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Title: Unified Ghost Theory
Description: Speculate, pontificate and wonk out!


bluemoonalto - January 9, 2007 05:30 AM (GMT)
I've alluded to my work on the Unified Ghost Theory several times in this forum, and a couple of people have asked me about it. Perhaps I should refrain from using such a high-falutin' name for what is really a series of speculations and half-assed hypotheses about the nature of ghosts on DP.

The thing is, I'm a stickler for canon. But the canon of this series is inconsistent and contradictory. "Ghosts" include everything from monsters to kids to animals. They range in emotional content from apocalyptic evil to cuddly warmth.

The vague theme around which the U.G.T. is starting to coalesce is obsession, but i'm not there yet. In "A Thermos for Valerie" I first dipped my toes into the U.G.T., by inventing an 'expert' on the subject:

QUOTE

“Danny, you have read Crispus Farthington-Smythe’s Essential Guide to Ethereal Spirits, haven’t you?”

“Oh gosh yes, every night before I go to sleep,” I said sarcastically, earning an annoyed glare from Jazz, who should have known better than to ask such a stupid question.  I relented.  “Sam read it, gave me the Cliff Notes version.”

The last thing I wanted to do at that moment was get into a discussion of academic ghost-ology with my sister, but there’s no stopping Jazz when she’s got her scholarly on.  She closed the door and stood with her back against it, then spoke with all the dry authority of old Farthington-Smythe giving a lecture at Oxford: “‘It is the nature of a ghost to be obsessive,’” she began.

“Jazz—”

“Just shut up and listen!  Farthington-Smythe wrote, ‘It is the nature of a ghost to be obsessive.  It is this obsessive nature that ties the spirit to the human plane, unable to complete its journey to the Other Side.  But the obsessive nature is also a ghost’s greatest weakness.  Obsession causes a ghost to repeat unproductive behaviors, to revisit dangerous situations, to make the same mistakes again and—”

“Technus blabbers on about his plans, Skulker’s at the mercy of Tuck’s PDA, Desiree has to grant every wish, even the ones that work against her!  I get  it!”

You  have an obsessive nature, Danny.  It’s part of who and what you are, now, and you need to be aware of it and accept it and make allowances for it.”


Here's a little down-payment on the Unified Ghost Theory. Let's shoot it full of holes, shall we?

@@@@@@@@

Unified Ghost Theory: Powers as a Function of Obsession

Hypothesis: It is a ghost’s nature to manifest in an appropriate form and to develop sufficient power to act effectively upon whatever obsession prevented its spirit from “crossing over” upon death. In other words, the ghost does not form the obsession; the obsession forms the ghost.

(Yes, I know that Butch has said that the ghosts in his show are not the spirits of people who have died. However, the show’s own canon has contradicted that statement. For example, Poindexter was a real student at Casper High, and Cujo was a guard dog at Axion Labs. For many other ghosts the evidence of a prior human existence isn’t so clear, but in most cases I think one could argue that the ghost could have been human at some time in the past.)

The Lunch Lady
The Lunch Lady’s obsession seems to be ensuring that the children in her care receive proper, nutritious meals—as she understood nutrition when she was alive. She manifests as a kindly woman who conjures tasty treats for good children who clean their plates. She focuses her power through kitchen utensils and appliances. When truly enraged, she can draw the objects of her obsession to her (a power shared by Technus as well as Box Lunch) to form a monster-form for herself, or spin them off to form minions.

Desiree
If Madam Babazita’s tale is to be believed, Desiree manifests as a genie because of her obsession with the wish that was first granted, then denied to her. In life, she may have believed in genies and may have actually “wished” herself into that form at death. As a ghost, her power is focused through the magic of granting wishes, but is twisted to bring misery to the wisher just as her own heart’s desire was snatched away. Her power is theoretically infinite, but her exercise of that power is severely limited by the “rules” that accompany her genie existence.

Sidney Poindexter
Poindexter is obsessed with bullies. He manifests as a victim, in the context of his social milieu in school; that is, I do not believe that the other students in Poindexter’s nightmare-school are true ghosts (unless there was some horrible mass-casualty tragedy at the school) but are instead projections of Sidney’s own self image. “I have a wedgie; therefore, I am.”

He is fated to haunt Casper High, continually suffering at the hands of his imaginary classmates while focusing his telekinetic power through the locker where he spent so many of his school days.

Ember MacLain
Obsessed with fame, Ember manifests as a young, beautiful rock star, focusing her power through music, mesmerizing her listeners and driving thoughts of all other musicians (Dumpty Who?) from their minds. It is possible that she was not actually a musician in life (it could account for the fact that she seems to only know one song) but that she manifested in a form that would allow her to maximize her fame. The unbridled adulation of her fans feeds her power and enables her to spread her fame across the globe.

Danny Phantom
Perhaps because he did not actually die, Danny Phantom had no obsession when he first manifested as a ghost, so his power was unfocused and out of control. However, his ghostly nature caused him to become obsessive, and the focus of his nascent obsession became the unintended consequences of the very accident that gave him his powers.

Because his obsession is to protect humans by fighting other ghosts, Danny Phantom manifests as a superhero. This is not so much evident in his physical appearance (except for the “Lois Lane Effect” that protects his secret identity) but shows in his attitude, body language and use of “witty banter” when fighting ghosts.

Danny’s powers continually expand as he battles more and stronger opponents. There may be no upper limit to how many different “ghost powers” he could develop, although for his own sanity it’s probably a good idea that he never figures that out.

(Coming soon: a Field Guide to Ghosts)

Firefury Amahira - January 9, 2007 05:19 PM (GMT)
The explanation about obsession definitely works for the ghosts you've listed so far, but what about Dora and her brother for instance? Dora has an evident obsession early in the show with going to the ball, but she appears to outgrow it by Beauty Marked, and has steadily gained self-control over her dragon form. (She's not blindly rampaging in Reign Storm, though I imagine that these differences in her character from Parental Bonding through to Beauty Marked are more an oversight on the writers' part rather than any intentional development of her character.)

I suspect some ghosts were never alive to begin with. Such as Clockwork or the Observants, or Undergrowth. (THough I would consider Undergrowth either a collective formed of who-knows-how-many fragments, or a sort of natural spirit that got tweaked. This Vortex guy from TOT could also be a sort of nature spirit- after all, how often do we find ancient cultures personifying various weather phenomena as spirtis or gods?)

And have you gotten any theories yet on ghostly artifacts such as the cursed amulets, Freakshow's staff, Pariah's crown and ring, and the Reality Gauntlet?

fenton boy - January 10, 2007 01:58 AM (GMT)
I'll shoot the first hole!
Skulker,What obssesion would cause him to grow so small?

