Maddie Gudenkauf
Maddie Gudenkauf: Writer & YouTuber
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Thoughts of Maddness

Thoughts of Maddness

Maddie Gudenkauf's Official Blog

Top 5 Not-So Spooky Ghosts in Pop Culture

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Ghosts have been appearing in media since Homer’s Odyssey and today’s pop culture is no exception. In honor of the spooky season (and my own not-so spooky YA novel about ghosts), let’s celebrate the top five not-so-spooky ghosts in media today! Why only the not-so-spooky ghosts? Well because honestly I’m a scaredy cat and also American Horror Story kind of has a monopoly on the whole “actually scary ghosts” thing.

#5: King Boo

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Everyone may be losing their minds over “Bowsette” right now, but never forget the first crowned villain of the Mario video game franchise was just as boo-tiful as Bowser’s female counterpart (I’m not sorry for that pun). King Boo’s first major appearance was as the main antagonist for 2001’s Luigi Mansion. Since then, King Boo has made regular appearances in various Mario spin-off games such as Mario Kart and Mario Party. He’s not known for much else, but he is the king of the ghosts in one of the largest video game franchises of all time so that’s gotta count for something, right?


#4: Danny Phantom

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With the catchiest theme song of all time, Danny Phantom was the ghostly superhero every kid of the mid-2000’s wanted to be (sorry Ghost Rider). He had amazingly cool powers that continued to evolve as the series did, his spectral villains were unlike anything else seen on children’s television at the time, and superstar actors made regular appearances on the show (For example, Ron Perlman as Vice Principal Lancer and Mark Hamill as the villain Undergrowth). Overall, it was an excellent TV show centered around ghosts that was rarely corny and still kicks butt today.


#3: The Ghost of Snapchat

And no I’m not talking about the actual Snapchat Ghost. While he/she/xe was equally iconic at one point, Snapchat’s fall to Instagram’s copycat feature “Instagram Stories” is the prevalent not-so spooky ghost here. By all means, Snapchat should’ve emerged the victor against something that freely copied its formula code by code. But following user-unfriendly redesigns, Kylie Jenner’s public dismissal of the app on Twitter, and an offensive advertisement about Rihanna, Snapchat’s growth rate has fallen 2.8% while Instagram Stories reports over double active users compared to Snapchat. It’s a fall of social media power not seen since MySpace and that’s truly very spooky, but also not-so because honestly Instagram Stories is way better anyways.


#2: Casper the Friendly Ghost

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Probably the most well known named ghost in media, Casper has been around since the 1930’s but most people nowadays probably remember him from his live action movies in the 1990’s. From these movies, this ghost is known primarily for two things: being SO friendly that he willingly sacrifices his one chance at renewed life to save Christina Ricci’s dad in one of the most traumatic moments of the 90’s and for having a human self so fine that he was many 90’s kids’ first crush. Casper the Friendly Ghost also gave Hillary Duff her first major role in a movie so really can you name a more influential ghost on the 90’s/early 2000’s than Casper? Probably not.


#1: Nearly Headless Nick (Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington)

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Has there ever been a more beloved undead spirit in a popular media franchise than Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington? He’s one of our first introductions to the magic of the world of Hogwarts, appearing during Harry’s first moments at the school and personally welcoming the Boy Who Lived into Gryffindor. Throughout the rest of the series, Nearly Headless Nick helped Harry on his quests, offering crucial information that only a ghost could obtain and even comforting Harry after Sirius Black’s death. Not to mention, Nearly Headless Nick’s 500th Deathday celebration in the second book is the starting point for calculating the entire timeline of Harry Potter’s story. So while the other Hogwarts ghosts offer their own significant contributions to Harry’s story (the Gray Lady, for one), it’s the esteemed, brave Sir Nicholas that ultimately makes the most impact on the beloved franchise.


Got any more not-so spooky ghosts to share? Let me know in the comments! If you’re interested in more not-so-spooky ghosts, you can check out my YA novel “How to Survive a Ghost Story” which is available now on Amazon! I’m also on Twitter and Instagram as @Maddness22 if you wanna find me there and yell about not-so-spooky ghosts with me.

How to Survive a Ghost Story
By Maddie Gudenkauf

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