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Unfinished Business

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A.J.: Why do you think she came back?
Nikki: Unfinished business. That's always why ghosts come back.

The primary reason for ghosts to be Barred from the Afterlife. They want revenge, their story to be told, or simply a confirmation once and for all that they are, in fact, dead. To get rid of the ghost, the hero or heroine will have to somehow communicate with it and figure out its goal. If the ghost seeks revenge, well, bad news — they may not even know who their murderer was — time for some detective work on the part of the living! Other pieces of business might involve passing on a final message or accomplishing a very important task.

Ghosts with Unfinished business almost always have Purpose-Driven Immortality; once their business is finished, they vanish in a flash of light or other suitable effect.

While the futility of revenge is often An Aesop for the living, it seems to be different for the dead.

See also Ghostly Goals. See also Unfulfilled Purpose Misery, for still living people with similar problem. Super-Trope to Resurrection Revenge. Contrast with Afterlife Angst, where the angst comes from the fact that they’ve died in the first place.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ranma ½, the anime-only ghost Kogane, who is cryptic about what she needed Ranma and Akane to find because she didn't remember what it was herself; it eventually comes out that she forgot to collect the plush toy that came as a free gift with the purchase of her school day-planner.
  • In AIR, Shiraho the miko possesses Kano so she can use her to tell her tragic story to someone who will listen. The unfortunate part is that only about part of her spirit is in Kano, and her attempts to share her tale come out as broken speech and Kano trying to re-enact Shiraho's suicide without realizing what she's doing. Yukito finally uses Kanna's feather to unite Shiraho's ghost, hear her out and dispel her from Kano. And while we're on the subject of the Jidaigeki and modern age intersecting, Ryuuya and Uraha are continually reincarnated out of hope that one of their future lives will save Kanna from her own reincarnation curse.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler parodies this, having the Priest's ghost say that the last thing binding him to the world was his lingering desire to flirt with a Meido. After convincing him that he can't flirt with Maria, Isumi volunteers to masquerade as one, going on a short quest to find the essence of being a maid. In the end, however, he reveals that he was joking and has no intention of moving on yet.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi parodied this along with other ghost-related tropes during Sayo's chapter. After learning that all Sayo wanted was to make friends, Negi and Asakura approach her and tell her that she can be friends with them, and she immediately fades from their sight. While Negi tearfully looks up in the sky assuming that she's finally left in peace, Mana, who has a stronger ghost sense than Negi, points out that she's still right there, on the same spot.
  • In Corpse Princess, this is what causes Shikabane to occur. Generally, instead of having their story told, they get their brains exploded.
  • Hell Teacher Nube - Nube's always assisting spirits to pass on to the next life (and tells a spiritual-power seeking student that being able to see ghosts is a terrible power to have since they'll never leave you alone if they think you can help them).
  • In RIN-NE, this is what drives part of the series. The title character spends his time helping finish it.
  • In Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, Cute Ghost Girl Menma believes she's sticking around because she needs a wish granted before she can move on. Trouble is, she can't remember what her wish was.
  • Two exist in Mahoromatic. In episode 5, one of the male students mentions a girl who died after falling down from the rooftop of the school, and her hair dyed red from her blood. The other was a boy who suffered a fatal heart attack after being tossed into the pool by bullies. Although they thought those were just urban legends, said ghosts actually do exist, and Mahoro runs into both of them. However, being a combat android, she's not afraid of either one and is barely aware of the concept of ghosts, but when she talks to them, they both mention being stuck there due to waiting for someone. So she helps them by bringing the boy to the girl inside the school, where they both ascend to the sky and fade away.
  • The opening theme of Hikaru no Go actually says that Sai came back from death to achieve the "Hand of God" (a move in Go) being that (and wanting to play go even in death) his unfinished business, he and Hikaru even believe so. It's actually a subversion; the real reason he was allowed to came back was to be Hikaru's mentor.
  • A Rumiko Takahashi short story called "Reserved Seat" was about an old woman possessing her surly rocker grandson after her death, in order to continue enjoying Takarazuka musicals with her neighbor, a nun. The grandson's friend thinks it's because he blew off her funeral and insulted her at the wake, but the nun states it's because the grandmother has a reserved seat until the end of the season. As it turns out, her actual business was to finally see one more show with her grandson, of his own free will. He used to love those musicals when he was a kid, until he accidentally ripped his grandmother's favorite poster and she went ballistic.
  • Revenge fuels a lot of the decisions in Skyhigh by Takahashi Tsutomu.
  • In Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt, Stocking falls in love with an extremely crude and slovenly ghost who barely acknowledges her existence. She spends the whole episode trying to win him over. When he finally returns her love, he immediately vanishes to Heaven, as to love and be loved in return was his unfinished business.
  • In Fairy Tail, the master of Cait Shelter Roubaul lingered on for centuries to watch over his greatest mistake, Nirvana. He finally moves on after Nirvana is destroyed and after seeing that Wendy no longer needs the illusionary guild he created for her.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Okko's Inn has the ghosts Okko encounters, who all have ties to the living world and are able to move on once Okko helps them and herself.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has these for the Dark Signers: Carly to avenge her death at the hands of Sayer/Divine (as well as reuniting with Jack), Misty to get revenge for her younger brother, Kalin to get revenge on Yusei for letting him be arrested when he went off the deep end, Bommer/Grieger for revenge on Rex Goodwin (Though he was alive at first), Roman Goodwin to orchestrate the other Dark Signers, and Rex to pull a Yin-Yang Bomb with Roman's old Signer Mark.

