-looking human who is possessed by Kami to fight in the 23rd WMA Tournament. He easily bests Yajirobe and Yamcha before losing to Piccolo.
    • Happens twice to the always-getting-outmatched Vegeta. In Dragon Ball Z, he allowed himself to be enthralled by the wizard Babidi so that he could gain the power boost that came with it. In Dragon Ball GT, he gets possessed by the machine mutant Baby, taking him to a far higher, twisted level of power... unwillingly this time.
  • In Fairy Tail, this is the purpose of Take Over magic, which works this way but with monster souls.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ling is captured and Father decides to pour Greed's Philosopher Stone into him, making the prince a homunculus. Ling openly accepts it (since it means he will finally obtain immortality) and Greed is utterly confused as to why he's letting a stranger take over his body. As a human-based homunculus, Ling/Greed have longevity, regeneration, the Ultimate Shield, and physical capabilities beyond a human, however they do need to eat and sleep like a normal person.
  • Shalnark, a member of the Phantom Troupe, in Hunter × Hunter can control people if he sticks them with a cell phone antenna. If he uses this on himself, he becomes faster, stronger, and more resistant to pain, because his self-possession disconnects his mind from the sensations his body feels, allowing him to surpass his body's physical limits. He doesn't like using it, though, because he will feel all the pain his body went through once the possession ends.
  • Kurau and other people possessed by Rynax in Kurau Phantom Memory gain numerous Rynax powers such as flight, intangibility, and the ability to disintegrate things.
  • The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service:
    • Yata claims to be channeling the mind of an alien into an old sock puppet he wears.
    • Much of Kuro's itako powers comes from being possessed by a ghost. The ghost never interacts with him directly—it takes several issues before he even becomes aware of her existence.
  • The Jinchuriki in Naruto gain an Animal Battle Aura by drawing on their Tailed Beast's power, although said beasts can attempt a Grand Theft Me on them.
    • Although in a few cases (such as the titular character and Killer B), the Tailed Beast inside can willingly co-operate with them and sometimes switch the dominant personality temporarily. Naruto and Kurama best exemplify this.
  • At one point in One Piece, Luffy is force fed the shadows of 100 fallen pirates—giving him all of their skills and strengths for ten minutes. Other than now being skilled with a sword, mostly this just causes Luffy to be much bigger and stronger than usual.
  • In Recently, My Sister Is Unusual, Mitsuki Kanzaki has no sports experience, runs really slow, and tires easily. When the ghost Hiyori Kotobuki, who was apparently an athlete in life, possesses her, she becomes an incredible athlete.
  • Shaman King:
    • Initially the series' core premise was shamans using a technique called Hyoui Gattai (lit. "Possession Fusion") to suck willing ghosts into their body and wield their abilities. Each shaman also has a spirit partner with whom they can work in particularly good sync, and whom they rely on in serious fights. However, once the contest to determine the Shaman King actually starts, it's quickly abandoned in favour of...
    • Oversoul, a technique for channelling a ghost into an object to create a Mana construct with powers themed around the ghost's personality and skills. Oversouls can take a vast number of forms dependent on the medium/ghost/shaman combination, with the protagonists revising theirs multiple times over the course of the series. Generally an effective Oversoul requires the physical medium to have both general spiritual significance and a symbolic link to the spirit (e.g. Yoh channels the samurai Amidamaru through a masterpiece katana forged by Amidamaru's best friend, later dual-wielding it with an ancient sword wielded by a Japanese War God). The mana inside an Oversoul can be adjusted up and down, and is not expended unless an opponent manages to shatter it (which is the primary way in which shamans wear each other down in battle); this also creates a Necessary Drawback for shamans partnered with powerful spirits such as deities, who require far more baseline mana to manifest.
    • Choco, an Aztec-style shaman, uses a unique form of Oversoul where he channels a jaguar spirit simultaneously through a set of claw weapons and his own body, granting him beastlike agility.
    • Sequel series Shaman King The Super Star introduces a third and final stage of shamanic techniques, New Trance, consisting of an outright Fusion Dance between shaman and spirit.
  • Several characters on Tokkô have "phantoms" living inside them, granting them powers such has enhanced strength and speed, Healing factors, and in some cases, Sword Beam attacks.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Joey combines with a Red-Eyes Black Dragon, causing corruption, possession and powerful abilities.

