In popular culture, ghosts generally take on one of two roles. They are either portrayed as a figure of fear, as in horror movies; or are portrayed as a moral compass, serving as a role model, or a harbinger of things to come. This second is usually found in Christmas movies, where ghosts appear to guide characters to a better (and usually heartwarming) future.

The most famous example of this is a Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens. This novella was then turned in to multitudes of movies, and adapted to fit many scenarios, all which involve a character heading down a bad path and ‘ghosts’ (sometimes actual, and sometimes metaphorical) helping them get back on the right path.Looking at the original, there are four ghosts that Ebenezer Scrooge encounters on his journey. These are the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, as well as his deceased partner Jacob Marley.

From the perspective of a paranormal investigator, the identities of these ghosts become clear.


Jacob Marley, the first ghost we encounter, is someone that Scrooge is familiar with. He lived a life similar to Scrooge’s, and has come to warn him, and try and get him to change. Marley is the instigator of the entire paranormal experience. It is believed that once a person dies, they see their life, and the decisions they make in that life, more clearly. It is apparent that Marley, with the perspective gained on the other side, regrets his choices, and puts Scrooge on the path to changing his life.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is portrayed as an androgynous person, with a flame-like light on its head.  It’s purpose in the story is to illuminate Scrooge’s past, to show him his past experiences, and what made him hate Christmas so much. This spirit falls into the intelligent haunting category. Spirits, because they are made from energy, are able to manipulate the electrical field of the living, giving them whatever mental images and messages the spirit desires.  While Ebenezer is under the impression that they are traveling through time to his childhood, the spirit is most likely manipulating Ebenezer’s thoughts so he believes he is an independent observer of his childhood memories.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is similarly an intelligent haunting. He is portrayed in a manner close to how Father Christmas is portrayed. He represents the Spirit of Christmas, and as such, provides Scrooge with images of joyful Christmases. He also provides Scrooge with warnings about the path he is currently on, and the consequences of this path. It seems that this Ghost is also manipulating Scrooge’s thoughts to give him the idea that he is traveling to different locations.

The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is the final ghost Scrooge encounters.  This spirit seems more like an entity. He has the physical appearance of Death, and leads Scrooge around soundlessly, refusing to answer any of his questions. This Ghost shows Scrooge the future, most importantly his own death, alone and unloved, and the untimely death of Tiny Tim Cratchett. It is these horrifying visions that cement Scrooge’s determination to become a better person. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come returns Scrooge to his home, where he wakes up on Christmas, determined to change his ways.

Looking at these ghosts deeper doesn't change the ultimate point of the story, which is to live life in a generous manner, and embrace the spirit of giving and kindness not just one day a year, but every day. We hope that all of our readers have a happy holidays, filled with kindness and giving.