KDH - January 10, 2007 05:16 AM (GMT)
I think I might have an idea about Skulker: He wanted a battle suit that was roughly the same size and shape as an average human, but also wanted it to contain various weapons and defences that could be concealed within the suit itself (rather than a backpack-like box on the back). This would of course make it imposssible for an average sized human to actually be in the suit at anytime, since all the weapons would be there, thus the only way for it to happen was for him to become small enough to fit inside a single small part of the suit.

Raven Lord - January 10, 2007 03:47 PM (GMT)
Personally, I think Skulker was actually...is it okay to say a midget? Or should I say vertically challenged?...in life. Now, it's not such a big deal, but it might have been when he was alive. Anyone different, including people who are just shorter than average, have a long history of being forced into circuses and freak shows where so called 'normal' people could gawk and gape. I think Skulker was just hyper aware of his size until, when he died, it was way over exaggerated. The battle suit would be a projection of his need to be, not only a head higher than everyone who used to make fun of him, but stronger as well and able to make them afraid, as they probably did to him.

bluemoonalto - January 10, 2007 04:19 PM (GMT)
Kewl! This is a welcome challenge. Any good theory (and this may actually be a very bad theory) should be able to stand up to tests.

I think Skulker would be far easier to explain than Dora and her brother. Firefury, I had just about blocked those two out of my mind: I had a strong dislike for Beauty Marked the first time I saw it and right now it’s the only episode I don’t have on tape. I have trouble reconciling the woman in that episode with the sweet little girl we saw in Parental Bonding, though I should do a more careful comparison rather than rely so heavily on my own faulty memory.

In any case, the whole brother/sister/kingdom thing in Beauty Marked seems horribly out-of-step with any other view we’ve had of the Ghost Zone—at least, until we met Frostbite and his society of Yetis. Otherwise, the Ghost Zone has appeared to be a rather random place full of rugged individualists who may form temporary alliances for their own purposes, but who primarily occupy themselves with their own obsessions. Walker may seem to be the enforcer of some kind of societal norms, but in reality he is just playing out his own obsession with ‘laying down the law’ and probably incarcerates every ghost at one time or another for breaking one of his capricious rules.

I’ll have to come back to Dora.

Meanwhile, there’s Skulker. I’m going to have to draw on a couple of other elements of the Unified Ghost Theory to work through this. (KDH and Raven Lord, I’m building on your excellent takes on Skulker’s size and appearance. Thank you!)

His obsession is clearly hunting, but I believe he has lost his original ‘haunt’ and is now in the process of devolving into a High-Functioning Minion. (Note to self: must post the Field Guide.) He still occupies himself with the hunt (especially since he has a new and challenging prey) but he also makes himself available to Vlad for both hired muscle and technical assistance.

Here’s a bit of wild speculation. Perhaps Skulker was a human who enjoyed hunting exotic prey, utilizing every bit of available technology to do so. He’s the sort of person who would shoot elephants from a helicopter. He had an obsession with one particular trophy animal who eluded him (think Ahab and the whale, although it might have been a 20-foot crocodile or a man-eating tiger, something along those lines). It may even be that Skulker was killed by that animal. That animal became his ghostly obsession—his haunt—and when he finally killed it, he lost part of his purpose for existing as a ghost. Now we’re getting into a part of the Unified Ghost Theory that I haven’t really explored yet: what happens to a ghost who loses his haunt?

Anyway, getting back to his soft, tiny physical form. As Raven Lord speculated, he may have been a small person in the first place. And as he first came into being as a ghost he bent his will less towards manifesting lots of useful ghost powers and more towards manifesting better and more deadly technology to aid him in his hunt. Forget helicopters; now he can produce jets out of his back that will never develop mechanical problems or run out of fuel. Big guns? They pop right out of his arms, with unlimited ammunition!

Note that Skulker is not a mattermorph like Technus. He doesn’t ‘build’ his powerful body out of real-world technology; he manifests it out of ectoplasm. His exo-skeleton’s face can smile, his hard-wired eyes can squint, that exo-skeleton is him. But he can abandon it, like a hermit crab abandoning its shell, when it is damaged to the point where it can no longer serve him as both transportation and weaponry.

Firefury Amahira - January 10, 2007 06:20 PM (GMT)
But if that battle suit was just that, wouldn't it have stopped working when he was shrunk in Micro-Management? Or instead of merely abandonning it, couldn't he have simply willed it to dissappate when the Guys in White nearly got him in Double Cross My Heart? I can't see him being pleased with it falling into enemy hands

It seems to me that Skulker has quite a hand with inventing new technologies (Vlad did say Skulker designed the Spectral Energy Neutralizer, after all.), but I think his suit is less ghostly and more real-world high-tech, which would necessitate his alliance with Vlad- he can invent the stuff, but Vlad has access to the funding and materials to make those ideas work.

As for Dora and Aragon... Aragon's obsession is clear- he's greedy and controlling. Perhaps he didn't have a lot of control when he was alive- either from the cursed amulet or from double-timing advisors or something. But he seems to obsess over control and ownership. He wants to be the only ghost with a OMG HUMAN bride, something nobody else has. And even when he no longer wants it, he gets possessive when it is taken without his permission. So controlling a castle full of lower minions seems it would fit that obsession just as much as Walker's prison fits his.

As for Dora, first, I suspect she and Aragon died at nearly the same time (turmoil for the throne, perhaps?) and I just had a flash of an idea while at work about her obsession. The common thread between Parental Bonding and Beauty Marked is her defiance of authority. In PB, she hadn't yet developed it beyond throwing a tantrum- "Mummy won't let me go to the ball, but I WANT to!" but she's up to actual defiance of Aragon in BM. Perhaps we have an example there of a ghost moving up from a High Functioning Minion (however unwilling she might have been one) to... something else?

bluemoonalto - January 11, 2007 02:44 AM (GMT)
Hmmm. Can I fanwank this?

I'll start with the capture of his exo-skeleton by the Guys in White. That's not all that different from the outcome of One of a Kind, in which Danny thermosed the soft, inner Skulker while leaving the wreckage of his exo-skeleton behind. Perhaps Skulker should come up with some kind of "self-destruct" mechanism for the exo-skeleton, no matter what it's made of.

As for willing it to dissipate: if the exo-skeleton in part of his physical manifestation, rather than a ghost power, he could no more will it to cease existing than Danny could will his left arm to cease existing. (Let's not get into what happens to Danny's legs when he flies, okay? That's a whole 'nother debate.) But Skulker can shed his exo-skeleton, much like a snake can shed its skin. And I suppose it's entirely possible that he could re-connect with it at a later time, once the Guys turn their backs.

In Micro-Management the Crammer had the side effect of gradually shorting out Danny's powers and reversing his transformation. But Skulker's suit is not a set of ghost powers per se. It's part of his physical body. Perhaps the "ghost power" part of things is limited to fueling the jets and supplying his ammunition. In any case, he was certainly not very effective at using his jets or his guns against two puny humans. Perhaps his strength was diminishing, too.

In a weird sort of way, I think I just asserted that Skulker's exo-skeleton is part of his "natural abilities."