    Comic Books 
  • Captain Universe is all about this trope in the Marvel Universe. She is actually a semi-sentient cosmic force called The Unipower, whose main purpose was to maintain the barrier between Earth and another universe in place. And/or is the 'mother' of the Builders. It would grant powers to single individuals temporarily so they could fulfil specific missions. Though the Unipower doesn't really force the host to do anything, only tells them what they have to do. Presumably if you disobey, it'll just leave you.
  • The Entities in The DCU grant their hosts massive power related to the emotions they embody. Granted, with the more Obviously Evil Entities like Parallax, it's more akin to Demonic Possession since the host usually has little choice in the matter and the Entity is in the driver's seat. The only straight example of this seen so far is Ion the Willpower Entity—being respectful of the free will of others, it does not influence its hosts' thoughts or actions in any way.
    • It's unclear how much control some of the others have. It's been suggested that the Predator's (Love Entity) status as Stalking is Love is because it's attracted to "broken" hosts (since the Sapphires see their role as being to "fix" love), but then accepts the host's own severely flawed interpretation of what love is. Nicole Morrison, the host of the Hope Entity Adara, became calm, wise, and all-forgiving, but still seemed to be Nicole Morrison.
  • The villain Eclipso in the DCU. He was God's first Spirit of Wrath until was trapped within the "Heart of Darkness", a black diamond that allow various power to his possessed like Flight, Super-Strength, Sizeshifter, magic powers and energy manipulation.
  • In the versions of the story that make Jason Blood and Etrigan separate entities, the only "benefit" that Jason Blood gets from being Etrigan's host is sharing the demon's immortality. Any powers that he possesses as Jason are separate from Etrigan's and are the result of having centuries to improve his magical abilities.
  • The Ghost Riders all get their powers through being possessed by Spirits of Vengeance. The original Ghost Rider made this full on Demonic Possession.
  • In The Golden Age, Captain Triumph was the result of Lance Gallant merging with the ghost of his brother Michael. However, he came to hate this, as Michael became an adrenaline junkie (the merge gave him the ability to feel again). Lance died fighting Robotman, ignoring the ghost's pleas to merge.
  • In the comic Haunt, The main character is possessed by the spirit of his dead brother, and gains super powers.
  • In The Invisibles: Jim Crow's powers are very strongly based on real-world Voodoo belief (see Religion below), and he has a standing agreement with the loa Papa Guedhe (more commonly known as Baron Samedi) whom he calls upon to ride him when a situation demands more power than he can provide himself. As long as Papa Guedhe gets cake and rum out of the deal, he's happy.
  • In the Onslaught Reborn storyline, the Human Torch was briefly possessed by Onslaught. During this time, he spontaneously developed "flame vision".
  • In PS238, one of the children is a medium who can see ghosts and allow them to possess her to gain their knowledge. If the person had superpowers in life, she can get access to those as well.
  • Robin: Villain Johnny Warlock gained a very impressive group of powers after being possessed by the demon in an artifact he stole. He doesn't fully retain control though and his powers are charged by draining the life out of people nearby.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): The Amazon known as Fury has impressive, if also horrifying and difficult to control powers, due to acting as a host for one of the Erinyes (also known as the Fuires).
  • X-Men has possibly the most famous example of this in the form of the Phoenix Force, which takes mortal hosts (usually a psychic Significant Green-Eyed Redhead) to do a specific job in either rejuvenating a dying world, protecting it or if it's stagnant, destroying it. Then She leaves. However, this all gets a bit muddy with the precise details of the relationship between Jean Grey and the Phoenix, and she tends to stick around with favoured hosts like Jean and her daughter Rachel. In any case, hosts are granted vast telepathic and telekinetic powers, which often manifest in the form of the Phoenix raptor, making each host a borderline Reality Warper. They're also effectively impossible to kill, since even if they can be killed, they'll just immediately come back.

    Fan Works 

    Films - Animation 
  • Mei in Turning Red gains the ability to become a giant red panda by hosting a red panda spirit, something that happens to all the women in her family.