    Comic Books 
  • The Simpsons: In one Treehouse of Horror comic, the Simpsons are killed and return as earthbound spirits. While Lisa guesses that their unfinished task involves forgiving a guilt-stricken Grampa for accidentally killing them (he was fiddling with the reception on the TV and accidentally fried them), they settle for scaring the townspeople out of the house (Homer having willed their home to all their friends).
  • Supergirl: In Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot, Kara Zor-El, who died fighting the Anti-Monitor, does not explain why her ghost is wandering around the Earth, but when saying goodbye to Deadman, she states she has business to attend to.
  • Marvel miniseries Invaders Now: Implied. The Invaders were a World War II-era superhero team, and, strangely enough, all but one of the core team members managed to not only survive to the present day but retain their youth. Captain America and Bucky were frozen in suspended animation, the Human Torch is an android who died and was reactivated more than once, Spitfire was given a blood transfusion that reverted her to a teenager, Toro was brought back to life by Bucky rewriting reality, and Namor and Aarkus, the Golden-Age Vision, just live that long naturally. Aarkus explains that he had a hand in guiding the rest to the present day because he sensed that a mission gone wrong during the war — a town being infected by a virus that turned them all into mindless monsters, which the Invaders dealt with by killing them all — was going to come back and the Invaders needed to be the ones to set it right. It turns out that the whole thing is caused by a magic spell cast by a relative of some of the victims, who was angry when he saw that the Invaders were slowly coming back over the years and wanted revenge. Interestingly, the only Invader who doesn't find a way back to life is Union Jack, Brian Falsworth. Aarkus says that he can't reach Brian because his soul is at peace. Brian was the only member of the team who refused to participate in the massacre, possibly explaining why he died peacefully, and none of the others did.
  • In an Usagi Yojimbo story, "Broken Ritual" (plotted by Sergio Aragonés), Usagi encounters a village haunted by the ghost of a samurai general who, having failed to protect Lord Mifune, was killed by enemy soldiers before he could perform seppuku. Usagi is able to aid the ghost by acting as his "second" so he could finish the seppuku ritual.
  • Talia in Brody's Ghost, who claims to have been locked out of heaven and requires a good deed to get in, turns out to have actually opted not to go to heaven so she can have revenge on her killer, the Penny Murderer. Another ghost character, Kagemura, refused to move on while there was still suffering and decay in the world.
  • Fantastic Four: In the issue where Ben is living in Paris, he meets the (slightly goofy but also rather adorable) local Parisian superhero team, Les Heroes de Paris, including the Phantom Detective, a ghost who haunts the Louvre until the day he can solve his own murder. Ben pokes fun at him for just hanging about the Louvre all day and calls him a layabout, to which he responds "The dead have a right to lay about, Monsieur!"
  • Wonder Woman: Black and Gold: Eleanor died trying to return her siblings home after their abduction, and is still moving their remains across the sea and violently protecting them over a century later. When Diana reveals that her baby brother was actually rescued and made it home her ghost finally finds its rest.
  • Deadman's original reason for sticking around as a ghost was to find his killer and avenge his own death.

