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Supernatural Light

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The supernatural often casts an eerie light on reality. It glows in the darkness, and shines unlike the mundane experiences of anyone. As we tell stories with this glow, we emphasize the unnatural illumination and the dangers of the unknown. Ghosts have their glowing ectoplasm, fairies have their Ball of Light Transformation, and possession may be marked by the Glowing Eyes of Doom.

Super-Trope to:

See also Phosphor-Essence, where the glow represents power or purity rather than post-mortem persons.


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    Films — Animated 
  • The Princess and the Frog has the Friends on the Other Side who typically show up as shadows, but can also manifest as bright green spirits.
  • All the ghosts in ParaNorman glow pale green, to underscore their deadness. The witch's powers glow a bright green to underscore her connection to the undead.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ghostbusters (1984) has a multitude of glowing ghosts, ranging from pale blues to sickly greens.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The army of the dead, who owes Aragorn's family a battle, are green glowing ghosts.
  • In the horror movie Nightwish, the ghosts/aliens emanate a green light.
  • The ghosts in Poltergeist. While they manifest visibly as floating orbs, one of them appears as a white glowing feminine-like figure that turns out to be benevolent known as "The Waiting Woman" (in novelizations only). After she ascends upwards to the ceiling along with the ghost orbs, another set of sparks of orbs that represent the ghosts, as a close up is shown, it shows ghostly people wearing period clothes.
  • In The Sixth Sense, odd lights shine in the background of photos of Cole, who looks terrified in each one. It's subtle foreshadowing that ghosts have always been coming to Cole.

  • The Boundaries in The Sword of Truth series, being gateways into the underworld, are naturally bright green.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, the Dark Forest (which is basically a feline Hell) is described as being completely dark except for a sickly green light.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Legend of the Five Rings has the Shadowlands, where the dishonourable dead "live", but they can also enter the living world. Things from the Shadowlands have something called the Shadowlands Taint, which can be used to poison living creatures. Those affected by the Taint glow a sickly green. However, blessed green jade is a reliable way to protect both one's soul from spiritual corruption and one's body from physical harm when dealing with the Shadowlands, and it gives off an apparently similar glow.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Ghosts (and half-ghosts) usually have a white aura surrounding them in their ghost form. The stronger they are, the larger their aura.

     Real Life 
  • The Marfa Lights, in Marfa, Texas, are mysterious glowing lights that appear in the desert at night and have been the cause of much speculation ranging from aliens to ghosts to unknown atmospheric phenomena. The lights have drawn tourists and there is an observation area off US Route 67. Recent studies have indicated that the lights are probably atmospheric reflections of car headlights.
  • The Spooklight appears in a rural area between Missouri and Oklahoma near Joplin, Missouri and has been seen since the late 19th Century. It's described as a round, glowing light. Local legends attribute the light to ghosts but it is thought to be distorted headlights.

Alternative Title(s): Ghostly Glow


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