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Our wisdom flows so sweet. Taste and see…
TRANSMIT - initiate the ectoplasmic signal - RECEIVE - initiate sightless zones - DOESN'T THAT MAKE YOU SUSPICIOUS, THAT THERE'S SOMETHING THE DEAD ARE KEEPING BACK? - illumine the Spectral Realms - WITNESS - The Spectres.
Echoes are universal, sounding off the bat lips of reality. We visit the intangibles. Some intangibles are less intangible than others. Ripped from life by violent events that their perspectives deems unfair (SPOILER, sweetling, the universe does not agree), spectres abide timeless wretchedness between worlds. There is no respite in their endless search for warmth.
What shackles the dead to the land of the quick varies. Some are spiteful, too mean and malignant to let go. Some died so tragically or quickly that they do not realise they ever perished. Some are less sapient, just human-shaped trauma scars in reality. Some thirst for revenge or closure or stranger passions. And some are held in place by the necromantic machinations of the wicked living.
While some ghostly echoes closely resemble their mortal coils, spectres are tortured entities, and their forms are wracked and warped beyond recognition. Semi-translucent and humanoid in form, they float slowly on a course which may be unknown even to them. They pass through solid barriers, yet make themselves corporeal enough to have physical impact on their victims. Among the vaporous dead, they have felt enough pain to be able to inflict it on others.
We see the Western Spectres. Regardless of the era of their death, they usually manifest in bedraggled turn-of-the-century finery -- a slow parade through the ragtime dirges and drowned pavilions of a frigid, underwater otherworld. Descriptions of this chthonic place match a score of submerged and forgotten towns from previous centuries, from Bittersweet to Minnewanka to Jindabyne. Perhaps their anachronistic attire is the expressed contrast to the incessant changes of our own, living world.
We see the Eastern Spectres, the hungry ghosts -- the living driven by envy and greed. They are afflicted with a torturous hunger for repugnant objects like human corpses, rotten food, or excrement. Legends say these phantoms come from a place called House of Chattering Ghosts. An otherworldly mansion, its fifty-one lacquered halls echo with the gnashing of geist teeth – like a cicada chorus at twilight. Traditionally, their insatiable hunger is held in check by segaki rituals, but current events have forced them to go unsated. No one is around to remember the offerings. Now they lurk in the backstreet shadows, gorging themselves on the city's backed-up Filth. Deeply ashamed of their condition, these spectres are easily provoked to violence if disturbed.
We see the Wraiths. More corporeal than spectres, they have an easier time affecting the physical world with brute effort, but are, themselves, more vulnerable. They wield ancient weapons of occult significance and are often bound to these tools.
We see the Tortured Souls. They float about the arid air of Egypt, as if suspended on their own agony. They appear to be bound by that pain. Their thirsty eyes are pulled open with hooks, for they must witness. They are wrapped in lashes of leather. Aten will not release them from their oaths.
We see the Writhing Amalgam. They share traits with the vengeful Onryo. They strike indiscriminately at the living. They are recently deceased, victims of the initial explosion in Kaidan, Tokyo. The pure, cosmic trauma of the event fused their souls together. Trapped in confusion and denial, they are driven by mass hysteria to blame someone, anyone. In this case, pain shared is not pain lessoned, but pain magnified exponentially.
Are the dead keeping something back, sweetling? Yes. Some children die early and suddenly. They have not had the time and attachment to life to form the same denial as an adult. They enter the cold realms with open eyes. They might have more insight to impart to you. You may find them, in the ghostly realm, lingering in places of rest, in haunted places like Kaidan.
Spectres cannot be permanently destroyed, at least not with your current means, sweetling. They can only be temporarily banished, briefly stopped from committing more atrocities in the living world. One day, if the current occult fluctuations subside, things would return to an approximation of normal, and spectres would again be exiled to the unseen. But until then, the spirits of the dead are among us in great numbers. The old gods and psychopomps who would sort this out are either unable or unwilling to do so. It will be up to someone else to fill that role…