    Fairy Tales 

    Fan Works 
  • In Being Dead Ain't Easy, this is parodied. Joey haunts Kaiba because he has nothing better to do, and thinks he's too smug for his own good.
  • Child of the Storm has this very trope as the title of the sequel's side-story, and the motive for both Nimue's very slow-burning plot (though she was never entirely dead to begin with) and the Green Lantern Ring involving Carol, its first wielder since the retirement of the now-dead Alan Scott: both of them have unfinished business with Project Pegasus. Nimue unleashed it as part of her plans and her more general unfinished business, getting rather more than she bargained for in the process, and the Ring was used by Alan Scott to seal up Pegasus.
  • From The Girl in the Pink Dress, we have Nui. The reason she haunts the Kiryuuins is that she just simply wants to go outside, something that, due to illness which caused her death, she couldn't do, leaving her ghost trapped in the house long after her death. When she is freed, she thanks the Kiryuuins before leaving and, later on, reincarnating.
  • In the one-shot A Farm Girl's Promise, Malon died a century ago but is still waiting for her husband Link. She had promised him that they'd meet again after the war, but Lon Lon Ranch was pillaged beforehand. Malon's ghost reunites with Link's Twilight Princess reincarnation and helps him recover some Past-Life Memories.
  • In the Harry Potter fanfic The Peace Not Promised, Dumbledore is able to use the Resurrection Stone to help a ghost speak with her estranged mother and find peace, allowing her to finally pass on after centuries of regret.
  • Referenced in the Gravity Falls one-shot Mabel's Guide to Death; the ghost of Mabel Pines, having been killed during the events of the series finale, speculates on what's keeping her around.
Ghost!Mabel: "Most ghosts have unfinished business of some kind. You'll need to get them done so that you can go up to the great whatever-it-is in the sky. For me, I'm not quite sure. Maybe it was for getting Grunkle Stan's memory back, but he's mostly back to normal and I'm still here. Maybe it's to make sure everybody's gonna be alright without me. Maybe it's just to say goodbye to everybody. Now that I think about it, it might be all of that stuff, plus a couple other things."
  • The Peace Not Promised: Severus is offered the chance to go back to his teen years and try again, because "your regrets chain you to the living". He can't find peace in the afterlife, even though it's available to him, because he can't let go of his mistakes.
    Severus: Was death not supposed to take that from me?
    Dumbledore: If death was all it took to wash away regrets, then ghosts would not exist.
  • Subverted in The Rigel Black Chronicles when Harry suggests to Moaning Myrtle that perhaps her murderer can finally be identified and she can have peace. Myrtle rolls her eyes and informs Harry that she's not hanging around due to anything like that.
    Myrtle: I mean, sheesh, could you be any more clichéd?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Casper is the Trope Namer. The idea was actually followed through upon to dispatch the Big Bad of the film; she came back as a ghost to steal Casper's father's "treasure", and succeeded — but doing so resolved her unfinished business, and she was hurled into the afterlife seconds later. And the reason James and Kat could never find Amelia's ghost was that they loved her so well in life that she had no unfinished business tying her to the world.
  • Crimson Peak: The ghosts all have a purpose for their existence. Edith's mother came back to warn her daughter against the eponymous manor (though this failed as Edith didn't realize what the name referred to until she arrived there). The ghosts Edith encounters within the manor are Thomas Sharpe's previous wives, who were each murdered by Thomas and his sister/lover Lucille. Their business is to warn Edith of the siblings' murderous intentions and prevent them from killing again. At the end of the film, this business is fulfilled and it's implied that the manor's ghosts will pass on, along with that of the redeemed Thomas Sharpe.
  • Each incarnation of The Crow comes back from the dead to avenge some horrible wrong committed against them and their loved ones (usually their own murder is a part of said wrong).
  • In Ghostbusters: Afterlife, after the ghost of Egon Spengler is lovingly embraced by his estranged daughter, it vanishes, showing it was the one thing he needed before moving on. Well, that and possibly busting Gozer, but he had finished that business a few minutes earlier.
  • Ghost (1990) revolves around Sam comes back as a ghost after his murder to save the life of his girlfriend.
  • In Ghost Town (2008), Jerkass dentist Bertram Pincus can see ghosts, all of whom have this issue - by the end, Pincus realizes that it's usually the living that have this with their late loved ones, who are holding onto their memory too tightly for them to move on.
  • Subverted in the 2002 adaptation of The Ring: Naomi Watts' character thinks that Sadako/Samara wants her story to be told before she can move on. Actually, she's just evil.
  • In Prison, an inmate who was executed for a crime he didn't commit returns to haunt the titular facility.
  • In Tower of Terror, the ghosts can't leave the Hollywood Tower Hotel until they reach the top floor of the hotel to get to the party they were headed to fifty years earlier.
  • Even though not technically dead, the Bride from Kill Bill was beaten to a pulp and then shot point blank in the head. Her story could be taken as a living version of this trope.
    "You and I... have unfinished business..."
  • In The Ghost Goes West, Murdoch Glourie needs to find a McLaggen, and make him pay for dishonoring the Glourie name.
  • Pretty much the entire plot of the 1986 Charlie Sheen movie The Wraith. A teenager is murdered by a local gang of criminals because their leader had a Villainous Crush on his girlfriend. He comes back from the dead in a different body and travels around in a Cool Car wearing a black suit with a motorcycle helmet. He kills all of them one by one, gives his car to his younger brother, and finally leaves with his girlfriend.
  • In Heart and Souls, four people are traveling on a bus, when the bus driver gets distracted by a woman giving birth in a car, causing the bus to fly off a bridge. The bus driver immediately flies into the sky, but the four passengers somehow get trapped in the baby that is born at the same instant. Years later, they are stuck with the boy, who is having problems because of the four ghosts he constantly sees. They choose to leave him (really, just turn invisible) until years later when he grows up into Robert Downey Jr. The bus driver reappears and tells them that it's time for them to move on, but they're allowed to finish off the one remaining thing in their life. They reappear to the grown-up boy and explain their problem. He's initially reluctant (being a bit of a Jerkass, not a problem for the actor) but eventually agrees to help them (especially since they're able to temporarily Body Surf him and ruin his career). Three of them manage to finish their business (or fix a past mistake) and are taken by the bus. The last one is unable to do so but settles for wishing him a good life before moving on.
  • Chances Are (also with Robert Downey Jr.) has a young DA hit by a car after taking pictures proving that a judge is taking bribes. He also finds out that his wife is pregnant before this. At the Pearly Gates, he convinces the angels to let him cut the line and go back. They agree but, in a rush, forget to administer an injection that would erase any memory of past life. He is reborn into a new baby but without any memories. Later, he ends up meeting a girl and goes to meet her mother and mother's boyfriend. Then memories start flashing back, and he remembers that her mother is his widow, her daughter is his daughter, and her mother's boyfriend is his best friend. Hilarity Ensues when he tries to hit on his widow while refusing advanced from his daughter. Eventually, he's able to complete his business by publicly exposing the corrupt judge. He ends up hitting his head and ends up in a hospital, allowing an angel, dressed as a male nurse, to administer the memory-wiping injection. He wakes up remembering everything up to the moment when his old memories came back, which was kissing his daughter (who is now simply his Love Interest). The end of the movie has his best friend marry his widow, and him admitting that he loves his daughter.
  • In The Phantom, the previous Phantom is hanging around as a Spirit Advisor for his son. He doesn't so much mind having been murdered by the dragon — it's an occupational hazard — but he can't rest easy until he knows the Phantom line has been secured for another generation.
  • In The Uninvited, everyone had believed that a jealous Carmel had been the one that tried to throw baby Stella over the cliff. Once Stella realizes that Carmel was her mother, and actually it was Carmel who stopped a jealous Mary from throwing baby Stella over the cliff, the ghost of Carmel is free to leave the house.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: Governor Swann not having unfinished business is possibly the reason Tia Dalma is unable to resurrect him like she did Captain Barbossa. The other possible reason, of course, is she simply refused because she didn't need Swann like she did Barbossa.
    Will Turner: Is there a way?
    Tia Dalma: [shakes her head] Him at peace.
  • Hinted at in Ebenezer, as one of Marlowe's reasons for visiting is to scold Scrooge for breaking his promise to take care of Erica.
  • In Stitches (2012) the titular Monster Clown returns from the dead because he was accidentally killed during a disastrous performance for the 10th birthday party of the protagonist, and comes back when he turns 16 and has a big house party because "a clown that doesn't finish a party can never rest in peace".
  • In Susie Q, the title character comes back to save her old neighborhood from being demolished.
  • Endless: This is the reason ghosts are stuck in limbo, having something stopping them going on to the afterlife. For Chris, it was Riley. Jordan still hasn't at the end, though he seems happy with helping new ghosts adjust to their state (particularly young, attractive female ones). For him it seems to be atonement over his niece dying because he neglected to watch her enough.
  • The first ghost Rose and Martin exorcise in Extra Ordinary (2019) is Tom, a man who always took out the trash and insists that his wife puts the trash and recycling in the right bins.
  • In Silent Tongue, Awbonnie's spirit cannot move on because Talbot refuses to dispose of her body correctly i.e. by burning it. Her efforts to make him do so become more violent as time goes on.
  • Darby and the Dead: Darby helps ghosts with their unfinished business so they can move on to the afterlife. Capri, who recently died, wants her to make sure her Sweet 17 birthday party goes on in the wake of her death.
  • We Have a Ghost, starring David Harbour as the titular ghost, throws some complications over this simple trope - he cannot even speak for unspecified reasons; he can be caught on film, turning him into an unwitting memetic sensation; and the government somehow has a covert unit already set up to deal with the supernatural.