Whether the exo-skeleton was manifested or manufactured, I have to believe it's 100% from the Ghost Zone. I just don't see how Skulker would be able to show such natural facial expressions in anything built from real-world technology.

Now. . . about Dora. I like your idea that she followed her brother into ghost-hood as a High Functioning Minion. I guess the wild card would be what that whole amulet thing is about. (I know you asked me about magical objects in an earlier message, but I'm not sure I want to go there yet.) Did they have the amulets while they were alive? Did the amulets influence Aragon's mind, perhaps leading him to become a ghost? Or are the amulets just their particular manifestation of ghost power? After all, they don't seem to be able to do much of anything else. This may relate to Desiree manifesting as a genie (and having to live by the genie rules) because she believed in genies.

Anyway, I guess I'd have to classify Aragon as a Ghost Zone Ghost, one who no longer has any interest in the human world and who simply wants to exercise dominion over some aspect of the Zone (in his case, the little corner of the Ghost Zone containing his castle and populated by Dora and a bunch of minions). He's actually a pretty unimpressive ghost, all things considered.

On the other hand. . . what if Dora and Aragon are a different sort of ghost altogether? Remember, in Parental Bonding Dora was upset about her mother, not her brother. I suppose she may have been playing out some obsessive loop, a dim echo of her living existence, but is it possible that she and her brother are in the same category as Box Lunch? Born in the Ghost Zone? But if that's the case, what happened to their "horrid mummy"?

fenton boy - January 11, 2007 05:12 AM (GMT)
I soubt skulker was small in his past life. If that were the case, he would be one who is tall, not shorter.as for the idea that skulker ebeing normal is too big for the suit, he could simply make it bigger.
A ghost that loses his haunt:
I think it's safe to say that no ghost will ever lose his haunt in DP. This is mainly because many of them have a haunt towards Danny.
I believe that if a ghost does loses his or her haunt, s/he gains a new one.

Raven Lord - January 11, 2007 05:23 AM (GMT)
I have a theory. All ghosts will relive (so to speak) their deaths on the anniversary of said date. It's part of the obsession. The length of the reliving likely depends on how long it took to die, and it's catagorized by a loss of cognizance and intelligence. The ghost becomes fixated to the point of stupidity on the last moments of its life, replaying it over and over for as long as necessary until the anniversary passes. Anyone it encounters becomes part of the delusion: a player or an obstacle. I think Dora's obsessive loop in Parental Bonding was because of that.

She wanted to go to the ball, but her mother would not let her; this much we know for certain. Based on the fact that she's still looping in Prisoners of Love, it must have taken some time to actually die. It is my opinion that Dora was deathly ill. There must have been a ball toward the end of her life that she deeply wanted to go to, but her mother would not allow it because she was so ill. It's possible she snuck out and died trying to reach it, though I think it more likely that she died just wanting to go. Flash forward to Beauty Marked, where Dora is no longer looping. She's no longer reliving her last moments, and so is cognizant again.

As for their amulets, history is full of magical artifacts that don't really do squat. I think they had those amulets in life and knew what they were supposed to do. Of course, the things didn't work, but once they died, they manifested ghostly versions that did work. To do that, the amulets must have been very important in some way while they were alive, perhaps a symbol of their nobility and heritage that they would never dare go without. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Danny somehow encountered the real amulets that the ghostly versions were based off.

bluemoonalto - January 11, 2007 02:47 PM (GMT)
The "reliving her death" scenario certainly would explain the whole tantrum thing from Parental Bonding. And I like the idea that the amulets may have just been symbolic pieces of jewelry in the real world, but the prince and princess believed in them and thus they became part of their ghostly manifestation. I wonder whether their initial haunt may have involved attacking Mummy and Daddy in dragon form? But by then it would have been too late to assume the throne. . . .

Fenton Boy, it makes sense that a ghost will always find a new "haunt" if it loses the first one. Perhaps a ghost's evolution from one type to another would be influenced by its choice of haunts. For example, Skulker was reduced to caging little ghostly critters--and acting as a high functioning minion for Vlad--until he focused his attention on Danny.

Here's the Field Guide:

General Taxonomy

+ A Haunting Ghost is a spirit of a deceased person who haunts the living out of a need to act on a specific obsession. Examples included the Lunch Lady, the Box Ghost, Sidney Poindexter, the Dairy King, Johnny 13, and Cujo. Such ghosts are typically indifferent to the well-being of the living, except to the extent that living creatures relate to its obsession. A Haunting Ghost will typically have an appearance similar to its appearance during life, although it may manifest slightly altered physical characteristics (e.g. flaming hair, colored skin). Powers tend to be minor and are focused tightly on serving the ghost's obsession.

+ A Malevolent Ghost is a spirit that acts out of an obsession with power or acts of evil. It will use its power to cause pain or fear among the living in general, rather than focusing its attention on a specific haunt. Examples include Technus, Spectra, Desiree, Ember and Youngblood. A Malevolent Ghost may manifest in a non-human or super-human form and will develop powers that fit its megalomaniac personality.

+ A Ghost Zone Ghost is a spirit that is not (or is no longer) interested in the human world. It focuses its power on maintaining order and/or dominance within the Ghost Zone. Examples include Walker, Clockwork and Pariah Dark.

+ A High-Functioning Minion is a ghost that aligns itself with a more powerful ghost in order to assist that ghost, participate in its obsession, and benefit from its power and protection. Examples include Bertrand, Bullet, the trio of elderly Vultures, and Youngblood’s Parrot. These ghosts often manifest in non-human or modified human form, and have limited power of their own.

+ A Low-Functioning Minion also aligns itself with a more powerful ghost, primarily for protection and patronage. Examples include Walker’s guards, Youngblood’s skeleton crew, and Pariah Dark’s army. Such ghosts typically manifest in non-human form and have little power, but find safety and strength in numbers; however, Low-Functioning Minions are usually expendable and their afterlife-expectancy is fairly short.

+ A Critter is a ghost that lacks human-level intelligence. Such ghosts may be the spirits of deceased animals, or they may be devolved from higher-level ghosts over time. Examples include the ectopusses, Vlad's pets, and the little laughing ghost used as bait by the Guys in White. A Critter may resemble the creature it was in life, or it may appear as an undefined blob or other non-lifelike shape. Powers are typically limited to flight, invisibility and intangibility, although some may have teeth, claws or unusual strength and could injure the living if confronted.

Inherent Nature or Development?

A central question in the overall study of ghosts must be whether a ghost’s nature is fixed and immutable upon manifestation, or whether it will develop from one variety to another across time. Unfortunately, the snapshot views we have of the Ghost Zone since the opening of the Fenton Portal does not allow many opportunities to observe individual ghosts over time.

