CBS's Ghosts season 3: release date and everything we know about the comedy

The ghosts of Woodstone Mansion are back for another season.

Utkarsh Ambudkar and Rose McIver in Ghosts

CBS apparently loves being haunted by the hilarious spirits on Ghosts , as the network is bringing back the comedy for another season. Ghosts season 3 is a fixture of the CBS lineup alongside other comedies Young Sheldon season 7 , The Neighborhood season 6 and Bob Hearts Abishola season 5 on the network.

Ghosts , which is adapted from the BBC series of the same name, was one of the top four comedies on US TV during the 2022-2023 season, per CBS. Fans have certainly come to love the show's cast of characters, including Sam, Jay, Isaac, Alberta, Pete, Trevor, Flower, Hetty, Thorfinn and Sasappis. Though with a cliffhanger ending to Ghosts season 2 , many may be wondering what lies in store for season 3?

We'll have to wait until the series premieres to know for sure what happens next, but here is what we do know about Ghosts season 3 right now.

Ghosts season 3 release date

Ghosts season 3 officially returns to CBS on Thursday, February 15, at 8:30 pm ET/PT. 

The show once again shares the Thursday night spotlight on CBS with Young Sheldon season 7 , while the rest of the night features So Help Me Todd season 2 and eventually the new series Elsbeth .

Ghosts season 3 plot

An official plot for Ghosts season 3 is not available, but the ending of Ghosts season 2 is going to have a major impact on what happens next for the comedy.

In the final moments of season 2, Sam and Jay notice a light from the house that means that one of the ghosts has been "sucked off," or has moved on into the next life. However, it is not shown who it is (Jay hopes it's Trevor). 

We now have the official synopsis for the Ghosts season 3 premiere, which is titled "The Owl." Here it is:

"Sam, Jay and the remaining ghosts unravel the mystery of which ghost passed into the afterlife. Also, Sam and Jay must relocate an owl in order to do construction on the barn to turn it into Jay’s restaurant."

Ghosts season 3 cast

We don't know yet who got "sucked off," so it's hard to be sure who all in the Ghosts cast is definitely returning for season 3 until CBS sheds some light on that. Though we know that Rose McIver and Utkarsh Ambudkar are returning as Sam and Jay, given as living people, they aren't moving on to the next life.

As for the ghosts, they are played by Brandon Scott Jones (Isaac), Richie Moriarty (Pete), Danielle Pinnock (Alberta), Asher Grodman (Trevor), Sheila Carrasco (Flower), Rebecca Wisocky (Hetty), Roman Zaragoza (Sasappis), Devan Chandler Long (Thorfinn) and John Hartman (Nigel). Of those actors, only Hartman is not a series regular, which may mean that he is the most likely candidate to exit the show.

One of the first images for Ghosts season 3, which you can see below, also reveal that Tristan D. Lalla, who plays Mark, is also going to returning for some episodes of the new season.

Ghosts season 3 trailer

No trailer for Ghosts season 3 has been released yet. We'll update this page when one is available. 

How to watch Ghosts

Until Ghosts returns with new episodes on CBS, you can catch up with comedy series by streaming it on Paramount Plus . 

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Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca , Moulin Rouge! , Silence of the Lambs , Children of Men , One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars . On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd .

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Screen Rant

Ghosts season 3's new story update follows up on major mystery & season 2 cliffhanger.

New details about Ghosts season 3 follow up on the CBS sitcom's cliffhanger, offering hints about what's next for Sam, Jay, and the overall ensemble.

  • Ghosts season 3 will follow up on the season 2 cliffhanger of which character crossed over to the other side.
  • The premiere will also involve Sam and Jay's plan to turn their barn into a restaurant.
  • The Ghosts cast have received pay increases for season 3, suggesting that none of the main spirits have crossed over yet.

New details about Ghosts season 3 follows up on a major cliffhanger. An adaptation of the British series with the same name, the CBS version debuted in 2021. It focuses on married couple Samantha ( iZombie star Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar, Never Have I Ever) and chronicles what happens to their lives when Samantha has a near-death experience and starts to communicate with spirits.

Now, with the Ghosts season 3 premiere roughly a month away, there are new hints about which spirit got "sucked off" at the end of season 2. In the show's parlance, getting sucked off has a less NSFW meaning, but rather refers to when a ghost crosses over to the other side. According to TV Insider , the season 3 premiere will directly follow up on which character crossed over . Along with this news, three new images from the season 3 premiere have also been released. Check them out, below:

Ghosts season 3 debuts Thursday, February 15 at 9 PM ET on CBS.

What To Know About Ghosts Season 3

The logline for the season 3 premiere promises that Sam, Jay, and the remaining ghosts will have to unravel the mystery of which spirit crossed over. And, continuing the show's more episodic nature, Sam and Jay will have to relocate an owl in order to turn their barn into a restaurant for Jay. The first half of the premiere, which addresses the cliffhanger, goes back to when Sam and Jay are sitting in their car outside their estate only to see a bright light, seemingly indicating one of the characters crossing over.

It's also worth noting that the Ghosts cast secured pay increases ahead of season 3. According to reporting from Deadline , McIver and Ambudkar's paychecks doubled to $250,000 an episode. The ensemble playing the ghosts — Brandon Scott Jones (Isaac), Richie Moriarty (Pete), Danielle Pinnock (Alberta), Asher Grodman (Trevor), Román Zaragoza (Sasappis), Sheila Carrasco (Flower), Rebecca Wisocky (Hetty) and Devan Chandler Long (Thorfinn) — were mentioned as earning $100,000 an episode for the upcoming season.

Ghosts Season 2 Finale: What It Means For The Show's New Episodes

The news further solidifies Ghosts as a big hit for CBS. The sitcom ranks as the second most-watched comedy on broadcast, in a close battle with the soon-to-be-concluded Young Sheldon . But the pay increase may well suggest that none of the main spirits have yet crossed over, which opens up the door to the other minor characters that have recurred on the show.

Ghosts is available to watch on Paramount+.

Source: TV Insider, Deadline

Ghosts (US)

Ghosts is a CBS sitcom that is based on the British series of the same name. Premiering in 2021, the series focuses on married couple Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who have inherited a mansion from one of Sam's distant relatives. They turn the house into a bed and breakfast. When Sam has a near-death experience, she begins to interact with the quirky group of ghosts who live in the mansion.

