Today I am ranking all of the Thirteen Ghosts! I got this idea from Sarah Hawkinson – please watch her video here. If you didn’t know, this film follows a family that inherits a spectacular old house from an eccentric uncle. There’s just one problem: their new dwelling seems to have a dangerous agenda all its own. Trapped by strangely shifting walls, the family encounters powerful and vengeful entities that threaten to annihilate anyone in their path. All of the ghosts are really unique, with fascinating backstories. If you’re wondering where my t-shirt below is from, you can order it here. Without further ado, here is my list from most to least favourite!
1.) The Angry Princess
I was a teenager when I watched Thirteen Ghosts for the first time and I remember being equally captivated and terrified by The Angry Princess. She is the 6th ghost in The Black Zodiac (my t-shirt below shows the wheel and corresponding symbols for each spirit). Born as Dana Newman, this woman was incredibly beautiful in life but unfortunately, didn’t feel it herself. To the dismay of those around her, Dana underwent multiple surgeries to “fix” the flaws only she could see. One evening, she was left alone in a treatment room and decided to perform surgery on herself, which went terribly wrong. Now blind in one eye, Dana committed suicide (over her ruined facade) by bleeding out in a bathtub. Aptly named, this ghost jealously attacks those she deems attractive. She is the first to enter the house and the last to leave. She’s iconic. She is the moment. She absolutely deserves the number one spot!
2.) The Jackal
In second place, we have The Jackal (pictured front and centre on my t-shirt). He is the 11th ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of the late Ryan Kuhn. Born to a prostitute in 1887, Ryan grew up to develop an uncontrollable taste for women. After a slew of murdering and raping, Kuhn admitted himself to a mental asylum, where he eventually went insane. He was forced into a straight jacket after attacking a nurse. However, he gnawed out of it, causing the doctors to imprison his head in a cage-type helmet. He was then locked in a dark basement cell. When a fire broke out at the asylum, Ryan chose to stay instead of flee and burned alive. He is the most dangerous and terrifying ghost in the entire film. His face sort of resembles Reagan’s from The Exorcist and he never fails to scare the pants off me. For this reason, he is worthy of runner-up position.
3.) The Hammer
In third place, we have The Hammer. He is the 10th ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of George Markley. In life, George was an honest, hardworking blacksmith until a racist man named Nathan, wrongfully accused him of theft. He was threatened to leave town but George, knowing he was innocent, stood up for himself and refused to leave. This caused Nathan and his gang to beat The Hammer’s wife and children to death. Enraged, George tracked them down and murdered them with a sledgehammer. The town retaliated by tying George to a tree and driving railroad spikes into his body with his own weapon, slowly killing him. His arm was then cut off and the sledgehammer shoved into the socket. Here’s the thing. I feel damn sorry for George. He was 100% a victim. I don’t blame him for being angry and mistrustful of others!
4.) The Juggernaut
In fourth place, we have The Juggernaut. This is the 12th ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of Horace “The Breaker” Mahoney. He grew up to be abnormally tall, to the point where he was ostracised by his own community. His father put him to work at a junkyard, where he wouldn’t be around others. This didn’t help and the loneliness eventually drove him insane. He became a serial killer, targeting hitchhikers and stranded motorists. Horace earned the name “The Breaker” due to his preferred method of murder (ripping apart his victims with his own hands and feeding their remains to his dogs). One day, he attempted to kill an undercover policeman, who had a SWAT team surrounding the junkyard. They arrested him but he managed to break free of his handcuffs and was shot to death by five officers. I certainly don’t condone Horace’s actions, but I feel he became a product of his environment. If he had been nurtured and accepted as a child, he might not have developed violent tendencies.
5.) The Bound Woman
The Bound Woman is the 3rd ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of Susan LeGrow. She was an insanely privileged and wealthy girl, who grew up wanting for nothing. During her Senior year, she dated the captain of the football team but when he caught her with another boy on Prom Night, he tied her up and strangled her. To add insult to injury, he buried her underneath the football field. Susan is not as threatening and scary as some of the other ghosts mentioned but make no mistake, she is not to be crossed. She was the first female indoctrinated into The Black Zodiac. We love an iconic and deadly pioneer for women.