  • Discworld:
    • In Wyrd Sisters, Verence's ghost cannot rest until his destiny has been resolved (Death tells him this, but can't offer any advice as to what it means). Judging from the number of dead kings hanging around the castle, this rarely happens.
    • On Discworld zombies are also obsessed with Unfinished Business: Baron Saturday wants to see his daughter claim her title, and Lady Lilith dealt with; Reg Shoe wants to see a new world order of justice for all, and Guild of Lawyers boss Mr. Slant wants to get paid for conducting his own defense in the trial that led to his execution.
    • And in Men at Arms, Lance-Constable Cuddy proclaims that his tortured soul will walk the world in torment until he's properly buried. Lampshaded in that Death points out that this is unnecessary, yet the ghost insists his soul can do this if it wants to.
  • In The Dresden Files book Ghost Story, Harry chooses to become one of these to uncover the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. This is actually unusual because "normal" Dresdenverse ghosts are merely psychic "echoes" of the original person still going through the motions while their real selves have presumably moved on to whatever afterlife may await them (earlier in Grave Peril Harry Dresden himself manages to contrive to "die" for just long to create and then team up with his own); here it may be justified because, as the reader later finds out, Harry was Only Mostly Dead all along.
  • The reason for both ghosts existing in Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency; the ghost of Gordon Way needs to complete his last answering machine message to his sister, and the alien ghost wants to undo the accident that killed his crew and started the formation of life on Earth. In the radio adaptation, it's briefly three ghosts, as the mother of Michael Wenton-Weakes needs to let someone know that it was her son who murdered her.
  • Ghosts of the Titanic: The ghost of Annie McConnell spent almost a century haunting Angus Seaton, and later Kevin, asking about someone named Michael. Specifically, she's asking if her son, Michael, survived the sinking of the Titanic. Kevin helps her find out he did, and was adopted by the Messenger family, making him Kevin's biological grandfather.
  • In The Mediator series by Meg Cabot, this is the reason most if not all ghosts remain on earth for the heroine to deal with.
  • Galaxy of Fear:
    • The titular spirit of Ghost of the Jedi should have rejoined the Force, like most dead Jedi. He had no apprentices or family to advise. But his death let Darth Vader destroy an ancient Jedi library, so Aidan feels he doesn't deserve that and must haunt the space station. The fact that someone set up a fake library that drained the Life Energy of people who touched the books, then set up rumors that the Jedi library was still there in hopes of getting to study Jedi essences, and Aidan couldn't do anything about it or even get noticed didn't help. There's nothing to be done for the library, but he does help Tash, the first Force-Sensitive to arrive, to thwart the man and survive, raising his self-esteem enough that he passes on.
    • In Army of Terror, the wraiths of Kiva are all that remains of its people after Hoole and Gog's experiment wiped out all life on the planet. They exist only for the opportunity to take revenge against the one they hold responsible: Hoole. At the climax, the wraiths see a recording of Gog telling the Emperor that he is going to let the experiment continue knowing what would happen to Kiva for weapons research purposes while keeping it a secret from Hoole. After a few seconds of doubt, having cursed one man for their deaths for so long only to learn he wasn't truly responsible, they immediately attack Gog, demanding that he die for his crimes. By the time it's over, there is no trace of Gog or the wraiths.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, both the characters we've met who have been restored to life by the fires of R'hllor have been single-mindedly obsessed with fulfilling the last goal they had had before they died, to the exclusion of all else; Beric Dondarrion with harrying the Lannister forces in the Riverlands, and Catelyn with getting vengeance against the Freys. It's not clear whether this is a supernatural effect, or if dying and coming back just gives one a stubborn streak.
  • In Pact, ghosts are soulless echoes left on the world by moments of great pain, usually death. It's possible for those that can see ghosts to remove them from the world by helping them resolve their issues, but most of the people that could do so are more attracted to the potential power that they offer, being able to force a Pensieve Flashback of their experiences on enemies, and instead bind them to service. In particular, Molly Walker, the murdered cousin of protagonist Blake Thorburn, left a particularly virulent wraith that gained sentience and declared vengeance against the town that loathed her in life and which stood by and let her be murdered. The only person she offers to spare is her murderer, who is genuinely remorseful.
  • Sometimes They Come Back: The reason the three greaser teens from Jim's youth are still around is a particularly twisted version of this: they are psychotic bullies who were planning on killing Jim for kicks (and had already killed Jim's brother as a prelude) before becoming casualties of a car collision and really, really wish to finish the job.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, ghosts are tied to the world by their unfinished business. Xhea is able to see the connection as a silver tether that stretches from the ghost to the relevant person or object. The nature of the business is hinted at by the location the tether connects to the ghost (typically the head or the heart), while the thickness of the cord indicates the strength of the attachment. When the business is complete, or the cord is magically severed, the ghost passes on.
  • In Anansi Boys, Maeve Livingstone, the wife to a famous departed actor, stick around for a while after Grahame Coates murders her, on the grounds that she needs to see the whole thing through. She eventually winds up helping out Charlie and Spider to reach the final confrontation.
  • The X-Files novel Ground Zero features a horde of ghosts made up from an islander tribe who were all accidentally killed in a nuclear test by the US government. Their deaths didn't stop them from seeking vengeance, and they are also able to cause miniature nuclear explosions wherever grains of the soil from their former home is sent. Once they destroy another test being done on their now-deserted island, they are able to move on.
  • In Warrior Cats, this concept is introduced to the series in Darkest Night. Tree can see cats that haven't made it to the afterlife yet, who have some sort of tie to the living and something they have to do yet before they can move on.
  • In Lockwood & Co., it's theorized by some that this is the main reason why ghosts come back. Beginning in The Hollow Boy, Lucy Carlisle with her rare talents of talking with ghosts experiments with discovering it as a means of allowing them to move on, rather than the conventional methods of sealing their sources. However, it's dangerous, as ghosts can most certainly be hostile.
  • Nina Tanleven: The majority of the ghosts in the series have some - Captain Gray’s is to see that the treasure he buried goes to its rightful owner, Alida Fletcher’s is to reunite with her father, Cornelius Fletcher’s is apparently to get back into his house one more time and reunite with Alida’s spirit (which is noted as being odd, since he actually lived in the house for a while and died there - it was only after he died that his ghost was trapped outside), and Mrs. Smiley’s is to see that her daughter got her dying message. The only one without a specified goal is Lily Larkin, who’s just hanging around the Grand Theater after her death.
  • Dragon Pearl: The ghosts of the series mostly, but not all, want revenge. The dead of the Fourth Colony, who have made the planet uninhabitable since the plague that killed the entire population, just want a decent burial. When the main character terraforms the planet into one, they clear out immediately. Min's brother ends up sticking around so he can go see the Thousand Worlds with her.
  • Main character Chelsea from The Traveling Triple-C Incorporeal Circus dies by accident right after receiving the invitation to her younger brother's wedding. The desire to attend his wedding stays with her after death. (The wedding itself is pushed back several years due to the family grieving Chelsea.)