Den of Geek

Ghosts Series 5: Meet The Guest Cast – Anna Crilly, Charlie Hamblett & More

As we say a fond farewell to the BBC’s spooky sitcom, here are the new and returning guest stars we’ll meet in the final episodes, and where you’ve seen them before

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Anna Crilly and Kiell Smith-Bynoe in Ghosts

WARNING: This article contains spoilers for series five of Ghosts

Somehow, the final series of Ghosts has neatly tied up all the show’s loose ends while still leaving us wanting more – which is a jolly good thing considering they’ve confirmed we’re getting one more Christmas special in December 2023.

They really packed a lot into those last six episodes, revealing the heartbreaking truth behind the deaths of Kitty and the Captain, showing Alison and Mike’s next step in life, and giving the whole gang the opportunity to say all the lovely, touching things fans wanted to hear (as well as adding a poignant reference to Mary in the opening credits).

Taking the characters on these final journeys involved lots of flashbacks and new faces, so let’s recap all the most important guest stars from series five:

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Anna Crilly as Joy Kielty

Anna Crilley as Joy in Ghosts

Joy is an unexpected visitor in episode one, arriving at Button House and introducing herself to Mike ( Kiell Smith-Bynoe ) as a “loss adjuster” from their insurance company, explaining much to Mike’s horror that she’s there to investigate their insurance claim before they can receive a payout for the guest house, which burnt down at the end of series four. 

You’ll recognise Crilly from comedies like Lead Balloon and Pixelface , and she also recently appeared as DS Natalie Golding in The Sixth Commandment and was once part of a TV comedy double-act with fellow Ghosts actor Katy Wix.

Chloe Delanney as Sophie

Chloe Delaney in Ghosts

We’ve seen Delanney in Ghosts once before, back in 2021, in the series three episode “The Bone Plot”, where we discover how Humphrey the ghost lost his head. Sophie is Humphrey’s French wife, and despite their marriage being of the unhappy-but-convenient variety, Humphrey dies trying to save her from the Queen’s Guard after they discover she’s plotting to assassinate the queen. 

We see new flashbacks featuring Sophie in the fourth episode of series six, giving an insight into how she and her French nurse (Mia Soteriou, Mamma Mia ) unwittingly helped to teach Robin to speak French.

Delanney has also appeared in US comedy The Bubble and fantasy drama Cursed .

Greg Haiste as Lord Bone

Greg Haiste as Lord Bone in Ghosts

In the same episode, we also discover that Button House was a gift to newlywed teens Sophie and Humphrey from Humphrey’s father Lord Bone.

You might know Haiste from political drama This England and as the newsreader in Pennyworth .

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Charlie Hamblett as Garion

Charlie Hamblett in Ghosts

We meet Garion in episode four as an annoyingly pedantic French interpreter who is (and we use this term loosely) “helping” Alison and Mike translate for Sabine (Anna Behne) a French businesswoman interested in buying some of Button House’s land.

You’ll recognise Hamblett from roles such as Sebastian in the first series of Killing Eve , plus his appearances in Around The World in 80 Days and Mrs Sidhu Investigates . He’s also due to appear in upcoming BBC drama Boat Story .

Nathan Bryon as Obi

Nathan Bryon as Obi in Ghosts

Mike’s best mate Obi has popped up to offer advice and make mischief several times before, and in the final series he’s got a new love called Brenda (newcomer Nisha Emich) who he tries to impress by pretending to know things about wine. 

Bryon is the Bafta-nominated co-write of sitcom Bloods , and you’ll also know him as Joey from Benidorm . To Ghosts fans though, he’s loved for being the host of official BBC behind-the-scenes podcast Inside… Ghosts .

Peter Sandys-Clarke as Havers

Havers in Ghosts

We first met Havers in series two episode Redding Weddy, where we discovered The Captain was stationed at Button House during the war, and he and Havers were secretly in love. 

Havers returns in episode five where we discover that Button House was also the place where The Captain and Havers were all too briefly reunited after the war was over. We’ll also see how his fellow serviceman Cartwright (Tom Basden, After Life ) plays a part in the reunion.

You may recognise Sandys-Clarke from playing Ned Burne-Jones in Desperate Romantics and Tim in Torchwood .

Emma Sidi as Eleanor

Emma Sidi as Eleanor in Ghosts

Eleanor was Kitty’s jealous sister, who we first met during flashbacks in series three episode “Something to Share?”, which gave us an insight into Kitty’s sad childhood as the victim of Eleanor’s cruelty. She returns in episode three to reveal the truth of how Kitty died.

Sidi is best-known for playing Kate in Rose Matafeo’s comedy Starstruck , as well as her roles in various other comedies like Pls Like and King Gary .

Rufus Wright as Lord Bummenbach

Rufus Wright as Lord Bummenbach in Ghosts

Lord Bummenbach (whose balls are renowned around the county) is introduced in a flashback in episode three, where he is welcomed to Button House as an important guest, freshly returned from overseas with the exotic gift of… a pineapple. 

You’ll know Wright from playing the Duke of Windermere in Pennyworth , as well as roles in Shetland and The Outlaws

Richard Durden as Charles Worthing

Charles Worthing in Ghosts

Charles Worthing was the man who started Mike and Alison on their Ghosts journey in the very first episode, as the solicitor who broke the news that Alison had inherited Button House, so it’s only fitting that he returns in the final series. This time, he’s helping the couple sell some land to help pay for living expenses.

You’ll know Durden from recurring roles in dramas like Silent Witness , Back to Life and Harlots , as well as appearing in recent true crime drama The Gold .

Ghosts Series 5 is airing weekly on Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One, and the boxset is available on BBC iPlayer

Laura Vickers-Green

Laura Vickers-Green

Laura is a freelance writer and social media pro specialising in entertainment, food and drink and charities. She also writes novels, sometimes badly. She's a huge…


Ghosts Season 3 Filming Update Is Good News Ahead Of 2024 Premiere

Posted: December 18, 2023 | Last updated: December 18, 2023

  • Ghosts season 3 filming has begun, according to Román Zaragoza's Instagram post, indicating that production is back on track after this summer's strikes.
  • The season 2 finale left audiences with a cliffhanger, hinting at a shocking loss and the possibility of important characters moving on in season 3.
  • Fans can look forward to the continuation of various storylines, including the romance between Isaac and Nigel, as well as the future of the bed and breakfast.