    Films - Live-Action  
  • This is the premise of how the young girls become witches in The Craft. They already have some magical ability, but then try to amp things up by invoking some guy called "Mannon" to possess them. The god in Wicca is not called Mannon and this was made up for the film. In fact almost the whole film was made up, to the great annoyance of Wiccans in the real world.
  • Evil Dead: The evil force can make its hosts hover, survive extensive mutilation, and even horrifically change shape.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): When Dana Barrett and Louis Tully become possessed by Zuul and Vinz Clortho, they exhibit supernatural abilities. On Peter's "date" with her, Dana levitates above her bed while growling and snarling like an unearthly beast. Louis' growls monstrously and flares his eyes red when angered and also shows telekinetic ability when opening and closing the door to Dana's apartment during their demonic reunion.
  • Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday: Those possessed by Jason Voorhees in the film obtain his trademark Super-Strength and Nigh-Invulnerability.

  • An odd example from Durarara!!: Anri is the current host of Saika, a demonic sword capable of possessing anyone it cuts, which can somehow exist "within" its current wielder. Saika grants its host a number of abilities, such as making them a Hive Queen to everyone who has been cut/possessed, as well as an Instant Expert in swordsmanship (specifically iaido, though this part is arguable; as Saika can communicate mentally with its host and said host specifically says the sword "taught" her how to fight, it's very possible it actually trained her itself). Given that there doesn't seem to be any reason the host couldn't just toss the sword into the ocean, she's keeping it of her own free will.
  • In INVADERS of the ROKUJYOUMA!?, Sanae initially starts possessing Koutarou so that she can taste food again by sharing his senses. Later, with their trust having deepened to the point where his body no longer rejects her, they realise that they can do this in reverse, with Sanae lending Koutarou her Aura Vision powers and also allowing him to control his body the way a ghost does (directly through thought, without the delay of sending signals through the nervous system). Interestingly, the relevant "spiritual circuitry" remains in Koutarou's body for a while afterwards, allowing him to tap into a lesser version of these powers by concentrating on how it felt to use them.
  • This is how the main method of summoning works in The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign. A summoner calls in a Material from another world and has it possess a vessel (which may be a human or animal). The vessel transforms into the Material, gaining Super-Strength, Super-Speed and Nigh-Invulnerability.
  • This is how all sorcerers and saints gain their powers in Lois McMaster Bujold's Chalion novels; possession by a demon makes one a sorcerer, while possession by a god makes one a saint. Unfortunately, both will make you Blessed with Suck, since demonic possession usually leads to a Split-Personality Takeover, whereas possession by a god makes you a Cosmic Plaything.
  • Mortimer Lindquist reveals in The Dresden Files Book 13, Ghost Story that he has the ability to borrow the skillsets and abilities of ghosts near him and use them for his own means. Including Harry's basic magical abilities, when he calls up a simple defensive spell.
    • Harry does the same for Molly when she's surrounded by Fomor henchmen. Works especially well because Molly had been fighting them using illusions, but Harry fights with fire. After general badassery and crispy henchmen ensue, it turns sad: Molly has always crushed on Harry, and she observes that it's the closest she'll come to getting with him.
  • After being briefly possessed by F'ryan (A swordmaster) to fight off a Weapon, Karigan retains some of his skills. Later volumes in the Green Rider series have her build on that base with more conventional training.
  • In Pale, this is known as the Halflight Practice, hosting friendly spirits and wraiths within your own body to gain beneficial effects. Verona Hayward approaches Halflight by using the an alchemical tonic called the sixberry admixture, which softens key portions of her soul and wears away others to open up space for a friendly guest. Her first such pact is with the spirit Long, who lengthens her thoughts and body.
  • In the Ravenor trilogy, Carl Thonius gains various supernatural abilities after being possessed by the daemon Slyte. These include superhuman durability, telekinesis, mind control, and the ability to cure cancer, amongst other things.
  • Daichi has to rely on Crimson's powers in the Ro.Te.O spinoff Crimson. However, he eventually gains some powers of his own.