6.) The Torn Prince
The Torn Prince is the 5th ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of Royce Clayton. Born in 1940, Royce was discovered as a gifted baseball player in high-school. However, he had some serious attitude problems and a superiority complex. He was offered first-class scholarships from various colleges and endless opportunities. When Royce was 17, a boy named Johnny challenged him to a drag race but unbeknownst to our spectre, the brake lines had been cut prior to the event. This caused him to lose control of the car. It tore a large amount of flesh off his chest and quickly ended his life. In death, he attacks his victims with a baseball bat. It’s a shame because he had a lot of potential and good things on the horizon but his ego was his ultimate downfall. I like his story and the way he is presented.
7.) The First Born Son
We are now getting into my lesser favourite spirits. The First Born Son is the first ghost in The Black Zodiac. Little Billy Michaels loved Western films as a child. One day, a neighbour taunted him with a duel. Billy couldn’t resist his cowboy moment, so he went into the street holding a toy gun. Unfortunately, a piece of plastic was no match for the neighbour’s steel-tipped arrow, which shot straight through Billy’s head. He’s a cute kid but he doesn’t really do much in the film, aside from luring his victims into the clutches of the bigger, badder monsters. You could say, he’s a bit of a joke in the face of the other spirits.
8.) The Great Child
In eighth place, we have the eighth ghost in The Black Zodiac. Harold Shelburne, was born out of rape to Margaret Shelburne (see more below) and raised in a carnival as a freak-show attraction, due to his rotund appearance. He was named The Great Child and put on display to the general public. Harold retained his child-like mindset and never grew out of nappies. He was taunted and teased at every turn. One day, his mother was kidnapped as a cruel joke. Harold found her suffocated corpse and retaliated by killing the workers responsible for Margaret’s murder. When the carnival broker found out what Harold had done, he ordered an angry mob to horribly execute him. I’m not a fan of Harold (and his mother, even less so). He is quite repulsive to look at. Not because of his weight but the way you can tell he is sitting in his own waste, constantly gorging on food and never being clean. He looks like a big baby.
9.) The Withered Lover
The Withered Lover is the 4th ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of Jean Kriticos. If this name sounds familiar, it’s because she is the late wife of Arthur Kriticos (more on him below) who is the protagonist of this film. She died from fatal burns after accidentally setting her family’s house on fire. We are aware of her from the very beginning. She is the only ghost that is innocent and kind. There are no vengeful or dangerous tendencies. Jean does her best to help her children evade the malevolent forces within the house. She’s in 9th place because compared to the others, she isn’t overly interesting. I appreciate her gentle presence but prefer the scares.
10.) The Pilgrimess
In 10th place, we have The Pilgrimess. She is the 7th ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of Isabella Smith. She was born during Colonial times (1600-1790), where she sailed across the country in search of a better life. Unfortunately, the tight-knit folk didn’t trust outsiders and she was quickly ostracised. When the town’s livestock began to die mysteriously, she was accused of witchcraft. She was burned at the stake, but the flames didn’t harm her, proving her pagan heritage. She was sent to the stocks where kids stoned her, women cursed at her, and men spat at her until she died of starvation. It’s an awful story but I find The Pilgrimess quite boring. I always forget about her.
11.) The Dire Mother
Do you remember Harold Shelburne? This is his mother: Margaret Shelburne. She is the 9th ghost in The Black Zodiac and known as The Dire Mother. We already know how she died but what you may not know, was she only grew to be three feet high. She was a tiny woman, who spoiled her son endlessly, causing his inability to be toilet trained. She didn’t care and as we see in the film, continued to fuss over him even in death. I blame the parents before I blame the child. Therefore, she is placed quite low on my list.
The Torso is the second ghost in The Black Zodiac and the spirit of Jimmy “The Gambler” Gambino. There isn’t much to this story. Jimmy loved to gamble, he couldn’t pay his debts and was murdered by a mobster. They cut his body up, wrapped the pieces in cellophane and dumped them into the ocean. He’s literally a torso. He can’t do anything but flail around on the floor. Thank you, next!
13.) The Broken Heart
I nearly didn’t include The Broken Heart because he doesn’t actually become a ghost. The spirit is representative of Arthur Kriticos (our protagonist) who is mourning the loss of his wife (see: The Withered Lover). He was meant to serve as the 13th ghost, by jumping into the core of Basileus’s Machine as an act of pure love. However, the real villain, Cyrus, is pushed into the machine instead, causing it to malfunction. It was supposed to be the ultimate sacrifice but luckily, he was saved and able to continue living and being a father.
Thank you so much for reading! Did you agree with my list? How would you rank them all?
Peace & Love xoxo