The Ghosts season 3 filming update from star Román Zaragoza is good news ahead of its upcoming 2024 premiere. Based on the British sitcom of the same name, Ghosts follows Sam and Jay Arondekar, a young couple who move into a haunted house occupied by many different spirits. Along with Zaragoza, the show's cast includes Rose McIver, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Brandon Scott Jones, Danielle Pinnock, Richie Moriarty, Devan Chandler, Asher Grodman, Rebecca Wisocky and more. Airing on CBS, Ghosts has maintained strong ratings, and it was confirmed back in January that the comedy series would return for season 3.

In a recent Instagram post, Zaragoza shared behind-the-scenes photos from the production of Ghosts season 3 . Check out the images below:

The carousel includes selfies of Zaragoza, who portrays Sasappis, as well as pictures of the season 3 slate and co-star Ambudkar, which indicates production has finally gotten underway after the dual writers and actors strikes.

What To Expect From Ghosts Season 3

Ghosts ' season 2 finale introduced Kelsey, an unknown relative of Sophie Woodstone, who claimed the house actually belonged to her. Following Sam's (McIver) investigation, it was revealed that her lawyer orchestrated the property transfer, hoping to sell the estate for a large sum. Ending on a cliffhanger, Sam witnessed what appeared to be one of the ghosts departing. Because their home is full of spirits, and many have become friendly with Sam and Jay (Ambudkar), Ghosts season 3 could begin with a shocking loss when it confirms the identity of whoever moved on.

In the upcoming stretch of episodes, Ghosts may continue to track the romance between Issac (Jones) and Nigel (John Hartman), and it would be heartbreaking to discover that one of them left, considering the pair just got engaged. After Sam and Jay's conversation about their deceased housemates, in which they expressed appreciation, it's also worth wondering what the future of the bed and breakfast looks like, and if more stories, including that of Zaragoza's character, are explored.

CBS' Ghosts: Every Ghost Time Period & Backstory Explained

Because of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, there hadn't been a lot of updates regarding Ghosts season 3 until now. It was delayed from its normal fall premiere and will be among the many shows returning in early 2024. It will be interesting to see what else gets released prior to the show's return, and if Zaragoza or other cast members continue to share behind-the-scenes content.

Ghosts season 3 is scheduled to premiere on CBS on February 15, 2024.

Source: Román Zaragoza /Instagram

Ghosts (US)

Ghosts is a CBS sitcom that is based on the British series of the same name. Premiering in 2021, the series focuses on married couple Samantha (Rose McIver) and Jay (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who have inherited a mansion from one of Sam's distant relatives. They turn the house into a bed and breakfast. When Sam has a near-death experience, she begins to interact with the quirky group of ghosts who live in the mansion.

Ghosts Season 3 Filming Update Is Good News Ahead Of 2024 Premiere

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ghosts tv drama

Meet the cast of BBC One sitcom Ghosts

Here's who you can expect to see back in the 2023 Christmas special.

Ghosts season 5 cast (L-R) Lolly Adefope, Jim Howick, Ben Willbond, Kiell Smith-Bynoe, Simon Farnaby, Charlotte Ritchie, Laurence Rickard, Mathew Baynton and Martha Howe-Douglas

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It's almost time for the last ever episode of Ghosts , with fans of the BBC sitcom nervously waiting to find out what becomes of their favourite characters.

The series comes from the comedy minds behind Horrible Histories and Yonderland , chronicling the chaotic goings-on at a house shared by a young couple and an eclectic group of spectres.

Charlotte Ritchie and Kiell Smith-Bynoe play Button House owners Mike and Alison, who mark a major milestone in the final episode as they bring home their newborn baby from hospital – as seen in the recent trailer .

How will this major new development change things? For starters, it sees the return of Mike's mother, Betty (Sutara Gayle), who is keen to ensure her granddaughter is getting the best care.

Read on for everything you need to know about the Ghosts cast, ahead of the Christmas 2023 special on BBC One.

Ghosts cast: Who stars in the 2023 Christmas special?

Charlotte ritchie plays alison.

Ghosts character Alison (Charlotte Ritchie) stares intensely into the distance as she writes something by hand

Who is Alison? Alison is a cash-strapped woman who finds out that she has inherited a country manor from her "step-great-auntie" – a distant relative who died leaving no direct descendants.

In the first series, she has a near-death experience that gives her the ability to see ghosts, allowing her to get to know the larger-than-life personalities haunting her new home. Over time, they become unlikely friends, but life in Button House still has plenty of challenges – especially when Alison becomes pregnant.

Where have I seen Charlotte Ritchie before? She played Nurse Barbara Gilbert on Call The Midwife until making a heartbreaking exit in season 7 , and previously starred in Channel 4 comedy Fresh Meat as Oregon.

Since leaving Midwife, she has also co-starred in Netflix's Feel Good and E4's Dead Pixels , as well as making guest appearances in Doctor Who and Death in Paradise . More recently, she joined the Grantchester cast for season 7, playing a love interest to vicar William Davenport (Tom Brittney), and took on a dark new role for You season 4.

Kiell Smith-Bynoe plays Mike

Mike (Kiell Smith-Bynoe) holds baby Mia in Button House

Who is Mike? Mike is Charlotte's husband, who moves with her to Button House to help renovate the dilapidated property. He isn't able to see the ghosts like Alison can, but does believe that they exist and supports her in coping with them where he can.

The writers of Ghosts have dismissed the idea of finding a way for Mike to see the paranormal tenants himself, feeling it would change the premise of the show too radically and irreversibly. Besides, Mike gets into plenty of hijinks all on his own, with the season 4 finale following his ill-fated purchase of a taxidermy bear.

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Where have I seen Kiell Smith-Bynoe before? Smith-Bynoe is best known for playing Dean in acclaimed Channel 4 comedy Stath Lets Flats, while he has also appeared in Man Like Mobeen, Death in Paradise and Bloods.

He made a guest appearance in Daisy May Cooper comedy The Witchfinder and featured in Dave mockumentary Live at the Moth Club. Most recently, he starred alongside Lily Allen and Freema Agyeman in Sky comedy Dreamland , before being named the new host of The Great British Sewing Bee .