  • Kalinda in Star Trek: New Frontier has the ability to talk to and channel ghosts. In Treason, her dead brother Si Cwan possesses her, aiding in the Excalibur's search for his and Robin's newborn son. While possessed, she gains all of his fighting prowess and intellect, while Squicking Robin out (and Kalinda's other lover, Xyon). About the only person Cwan!Kally doesn't squick out is Tania Tobias, who's a little touched herself...and strikes up a relationship with Kalinda that lasts after the possession ends, to Xyon's utter dismay.
  • This is how Surgebinding works in The Stormlight Archive. The spren half of the pair piggybacks off the human's mind to retain sentience in the Physical Realm (spren are native to the Cognitive), and the human gets access to two of the ten Surges.
    • The listeners use a similar mechanism, bonding various spren to assume different forms in their Hive Caste System.
  • In The Bartimaeus Trilogy a group of magicians attempt this, summoning demons into their bodies so that they can wield their magical power directly instead of needing to rely on complicated sigils and bindings to command them. They are under the impression that through the strictures of the summoning and their own willpower they can force the spirits to submit to them even when they are within their own bodies. This doesn't work at all, but the spirit they summoned first pretended it had to lure more of them into doing it.

    Live Action TV 
  • Angel has Illyria, an ancient god in a human body.
    • In season 4, Cordelia is granted magics powerful enough to make her stand against Willow Rosenberg in a magical duel, due to her mystical possession by and pregnancy with Jasmine.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O makes a lot of use of this, as protagonist Ryotaro was originally a Non-Action Guy and originally could only manifest Den-O's most basic form. Being possessed by his Imagin partners gives him access to Den-O's multiple forms as well as their combat skills, but it often leaves him at the mercy of their capricious nature (especially with the childish Ryutaros, but the others have all had their moments).
    • It's shown later that this is all a matter of willpower; Yuto Sakurai/Zeronos and all the movie villain Riders have sufficiently strong will that they can transform into combat-worthy forms without needing an Imagin's help. Later in the series, after Ryotaro has taken a level in badass, he has the will to manifest his own Super Mode, Liner Form.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost has a version of this, with the Riders using Eyecons, items that house the souls of legendary figures, which grants them skills or powers related to the hero they're channeling. For example, Miyamoto Musashi grants Dual Wielding skills, Robin Hood grants archery skills, and Thomas Edison grants Shock and Awe powers.
  • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy has a variation of the trope with the Magna Defender. At the end of the first season, it turns out that the Magna Defender was actually possessing Mike. The Defender sacrifices himself and saves Mike and the rest of the colony in the end, but in the second season his spirit appears to Mike and reveals that he still has the powers of the Magna Defender as a result.
  • Siempre bruja: Amanda gets the powers of a lineage witch when she is possessed by an evil witch's spirit.
  • Smallville:
    • When the ghosts of the evil witches Isobel, Madelyn, and Brianna possess people, they are able to use their powers.
    • The wraith prisoners of the Phantom Zone were able to use their powers when possessing people. Their host bodies seemed to gain Required Secondary Powers (Baern's human host did not suffer from radiation poisoning when Baern was removed from him). The one exception was General Zod. He required a host who already had Kryptonian powers.
  • Supernatural:
  • In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Little Problems", Xena's soul becomes trapped in a little girl's body, meaning they are both in control of it. When Xena takes over, she somehow retains her strength, speed, and agility, allowing the child to effortlessly kick the crap out of full-grown thugs while leaping 20 feet through the air.

  • Voodoo (Vaudon) magic is supposed to work this way, as the faithful are "ridden" by the loa they summon.
  • In both traditional and modern Spiritualism, voluntary possession (partial or full trance mediumship) allows spirits to continue doing things in the present world. Healer mediums invite doctors and traditional healers in. In the early days of modern Spiritualism, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin and others used to give abolitionist speeches this way.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The supplement Tome of Magic introduced Binders, practitioners of "Pact Magic". These characters, though not spellcasters themselves, would conjure up entities called Vestiges and let a fragment of the things' consciousness "tag along" in exchange for supernatural abilities. Binders usually manifest tell-tale mutations or certain behavioral compulsions afterwards, which vary depending on which Vestige is involved.
    • Fourth Edition, in addition to having a variation of Binder, also applies this to Barbarians, whose main gimmick is using nature spirits to go into raging trances.
