In del Toro's latest Gothic romance ghost story/movie Crimson Peak, Edith Cushing gets experiences with uncommon shaped ghosts.

Skeletal ghost crawling down a hallway

Are there any explanations about how to become a ghost (in del Toro's Crimson Peak universe)?

  • 3
    You gotta be sad and you gotta die at Crimson Peak. Not much else is needed. Edith's husband get's the ghost treatment towards the end of the film, and he dies from a knife wound. Nothing really special about is death.
    – Daft
    Mar 23 '16 at 15:30
  • 1
    Yeah. After asking the question, I watched the movie. I asked the question before seeing it. Since the ghost in the trailer and on social media looks different in a way, I thought something else was up. But it looks like it's just a combo of a violent death and a nervous breakdown.
    – apollo
    Mar 23 '16 at 15:37

You just have to be murdered at Crimson Peak...

The creepy red ghosts we see in the trailers and throughout the movie are murder victims, whose bodies were dumped in the red clay pits below Crimson Peak. The clay being what gives them their red skin and bones.

But it seems anyone lucky enough to be killed there gets the ghost treatment.

Both Thomas and Lucille Sharpe are killed before the end credits roll and sure enough we see them in ghost form not long after. In fact, all the ghosts we see are either Sharpes by blood or by marriage, so perhaps some direct link to that family is also required? It's never specifically stated though.

  • At the age of 10, Edith saw the ghost of her mother who died of cholera some time before, and not at Crimson Peak (this is narrated in the movie opening), so that specific location is not a necessary requirement.
    – lfurini
    May 25 '19 at 6:42

In the movie's gothic universe, ghosts are just a part of the everyday existence.
There is no particular "ghostification procedure" that creates them, but rather a condition: a strong bond between the dying person and a place / event / person, that leads to their haunting:

Edith: Ghosts are real, this much I know.
There are things that tie them to a place, very much like they do to us. Some remain tethered to a patch of land, a time and date, the spilling of blood, a terrible crime...
There are others, others that hold onto an emotion, a drive, loss, revenge, or love. Those, they never go away.
(voice-over at the movie epilogue)

Some people are able to see them, but most aren't:

Edith: The first time I saw one I was 10 years old.
It was my mother's. Black cholera had taken her. So Father ordered a closed casket, asked me not to look. There were to be no parting kisses. No goodbyes. No last words.
That is, until the night she came back.
(voice-over at the movie prologue)

Edith can see them since her childhood, while Lucille only becomes capable at the end of the story

when she sees the ghost of her brother, whom she killed just a few moments before.

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