In the core series games
In the Generation I games and Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen, before getting a Silph Scope, several unidentified ghosts (in reality, wild Gastly, Haunter, or Cubone) appear in the Pokémon Tower. Another stronger ghost is revealed to be a mother Marowak, which haunts the tower as a result of her death at the hands of Team Rocket.
The identity of the ghosts can be revealed with a key item called the Silph Scope; without the device, battling the ghosts is impossible. Whenever the player orders a move against an unknown ghost, the player's Pokémon will be too scared to move. Instead of being attacked, the ghost will say:
Before the battle against Marowak's ghost, a similar message appears, saying:
In addition, ghosts cannot be caught without being identified first. If one tries to throw a Poké Ball at a ghost, it dodges, and the message comes up:
Even Master Balls fail to capture the ghosts. Although most ghosts can be captured with the help of the Silph Scope, the Marowak's ghost cannot; this includes its unmasked state.
During the course of the game, the player must obtain the Silph Scope and battle the undead Marowak to calm its spirit. After the three Team Rocket Grunts who killed the Marowak are defeated, Mr. Fuji will express his gratitude to the player.
If the Generation I games are played on a Super Game Boy (or on a Game Boy Color, in the case of the international releases of Pokémon Yellow), the ghost has the same color palette as that of the Pokémon it is hiding. This means that a ghost can be seen with two different and legitimate color palettes: that of Gastly and Haunter, and that of Cubone and Marowak. If the ghost appears due to a glitch, a third palette is used. Furthermore, players can exploit the Ghost glitch to make the ghost reveal itself by viewing the stats of any Pokémon in the player's party, and then returning to the battle. However, this glitch is only graphical as it is still impossible to battle or catch a ghost. Also in Generation I is a glitch to allow players get past the mother Marowak without the Silph Scope; if the player encounters the ghost and uses a Poké Doll, they will be free to advance.
One of Missingno.'s forms in Generation I uses the ghost's front sprite.
| Sprite from
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FireRed and LeafGreen
In the anime
In The Tower of Terror, a Haunter takes Ash's and Pikachu's souls out of their bodies after they have been struck by a chandelier. Here it is shown that ghosts can fly around and remain in the form they took while living; however, living beings cannot see them.
Other ghosts appeared in The Ghost of Maiden's Peak, including the titular character. The ghost of an Orange League Champion, Captain, was featured in A Shipful of Shivers. A ghost girl was featured in Ghoul Daze!. Both of these ghosts had malicious intent, and were portrayed, in contrast to the Ghost Pokémon that Ash met in Lavender Town, as villains.
In Pokémon Origins
The only ghost that appears is in the Pokémon Origins episode File 2 - Cubone. It played the same role like in the games, being dormant in the Pokémon Tower and warning intruders to stay away from Team Rocket, who had taken it over. One resident of Lavender Town noted that she saw the ghost after sneaking past Team Rocket grunts at night, and fled in terror. Blue also ran away upon seeing it, while Red attempted to fight. However, his Pokémon's attacks were ineffective. When Blue returned to give Red the Silph Scope, Red was able to identify the ghost and figure out her true identity to be Marowak. After Marowak's child, Cubone, came rushing in and embraced its deceased mother, Marowak's spirit departed for the afterlife.
Additionally, at the Pokémon Center, one lady comments on an apparent white hand on Red's shoulder, but after checking only to find nothing, the woman disappears.
In other languages
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Reason: Missing names.