Ghosts are the spirits of the dead that can appear or manifest in visible form to the living.
Aside from helping Shadowhunters and mundanes to see past glamour, the Sight also grants the ability to see, hear, and speak with ghosts that choose to be seen or heard. Only children and some Shadowhunters, like the Herondales, are capable of interacting with all of them, even those that do not want to be seen or even heard. Others can only sense their presence through the unnatural cold feeling they exude. Ghosts, like vampires rising from their graves, draw energy from their surroundings to maintain their ectoplasmic form when they manifest in the world, thus sucking the heat from their surroundings.
The eyes of all ghosts are hollow and empty. However, according to Shadowhunter belief, in very rare cases, some strong spirits have flames flickering in their eyes. For some reason, it also takes a while for ghosts to move beyond the place where they reanimated, usually the very spot where they died.
Many ghosts are tied to the living world by a personal effect or an unresolved wrong. Trapped for years, the ghosts cannot fully pass on until they find the item, often a lost sentimental piece of their past, or perform the act that might put them to rest. Some of these restless ghosts are condemned to forever seek out their salvation, not knowing what they need, or unable to accept that their chance has passed, as in Old Molly's case, whose ring was believed to be long gone.
Meanwhile, other spirits simply choose their fate and decide themselves to stay in the world instead of passing over. Often times, these spirits do so to protect their loved ones.
Still there are ghosts who stay because of a bitter hatred inside them and who seek to cause harm, feeding on the fear they provoke in the living.
Revenants are hungry, vicious ghosts who are capable of hurting living beings.
- Old Molly
- Jessamine Lovelace
- Jesse Blackthorn
- Nate Gray (briefly)
- Emmanuel Gast (briefly)
- Regency era gentleman
- Filomena di Angelo (briefly)
- Will Herondale (briefly)
- George Lovelace (briefly)
- Michael Wayland (briefly)
- Livvy Blackthorn
- Malicious ghosts who feed off fear are unable to do anything to the person if they ignore them and feel no terror.
- Ghosts also have a special way of traveling, which is said to be the opposite of traveling by Portal. It is very silent and dark, as opposed to the rush of sights and sounds when traveling by portal.
- Ghosts apparently cannot enter Institute Sanctuaries.
- Cassandra Clare believes that those who have died but have not come back as a ghost, have a "one trip" pass from the afterlife in which they can briefly visit earth.
- Cassandra Clare in Booktalk interview
- Clockwork Prince
- Clockwork Princess
- Lord of Shadows
- The Shadowhunter's Codex
- Lucie and Ghosts, a Chain of Gold extra
- Chain of Gold
- Chain of Iron
- "There’s an implication in the comic that this is Will’s “one trip” from the afterlife..." — Cassandra Clare on Tumblr
- Wedding Comic, a City of Heavenly Fire extra
- "...but an equal implication, I think, that he’s not there at all, and is just a figment of the imaginations of those who so badly want to see him." Cassandra Clare on Tumblr