Mathew Baynton plays Thomas

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Thomas Thorne (MAT BAYNTON) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson

Who is Thomas? A failed romantic poet who now haunts Button House. He quickly becomes infatuated with Alison, and finds it hard to accept that she isn't interested in him.

Where have I seen Mathew Baynton before? The Horrible Histories and Yonderland star first came to national attention in the Gavin & Stacey cast , where he played Smithy's dim-witted friend and colleague, Deano. He teamed up with James Corden once again on comedy-drama series The Wrong Mans.

His other television credits include ITV's Vanity Fair, The Split, Peep Show and Sky's You, Me and the Apocalypse. This Christmas, you can also find Baynton in family blockbuster Wonka , which is co-written by Simon Farnaby (more on him below).

Simon Farnaby plays Julian

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Julian (SIMON FARNABY) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson

Who is Julian? A Conservative MP who passed away under embarrassing circumstances. Hint: he's not wearing any trousers. Julian also has the ability to move objects in the real world, but only short distances and with great concentration. His fellow ghosts regard Julian as morally bankrupt, although he has shown a softer side from time to time.

Where have I seen Simon Farnaby before? As well as Horrible Histories and Yonderland, Simon Farnaby has also had roles in Detectorists and This Time with Alan Partridge, as well as a brief cameo appearance in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Behind the camera, he is known for co-writing family adventure Paddington 2, which received critical acclaim and was a box office hit, and reunited with director Paul King for Hollywood blockbuster Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet.

Lolly Adefope plays Kitty

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Kitty (LOLLY ADEFOPE) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson

Who is Kitty? One of the ghosts haunting Alison and Mike, Kitty is a Georgian noblewoman who is very kind and easily excited. Sadly, she's also rather naive and this has been exploited in the past – including by her mean sister.

Where have I seen Lolly Adefope before? The comedy star played infuriating roving reporter Ruth Duggan in This Time with Alan Partridge , while she also stars in US comedies Shrill and Miracle Workers.

She also competed on the fourth season of Greg Davies and Alex Horne's smash hit Taskmaster . This year, we've seen her in offbeat Channel 4 sitcom Everyone Else Burns and Emerald Fennell's awards contender Saltburn .

Martha Howe-Douglas plays Lady Button

Martha Howe-Douglas as Lady Button in Ghosts, standing with her hands together and frowning at the camera

Who is Lady Button? A distant relative of Alison who passed away in Button House during the Edwardian era. She starts out extremely pompous and elitist, still considering the house to be her home above all else. However, over time, she has warmed to her fellow ghosts as well as the latest living owners.

Where have I seen Martha Howe-Douglas before? The Horrible Histories and Yonderland regular also featured in Doctor Foster and made a surprise appearance on EastEnders back in 2018. More recently, she has guest starred in BBC One sitcom Motherland and Sky comedy Breeders . In 2023, she revealed to that she almost played Alison in Ghosts .

Ben Willbond plays The Captain

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: The Captain (BEN WILLBOND) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson

Who is The Captain? A former army officer who fancies himself the leader amongst the spirits in the mansion. It has been strongly implied that the Captain is gay, with one emotional episode revealing he developed feelings for one of his fellow soldiers during World War II. However, he did not come out of the closet before his death – and may not completely understand his feelings to this day.

Where have I seen Ben Willbond before? Another Horrible Histories and Yonderland favourite, Willbond has also featured in comedies such as The Thick of It, Tracey Ullman's Show, There She Goes and Alma's Not Normal. He also appeared in Neil Gaiman's fantasy series Good Omens . On the big screen, you may recognise him from belated sequel Bridget Jones's Baby. He collaborated with Ghosts co-star Laurence Rickard on the UKTV sci-fi feature We Are Not Alone .

Jim Howick plays Pat

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: Pat (JIM HOWICK) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson

Who is Pat? Another of the ghosts in Button House: a former scout leader who got an arrow in the neck during a day trip gone horribly wrong. He is a warm-hearted soul and expresses much nostalgia for the 1970s and early '80s, when he lived.

Where have I seen Jim Howick before? The Horrible Histories, Yonderland and Peep Show favourite has a memorable recurring role as teacher Mr Hendricks in Netflix's Sex Education . He currently stars in another BBC sitcom, Here We Go , while he also took a dramatic turn for ITV thriller Hollington Drive .

Laurence Rickard plays Robin

Ghosts star Laurence Rickard plays Robin the Caveman

Who is Robin? A caveman and the longest serving ghost in the house by far, Robin also has the ability to make the lights in the house flicker.

Where have I seen Larry Rickard before? As well as Horrible Histories and Yonderland, Rickard has also written for and starred in Tracey Ullman's Show and Tracey Breaks the News. He co-wrote and appeared in UKTV sci-fi comedy We Are Not Alone, alongside Ben Willbond.

Laurence Rickard plays Sir Humphrey Bone

Laurence Rickard plays Sir Humphrey Bone in Ghosts

Who is Sir Humphrey Bone? Humphrey is a ghost from the Tudor period who was beheaded. As a result, his head often detaches from his body and goes missing around the house. In season 3, we learn more about the surprising circumstances that led to his grisly fate.

Where have I seen Larry Rickard before? See above.

Sutara Gayle plays Mike's mum, Betty

Betty outside with daughter-in-law Alison and son Mike standing behind her

Who is Betty? Betty is Mike's loving mother who stayed at Button House for Christmas 2020. Much like her husband, she finds it difficult to sit down and relax, preferring to find things to help out with. She returns three years later to help Alison and Mike get settled with their newborn baby, Mia.

What else has Sutara Gayle been in? Gayle's recent projects include Steve McQueen's Small Axe film Red, White and Blue, BBC One's Silent Witness and hard-hitting drama Anthony .

Ghosts season 5 cast: Who guest stars in the final season?

Anna crilly plays joy.

Anna Crilly plays Joy in Ghosts

Who is Joy? Joy is an ironically stern individual who works for Mike and Alison's insurance company.

What else has Anna Crilly been in? Crilly starred opposite former Ghosts star Katy Wix in the 2013 sketch show Anna & Katy. More recently, she's had roles in television dramas COBRA, The Sixth Commandment and Still Up.