    • Rich Burlew is now better known as the author of The Order of the Stick, but he started out as a game developer and some of his creations are still found on the OOTS forum. He made a 3.5 Edition base class called The Champion, whose main class feature is the ability to summon a divine avatar to take over their body and grant them additional powers. You can find it here.
  • The main premise of Geist: The Sin-Eaters, though honestly, it's a little more complicated than that.
  • In Hunter: The Vigil, there's an entire Conspiracy of hunters who are Willing Channelers called Les Mysteres. This gives them magical powers, but means they are typically little more than dupes of the spirits—this means they have a huge vendetta against werewolves because they don't understand that managing and controlling the spirits is necessary to avoid them turning the mortal world into one giant Dark World.
  • Fomori, from the Old World of Darkness, get powers from the fact that there is a spirit attached to their soul. Of course, that spirit is evil and tries to get you to behave accordingly, tends to warp its host physically, and, oh yeah, doesn't usually possess people with consent.
    • Rarer by far than the already less-than-common Fomori, if you don't want to be possessed by an evil spirit, there are also Kami (possessed by an uncorrupted nature spirit), Gorgons (possessed by a spirit of primal chaos), or Drones (possessed by a servant of the universal manifestation of order). All have their downsides, but they have significantly less than Fomori. Oh, and they also don't usually bother checking with prospective hosts beforehand either.
  • Pathfinder:
    • This is the basis of one archetypenote  for the Oracle. It's called the Possessed Oracle, and its powers are flavored as being due to the Oracle allowing spirits to cohabit their body.
    • The Medium class' core mechanic is a daily seance by which they can invite an archetypal spirit into their bodies and draw on its abilities: the Champion augments weapons-based combat, the Archmage grants additional spellcasting, and so on. A spirit can also fudge certain dice rolls for its host in a pinch, at the cost of granting it extra influence over the Medium's actions.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, some Chaos Space Marines voluntarily undergo Demonic Possession in exchange for power, while some of the more radical Inquisitors create Daemonhosts by binding a daemon inside a poor sap's body.
    • For the Eldar, as if losing all their personality to an aspect warrior persona (artificially created personality filled only with rage and hatred) wasn't bad enough, to protect the Craftworld infinity circuit from corruption, exarchs don armour with incorporated autonomous infinity circuit of its own. This armor hosts personalities of every exarch that wore this armor before making his body being effectively possessed by this hive mind. Even more so more ancient Phoenix Lords armor that are similar in design but also host the souls of ancient eldar heroes. Being more powerful by the order of magnitudes than an ordinary exarch they effectively take full control of the body, download all his memories and use his soul as an extra psychic power battery. Baring some monstrous psykers, exarchs and Phoenix Lords are the strongest fighters Eldar can field.

    Video Games 
  • Used to assist courtroom cases in the Ace Attorney series.
  • In City of Heroes', Peacebringers and Warshades get their powers from Kheldians (an alien energy-being) inhabiting their body—though this is more like a Symbiotic Possession or Merger of Souls, because the possession results in a fused personality and identity between the host and Kheldian.
  • Professor Heisen in Die Reise ins All gains some powers from a ghost hidden inside of a martian artifact. Very useful, as long as he is on your side, very hard, when he turns evil.
  • In the Dragon Age series, at least two characters gain power by allowing possession by (benevolent) spirits: Wynne in Origins was possessed by a Spirit of Faith while near death, saving her life, while Anders allows (Spirit of) Justice to possess him between Awakening and Dragon Age II. Other possessed mages you meet are mostly horribly-deformed abominations, since most possessions involve malevolent spirits, a.k.a. demons.
  • Zappa from the Guilty Gear games probably wouldn't be anything close to a match for the other fighters if it wasn't for the fact that he's possessed by a very angry ghost. Or ghosts, depending on your interpretation.
  • Riku in Kingdom Hearts. The first time you fight him (which is optional), he's Badass Normal and is mostly hard because he keeps jumping around and when you knock him down, flings back at you and it hurts. The second time you fight him (which is not optional), he is using the powers of darkness and puts up a fight before going down but isn't a hard opponent... partly because it's 3v1 in your favor. The third time you fight him, however, he becomes That One Boss because he is possessed by Xehanort's Heartless. And it's not just because it's a Duel Boss...