  • Retired Witches Mysteries: Olivia's is to see her coven mates achieve their goals of recovering their grimoire and find replacements for themselves in their coven.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Historical Fantasy novel The Spirit Ring, a powerful mage (who is also an artist—a sculptor) and a soldier (who watched helplessly while the man he was sworn to protect was killed) are unable to depart to the afterlife because the villains have their bodies and are plotting to carry out some very dark necromancy to enslave their souls in a pair of spirit rings. But both of them also have a great deal of unfinished business—the mage must see to his daughter's future, and also very much would like to see his great masterwork, a statue of the legendary Greek hero Perseus, finally cast in bronze. And the soldier has an ardent desire to avenge the murder of the man he had sworn to protect. Both are finally able to depart to the afterlife when all those tasks have been completed, and when a cleric pronounces his blessing on them both.
  • Swan's Braid & Other Tales of Terizan: In "The Things Everyone Knows" Terizan repeatedly comes across the ghost of a weaver in the Necropolis who's agitated at the idea of someone else using her loom, convinced it will be damaged. Much more serious is the ghost of Councilor Saladaz, who's plotting revenge from the grave on the Council for his own beheading.
  • The Stranger Times: After he dies, Simon cannot move on to the afterlife until he achieves his dearest wish: to have a byline in the Stranger Times newspaper. Other ghosts in the same universe (for example, the short story The Blitz Spirits) operate by a similar principle: Molly moves on after preventing a man from committing suicide the way she did.
  • The Golden Hamster Saga: In The Haunting of Freddy, the sixteenth-century poacher Grim Harry is barred from the afterlife because right before he was hanged, he vowed revenge on the baron who condemned him and his descendants. Centuries later, Freddy starts writing a story about the incident, which gives Grim Harry and his two ferrets an opening to return to Earth and terrorize the baron's descendants. The baron was struck by lightning and killed minutes after Grim Harry was hanged. Once Freddy tells Grim Harry about it, Grim Harry disappears.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Amazing Stories (2020): In "The Heat" Tuka and DJ are both stuck as ghosts. He's been that way for decades, and has tried many different things to pass into the afterlife, with nothing working. Tuka helps Sterling train to win in a track meet, thinking that's hers. She later helps him pass on in the end.
  • Most ghosts on Are You Afraid of the Dark?, finally lampshaded in the very last episode. One particularly odd example was the story in which a ghost wouldn't move on until someone brought her a cherished whistle. Well, if it floats your boat...
  • Dark Shadows has Quentin Collins namedrop the trope a full twenty-six years before Casper popularized it. The series itself has plenty of ghosts whose unfinished business bars them from the afterlife.
    • In 1968-9, Quentin Collins, as a ghost, haunts Collinwood in an attempt to bring his nephew Jamison back to life in David's body.
    • Gerard haunts Collinwood in 1970 to destroy the Collins family and rule the estate through terror.
  • Smallville
    • The spirit of the seventeenth-century witch Isobel leaves Lana's body only after exacting revenge on the descendant of the woman who had her killed. This is an unusual example, however, as in previous episodes, Isobel showed absolutely no desire to kill this woman.
    • In "Tomb", Chloe is possessed by the ghost of a girl to find and take revenge on her murderer.
  • Medium's whole premise is that ghosts are getting in contact with the lead psychic character (or sometimes her developing psychic children and/or her psychic half-brother) to help catch their killer or something else, but it's normally "Catch the killer please".
  • On the other hand, Ghost Whisperer isn't much about catching killers as comforting the relatives left behind so the ghosts can stop blaming themselves for being dead, and can move into the Light.
  • A variation occurs in a Tales from the Darkside episode "A Case of the Stubborns". An elderly grandfather (the wonderful Eddie Bracken) passes away — but comes down to breakfast anyway, refusing to believe he's dead. Despite all the evidence his family shows him (he doesn't leave breath on a mirror, for instance), the old coot just won't accept it. He's more of a zombie than a ghost, and his condition is due to his cussedness rather than unfinished business, but he still won't "move on". As Grampa's body starts to decay and he begins to attract flies, someone puts a spoonful of black pepper into his handkerchief. The next time he wipes his face, the pepper makes him sneeze. He finally admits that he has died, and "lays down his burden". He was convinced because the sneeze blew his nose off.
  • In The Tudors Henry's first three wives visit him. Whether they are real or just Henry's hallucinations is up for debate, but all three claim they've come to see their children and to give Henry a piece of their mind regarding how poorly he treated them in life. About midway through that season, there is a scene where Charles Brandon interacts with the ghost of a nobleman whom he was in charge of having executed(on Henry's orders) for participating in the Pilgrimage of Grace (the only serious rebellion in Henry's entire reign).
  • In Supernatural most ghosts tend to be fueled by rage over the manner of their death and burning their bones is the only way to stop them from hurting innocents. Ghosts with Unfinished business tend to be after revenge but once they achieve it they will just find a new justification for sticking around. When Bobby becomes a ghost he is told that ghosts can only affect the material world if they become extremely serene or if they channel massive rage. Most ghosts just stick around and fade away without affecting the living.
    • Bobby himself originally decided to stick around as a ghost to help Sam and Dean fight the leviathans. However, the brothers soon become worried that he is being overtaken by his desire for revenge against the leviathan who killed him. They are afraid that if they actually manage to defeat the leviathans, he will be too far gone to move on willingly.
      • When they start worrying about him, he keeps insisting that he can control it. But he realized he almost killed Dean and Sam and tells him to burn his whiskey bottle so he can cross over before hurting anyone else.
  • In Life On Mars, Sam Tyler returns to the real world as he initially wanted but then realizes that he preferred his world with Annie, so he commits suicide by jumping off the police station.
  • In The Master's Sun many of the ghosts seek Gong Shil because there are things that the living need to know. The main characters all have unfinished business that affects their ability to move on with life.
  • A ghost in Deadtime Stories haunts two girls until her stolen doll is returned. Considering she died the very day the doll was stolen from her, she's stuck in the form of a very young child and is quite attached to it.
  • Korean Drama Who Are You? is about a cop who awakens from a six-year coma to find that she can now see ghosts. Specifically, she is seeing the ghosts of murder victims who want her to catch the people that killed them.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985):
    • In "If She Dies", Paul Marano speculates that the soul of Sarah, who died of tuberculosis decades earlier, has not moved onto Heaven yet as God wants her to save the life of his comatose daughter Cathy.
    • In "Nightsong", the ghost of Simon Locke appears to his ex-girlfriend Andrea Fields when she plays his single "Nightsong" on her KGRR radio show. He initially does not tell Andrea that he was killed in a motorcycle accident five years earlier but eventually shows her his skeleton. Simon explains to Andrea that he has returned because she has never been able to move on from their bumpy relationship and the memory of it is keeping her from living her life. He then disappears, having seemingly moved on to the afterlife. In the final scene, Andrea again plays "Nightsong" and dedicates it to Simon with love. Although she will always love Simon, she is ready to move on with her life.
  • The Rising: Neve hangs around after dying as a ghost to find her killer, though she isn't even aware she's dead initially.
  • Part of Me: After dying, Mónica's soul refuses to move on because she died knowing her daughters were in mortal danger, since Elena taunted she'd kill them too in Mónica's deathbed. When she comes Back from the Dead in Adriana's body, she doesn't recall it was Elena who killed her, but does recall someone threatening her daughters so she makes it her mission to keep them safe, and her soul leaves Adriana's body once they are.