A rare example that may illustrate a ghost changing its nature would be the Fright Knight. In his eponymous episode he clearly manifested as a Malevolent Ghost, operating on his own out of a desire to cause terror and exercise dominance over Amity Park. However, when he was subsequently seen in Reign Storm and The Ultimate Enemy, he seemed to have devolved into a High-Functioning Minion, aligning himself as a powerful lieutenant to Pariah Dark and eventually to the adult Phantom.

Raven Lord - January 11, 2007 05:13 PM (GMT)
I disagree about Fright Knight. I think he was always a high-functuning minion. His purpose is to subjegate humanity in service of his master, whoever that master might be. I think he would have dealt with Amity Park and held it for Pariah until someone stronger or smarter (like Vlad) came along to be his new master and give him further or different orders.

Totally unrelated, but as much as I love Danny Phantom, it makes me insane that it requires its own special field guide. Butch just took the obvious stereotypes about high profile hauntings and smushed it together with a few episodes of the old Spider-Man cartoons. It would be so much more coherent and less aggravating if he had done a little research.

Youngblood in particular bothers me. He's a child ghost. He should be both the most powerful and least cognizant of Danny's enemies. Infant and child ghosts exist to be subjegated. They don't think; they only do what they're told until they get free, and even then, their rebellion is mindless. They're difficult to stop, and often can only be redirected or bound, or both. And that's even assuming they have a master. When they don't, they are simultaneously obsessive protectors and petulant destroyers, with limited to no reasoning capabilities beyond "love me or die". They're difficult to appease because nothing is ever enough.

But Youngblood, though he might seem to fit that description at first glance, is something else entirely. He has no focus, first; there's no person or object that he guards to the point of destroying it to keep it safe. He has no master to tell him what to do. He thinks and has understanding of the consequences of his actions. He's...just like all the other ghosts in show. I can rationalize their behavior and continue to enjoy them, but with Youngblood, it's just too much. I know Butch was just trying to make a fun kid ghost for a kid's show, but...I guess I think child ghosts are too tragic to make light of.

Back to Skulker, I'm not so sure he's a high-functioning minion. I agree that he's serving Vlad as one, but not that he is one. I think Skulker's haunt is not a specific prey that he lost, but rather The Ultimate Prey. In that case, every time he catches what he seeks, he turns his attention to something better. For now, that's Danny. But Danny is not the strongest half ghost in existence like he originally thought. It's fairly clear that he didn't know about Vlad until after he met Danny (called Danny one of a kind when they first met). I think in serving Vlad, he's actually stalking and studying what will become his next prey once he defeats Danny.

bluemoonalto - January 11, 2007 09:47 PM (GMT)
Youngblood's a tough one to classify. For one thing, it's hard to figure out what his purpose is, other than to have fun and mess around with Danny's head.

Here's a thought: is it possible that Youngblood was not a child when he died? What if he were a predator, who at one time might have masqueraded as a child or childlike person (think Michael Jackson) and at death he manifested as a child? He can only be seen by kids, the parents can't see him. . . get it? Creepy.

Food for thought, anyway. Still can't figure out what he wanted with a fleet of ghost ships.

BTW, I'm intrigued by the background information you have on child ghosts. Do you mind if I ask your source material? Is this a particular culture's folklore or a more general norm?

And if Skulker is stalking Vlad, he should get an Oscar for his acting. 'Cause he's obseqiuous as hell.

Raven Lord - January 11, 2007 10:34 PM (GMT)
I may give Skulker more credit than he's due because he's one of my favorites. But someone who hunts the type of prey that he does would have to be pretty darn cunning.

That's an interesting theory on Youngblood that, perhaps oddly, makes me feel a little better about him.It would make his desire for a fleet of ghost ships have more sense, actually. Like the captain from Pirates of the Caribbean (whatever his name was...), Youngblood wanted to be a commodore. He was a pirate; being rich and powerful was something they aspired to. Then he became a cowboy and my theory becomes null.

I know a lot about ghosts. A lot. They're even more fascinating that Mary Sues to me, and what drew me to this show. Read enough ghost stories and you notice a trend. My little info dump is a generalized result of things I've pieced together in a way that explains most behaviors to me. I'm not sure how many parapsychologists would agree, though. Actually, I should probably admit that I've never bothered to find their websites. Everything I know is from eye witness reports that I've heard or read, and 'based on a true story' type movies.

The problem, of course, is that not many true stories feature child ghosts, which leads me to believe that either they're very rare or my description is an abberation rather than the norm. I have heard stories where the child is just there, shy and hidden. More often (which is still far too little) the ghost haunts the children's room, and adult interlopers are subjected to feelings of unease and even fear. In at least one case that I saw on television a few months ago, the ghost physicially attacked the father, leaving long gashes on his back (or so he claimed.)

Further, some Asian cultures believe child ghosts can bring prosperity. And here, I'm going to make myself sound like an ass by admitting that I learned about this from a movie called The Heirloom.

QUOTE
The basic premise is about a family that raises a Child Ghost, or in this case, a "baby" ghost.  In Chinese, it's called "yang xiao gui" or raising a little ghost.  According to Chinese/Taiwanese (in particular, Taoist) belief, "raising" a baby ghost can bring a family monetary fortune. 

It is believed that baby ghosts, in particular, are very powerful and if worshipped properly can be used to help you as well as hurt your enemies. This is continued over generations.  A big problem with raising ghosts is that their care can never end (they are ghosts, after all) or the ghost will become vengeful.

"Raising" is a translation of the Chinese.  It's not like you have Caspar running around in diapers.  They are worshipped very much like ancestors or temple gods like Matsu and Guan Yin with incense and the like, and communicate through dreams and "ba bwei," the kidney-shaped blocks that are thrown on the ground to determine the god's/ghost's response.


Sadly, my search for yang xaio gui only gave me a bunch of Asain websites that I couldn't read and one or two about some graphics program. But since we were discussing fiction anyway, and the role of popular ghost stereotyeps in a cartoon, I thought it would be okay to draw on. And in fiction, child ghosts are almost always the villains.

XxCrimsonRainxX - January 12, 2007 01:22 AM (GMT)
Okay what about Jhonny 13 then. His obsession must be Kitty, and vise-versa. Their love for each other is their shared obsession. I guess I sort of picture them as teenagers in New York, you know West Side Story style, like their parents don't want them to be together. But they're so in love that they decide they'd rather die then be apart, so they get on Jhonny's motercylce and drive off a cliff. Ooooo the tragic romance, how Romio and Juliet. :wub:

Blue, as for your catergories, were do Danny and Vlad fall? Or are halfas an entirely different case? :wacko:

Spirit_of_Haley - January 12, 2007 01:52 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
It may even be that Skulker was killed by that animal. That animal became his ghostly obsession—his haunt—and when he finally killed it, he lost part of his purpose for existing as a ghost.


Hey, what about this:

Has anyone ever read that short story (or seen that movie) called The Most Dangerous Game? Well, basically, it's about a man who almost get's killed by another hunter. This particular hunter has hunted and killed almost every rare species of animal on earth. Soon, he grew bored of normal hunting, so he sought after hunting humans, who are the most dangerous creatures on the planet, are they not?