    • Averted in the later games; however—he later learns to use these powers without being controlled.
  • The Ashen Cult in Mage Gauntlet runs on this, using tattoos, willpower, and alignment with Uamuleth to avoid total loss of control... usually.note 
  • Mass Effect
    • In Mass Effect, killing Saren should stop Sovereign from using him any longer, right? Wrong. Bastard gets right back up, the cybernetics in him taking over the body (which might not have been quite entirely dead, judging by the screaming) and gives you another round of hell.
    • The Collector General in Mass Effect 2 will often ASSUME DIRECT CONTROL of one of his flunkies, transforming it from a mild inconvenience into a burning, supercharged biotic monster who will constantly advance to blast you in the face. Worst of all, it doesn't seem to take much out of him. Kill one avatar and he'll possess any surviving Collector in short order.
  • Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor is a great example. Talion is Cursed with Awesome and has his soul bound to Earth, giving him the ability to return from death. However, his soul is also bound to an Elven Wraith, Celebrimbor, who has several amazing powers he can use- but only through Talion, who is given Celebrimbor's powers to use in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • This is why Momohime has any ability in Muramasa: The Demon Blade - she spends most of the game possessed by a Master Swordsman and in one of the endings, said swordsman's soul fuses with hers to save her life and give her all his skills, at the cost of his own existence and her memories.
  • Variation in Phantom Brave: you get the ghosts to posses objects to access their skills, but the premise is close enough.
  • This happens to Pietro's father in Popolocrois, making him into the Dark Lion King.
  • The main character of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters gains powers from being 'possessed' by Gig. Fortunately for everyone involved, Gig has no real control over the protagonist (which in return limits the amount of power the protagonist gains from the deal) and can, at worst, only be sarcastic at everybody.
  • Shrine Maidens like Reimu from the Touhou Project series are said to be able to do this, though it's only been seen in Silent Sinner in Blue, and with gods rather than spirits
    • They return in the Gaiden Game, Wayward Souls, but you can also play as one member—Svala, the Cultist—who manages to control her demon (for the most part) without actively serving Uamuleth. Granted, she's still an Anti-Hero at best, but the other cultists (and demons) do not take kindly to her independence.

  • Ava's Demon downplays this by making the possession a Required Secondary Power. Simply being possessed doesn't give Ava any powers, but performing a Fusion Dance with the titular demon does and said Fusion Dance is only possible through demonic possession.
  • Masako in Beneath the Clouds is a medium who allows herself to be possessed by angry ghosts as part of the exorcism ceremonies. While she's hosting a spirit, her eyes glow and she is capable of inhumanly fast reactions. As the ghosts are often angry, bitter and disorientated, it's more of a liability than a help, and the effect only lasts for a short time anyway.
  • The Cobra Days comic (about Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater's Cobra unit) expanded Sorrow's medium power into this: getting a Ninja to possess him to take out an enemy unit.
  • Joel in Concession has spiritual powers greater than most who have them due to his sister's spirit, though which one is more in control is debatable.
    • The same now for Artie, who is channeling the spirit of his dead girlfriend.
  • The protagonist of Fusion gained superpowers related to atomic fusion after becoming the host of a rather snarky alien entity. She calls him "Bob".
  • Gunnerkrigg Court had Jack Hyland, a student good enough at things like bypassing security measures. Possession by an imaginary spider quickly made him a Mad Scientist with understanding of "ethereal sciences" on par with adult specialists in this area. And gave him stock powers growing from ethereal vision to flight. On the down side, he acted as if on heavy psychostimulants—excitable, nasty mood whiplashes, no sleep—and thus barely survived a few months of this "fun". Once he got rid of the spider, "great ideas" are gone. However, he's still rather brilliant on his own and this misadventure seems to either give or awaken at least some magical talent.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: This is where a reaper's power is drawn from. A reaper is basically a human soul and a demon soul inside of a puppet body. The demon is just an animal driven by emotion. The human soul is in charge most of the time, but if they start losing control of their emotions, the demon starts taking over. Brook has his demon in a complete stranglehold, while Scarlet's humanity is tethered to Chase; if she starts losing control, he's the only thing that can bring her back.