    Myths & Religion 

  • In America's Most Haunted, the ghost of the Historic Theater is defeated when the player completes his unfinished play.

  • Parodied in the Storyteller sketch in John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme Season 8 Episode 1, with the ghost of a small business owner, whose unfinished business is his actual business. He therefore cannot pass over until either the company goes bankrupt or it amasses all the money in the world, which is the only win condition he can think of, and one that he acknowledges is impossible.
    Anderson: You know that tiresome saying that no-one on their deathbed ever wished they'd spent more time at the office? Well, I did, and so here I am.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The ghost-based games of the New and Old World of Darkness systems take this trope and run with it:
    • The wraiths of Wraith: The Oblivion have a number of ties that keep them connected to their old life, such as Passions (emotions and drives that defined them in life) and Fetters (emotional connections and objects of importance). Most wraiths seek to keep their Fetters protected so they can maintain their power, but quite a few attempt to "resolve" their Passions and Fetters so that they can Transcend and move on.
    • Orpheus often has agents of the Orpheus Group attempt to resolve a ghost's Unfinished business to get rid of them, unless they become too violent or dangerous to deal with. In addition, there are a number of powerful, strong-willed ghosts who act as agents for the company, usually, because they too have something they need to accomplish before they can move on.
    • In the New World of Darkness these traits are split between ghosts and Revenants. Ghosts (which appear to, for the most part, merely be psychic echoes left behind by departing souls, with little to no sentience) possess fetters (renamed "anchors") which represent things of significance to the dead person which their ghost is metaphorically attached to (basically things which would have held part of their minds back while their souls were moving on). While resolving a ghost's issues can be used to set it free (allowing it to move on), it is just as easy to simply destroy the anchor (particularly since some ghosts might not actually have issues which can be resolved). Revenants are corpses reanimated by souls that refuse to move on because they possess a Passion, from which they derive will and power. They also can be gotten rid of by simply destroying their bodies (or helping them resolve their Passion).
    • Geist: The Sin-Eaters has clarified the role of Anchors for ghosts: as long as a ghost is tethered to the world by Anchors, they're unable to change. They may stagnate and spiral downwards, but they can't grow. Once their Anchors are broken or resolved, they migrate to the Underworld, where they're able to develop once more. As such, Sin-Eaters know rituals that allow a ghost to pass on to the Underworld instantly once its business is resolved, and there's an entire Archetype defined by aiding restless spirits to settle matters. Resolving the business of ghosts has a benefit to Sin-Eaters that goes beyond charity, however, as helping a ghost to pass on refills their pool of Plasm.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Van Richten's Guide to Ghosts recommends that Ravenloft monster hunters help non-malevolent ghosts to complete their Unfinished business in order to end a haunting. For Evil ghosts, a standard ass-kicking is the preferred means of disposal, but discovering what Unfinished business they'd left behind can provide clues to their vulnerabilities.
    • Geists (harmless telepathic spirits) and haunts (possessing spirits) are also motivated by unfinished business. Specters, despite looking very similar, aren't; they just hate the living. A Dragon article about undead has a Wrong Genre Savvy Redgar think a specter will care that its murderer has been brought to justice, and is very wrong.
  • Pathfinder ghosts cannot be truly lain to rest until their business is completed, and if slain will simply reform in a matter of days. While these goals aren't necessarily evil, ghosts tend to be warped by frustration and dark energy if their goals go unaccomplished too long. The most prominent ghost is King Geb, whose goal is to determine if his ancient nemesis Nex is truly dead (and presumably kill him if he's not), and manages to juggle ruling a kingdom of the dead while he works on it.
  • Mysterium deals with the ghost of a murdered valet which clings to the old manor he was killed in to help people elucidating his assassination.

  • The premise of Hamlet. Prince Hamlet of Denmark is contacted by the ghost of his late father, the king, who reveals that he was murdered by Hamlet's Evil Uncle and commands Hamlet to take revenge. The ghost has been Barred from the Afterlife, or at least from Heaven, because of the sins he was not given time to seek absolution for before his death.
  • In The Addams Family musical, Uncle Fester keeps the ghosts of their ancestors on Earth by locking them out of their crypt until they help him keep Wednesday and Lucas together.
  • This is the main plot of Carousel. At the beginning of the play, dead Billy Bigelow seeks permission from the higher-ups in heaven to return to earth to complete some unfinished business. That business being approaching the daughter he fathered right before dying in order to try to prevent her from making the same mistakes that he and her mother made.