What if Skulker was the hunter, who became the hunted? Or what if he wished to hunt hunters? This could explain why he's after Danny, for he's a human, but he also shares his ghostly abilities. Alas, a challenging new hunt. He wishes to hunt and capture/kill the creature who either killed him, or the creature that he never caught. Oooh! Interesting huh? ^_^

Also, with Youngblood, what if he was just a man who never had a real childhood? He could have been forced to do nothing but study, or do chores, all his life, but he really dreamed of going on adventures like the pirates and the cowboys would (and the pirate from POTC is Captain Jack Sparrow! :wub: Heheh). That makes sense, right? So when he died, he became the child ghost that would go on adventures and have fun, like the childhood he never had. This is kind of a sad thing to think about, and it's also very tragic! **tear**

And with Danny and Vlad, It's kind of obvious when you think about it (not to sound like a smart alec or anything). Vlad is obsessed with Maddie, because he loved (excuse me, loves) her, but lost her to his 'best' friend. Alas, how his accident comes into focus. And so, he targets Jack's son, because he caused both their accidents (and you know how it goes). Then there's Danny, who was explained a bit earlier as being obsessed with being a superhero.

I wish Butch could read these forums. If he does, then he probably feels pretty dumb right now, with people from like 12 to 30 (give or take) telling him how to run his own show. :P His fault though, he brought it on himself. Welcome to the world of the fans, because without us, he is nothing . . .

Firefury Amahira - January 12, 2007 03:52 AM (GMT)
I remember reading that story way back in middle school, actually. And amusingly, Skulker does bring that to mind for me. I find myself liking the idea that Skulker only serves Vlad as a means of studying a future prey (and for help with his technological stuff.) It's clear that Skulker couldn't hope to win in a knock-down drag-out fight with Vlad if Danny is already able to beat the pants off of him (opening sequence of Micro-Management, anyone?), so he would need to resort to cunning to succeed. Perhaps Skulker has his own ideas in mind with that Spectral Energy Neutralizer, hm?

On the subject of Skulker's facial expressions in his suit, I think we may have to give that some leeway due to cartoon physics. I mean, it shouldn't be possible for, say, Valerie's jet sled to fold up into her shoes, yet it does. But if one wants to try and explain how Skulker can get such a range of expressions, who's to say that the suit is made of solid plating? Something more sci-fi such as microbots or nanobots would enable the suit to display facial expressions easily, as well as explain how that jetpack can just fold up and practically disappear. Technology like that would enable the facial surface to be quite pliable for expressions, or inert and solid (when the suit's not active.)

As for Youngblood, he's one that I don't think was ever actually alive, but is rather a personification of childish mischief. Sort of like how the Fright Knight seems to me a personification of Halloween terror. It might explain his changing interests from playing troublemaking pirate to playing troublemaking cowboy. In a short comic that appeared in Nick Magazine or something (where I found it on the Net escapes me at the moment), he was shown briefly playing astronaut. Of course, in that comic, it was shown he has parents in the Ghost Zone, so who knows what his actual deal is.

And I definitely like the theories going so far about Dora and Aragon. Though Parental Bonding implies that the amulets had to have had some effect when they were alive, given Sam was able to find info about it on the Internet. Though for all we know, they could have been TOLD the amulets were cursed, and that's the story Sam found.

bluemoonalto - January 15, 2007 06:38 AM (GMT)
I've been thinking about Undergrowth. Not easy for me, because I was extremely disappointed in the episode, but for the purpose of the theory I can't pretend the guy didn't exist.

I don't think he's as powerful as he seemed. If he were some universal spirit of plant-life on a mission to avenge the destruction of vegetation, he wouldn't be bursting out of the ground in Amity Park just because a new shopping center is being built. There are thousands of places in this world where destruction of plant life is happening on a much greater scale. And even with Danny's absence during a third of the episode, the ghost's effects did not seem to stretch beyond Amity Park.

Could he have been the ghost of a recently-deceased human, perhaps a human who had an obsession with environmentalism? Perhaps another ultra-recyclo vegetarian, which might explain the way he bonded with Sam. As for his power: well, they mostly seemed to be regeneration and a modified form of overshadowing. Impressive in scale, don't get me wrong, but I think Danny would have been able to beat him more easily if he hadn't been distracted by his newly emerging ice powers.

As for Frostbite and his society of yetis: we know that it's possible for ghosts to reproduce (e.g. Box Lunch). We've also speculated that it might be possible for more than one human to make the transition to the Ghost Zone together (e.g. Dora and Aragon). What if a group of humans were to die together, whether from a battle or natural disaster, and start a new society as ghosts? Frostbite and his people might be the descendants of those ghosts, or Frostbite might be one of those ghosts and his people a mix of his peers and their descendents.

Wild speculation, not based in any actual understanding of such cultures, so please assume that this is 100% fictional and not related to any real-world beliefs: Frostbite's people may have had an animalistic religion with a tribal identity related to a yeti-like creature. They may have lived in an extreme climate, and a group of them died in a blizzard or froze to death for some other reason. Thus, they manifested as yetis with ice powers.

XxCrimsonRainxX - January 15, 2007 12:42 PM (GMT)
I was not all that impressed by undergrowth. The whole episode was pretty bad. My hope for Danny's new ice powers is that he has a hard time with them in the episodes to follow Urban Jungle. It would be unrealistic for him to master them so quickly and OOC as Danny usually takes a while to figure out his abilities. As for his skillful use of them in Urban Jungle, I'd like to think that he was doing well simply because he had to. Danny tends to work well under pressure.

Blue, I really like your Frostbite thoery, based in fact or not, it's a fun one. I wouldn't have thought of that.

bluemoonalto - January 15, 2007 07:11 PM (GMT)
The state of “Ghost Science” in Danny Phantom is frustratingly ambiguous. In Mystery Meat we are confronted with ghost researchers who are struggling just to prove that ghosts exist. This theme carries forward for several episodes; for example, in Bitter Reunions Harriet Chin was fired for reporting on a ghost sighting. In Public Enemies the TV reporter was astonished by the massive ghost attack on Amity Park.

In Shades of Gray and Reality Trip we learn that non-fiction books about ghosts are available like “Ghost Hunting for Dimwits” and “Ghost Envy: Ghosts are Not the Boss of Me.” However, it is not made clear whether these books are actual scientific works in line with the research being done by the Fentons, or whether they are speculative works based on folklore and anecdotal sightings.

In Million Dollar Ghost we get our first glimpse of a larger ghost-hunting community, and in Double-Cross My Heart we see that the government has developed its ghost research to the point where it can deploy agents with ‘intangibility suits.’ However, it is not made entirely clear whether the government’s research is based on experience with actual ghosts or is merely speculative.