Geoffrey McGivern plays Barclay Beg-Chetwynde

Geoffrey McGivern in BBC One's Ghosts

Who is Barclay Beg-Chetwynde? Barclay is Mike and Alison's wealthy neighbour. He frequently annoys the young couple with his arrogant attitude, but did have a heroic moment on the night Button House was almost burgled.

What else has Geoffrey McGivern been in? McGivern has a brilliant role on the Mitchell and Webb sitcom Back , where he plays the outrageously loudmouthed Uncle Geoff. His other credits include ITV drama Quiz, BBC sitcom Semi-Detached and Grantchester.

Nathan Byron plays Obi

(L-R) Nisha Emich, Nathan Byron and Charlotte Ritchie in Ghosts

Who is Obi? Obi is a friend of Mike and Alison's, who can always be relied on for a good time. That is, until he settles down after falling in love with a woman named Brenda (played by Nisha Emich).

What else has Nathan Byron been in? Byron is also known for playing Joey in the ITV sitcom Benidorm, while he co-created Sky's paramedic comedy Bloods.

Chloé Delanney plays Sophie

Chloe Delanney and Laurence Rickard star in Ghosts

Who is Sophie? Sophie is a French woman who becomes the reluctant wife of Sir Humphrey Bone. Secretly, she plotted against the English crown.

What else has Chloé Delanney been in? She had a small role in Judd Apatow's Netflix comedy The Bubble.

Emma Sidi plays Eleanor

Emma Sidi plays Eleanor in Ghosts

Who is Eleanor? Eleanor is a Georgian noblewoman, who takes pleasure ridiculing her adoptive sister, Kitty – not that she ever notices.

What else has Emma Sidi been in? Sidi has appeared in fellow BBC comedies Pls Like, King Gary and Starstruck. She also portrayed journalist Emily Maitlis in Prince Andrew: The Musical.

Anna Behne plays Sabine

Anna Behne plays Sabine in Ghosts

Who is Sabine? Sabine is a French businesswoman interested in acquiring Button House, with the intention of transforming it into a golf resort.

What else has Anna Behne been in? Behne recently appeared in Prime Video sequel Your Christmas or Mine 2 .

Charlie Hamblett plays Garion

Anna Behne and Charloe Hamblett star in Ghosts

Who is Garion? Garion is Sabine's assistant, who has his doubts about Button House – and its owners.

What else has Charlie Hamblett been in? Hamblett has previously featured in BBC One's Boat Story , Paramount Plus drama The Burning Girls, David Tennant's Around the World in 80 Days and spy thriller Killing Eve.

Tom Basden plays Cartwright

Tom Basden plays Cartwright in Ghosts

Who is Cartwright? Cartwright is a high-ranking officer in the British military in the period after World War II. He has an antagonistic relationship with The Captain.

What else has Tom Basden been in? Basden will be a familiar face to fans of British comedy, owing to past roles in Plebs, W1A, Fresh Meat, After Life and Here We Go.

Richard Durden plays Charles Worthing

Charles answers the phone in his office, with shelves of fancy hardback books behind him

Who is Charles? First introduced in season 1, Charles is the solicitor who assists with managing Alison and Mike's estate.

What else has Richard Durden been in? His career began in the 1960s, but recent credits include Back to Life and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Former cast

Katy wix plays mary.

Programme Name: Ghosts - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. 2) - Picture Shows: Mary (KATY WIX) - (C) Button Hall Productions - Photographer: Mark Johnson

Who is Mary? A dim-witted "witch" who was burnt at the stake in the Middle Ages. She was "sucked off" – that is to say, elevated to the next stage of the afterlife – in season 4, effectively removing her from the show.

Where have I seen Katy Wix before? She played Daisy in Not Going Out, Fergie in The Windsors, and Carole in Stath Lets Flats. Wix has made memorable guest appearances in This Time with Alan Partridge, Sherlock and Death in Paradise among others. Most recently, she co-starred in acclaimed Channel 4 sitcom Big Boys .

Comic Relief 2023 guest stars

Kylie minogue plays herself.

Kylie Minogue is shocked by something happening outside of frame as the Button House ghosts crowd behind her

Who is Kylie Minogue? Kylie is a world famous pop star, known for hits including Can't Get You Out of My Head, Spinning Around and most recently Padam Padam. She arrives at Button House in search of a possible venue for a gig.

What else has Kylie Minogue been in? Before her music career took off, Minogue was known for playing Charlene Robinson on the Australian soap opera Neighbours – a character she returned to for the terrestrial finale.

She has also taken acting roles in video game adaptation Street Fighter, Dwayne Johnson disaster flick San Andreas, and BBC sci-fi drama Doctor Who .

Tanya Moodie plays Tess Ross

Tanya Moodie and Kylie Minogue stand centrally, smiling, with the regular cast of Ghosts behind them

Who is Tess Ross? Tess is a music promoter, who works closely with Kylie Minogue.

What else has Tanya Moodie been in? Earlier this year, Moodie starred opposite Ghosts co-creator Jim Howick in Channel 4 comedy-drama The Change . She is also known for acclaimed dramas Silo and Rain Dogs as well as popular sitcom Motherland.

2022 Christmas special guest stars

Oliver maltman plays alexander.

Who is Alexander? Alexander is a scout leader in the present day, who is friends with Pat's widow and continues the troop he once worked for.

What else has Oliver Maltman been in? Maltman played pub barman Mike in the Mitchell & Webb comedy Back. He is also known for roles in Red Dwarf, Liar, The Crown and Brexit: The Uncivil War, where he portrayed Michael Gove.

Sophie Bould plays Carol

Who is Carol? Carol was Pat's wife, before his tragic accident.

What else has Sophie Bould been in? Bould played Miss Talbot in the third season of Sex Education .

Lauren Douglin plays Andi

Who is Andi? Andi is a qualified archery tutor. She is hired as the Pat's old scouting troop don't want another life lost due to carelessness.

What else has Lauren Douglin been in? Douglin has recently appeared in Prime Video's Mammals, BBC One's Marriage and crime drama Grantchester , which also features Ghosts star Charlotte Ritchie.

Billy Byers plays Young Daley (12)

Who is Daley? One of Pat's sons.

Who is Billy Byers? Byers is a screen newcomer.

Charlie Mackinnon plays Young Daley (7)

Who is Charlie Mackinnon? Mackinnon is a screen newcomer.

2021 Christmas special guest stars

Jennifer saunders plays lavinia, mother to lady button.