    Video Games 
  • The point of AMBER: Journeys Beyond was to help three ghosts finish their Unfinished business, realize that they're dead, and send them across. The World War 2 widow is implied to have reunited with her husband, and the drowned child seems happy to no longer be lost and confused. The crazy gardener thinks he's boarding the UFO he's waiting for, and it turns out he's going anywhere but.
  • This is half the plot of Another Code, as you have to help D regain his memories to get the best ending. In the sequel, this will also show up near the end of Matt's sub-plot as well.
  • In The Blackwell Series, the reason why some people stick around after their death varies. But in most cases it is because they have Unfinished business, combined with the fact that their death is usually such a traumatic experience, that they are suppressing the memory of it, often leaving them with a fractured mind and doing the same actions over and over again. More often than not, helping the ghosts to reach a conclusion to their repeated action is the key to make them realize that they are dead, and helping their soul to move on. This is what the Blackwell family does.
  • In Chrono Trigger, there is a side quest in a ruined castle where Cyrus (Glenn/Frog's friend) is one of these. Completing the quest grants Glenn his most powerful sword.
    As I lay dying, my heart burned with the thoughts of those I left behind.
  • Clock Tower 3 has this as its core plotline, with Alyssa discovering that, as a Rooder, her job is aiding spirits with exactly this thing, as the Entities are feeding off their eternal misery and suffering. Freeing the spirits allows a Rooder to grow stronger and ultimately destroy the Entities, setting the souls of the deceased free. In game, this is usually accomplished by bringing an item of sentimental value back to said spirits, healing their hearts and allowing them to pass on, leaving an item behind for Alyssa to use. The primary victim of the Entity, however, requires a bit more work to accomplish...
  • Implied to be the objective of the third Dark Fall game, Lost Souls. You enter the memories of three of the Dowerton Hotel's guests and have to manipulate events to make their past lives turn out for the better, effectively changing history.
  • The second Dark Parables game has two ghosts. One, Princess Ivy, is benign. She's the Frog Prince's first wife, who is watching over her immortal husband and trying to help the player character end his curse. The other is Snow White - yes, that Snow White - whose business is still unfinished. The third game then reveals that Snow is actually still alive, but is now the Snow Queen and carries Irrational Hatred for her now-deceased husband.
  • In Divinity: Original Sin II, you can find a lot of ghosts when you use spirit vision. You can then speak to them, and a lot have quests that you can do to help them move on. Others will move on when you do something to someone who hurt them (like the children's ghosts in Roost's loft when you kill him). Some just have short statements they make, with no real way to help them move on.
  • The Celestrians of Dragon Quest IX can see ghosts and help them to move on by taking care of their unfinished business.
  • A side quest in Dungeon Siege II teaches you a chant that lets you talk to spirits so that you can solve their problems in further side quests.
  • In Echo Night, the various shades Richard encounters have something like this tying them to the Orpheus. He just has to figure out what and complete various tasks for them so that they can move on.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • Skyrim is full of souls that can't move on to the afterlife because there's something left for them to do on Mundus. The two long-dead lovers from the "Book of Love" quest come to mind, or Gallus from the Thieves' Guild quest line. The most detailed example, however, is certainly Katria, a seasoned adventurer who died during her search for the legendary Aetherium Forge. Her apprentice promptly stole all of her research and published it as his own. Katria's ghost has been bound to Nirn ever since, unable to move on until she can track down the Forge and complete her life's work by proving its existence. Only when she and the Dragonborn finally forge the last Aetherium artifact ever can she let go to take her place among the honored dead of Sovngarde.
    • The Dawnguard DLC has you meet the ghost of Katria — a Nord explorer who was so obsessed with finding an ancient Dwemer artifact named "Aetherium Forge", she died while looking for it and got stuck in the mortal realm. If you visit the cave where she died, her ghost latches on to you and helps you if you follow the corresponding quest. Once you do find the Aetherium Forge, Katria thanks you and finally leaves for Sovngarde.
  • Final Fantasy X: Spira is crawling with "Unsent," people who get caught up in Unfinished Business and refuse to pass on. This is a problem for the living because, if left unexorcised, they turn into monsters.
    • Auron only hung around after his death because he'd promised Jecht to take care of Tidus, and to make sure Yuna grew up somewhere peaceful and free of corruption.
    • Seymour is a dark(er) example, using his undeath as a way to continue pursuing his Omnicidal Maniac goals. He definitely turns into a monster, it just so happens that he kinda already was one.
    • Much of the plot of the second game revolves around Shuyin and Lenne. Yuna ends up reuniting the two at the end of the game after she and her crew stop the former’s plan to use a Weapon of Mass Destruction after being driven insane.
  • This is implied to be the main driver of the Five Nights at Freddy's series. The murderous mascot characters are haunted or influenced by the victims of a Serial Killer, and may be trying to "protect" other children from the same fate. Unfortunately, they either can't differentiate between adults or just don't care, forcing several different security guards to fend off their assaults. By the end of the third game, the murderer is dead, his corpse (and the entire building) has been burnt down, and the ghosts have seemingly moved on.
  • The Forest Quartet revolves around the player character, the ghost of a deceased singer, trying to unite her bandmates for one last performance.
  • In Ghost Trick, Sissel and Ray and Yomiel have reasons for sticking around after death; Sissel, for example, wants to find our how and why he died because he can't remember either of those details. Any more said, and the game's multiple plot twists will be ruined.
  • Haunting Starring Polterguy: Polterguy wants to take revenge on Vito Sardini and his family by scaring them. When he's done, he briefly transforms into his human form but is turned into a ghost again. Whether he reaches afterlife or not is not revealed.
  • Jade Empire: This is the role of the Spirit Monk order, of which the player character is the sole survivor. However, as a result of the Big Bad's plot, everyone is Barred from the Afterlife, so anything you do is, by necessity, temporary. (You can't kill a ghost, obviously, but if you beat them up or settle their problems at least they stop attacking people for a while.) This becomes vitally important when your master turns on you and you wind up dead yourself; because the way to the underworld is still blocked, you're able to come back to life.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • This is a running theme with several ghosts in Majora's Mask, as many of them are tied down to the world of the living due to some unfinished business they left before their death. For example, the Goron warrior Darmani tried to save his hometown from a blizzard but was killed before he could do so, and the dancer Kamaro died before he passed on his skills to a student. Link can heal their souls with the Song of Healing in exchange for masks which hold their abilities.
    • Twilight Princess has the Hero's Shade, the ghost of a past hero who was unable to pass on because of his regret of not teaching his skills to a worthy successor. As with the previous example, Link can heal his soul, this time by learning his teachings. For extra Irony, the Hero's Shade is revealed in Hyrule Historia to be the Hero of Time, the same Link who healed all those souls in Majora's Mask.
    • The ghost of King Rhoam in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has stuck around for a century so that he could help an amnesiac Link get set on his quest to defeat Ganon and save Zelda. Similarly, while the ghosts of the Champions were initially trapped in the Divine Beasts by Ganon's power, once freed they decide to stick around willingly so they can use the Divine Beasts to help Link in the final battle.
  • The Dark Pieces in the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games are Dream People created from memories of the past, with their hopes, wishes, and dreams being their anchor to existence. The sequel even revealed that dead people could temporarily live again through this. There are two ways of eliminating them, by defeating them in battle, or more rarely, by allowing their final wish to be fulfilled. Dark Piece Rynith is the latter. Having been dead for three years, her wish was to make sure that her two charges, Fate and Arf, were still fine after she died. After seeing that they're both stronger in mind and body, are now surrounded by many friends, and are even saving the lives of other people, she bids a final farewell and Disappears into Light despite the tearful protests of both Fate and Arf.
    Rynith: Thank you, Fate, Arf. Meeting you and spending time with you have made me very happy. Using the magic I thought you... Thank you. I wish for your happiness from beyond the sky. My precious Fate and Arf... Goodbye... Thank you.
  • The Other: Airi's Adventure: What appears to be a ghost granted Purpose-Driven Immortality by this, since she fades away after its done. That business is done in the mountains, and it's getting out the cave she was apparently trapped in.
  • A ghost Toad in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door wants you to get his diary from his old cabin on the Excess Express before he departs (and warns you to avoid reading it, or else). Once the deed is done, he departs to the heavens above... only to drop back down at the last second, having grown comfortable with the train he passed away on.
  • Potion Permit: In Victor's second Friendship Event, he claims that his ghost friend Amadeus found Matilda hiding under a bench because she's struggling to move on to the afterlife. Victor tried telling Socellia about it, but she didn't believe him, so he asks you to make an aromatic candle to calm Matilda down.
  • This trope is a major recurring theme in Quest for Glory IV, as the Hero must repeatedly help spirits stuck between life and death move on by taking upon their unfinished business. First, there is Anna, Nikolai's wife who has never returned from the woods; her unfinished business is a) realizing that she is dead and b) reuniting with Nikolai (who also dies in the process). Then there is the Rusalka (not a ghost, but still undead), whose unfinished business is revenge upon her unfaithful lover-turned-killer. Rusalka's quest is a prerequisite for Paladin Pyotir's storyline, whose unfinished business is retrieving his sword to prove to his grandson that he died in battle, rather than running off on his pregnant fiancée. Finally, there is the Archmage Erana, who is dead, but not technically a ghost, as her spirit has Sealed Evil in a Duel for over 80 years — her unfinished business is banishing the Dark One from Mordavia, which you complete with her help in the endgame.
  • One of Runescape's low-level quests has you use an amulet of ghost speak to help a ghost pass on. The amulet is later used to grant an entire town of ghosts the freedom to pass on.
  • Ruphand: An Apothecary's Adventure: The Monster Compendium's notes on Wraiths says of Ghosts: "simply restless and have unfinished business".
  • In the PC game The Stroke Of Midnight, an American author staying in an abandoned Romanian castle finds herself watching the unfolding Love Triangle of the castle's last heir and the two sisters who were vying for him. He and the one who genuinely loved him are trapped in the castle until the Player Character's actions enable them to reunite and move on. The other sister was directly responsible for both of their deaths.
  • Tales of Monkey Island: In the first half of Chapter 5, Mighty Ghost Pirate Guybrush needs to find a way to return to the living world from the Crossroads (he even lampshades this when he talks to Morgan, also a ghost); once he finds a way, he realizes that he can't destroy LeChuck or save Elaine this way in the living world, so he needs to repossess his corpse to finish what he started.
  • Simon Tears to Tiara 2's Crystal Dragon Jesus hangs on with the hope of saving his disciple Abraxas.
  • the white chamber has an interesting case of this. Arthur, who was murdered by Sarah, somehow managed to activate the artifact and live on through it, using its power to force Sarah through a loop that would only be broken by Sarah atoning for her sins. When she does, Arthur blows the station up after letting her escape.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Ace Attorney, Mia hangs around because she wants to counsel Phoenix and take care of her little sister Maya. Dahlia Hawthorne goes along with Morgan Fey's plot to kill Maya because she wants to hurt Mia, even though Mia herself has been dead for years.
  • Kindred Spirits on the Roof is about a lesbian ghost couple, Sachi and Megumi, who want to consummate their relationship, and so observe lesbian couples for guidance. At the end of the game, Yuna and Hina allow Sachi and Megumi to possess their bodies to have Their First Time, and the ghosts pass on later that night.

