In the games
In Generation I and FireRed and LeafGreen, before getting a Silph Scope, several unidentified ghosts (in reality Gastly, Haunter and Cubone) appear in the Pokémon Tower. Another stronger ghost is revealed to be a mother Marowak, which haunts the tower as a result of her death at the hands of Team Rocket.
The identity of the ghosts can be revealed with an item called the Silph Scope; without the device, battling the ghosts is impossible. Whenever the player orders an attack against an unknown ghost, the player's Pokémon will be too scared to move. In Generation I, players can exploit a glitch to make the ghost reveal itself by viewing the stats of any Pokémon in the player's party, and then returning to the battle. However, this glitch, which was corrected in Generation III, is only graphical, and it is still impossible to fight or catch it. Instead of being attacked, the ghost will say "Get out…. Get out…." Before the battle against Marowak's ghost, a similar message appears, saying "Be gone… Intruders…"
In addition, ghosts cannot be caught without being identified first. If one tries to throw a Poké Ball at a ghost, it dodges, and the message comes up "It dodged the thrown Ball! This Pokémon can't be caught!". Even Master Balls fail to capture the ghosts. Although most ghosts can be captured with the help of the Silph Scope, the Marowak's ghost cannot, even if it is unmasked, unless the player uses a cheating device.
During the course of the game, the player must obtain the Silph Scope and battle the undead Marowak to calm its spirit. A glitch existed in Generation I to allow players get past the mother Marowak without the Silph Scope; if the player encounters the ghost and uses a Poké Doll, they will be free to advance. After the Rocket Grunts who killed the Marowak are defeated, Mr. Fuji will express his gratitude to the player.
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FireRed and LeafGreen
In the anime
In the anime, a ghost of the same sort appeared briefly in The Tower of Terror. Later, a Haunter takes Ash's and Pikachu's souls out of their bodies after they have been struck by a chandelier. Here it is shown that ghosts can fly around and remain in the form they took while living; however, living beings cannot see them.
Other ghosts appeared in The Ghost of Maiden's Peak, including the titular character. The ghost of an Orange League Champion, Captain, was featured in A Shipful of Shivers. A ghost girl was featured in Ghoul Daze!. Both of these ghosts had malicious intent, and were portrayed, in contrast to the Ghost Pokémon that Ash met in Lavender Town, as villains.
- One of Missingno.'s forms uses the ghost's sprite.
- In Generation I, ghosts did not have a cry. In Generation III, ghosts emitted the cry of the Pokémon they would be after the Silph Scope was used.
- Despite being disguised, in Generation I the Pokédex would still record seen data on the Pokémon of which it is under the disguise.
- In Generation I, if the player played the game in color, the ghost would have the same palette as the Pokémon the ghost disguise hides. This means it could have been seen with two different (legitimate) palettes: that of Gastly and Haunter, and that of Cubone and Marowak. If the ghost appeared due to a glitch, a third palette would be used.
- Although a ghost of this type may be a Gastly, Haunter, Cubone or Marowak, both the Generation I and Generation III sprites bear a striking resemblance to Haunter.
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