The term “Wraith” has been used nebulously and extensively throughout history. Synonymous with the likes of specters, spirits, demons even. In truth I do not know when the first wraiths began to fall into existence; the most accepted theory is that they simply always existed and humans just never explicitly noticed until recently. If that’s the case, I estimate at least roughly 36% of all supernatural events or phenomena since history was invented has to have been the (direct and indirect) result of their interference.
Same as humans, the wraith (quantus spiritus) is born from the ever-expanding Abyss¹. I am not totally sure how or where the fetal wisp associated with infancy comes from: much like how a gluon particle theoretically ‘pops’ into existence in space, a wraith fetus similarly fades in and out of the Abyss, a sort of rudimentary consciousness. Occasionally, these fetal wisps come into contact with the extremely isolated planet known as Earth, and gestation begins once the fetus bonds with a human body. Chances of wraith birth used to be astronomically low, but seeing as how the planet has relatively recently become extremely populated with humans, chances have risen nominally.
When the fetus temporarily manifests, it is invisible to the naked eye. As it coincides with a human being, it will begin siphoning ambient emotional/electromagnetic energy as well as some grey matter for a period of up to three months. During this time the human becomes an unwitting symbiotic host for the fetus, and may suffer from severe psychological dysphoria including dissociation, depression, cold spells and overall sluggishness. (Please note: dissociation during this phase remains purely psychological, unlike in the Abyss where physical and conceptual disintegration is also a factor).
As the fetus grows, it gradually takes on the general shape and physicality of its host, in a cold reflection of their visage. While physically similar, I’ve never seen a wraith take on its host’s personality. It is almost always randomized and devoid at birth of any understanding of human-made concepts such as morality, death or social constructs. It is only through continual absorption of relevant knowledge that wraiths ever learn about said concepts and decide on their own what their purpose and desires align with. After an unspecified time, the entity emerges incrementally from various orifices of the host. Non-fatal hemorrhaging is somewhat common during this period and can be treated conventionally.
As I mentioned, wraiths do appear humanoid, but significantly different in overall internal and facial anatomy. Skin pigment is specifically always paper-white. Bodies are always devoid of a naval, genitalia, nails and fingerprints. Physical albeit rare deformities such as missing extremities and cracks in the skin do not appear to negatively affect them on the whole. When not purposefully imitating their previous host’s face a Wraith’s face is devoid of nasal cavities, leaving only an irregular and wide maw, as well as large circular eyes.
Although the facial features are functional as ocular and oral cavities, these features also apparently lead back into the original place of birth, visible as a permanently shifting black ocean beneath the outer layer of the face. It is not recommended to come into contact with these cavities, extremity removal is a strong possibility.
These entities are capable of an extraordinary number of feats I care not to list in total. It must be something involving the strange and limitless potential of the Abyss and how it affects reality on the whole. To name a few of commonality, they can:
- Become intangible, invisible or fly
- Create dimensional rifts back into the Abyss
- Temporarily imitate human faces
- Possess inanimate/animate objects
- Transfix sapient beings with eye contact, analogous to 'hypnotism'
- Manifest properties of the Abyss through channeled mediums
- Restrictively regenerate lost or damaged limbs (wraith blood is a peculiar, ink-like liquid found inside their hollow bodies; it appears to be a fixed pool which, if totally drained, dissipates the entity entirely and quite possibly ends their consciousness)
It's no wonder many similar supernatural myths and phenomena are attributed to various folklore creatures: these spectral creatures are so nebulous in terms of manifestation and abilities their actions have been misidentified as being the result of gods or monsters. The descriptions of doppelgangers or ghosts are startlingly accurate parallels to this species for one.
As I mentioned before, quantus spiritus personalities and moral alignments are totally random and do not correlate with their host’s. Intelligence is also roughly equal to a human’s, yet capable of easily surpassing them in record time. All wraiths share a very specific trait: an extreme thirst for knowledge. They are potentially capable of absorbing infinite amounts of information through their mouths and eyes. Books, computers, objects, flesh, even spoken words. A wraith can totally understand the given object or concept if so desired and with enough consumption of raw materials.
Very few, I find, seem to be capable of innate evil or preconceived malice. I met one such individual years ago by the name of Demagot (so he told me), who apparently delighted in devouring the fingers of children during their sleep and watching the reactions of their family in the morning. I try to make it a case not to indulge in senseless violence, but this case warranted reaction. After I scattered his consciousness as efficiently as I could, I started paying more attention to local news for similar incidents. Its certainly possible Demagot managed to acquire resources early on pertaining to certain humans of notorious depravity and took an interest.
It is no surprise that these creatures commonly default to abandoned dwellings, catacombs, chasms miles beneath the ground: by now, most Wraiths understand the animosity of humans to anything outside consensus reality. Some are apparently comfortable enough hiding in plain sight in settled abodes, quietly biding their time in closets and under floorboards. There is also a slight chance the eccentric on your street is not the human you thought them to be...people don't disappear when you're not looking at them, yes?
Rarely and unfortunately, a defect may occur in quantus spiritus that can irreversibly damage its psyche and very existence. By a poorly-understood phenomenon, a wraith may become trapped in its host and unwittingly turn into a creature devoid of reason. A wight is essentially the corpse of a wraith stuck in an endless cycle of birth and death, violently rocking and shaking within its place of death² and unable to leave within a certain radius.
It appears that something in their biology drive them to be free of all physical constraints, and becoming ensnared with an object or its own host drives it utterly mad until it tears itself apart trying to escape. These hollow husks endlessly patrol their tombs and cannot respond to intelligible interaction. Some are even capable of simple direction at the behest of their human host, if their host survived the incident at all. I think there has only been one case of a human surviving the ordeal and they are currently a drooling mess locked in emergency care.
Wraiths are growing in numbers, and so is the threat of them devouring all physical things in this world in their pursuit of knowledge. There are already recordings of disappearances followed by sightings of spectral, pale things watching from the walls. I’ve witnessed an infested building vanish in the middle of the night, no doubt devoured by these ilk. And at the risk of generating controversy - should you decide to release these notes without my consent - a certain political figure of ill-repute has most definitely been replaced by their pale imitator (to what end, I don’t know).
I shudder to imagine what would have happened if I suffered the same fate as those poor saps, trapped in their prisons of porcelain flesh. The tightness of claustrophobia combined with the absence of the promise of death. I also find myself contemplating if anyone else would have bothered trying to study my kind, to understand where we come from. Where we’re going. How we exist. If humans are doomed to the fate of living in a universe slowly being consumed by death and horror, where does that leave the Wraiths of the world?
What is worse, to brusquely and casually vanish unfulfilled, or to inherit a world devoid of life?
- Inquiry of W. See, 2013-2015
¹ The fundamental bedrock of the metaverse and all underneath it: largely considered to connect all of existing consensus reality.
² Please note that I use the terms ‘death’ and ‘corpse’ lightly. A Wraith is no more a living thing per se, than a human-shaped hole.