For my Unified Ghost Theory, I would prefer to stipulate that the state of Ghost Science at the outset of the series is similar to that of Ghost Science in our world: that is, that a relatively small number of people believe in ghosts and an even smaller number of them have actually seen ghosts, but the larger scientific community and the public at-large generally think it’s a load of bunk. Such a starting place would lend gravity to the developments of the series: despite the disdain of their neighbors and their peers, the Fentons make a true breakthrough—literally—which then allows a flood of ghosts to enter the living world through one gaping hole, instead of the usual trickle squeezing through a myriad of crevices spread across the globe.

Can this be reconciled with the Guys in White and with the books carried by Valerie in SOG and Jazz in RT?

Raven Lord - January 15, 2007 09:44 PM (GMT)
Even if you're not a conspiracy theorist, it's fairly obvious that the government has projects going on that they would rather the public at large not know about. I think that the government found out about the protoportal (either Vlad sold it to them, or a heretofor unknown jealous colleague stole it) and used it to build a functioning portal before the Fentons managed. They would have then been studying ghosts on a working scale rather than a theoretical one, and would have come up with more advanced technology for dealing with ghosts than the Fentons have so far managed. However, the GiW must still be just on the fringes of accepted science even then since they're all barely competent quacks. (Right up until Reality Trip, at least, when they had to be a force to be reckoned with.)

The books, I think, were just based on anecdotal evidence. They have ghost books out now written by supposed "professionals." I think 'Ghost Hunting for Dimwits' was one such, while 'Ghost Envy' may have had something resembling actual science behind it.

I like Firefury's idea of Undergrowth, but I want to add that I don't think he realizes that he's not an elemental spirit of vengence.

As for Frostbite, I don't remember where I heard this or even if it was real science or cryptozoology. Supposedly, yetis are an actual, extinct race of ice-dwelling primate that existed in the Arctic and Northern Siberia before the ice age. Whether or not that's true, I don't know. But that's what I think Frostbite is supposed to be.

bluemoonalto - January 16, 2007 02:31 PM (GMT)
Crimson Rain, I just stumbled across one of your earlier posts while re-reading the thread (I’m having a ball, you guys!) and I realized that I had missed it the first time ’round. My apologies, I didn’t mean to ignore you.

I think you nailed it right on the head with Johnny 13 and Kitty. They’re obsessed with each other, and will probably repeat the cycle of resentment, jealousy and forgiveness again and again throughout eternity. Perhaps they were victims of a love triangle turned violent. They’re fairly innocuous for haunting ghosts, and Danny can probably safely ignore them. The wild card is, unfortunately, Johnny’s bad-luck shadow, which can cause a lot of collateral damage whenever he’s in the ‘real’ world. Perhaps Johnny's shadow is like Aragon's amulet: a superstition in life turned ghost power in death. In any case, it works like a modified duplication power, enabling him to attack or defend while keeping his 'real' eyes on his love for Kitty.

As for Danny and Vlad: because they did not die in the throes of obsession, they did not have obsessions when they first ‘manifested’ as ghosts. However, they did gain an obsessive nature which gradually coalesced into genuine obsessions that were in-line with their own preoccupations at the time. Vlad was preoccupied with his anger at Jack and his unrequited love for Maddie; Danny was preoccupied with figuring out a purpose for his powers and dealing with the consequences of his parents’ gaping hole in reality. A half-ghost is more self-aware than a true ghost, and his powers (and obsessions) can grow over time.

We get a lovely illustration of this principle in The Ultimate Enemy, when we see a 100% human Vlad who has come to terms with his life and realizes how futile all that obsessive behavior was.

Raven Lord, while I’m happy to stipulate for the purpose of this discussion that there really are yetis living in the Himalayas, the ghost creatures led by Frostbite had advanced technology. I have to believe that (if they are to be shoe-horned into the UGT at all) they are the ghosts of humans who manifested in yeti form, not the ghosts of yetis. Of course, I’d rather jettison that whole stinking episode and continue on without it, but canon is canon even when it sucks.

QUOTE
I like Firefury's idea of Undergrowth, but I want to add that I don't think he realizes that he's not an elemental spirit of vengence.


Oh, that’s cool. And maybe Walker doesn’t realize that he’s not actually enforcing real laws, that he’s just play-acting his obsession with locking people up.

Raven Lord - January 17, 2007 09:33 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (bluemoonalto @ Jan 16 2007, 08:31 AM)
Raven Lord, while I’m happy to stipulate for the purpose of this discussion that there really are yetis living in the Himalayas, the ghost creatures led by Frostbite had advanced technology. I have to believe that (if they are to be shoe-horned into the UGT at all) they are the ghosts of humans who manifested in yeti form, not the ghosts of yetis. Of course, I’d rather jettison that whole stinking episode and continue on without it, but canon is canon even when it sucks.

Okay, but that still leaves the question of why. Why nonhumans in general and yetis in particular? Why would any human manifest as a nonhuman for that matter?

Perhaps in life, the society lived in a frozen area like extreme-northern Alaska. My only working knowledge of Eskimos is the stereotypical view presented in by media; I've never heard or researched how they live now. But say in death Eskimos manifest as yetis as a way of coping with cold. Perhaps the cold is their chosen obsession. It still doesn't explain why they have advanced technology unless they acquired it after arriving in the Ghost Zone, which is entirely plausible since they seem like fully-functional living beings that are capable of taking advantage of their surroundings. In which case, they could still be the extinct species of yeti, assuming that the species was or became as intelligent as humans.

bluemoonalto - January 19, 2007 04:09 PM (GMT)
I wish I could do away with Frostbite's people altogether. Most of my theory is based on the concept that ghosts are a myriad of individuals, each with its own purpose and powers. The idea that there could be little kingdoms of ghosts rankles. Grrr. :angry:

Moving on. . . .

Can a ghost kill a human?

Okay, so it’s a kids’ show. The characters may occasionally talk about being ‘wasted’ by an enemy, but in the overall scheme of things, there’s not a whole lot of killing going on. The truth is, considering the vast powers at their command, and the near-total vulnerability of humans, ghosts are remarkably incompetent at killing.

Perhaps it is unacceptable, or undesirable, or even impossible for ghosts to kill humans. One reason could be that ghosts see humans as alien or even inferior beings, and killing one could allow it to become a ghost, too. I have even considered the possibility that death at the hands of a ghost would be an automatic ticket to the Ghost Zone for the victim, which could lead to blood-feuds (ectoplasm-feuds?) that would disrupt what passes for civilization there. Perhaps this is how the ghosts whose haunt seems to be the Ghost Zone itself (Pariah Dark, Walker) came to be.

Another possibility is that a ghost would wish to maintain its original haunt as long as possible. From the ghost’s point of view, death was merely a gateway into a new existence. It’s a lot more fun to keep the puny, helpless haunt healthy and miserable for as long as possible than to enjoy a moment of victory followed by an eternity of boredom.