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Lewis came back from the dead for vengeance on his former friend turned murderer Arthur and also seems to have lingering attachments to Vivi whose picture with him adorns the inside of his locket. Whether or not he knows or cares that Arthur was possessed when he killed him has not been addressed.
  • Any time a ghost is encountered in the Dark Tales series, they almost invariably have some of this, and the player character and C. Auguste Dupin must solve the case in order to help them Go into the Light. Usually these are murder victims, such as in The Black Cat, The Premature Burial, The Mystery of Marie Roget, and Ligeia; frequently, they manage to express their gratitude to the detectives before departing.


    Web Videos 
  • Echo Rose: The woman who appeared in Zipper Film's "Bog Vlog" was believed by Echo to be a murdered ghost, filled with so much pain that she can't move on to the afterlife.

    Western Animation 
  • Gravity Falls: In the episode "Northwest Mansion Mystery", it is revealed that there is a ghost that has been haunting the Northwest Mansion for decades. When he was alive, he initially constructed the mansion since the Northwests said that they would host an annual party for the entire town to enjoy. When they didn't fill in their end of the bargain, the man died, but not before promising to one day return. In the present day, the ghost is haunting the mansion during the Northwests' party. In the end, Pacifica opens the mansion's gates, thus letting the townspeople enjoy the party alongside the Northwests. It's this act that lets the ghost pass on.
  • Subverted in Justice League Unlimited:
    Batman: Why are you still around? I thought once your murder was solved, your exile was ended.
    Deadman: You and me both. You know how they say No Good Deed Goes Unpunished? I guess I shot my mouth off to the wrong deity.
  • Razzberry Jazzberry Jam: Apparently this is what was keeping Herschel haunting the House Of Jam. We’re never explicitly told what exactly his business was, but he was finally able to pass on after performing in the Jazzberries’ masquerade ball, so presumably that was something he dreamed of but never got to do in life.
  • The Real Ghostbusters: Occasionally, the Ghostbusters don't actually have to zap the ghosts to bust them. By helping them accomplish their unfinished business, the Ghostbusters make the ghosts rest in peace, which works just as well as blasting them with the proton beams. This works best when the ghost is an undead person — in other cases (spirits, demons, etc.), it's normally trickier.


Video Example(s):


No Unfinished Business

There's only one reason the "living impaired" are still here

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Example of:

Main / UnfinishedBusiness

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