Jennifer Saunders and Martha Howe-Douglas in Ghosts

Who is Lavinia? Lavinia is the overbearing mother of Lady Button who is determined to see her daughter married and settled down in the near future.

What else has Jennifer Saunders been in? Saunders rose to fame as part of the Comic Strip troupe on Channel 4, later forming a double act with Dawn French.

The duo specialised sketch comedy for a number of years and later shared the screen again in BBC sitcom Jam & Jerusalem. Saunders is also known for creating the legendary sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, where she co-starred opposite Joanna Lumley.

More like this

Christopher villiers plays simeon, father to lady button.

Jennifer Saunders and Christopher Villiers in Ghosts Christmas Special 2021

Who is Simeon? Simeon is a businessman and father to Lady Button.

What else has Christopher Villiers been in? Villiers played the role of Grayson Sinclair in ITV soap opera Emmerdale, but was written out of the show in 2008. Since then, he has appeared in The ABC Murders, The Royals and Indian Summers, among several other television programmes.

Justin Edwards plays Nicholas

Justin Edwards plays Nicholas in Ghosts

Who is Nicholas? Nicholas is a homeless man who Mike and Alison find camped out on their lawn. Kitty quickly becomes convinced that he is Father Christmas.

What else has Justin Edwards been in? Edwards has worked with Armando Iannucci on both The Thick of It and US spin-off Veep, with other small screen projects including Father Brown and Murder in Successville.

2020 Christmas special guest stars

Leon herbert plays mike's dad, errol.

Leon Herbert plays Errol in Ghosts on BBC One

Who is Errol? Errol is Mike's father, who comes to stay at Button House with the rest of his family for Christmas. He's a kind and caring man, but his eagerness to help in all the preparations rather than simply relax proves frustrating for his son.

What else has Leon Herbert been in? Herbert's previous roles include Eutroclus in fantasy drama Outlander and Dr Kahari on BBC One's Silent Witness . He also appeared in sci-fi blockbuster Alien 3 and made his directorial debut with 2003's Emotional Backgammon.

Timmika Ramsay plays Leila

Samantha Pearl stars in Ghosts Christmas special

Who is Leila? Leila is one of Mike's sisters who delights in winding him up.

What else has Timmika Ramsay been in? Timmika played Sabelle on Channel 4 drama series Adult Material . She also appeared in an episode of BBC iPlayer's Enterprice, which also featured Ghosts star Kiell Smith-Bynoe.

Samantha Pearl plays Angela

BBC One's Ghosts Christmas Special stars Timmika Ramsay

Who is Angela? Angela is Mike's other sister who comes to stay for Christmas. Her partner is a paramedic working the busy Christmas shift, meaning it's down to her to look after their newborn baby.

What else has Samantha Pearl been in? Pearl's previous acting credits include Tom Hardy crime thriller Legend and BBC Three comedy Lee Nelson's Well Funny People.

Ghosts returns to BBC One at 7:45pm on Christmas Day. Catch up on iPlayer. Check out more of our Comedy coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what’s on.

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15 Best Paranormal TV Shows to Watch That Will Creep You Out

Let's go ahead and leave the lights on, ok.

Unlike straight-up horror, paranormal stories do something to a person's psyche that lingers long after the screen fades to black. The feeling is like no other, and before one knows it, there's something lurking behind the shower curtain or under the bed. So why do audiences keep coming back for more of the best ghost TV shows? It's hard to pinpoint, but what is certain is a new means of telling ghost stories seems to pop up every day, and they never lose audiences. On the contrary, with such a rich variety to chill the blood, if anything, paranormal shows are more popular than ever.

Luckily for fans of the genre who don't know what to watch next, there is plenty to choose from — these are some of the best paranormal shows that are guaranteed to make the audience's blood run cold . Whether you're in the mood for fictional scepters, true stories, or full-on night-vision encounters, there is no shortage of spine-tingling series to trick your mind into thinking that sound wasn't just the neighbors. Just make sure to lock the doors and windows, first.

15 '28 Days Haunted' (2022)

Netflix's docuseries and one of the more recent ghost shows, 28 Days Haunted centers on four teams of brave paranormal investigators, who travel through some of America's most haunted locations in order to execute a paranormal experiment based on the theories of Ed and Lorraine Warren .

While the 2022 show doesn't count on flawless execution (and features mixed reviews), it still manages to send chills down many spines . Though some members of the audience don't believe that what happens through the episodes is real, it still helps keep boredom at bay.

Watch on Netflix

14 'Ghost Wars' (2017 - 2018)

Created by simon barry.

Two seasons in, this Netflix series starring scene-stealers Kim Coates and Vincent D'Onofrio has its pros and cons in terms of providing creepy material. On one hand, the entire show is fiction; on the other, it's full of ghosts, so if audiences are looking to scratch that paranormal content itch, they're in the right place. The series is about a small Alaskan town in which all residents are trapped, experiencing non-stop obstacles from evil spirits who wish to do harm – and lots of it.

The dialogue is a little awkward at times, and the pacing can feel stunted, but the ghosts! So many ghosts. For fans of action (as the title clearly states), there will be guns and blood and car crashes, but the show can also be alarmingly frightening at times, so if you're looking for a good jump scare , you're in the right place .

Watch on Plex

13 'Surviving Death' (2021)

Directed by ricki stern.

Another Netflix original series, Surviving Death , is different from the others on the list, as it focuses on a variety of topics: mediums, signs from the dead, reincarnation, ghosts, and even interviews with individuals who died yet lived to tell the tale. In short, no two episodes are alike.

Part talking-head documentary, part educational programming (100% creepy as hell), this series, aside from being fascinating, works well in giving goosebumps because of how sincere each person is in recollecting their encounter. Also featuring medical doctors and other learned professionals, the paranormal show provides an iron-clad ethos that is both difficult to argue with and extraordinarily unsettling . Sleep tight.

12 'The Secret of Crickley Hall' (2012)

Directed by joe ahearne.

The BBC three-part series , also streaming on Amazon, is based on the novel by James Herbert and begins with the screams of a young boy. It's a tragic tale: a young child goes missing from a playground, and the couple tries to cope with the immeasurable loss. In their grief, they choose to move with their other young children to a sprawling estate in the middle of nowhere. Soon, they realize they've moved into a former orphanage, where unspeakable horrors occurred.