Death threats on the show usually involve one or both of the half-ghosts, who still have one foot on either side of the divide. For example, Vlad has ordered his minions to kill Jack on at least two occasions, but the minions proved remarkable incompetent at completing the task. In any case, it doesn’t seem that Vlad has the stomach for doing his own dirty work. And as many times as Skulker has mused putting Danny’s pelt on his wall, he never quite seems to be able to pull it off. (Skulker also threatened to kill Valerie, who is human, but he didn’t actually follow through with it. In fact, he was uncharacteristically incompetent in the second half of Life Lessons.

Even the Fright Knight and Pariah Dark, at the peak of their power in Amity Park, did not cause any deaths. In contrast, twenty-four year old Phantom was a mass murderer, but note that the Fright Knight did little harm to anybody in The Ultimate Enemy.

As annoying as he is, I think Technus is the only true ghost who has come close to causing deaths. He flung a streetcar at a crowd of humans in Identity Crisis and caused a bus crash in Flirting with Disaster.

I haven’t had time to explore this fully. Are there any examples of ghostly murders (or near murders) in the show? And can we chalk this up to the show’s kiddie rating, or am I onto something?

Raven Lord - January 19, 2007 06:52 PM (GMT)
Technus, I think, just didn't care about the consequences of his actions. Or he purposefully did it to distract Danny (I don't remember the context offhand), and expected Danny to save them. Other than that, I think you're right. It's a theory I've been toying with, actually, though I wonder if the ghosts even realize that they can't kill.

Dan, obviously, is an abberation. He's his own class, and while he certainly shares many characteristics of the typical ghost, he's still his own kind of thing.

Back on the subject of kingdoms and countries, I've noticed that the older a person gets, the less he likes change. I surmise that ghosts are the same way. The more time goes by, the more the Ghost Zone changes. But the older ghosts can't change with it, so they form little communities with other ghosts of like power and general time of death so that they can ignore the change. They're still a myriad of individuals, they just formed a community to avoid the passage of time. Aragon, for example, literally locked Medieval Zone out of the rest of the Ghost Zone. He was brought down, the shield vanished, but the Medieval Zone is still there. And no matter how pleased they seemed that the shield was gone and they were no longer oppressed, no one seemed to be in much of a hurry to leave.

bluemoonalto - January 19, 2007 07:12 PM (GMT)
Quck reply (no time to think this through):

So the younger (read: newer) ghosts are the ones with the active haunts and/or evil schemes focused on the world of the living, and older ghosts tend to lose their outward focus and turn their attention inward toward maintaining their ghostly civilization?

Has possibilities. . . .

Firefury Amahira - January 19, 2007 10:02 PM (GMT)
Heh, I think for all applicable purposes, we HAVE to exclude Dan (and to a lesser extent either of the half-ghosts) from the working theory, since all three are an improbable abberation of the norm.

As for the not killing, I think a good chunk of that can be chalked up to the kiddie rating. Spectra had no qualms about arranging for Jazz's demise in My Brother's Keeper, and she had no guarantee that Danny would have been able to prevent it. Likewise, in Doctor's Disorders, she seems perfectly content with the idea of her ghost virus "burning out" all the teens. (Which came across to me as a euphenism for "it'll kill 'em all".) And Youngblood in Pirate Radio had no problems throwing human-form Danny overboard (though this could be chalked up to the fact that Danny is half-ghost.). In The Fenton Menace, Youngblood made multiple attempts on the lives of Danny and his family- the attempt to get the RV to go plunging off the cliff, the attempt on Jazz with an axe, pushing Jack and Maddie's tent into the river to plummet from a waterfall, and so on.

I don't think any ghost is incapable of killing a human- just that in the overwhelming majority of cases, murder is inefficient or a wasted effort. Pariah wouldn't want to kill people- he wants to RULE them, and killing them might result in a whole lot of ghosts obsessed with taking HIM out for killing them. Spectra was going to kill Jazz not because she could- but to give the teen misery she feeds on an extra boost. Vlad's minions probably bungled their murder attempts not because they couldn't kill Jack, but because they're just flat-out incompetent, period.

And as for Skulker... What if his supposed incapability in the end of Life Lessons wasn't real, but rather feigned? He's a predator, and if he's working for Vlad as a way to study his next prey, his hunt for Danny could largely be just an act. He likes a fight- Danny with his powers crippled is hardly sporting, that entire episode reeked to me of Skulker just... kinda screwing around, putting on a show, even just goofing off. If Vlad thinks Skulker's still bent on Danny, Vlad wouldn't look askance at Skulker showing up unannounced in Wisconsin for suit upgrades or whatnot- Skulker could extend his observations of Vlad until he could find something to exploit in his hunt.

Hrm, that could make for an amusing surprise twist plot bunny, that Skulker's got some cunning scheme running throughout the entire series just to get at Vlad....

Raven Lord - January 20, 2007 01:42 AM (GMT)
But did he start out that way? On the one hand, with show continuity, I don't believe he originally knew Danny wasn't the only half ghost. I think he honestly started out wanting to hunt Danny, and probably still does. A friend of mine says Danny is Skulker's white whale, that he will never truly end the hunt because the hunt is the end in itself. And I agree with this.

But, as Skulker is a ghost with a hunting obsession, he can't just stop everything to chase Danny for the rest of eternity. Part of hunting entails catching, and I don't think it would satisfy his obsession if he never got another 'trophy'. Hence, he began hunting Vlad as well for the actual purpose of catching.

On the other hand, it could be that he isn't hunting Danny at all. Maybe he heard of Vlad, realized he was half ghost the same way he found that Danny was (I'm assuming he used one of his devices). He probably started hunting Vlad in his traditional method, and got his ass handed to him. Realizing that he needed a more subtle approach, he became Vlad's henchman, learned about Vlad's obsession and found Danny that way, and has been pretending to hunt him to throw Vlad off. He might have known that Vlad was spying on him somehow, which would explain his comments in the beginning of the episode. But then, the only thing that explains why Vlad didn't already know about Danny is that he wasn't paying attention to his eavesdropping devices, which is a bit of a stretch I think. I don't like this theory as much.

bluemoonalto - January 21, 2007 03:14 AM (GMT)
On Skulker, I'm going to stay out of the discussion of whether he's stalking Vlad or not, but I will speculate that he (like a number of ghosts, apparently) is a little deluded about his obsession. Despite all his threats about pelts and skulls, we've never seen him do worse than put ghosts in a cage. I suspect that he's far more interested in the pleasure of pursuit than he is in killing his prey, so he'll never get around to actually skinning anybody.