  • Played with in Mob Psycho 100. Ritsu gains his Psychic Powers when Dimple possesses him, but the powers were always his own. Dimple only lets him unlock and develop them, afterwards, Ritsu remains able to use Psychic Powers without him.
  • Nodwick once was overrun by three intelligent weapons at once. Great carnage ensues.
  • Used in The Order of the Stick story arc where Vaarsuvius makes a Deal with the Devil to get "ultimate arcane power". This is accomplished by splicing the souls of three deceased epic wizards to V's own, giving them access to their full selection of spells for as long as V can maintain the necessary concentration.
  • This is how mediums in Paranatural get powers.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Demonic Possession is a battle of wills between the demon and the human they are possessing. Generally speaking, the demon's will is stronger, but it is possible for a human to force a particularly weak demon into possessing them so that they can siphon off the demon's magic for their own purposes. Gwynn's magic is also based on this, being drawn from possession by an ancient king, who himself is possessed by a demon Sealed Inside a Person-Shaped Can by the gods.
  • Downplayed in Stand Still, Stay Silent. When Lalli winds up in Emil's mind, this gives Emil the ability to see and hear troll spirits, which is usually mage-exclusive. Unfortunately, since Emil is not a mage, he has no way to protect himself from the trolls' commands, so Lalli is forced to incapacitate him whenever they attempt to use their Compelling Voice on him. The problem is solved when Lalli finally gets out.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, any character possessed by a god or other supernatural entity can use powers they normally can't. For example, this happens when Axikasha Keiran is possessed by Hephaestus, the God of Smithing, who heals her from near death and gives her the strength to fight against Nergal, the God of War, who is possessing Jacob Seneron.
  • This seems to be the case with Tim in Marble Hornets. When in the form of Masky, there is the implication of Offscreen Teleportation at times, along with causing audio and video distortions on film. The Masky persona also seems to induce Laser-Guided Amnesia, as he has no memory of anything that happens while acting as Masky.
  • The Nostalgia Chick's best friend Nella gets these when she's taken over by a quasi-demonic, intergalactic force of evil and becomes Dark Nella.
  • In Obscurus Lupa and Phelous' review of Witchcraft IX, the ghost of a warlock possesses a Hooker with a Heart of Gold when she's being beaten up by her pimp. This doesn't give her magic or anything, yet allows her to beat the pimp up...somehow.
    "Being possessed by a ghost makes her stronger...I guess?"
  • In Prolecto, this is a big thing that happens to anyone possessed by Azazel. If combined with a Succubus transformation, they get even MORE powerful. The main host pretty much gets the Super Power Lottery.
  • Seen in the Whateley Universe; the mutant "avatar" trait is all about being able to host a spirit in the mutant's body and derive power from that union. It's not even all that uncommon—the school has quite a few examples, and one of the world's premier heroes is the host of the so-called "Champion Force", an amalgamation of multiple spirits collected by a predecessor.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • The Avatar joining with the Avatar Spirit gives them all the knowledge and experience of their previous incarnations, including mastery of elements they have not yet learned to use. While the Avatar will eventually learn to enter the Avatar state intentionally, until they do the Spirit may take involuntary possession of them during time of high emotion or danger.
    • Avatar Spirit also joined with the Ocean Spirit at one point, forming a watercrafted behemoth with Aang at the core.
    • In The Legend of Korra, a Lion Turtle in the backstory explains to Wan (the first Avatar) that humans cannot bend multiple elements unless they are joined with spirits like Raava. When Wan needs to wield more than one element, Raava has to merge with him to handle the extra energy. The temporary possession is too taxing on Wan's body and he risks death if he and Raava are merged for an extended period of time. During the battle with Vaatu, Wan and Raava are merged forever when Wan touches the Harmonic Convergence. This is how the Avatar Cycle began.
  • In the episode "Possession" during the first season of Beast Wars, Generation One Decepticon alumnus Starscream makes an appearance. His immortal spark, hurdling through space and time, lands smack-dab into the Predacon base during a violent storm, which Starscream shortly follows up by possessing Beast Wars' very own Butt-Monkey: Waspinator. In one scene, Starscream takes Waspinator's (who is already a quick fellow to begin with) body for a spin, showing remarkable speed and agility exceeding Waspinator's normal parameters.