Featuring some familiar faces, such as a young Maisie Williams and Lucifer 's Tom Ellis , the frightening series offers a quick pace and an even quicker heartbeat. Featuring flashbacks of the orphanage's last days, coupled with suspenseful and frightening happenings within the home, the series is as creepy as it is tense and tragic .

Watch on Prime Video

11 'Paranormal Investigators: Phasmophobia' (2020)

Directed by atila kaldy.

From Australia, this reality series features psychic Andrea Kaldy , who investigates well-known haunted areas to determine if they are, in fact, haunted – be it by ghosts, poltergeists, or even demonic entities.

After investigating, Kaldy invites 3 participants to enter the location alone and complete a challenge before they are able to leave – unless they run scared, first. Perfect for fans of ghost shows, the creepy content doesn't begin straight away but rest assured, it will. The show is squeal-worthy , mainly because watching people get scared can also be terrifying. The question is, are the participants (and audiences) jumping to conclusions?

Buy on Apple TV+

10 'Ghost Hunters' (2004 - )

Directed by mark marinaccio.

A classic in the genre of ghost hunting shows with many still tuning in to watch it, Ghost Hunters features Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson , the founding members of The Atlantic Paranormal Society or TAPS, as they search for paranormal activity around the United States. Popular for over a decade, the series has had a dedicated following for being one of the first shows of its kind.

There are some 14 seasons in all, and what makes them so successful is undoubtedly the men's use of compelling evidence by way of video footage in the show , electromagnetic field (EMF) readers, sound recordings, and eyewitness accounts – many of which terrified audiences get to see themselves (if they haven't covered their eyes in fear, that is).

Ghost Hunters

Watch on Fubo

9 'The Enfield Haunting' (2015)

Directed by kristoffer nyholm.

This three-part limited series wastes no time in creeping out its audience. Set in 1977 and based on a true story, the show surrounds a mother and her three children who are terrorized by an angry poltergeist. When paranormal investigators arrive, played by Timothy Spall and Matthew Macfadyen , things go from bad to worse.

Nominated for 2 BAFTAs, The Enfield Haunting is chock-full of suspense and screams. One could argue that the muted brown and orange tones or the involvement of children is the cause of its fear factor, but it's more likely the sheer evil of the unwelcoming house guest that causes the lasting chills . It's telling that the true events also inspired The Conjuring 2 .

8 'Paranormal' (2020)

Directed by amr salama and majid al ansari.

Based on the novels by Dr. Ahmed Khaled Tawfik , Netflix's first Egyptian Arabic original series provides a different tone to the mix: its protagonist, Dr. Ismail ( Ahmed Amin ), is a mild-mannered and close-lipped man, determined to neglect his past paranormal experiences and instead focus on verifiable causes and effects. An unlikely skeptic, he is unwillingly brought back into the world of his past just as a former love comes back to Cairo.

Set in both 1940 and 1969, the backdrop of the Arab-Israeli war and the upheaval it causes serves to mirror Ismail's own uncertainty, especially when his nephew begins to experience eerily similar haunting experiences. Beautifully shot and sickening at the same time , this series goes to show why Tawfik sold millions and millions of hair-raising copies.

7 'The Holzer Files' (2019 - )

Produced by rob saffi.

When it comes to paranormal TV shows, The Holzer Files is definitely worth mentioning. The horror mystery series follows a team of investigators who unearth the terrifying true hauntings from the case files of America's first parapsychologist best known for his plethora of hundreds of cases dealing with the occult, Dr. Hans Holzer .

The Holzer Files is assuredly an interesting take on Holzer's files, providing audiences with an intriguingly spooky time in the meantime. Additionally, it is also very refreshing and different from other shows of the genre.

6 'A Haunting' (2005 - )

Developed by allison erkelens.

A Haunting is 11 seasons long so far, and understandably so. Its interesting premise revolves around experiences and encounters with the paranormal, which are told by the victims and illustrated to audiences through frightening re-enactments.

The anthology supernatural surely succeeds in showcasing a chilling and haunting depiction of bizarre stories and is guaranteed to terrify audiences. Furthermore, A Haunting is widely considered one of the greatest series of the kind and assuredly makes for a very atmospheric, entertaining, and worthwhile watch.

5 'Paranormal Nightmare' (2019)

Hosted by the fourmen brothers.

This documentary/reality series stars three humble hosts ( the Fourmen brothers ) on a mission. Having suffered paranormal trauma as children, the brothers travel through the United States with the hope of helping similar victims. The credible and harrowing accounts from those interviewed by the hosts are enough to give audiences the chills, but it's when the sun goes down that things get real.

Using their night-vision cameras and EMF readers, the men capture unexplained images and sounds so spooky that it's difficult to look away or even blink. No doubt, Paranormal Nightmare is one of the creepiest paranormal series on the platform .

Watch on Pluto

4 'Paranormal Witness' (2011 - 2016)

Directed by neil rawles.

In this appalling true horror mystery documentary named Paranormal Witness , which is an incredible addition to the genre, viewers are introduced to several stories of people who have lived through supernatural experiences that left big, unanswerable question marks behind.

Paranormal Witness is one of the best in its category. It is equal parts interesting and horrifying, featuring credible eyewitness accounts of paranormal activity and thus coming across as a very believable TV show. No doubt, these frightening series provide audiences with a thrilling time in front of the screen and will likely keep them up at night.

Paranormal Witness

3 'the x-files' (1993 - 2018), created by chris carter.

The X-Files is one of the most well-regarded and highest-rated paranormal/supernatural series out there and for very good reason. With an enthralling plot and incredible acting performances, this innovative show revolves around two FBI Special Agents ( David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson ) as they investigate a series of bizarre phenomena.

Through time, The X-Files remained a classic, capturing the attention of many people all over the globe. In addition to a well-written storyline, it also features a good dose of scary moments involving monsters, disturbing scenarios, and incredibly violent acts .

The X-Files

Two F.B.I. Agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.

Watch on Hulu

2 'The Haunting of Hill House' (2018)

Created by mike flanagan.

Based on the novel of the same name by acclaimed horror writer Shirley Jackson , and directed by Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Hill House has proven to be one of Netflix's most popular series . In it, audiences meet the Crain siblings as they gather for the funeral of one of their own. Together for the first time in years, it does not take long before the ghosts of their past come back to haunt them – literally.

