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The Ghost is a creature with origins in mythology, legend and folklore all over the world. There is no one culture that can claim first documentation or recording of a ghost encounter. Ghosts can be best described as the soul of a living creature (human, humanoid or animal), separated from the body after that creature's death.
Ghosts come in all shapes and sizes. Though, typically, a ghost's appearance is indicative of its state; simply put, its state prior to death, will often dictate its appearance after.
For example, if a creature's emotional state was that of intense anger or jealousy, then they may appear intimidating and frightening. If they were in a state of extreme fear, then their expression of may be one of weakness, frailty and/or wild-eyed panic. If they were in a state of intense sadness or despair, they may appear ragged, worn-down and tired, as though from great distress.
In some cases, ghosts may seem determined to complete some unfinished business, in which case, they will look exactly like they did when they died. In the case of murder or accidents, it is not uncommon to see remnants of the victim's death still present (slash marks, gashes, scars, looking wet from head to toe, etc).
Though, it is not impossible to see ghosts pass on in a state of acceptance or relief. In such a state, they would appear as they did at a time when they were most happy (at the peak of vitality for their lifetime, free of injury or deformity, etc)
Ghosts are detached from the limitations held by their species in life. As such, they are capable of the entire broad range of human(oid) emotion, including extremes beyond what mortals can comprehend as possible, let alone rational or necessary. Due to this, they may be driven to actions that mortals view as reckless, irresponsible, irrational, dangerous and even deadly.