Ghostly Chill

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Information icon4.svg This page needs visual enhancement.
You can help All The Tropes by finding a high-quality image or video to illustrate the topic of this page.


"You ever feel the prickly things on the back of your neck?
And the tiny hairs on your arm, you know when they stand up?

That's them. When they get mad... it gets cold."
—Cole Sear, The Sixth Sense

One side-effect of the manifestation of ghosts or other spirits of the dead is coldness. Mirrors and windows may frost over, people's breath may make visible steam, and someone may comment on how cold it has got all of a sudden. The feeling may be especially acute if someone is being walked through, or is walking through, an immaterial ghost.

Sometimes this is explained by the ghost drawing on ambient heat energy to manifest (often with a fine disregard for thermodynamics), but just as often it's merely an unexplained side effect of ethereal activity. Objects that are ghost-touched often exhibit this trait as Thermal Dissonance.

Compare Evil Is Deathly Cold and I'm Cold... So Cold...

Examples of Ghostly Chill include:

Anime and Manga

  • In the 60 years of her haunting seat number 1, Sayo of Mahou Sensei Negima gained almost complete exclusivity of the spot since it had become infamous as the seat that gives an unwordly chill to those who sit there.
  • This is used often on Ghost Hunt. The Shibuya Psychic Research team even has special thermal cameras that measure room temperature to help them detect ghosts/supernatural activity.
  • The title character of My Lovely Ghost Kana is observed chilling a beer in her cleavage. The male lead insists that she does have a warmth (and even a heartbeat!), but it's difficult to detect.
  • While not technically a ghost, Brook of One Piece learns how to use his power to channel the energy of the Underworld through his attacks, which gives them an additional icy effect.


  • The Sixth Sense: The presence of ghosts makes one's breath visible. This is one of the ways the protagonist understands he's actually dead.
    • This actually only happens if the ghost is hostile (which most of them usually are). For most of the film, the protagonist doesn't have this effect... but when he gets frustrated with Cole, the boy's breath becomes visible.
  • In Rose Red, Cathy wanders into a room, unknown to her that a ghost is present, and she remarks about how freezing cold the room is.
  • In Ghost Town, people sneeze whenever they walk through a ghost.


Live Action TV

  • Used a lot in Supernatural to signify that a ghost is lurking somewhere nearby. Usually noted by the character's breath fogging up suddenly in a room.
  • Occurs occasionally in Ghost Hunters, usually followed by the explanation that "cold spots" may or may not be ghosts depending on the specific circumstances of the spot itself. Always discounted by the investigators as it's not conclusive evidence of anything, and a lot of cold spots can be faked.
  • Ghost Adventures have pointed out themselves with goosebumps as well carrying meters that read temperature, all the more noticeable whenever the locations they're locked down are either during the summer or it's usually warm/hot.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television: As untold numbers of parapsychologists can attest, the notion of a conspicuous lack of heat due to unexplained causes, in locations attested to be haunted, is quite grounded in eyewitness testimony that goes back centuries, or even millennia.

Video Games

  • A good sign that you're entering a crypt or other haunted place in Avernum is the sudden chill in the air.
    • It's also used in the Geneforge series to signify hauntings. Shades, which seem to spontaneously generate in areas of high ambient magic, don't have the same effect.
  • Several ghost Pokémon cause this, referred to as draining the energy from their surroundings.
  • In the The Elder Scrolls Morrowind, in Sandas Ancestral Tomb you'll find the skeletons of 2 noble guards, you'll find a key on one of the skeletons and a key on a pillar next to the other skeleton which lead to a room and a cursed chest respectively, if you open this chest you'll receive a message saying "You suddenly feel quite cold...". The skeletons become alive and will attack you.
  • In Luigi's Mansion Luigi's breath is always visible in rooms that have not yet been cleared of ghosts.
  • Ghosts in Dubloon breath ice as their main attack.
  • Taken to a logical extreme in Warcraft 3, where the element of cold belongs to The Undead.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • In Marble Hornets, J in Entry 17 complains of being cold. Considering who is watching him, that's not surprising. In another entry, Tim asks "Why is it so cold in June?" The...creature in question doesn't actually appear in that entry, but its presence is definitely felt.
  • Fruits Basket fanfic Eyes of the Cat abuses this trope to the point it invokes Kill It with Ice

Western Animation

  • The eponymous character in Danny Phantom has the ability to sense ghosts, which manifests as feeling a sudden chill whenever one draws near. Later in the show, this was expanded into full-on freezing powers.
  • Inverted in the Transformers Generation 1 cartoon, when the ghost of Starscream complains that he's getting cold without a body to occupy via possession.
  • Ben 10 Alien Force: This trope is probably why Big Chill has both intangibility and freezing powers.