Alterpedia: Ghosts (part 2)

In the Alters’ World (and the series of books found here), creatures of legend reveal themselves to the world. Born through genetic abnormalities, defects and mutations, the Alters have lived for centuries as outcasts of human society, hiding their true nature from the world while colorful stories have been written by many to describe what they’ve seen. How are these creatures different from what was described in the stories? What relationship do they have with humanity? Every entry of the Alterpedia will delve into a new creature from around the world. This week, to continue from last week we’re covering:


As the days of the dead come to an end and the veil between the living and the dead supposedly strengthens once again, the question still goes unanswered: Just what did you feel moving in the night as the ghostly apparition floated out of the corner of your eye?

We all know the dangerous one is Christina Ricci

With the revelation that many other creatures of the night have been real entities it has become harder to deny that the possibility of ghosts may be entirely accurate. But the other creatures are flesh and blood it would be easy to wonder just how these things could possibly exist in a rational world.

So do they really?

The Parapsychic Connection

As discussed before, there are many races of Alter which possess the ability to create both illusions and physical phenomenon in their environments through mental powers. Of these races the Witches, Succubi and Empyreals have all demonstrated the ability to create intense responses from people with subtle stimuli.

And sometimes not so subtle

One of the abilities rarely documented but well known within the Alter community is something known as the “marker”. As said previously, Witches may sometimes gather into groups known as Covens which act as support groups in times of need. One aspect of the Covens rarely documented is the act of using their shared traits, their parapsychic abilities, to network and organize themselves for greater power and preparedness in times of need. The “marker”, in this case, is an incorporeal entity left by covens for various purposes.

The Residual

The residual ghosts are the least sophisticated marker left behind by a coven. Residual ghosts are parapsychic impressions left as a form of messages for both members of the covens and outsiders who may stumble upon territory marked by the coven. The nature of these messages changes depending on what has been left behind and what the apparition is doing.

The most common version of the residual marker is the memorial marker. These entities are often showing a lost member of the coven or a person close to a member who the coven has decided to memorialize with a lasting image. This marker is not created lightly and generally has been left behind through chemical and physical means to make it so that anyone who nears this location may see a vision of the dearly departed. They are incapable of reacting to someone who is in the area because they are merely illusions created for the sake of leaving a lasting reminder that someone existed.


The second most common version of the residual marker is the guide. Though they are difficult to differentiate for people outside of the coven, a guide acts as a means for members of the coven to find their way and lead them from one place to another through subtle clues and gestures. A guide walking down a path may indicate to a member of the coven that they are to follow that path to reach an important location. In essence, these visions are the parapsychic equivalent of a road sign.

Stemming from the sign-like nature of the guides, the omens are similarly crafted visions used to ward off outsiders from entering a coven’s territory. These residual markers may be particularly intense or unnerving, designed to scare off laymen while signaling to other covens that particular territory has been marked. These residual images may be the most disturbing and are used to intimidate people by implying horrible things may happen to them if they venture too far into the coven’s territory.

Sometimes, these images are even left to haunt particular individuals as a lesser form of the dreaded curses of legend. Only another witch may remove such a “curse” and often the person who has been haunted does not know whom they have crossed to deserve such a fate.

The Trapped

Much more complex markers than the residual ghosts, the interactive “spirits” act both for the coven and against outsiders who have come too close to coven territory. These visions actively attempt to convey information to the person perceiving them. Though this is often a different experience for each person who sees it, the details of the encounter remain similar enough that the information remains consistent.

Somewhat like politicians, but more consistent

The most common variations of this are the markers which will talk to the person to give them explicit instructions on where to go or not to go. The infamous depictions of ghosts telling people to “get out” are, in fact, legitimate attempts to tell those people to get out. Prolonged exposure to these markers will intensify the experience as anyone who has not followed the directions quickly is remaining in contact with the marker’s stimuli. In simple terms, the longer you stay, the more intense the marker will become.

This is not just a polite suggestion

Often this is also why the mysterious hitchhiker has vanished down the road. It’s not that the spirits are trying to scare you, you’ve just left their sphere of influence.


The most impressive of the markers and the only one truly dangerous to outsiders is the Poltergeist. Requiring the concerted efforts of most or all of a coven, the poltergeist is an active attempt to protect territory by any means necessary. This may be a move to protect themselves or scare off intruders. But what is a constant is that these forces are not to be trifled with.

Though true Poltergeist-level markers are rare, their use is often a sign that the coven feels incredibly strongly about the place you currently stand. Defying this force, while not only dangerous in the short term, may incur the wrath of the people who placed it there in the first place. Outsiders have long known that the Poltergeist had a connection to the emotions of the living, but the truly dangerous aspect is that, in regards to markers, the living in question are fully aware that it is there and why they have left it there.

So, if you have encountered one of these or if you’ve seen something move that shouldn’t be capable of moving, remember this:

You seriously do not want to piss these people off.

(If you’d like to hide and avoid angering these people, give my books a read in the safety of your own home. It’s better than getting hexed.)