I'll happily revise my opinion of ghosts killing humans, in light of the examples Firefury provided. There is an interesting common element, though: in each case, the ghost did not try to kill anybody directly but simply set up circumstances where a death could occur. Jazz and the spirit sparklers, Jack and Maddie and the waterfall, it's as though the ghosts prefer not to be the direct agent of murder. Perhaps that would get the ghost 'off the hook' if the victim should make the tranition to the Ghost Zone. Seriously: if a ghost were truly hostile toward a human, an ecto-blast to the head would be much more effective. (But, as Skulker might say, much less sporting.)

docarrol - January 21, 2007 08:52 AM (GMT)
As far as Skulker's hunting trophies goes, well, we've never seen a "dead" ghost obviously (kid's show again), so maybe they don't leave pelts, heads to be mounted, or bodies to be stuffed. Perhaps they just dissolve, into the air, or melt into a puddle of ecto-ooze, or whatever. If that's the case, then a trophy room becomes problematical (unless the ghost caries some nominally stable physical or ghost-physical object, like the Fright Knight's sword, or Danny's jump-suit, or Vlad's cape, or Ember's guitar, etc.).

If that is the case then all Stalker's talking is just "stereotypical hunter speech" acting as metaphor. The only way to collect "trophies" is live capture and eternal imprisonment. (kind of like Walker's prison, come to think or it).

As for the apparent deadly effect of his weapons, all we've seen in terms of injury in the show is people/ghosts getting thrown around and progressively roughed up. Perhaps Ghosts, with no real physical bodies (or at last not as we think of them) just take pain and damage until they pass out (like RPG or video game characters). When the ghost regenerates (which they seem to rapidly by human standards, and with little or no long term damage) they wake up with no ill effects aside from perhaps fatigue. At least that seems to be the cycle we see with Danny, Vlad, and other ghosts on the show. (actually, that's pretty standard for US children's cartoons, action movies, etc)

Mix that idea, with the earlier one and Stalker isn't using blasters with the intent to kill or blow holes, but to cause enough damage to stun and incapacitate, allowing him to capture his "prey"

...
All that said, it's not very satisfying (however well it'd work in a story). As I sit here and type, I'm just picturing Danny or someone walking into Stalker's trophy room and have hundreds of mounted heads, stuffed animals, and a few rugs all turn to glaring (impotent but full of malice) at the new-comer with glowing green eyes. :)

docarrol

bluemoonalto - January 22, 2007 02:28 PM (GMT)
Having just posted a reply in the Fright Before Christmas thread, I have to ask:

What the hell is Ghostwriter?

Spirit_of_Haley - January 22, 2007 10:17 PM (GMT)
I REMEMBER an episode with that guy! Oh my gosh, it was supposed to be something like, this ghost writer writes out what happens or something in some plot to take over things...I forget but I remember it was an episode....(I'll look on wikipedia! :P ) Was he in the actual Fright Before Christmas?

I feel aweful for not knowing these things . . .

(after looking on wikipedia)

Hey, did anyone know that ghostwriter is an actual term?

QUOTE
Definition from wikipedia:

A ghostwriter is a professional writer who is paid to write books, articles, stories, or reports which are officially credited to another person. Celebrities, executives, and political leaders often hire ghostwriters to draft or edit autobiographies, magazine articles, or other written material. While the role of ghostwriters has long been a well-kept, embarrassing secret in the publishing industry, in the 2000s, it is becoming more common for celebrities who have published autobiographies or memoirs to acknowledge the assistance they got from their ghostwriters.


Of course...that probably has nothing to do with the show (read summary on site). I'm such a cheater... :D

Do you think the ghostwriter could be kind of like Clockwork? You know, having powers that influence time and space around them? The ghostwriter has (or rather, had) the power to control what Danny and the others were doing, hence 'controlling time and space.' Unless he gained that power along with the Quantum Keyboard from some other ghost . . . quite interesting . . . . . his appearance is rather simplified, unlike clock work and others... he's pretty much human (besides the fact he's a ghost). I call this "Haley's awesome educated guessing techinque number 368!" (Out of my 500 top secret abilities! :P )

Mabaroshiwoou - January 22, 2007 10:43 PM (GMT)
Just an author youkai, I guess. As to whether he's the yuurei of an actual human writer...well, I lean toward no, but could be. *shrug*

...and so far, Hales, TFBC is GW's ONLY eppy; you should know these things. >>;

Reminds me a BIT of IY episode seventeen, Jigoku Eshi no Kegareta Sumi 'Cursed Ink of Hell Painter', where a seedy man uses youkai ink to make his paintings, also youkai, come to life to ruthlessly harrangue the Inu-ikkou. Of course, destroying said ink DID end the spell, whereas GW's setup made it so that destroying the keyboard only kept the spell in place.

Raven Lord - January 23, 2007 01:54 AM (GMT)
All authors can control time and space, just not usually in our home dimension. I think Ghost Writer must be an archetype for the author in general. Writing is a very emotional thing. We are as gods to characters we write about. It would make as much sense that an author ghosts would be created as those for prisons. Still, while all author ghosts would share Ghost Writer's obsession, I find it difficult to believe that they all have the same level of power. Just imagine the chaos. No, I think in that he is one of a kind. Or at least, a very few.

And Maba, don't chastise poor Haley. I wouldn't have know Fright Knight appeared in Fright Knight if Kat hadn't opened her hideout. I only saw the last five or ten minutes of the episode and had no idea what I was watching when I saw it beyond that it was Danny Phantom.

House - January 30, 2007 11:49 PM (GMT)
I had a theory about Skullker. I think that in life, he had one helluva inferiority complex. Either from his father, a friend, or perhaps even a drill seregant or something, Skullker always felt inferior, until it took over his character and all he could think about was the fact the he was a whimp. Not necessarily physically smaller, but perhaps had below-average intelligence or was very shy. When he died, he was so obsessed with the fact the he was small and pointless, so to speak, he manifested into a tiny little bug thing, which ties in perfectly with your theory, bluemoon. He was small and insignificant and he knew it, so he decided to make up for it by building the giant body suit.

XxCrimsonRainxX - January 31, 2007 01:14 AM (GMT)
What is Clockwork and the Observants obsession? Time I guess, but that seems so simplified.

House: ZOMG! New epie of House MD today! We learn all about his dark past and stuff! YAY! (serious House fangurl)

Sorry I went off topic.

Firefury Amahira - January 31, 2007 02:47 AM (GMT)
Clocky is on some other level entirely, if you ask me. Chaotic neutral, his main concern seems to be the proper flow of events.

In a way, he actually reminds me of Chronos from the Incarnations of Immortality novels, except he doesn't operate his power via a magic hourglass, nor does he show any appreciable signs of ever having BEEN mortal. That and time doesn't seem to run backward for him :lol:

My own personal theory (and one that does show slightly in Anathema) is that Clockwork (and possibly the Observants as well) is one of those mysterious "ancient ghosts" Skulker says sealed Pariah up. It would fit in that Clocky has clearly been around for a long time, and that event happened so long ago that it's mere legend among the "modern" ghosts. The fact he's always so infuriatingly calm says to me he's been around a very long time- to paraphrase Song in the Silence, when you've lived a thousand years you gain a sort of equilibrium with the world, and it takes an awful lot to ruffle that.




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