Though there are sometimes dramatic stretches between big scares, the story delivers its full-fledged creepiness in its mixture of flashbacks and real-time storylines that both serve to scare and tug at one's heartstrings. Undeniably, however, it has made worldwide audiences unable to close their eyes when they go to bed for fear of the Bent-Neck Lady.

The Haunting of Hill House

1 'haunted' (2018 -), directed by jan pavlacky.

This Netflix show has everything: true ghost stories, creepy imagery, and jump-worthy reenactments. In it, people deeply affected by paranormal trauma participate in a round-table discussion of sorts with their friends and/or family members in between dramatic renditions of their terrifying tales.

At times, families have yet to disclose details to one another, which leads to emotional TV, while friends of the victims are often visibly shaken. What stands out is the production value (especially in Season 3), as it is very high, so the reenactments are often as sinister as they are cinematic .

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Christian Oliver, ‘Speed Racer’ Actor, Dies in Plane Crash

Mr. Oliver’s two young daughters and a pilot were also killed in the crash, the police in the Caribbean nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines said on Thursday.

A bearded man in a black suit and tie smiles at a camera.

By Christine Hauser

The film and television actor Christian Oliver, his two children and a pilot were killed on Thursday when the small plane they were traveling in crashed during a flight to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, the police said.

Mr. Oliver, 51, who appeared in “The Good German,” “Speed Racer” and the TV series “Saved by The Bell: The New Class,” and his daughters were the only passengers in the single engine plane traveling from Bequia, an island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, when it crashed into the sea at midday, the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force said in a statement on Thursday.

In addition to Mr. Oliver and his daughters, Annik Klepser, 10, and Madita Klepser, 12, the pilot, Robert Sachs, was also killed, the police said. Fishermen and divers recovered the bodies and turned them over to the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard, the police said in a statement on Friday.

The aircraft “experienced difficulties and plummeted into the ocean” shortly after taking off from J.F. Mitchell Airport in Bequia, the police said. There was no further information about the cause of the crash, which is under investigation, they said.

Mr. Oliver was born in Germany and had dual citizenship there and in the United States, his agent in Berlin, Caprice Crawford, said in an email on Friday. He used the name Christian Oliver in his professional work rather than his full name, Christian Oliver Klepser, and divided his time between Los Angeles and his home country, she said.

Mr. Oliver worked with Steven Soderbergh in the 2006 film “The Good German,” with a cast that included George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. His other projects included a role in “Valkyrie” with Tom Cruise in 2008 and “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” in 2023, for which he provided voices.

He had just finished shooting a new movie, “Forever Hold Your Peace,” and posted a photograph from the set on social media about a week ago.

Earlier this week, Mr. Oliver posted his last photograph “from somewhere in paradise.”

Mr. Oliver was co-producing “Forever Hold Your Peace,” a story about marriage fraud, with the director Nick Lyon. Mr. Lyon said in an interview on Friday that Mr. Oliver had texted him on Thursday morning about his plan to return to the United States to work on a scene on Friday.

“It was a big project for us,” said Mr. Lyon, who had also worked with Mr. Oliver on “Hercules Reborn” in 2014. “We had talked about it for years.”

An earlier version of this article. relying on information from the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, misstated the ages of Christian Oliver’s daughters. Annik Klepser was 10, and Madita Klepser was 12.

How we handle corrections

Christine Hauser is a reporter, covering national and foreign news. Her previous jobs in the newsroom include stints in Business covering financial markets and on the Metro desk in the police bureau. More about Christine Hauser

Aliens at a Miami mall? Police say ‘lol’

Police respond at the Bayside Marketplace in Miami on Jan. 1, 2024.

Teens running, police converging and a grey splotch that appears to be moving: Videos from an outdoor mall in Miami stoked wild claims this week on social media that aliens had landed on Earth. But the truth is far more terrestrial.

On Monday, a group of roughly 50 teenagers caused a riot at Bayside Marketplace, an outdoor mall roughly 5 miles from South Beach, according to the Miami Police Department.

The teens were setting off fireworks, which led to a panic as some assumed there was a shooting, said Miami Police Department public information officer Michael Vega. Four teens were arrested.

Police were dispatched “for crowd control due to the juveniles refusing to leave,” Vega said in an email to NBC News. “Some businesses were temporarily closed to allow us to clear the area.”

In the days after the incident, users on social media launched a speculation frenzy, homing in on what they described as “Miami Mall Aliens.” Some suggested police were responding to aliens, not teenagers. Several people reviewed video of the incident circulating online and claimed they could see an alien figure in the grainy footage. Others quickly posted memes.

While many of the responses online appeared lighthearted, the posts show just how quickly and easily misinformation can spread on social media. The response also underscores an uptick in interest in extraterrestrial activity, from hearings in Congress last summer about “unidentified aerial phenomena” or “UAPs” to Mexico’s Congress showing off what it claimed were “nonhuman” aliens. Both of those events also became prime meme fodder.

However, Vega said aliens had nothing to do with Monday’s incident.

“There were no aliens,” he wrote in the email. “No airports were closed. Nothing is being withheld from the public. LOL.”

Still, by Friday afternoon, “Miami Mall Alien” was trending on the social media site X.

“10ft Aliens/Creatures (caught on camera?) fired at inside and outside Miami Mall, media silent, cops are covering it up saying kids were fighting with fireworks, yet all these cop cars, & air traffic stopped that night except for black military choppers…and no media coverage,” claimed one post on X, which on Friday appeared to trigger a slew of conspiracy theories and memes.

One person posted what appeared to be an AI image of a generic alien holding shopping bags, and joked it was “The Miami Mall Alien.”

Another person shared an image of golfer Tiger Woods holding out his hand, as if to shake another person’s hand, with the caption: “Me to the aliens if I’d been at the Miami mall.”

Others remarked that the new year was bound to be wild if aliens had been spotted mere days into January.

“5th day into the New Year now people spotting Aliens in the Miami Mall 2024 is in for one hell of a ride,” the person wrote.

There were, of course, some who wondered: If there was an alien sighting, where’s the proof?

“Everybody have cell phones, but nobody have an up close video of the 8-10 foot alien by the Miami mall?” wrote one X user .

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Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter covering youth and internet culture for NBC News, based in New York.

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Ghosts are suddenly in vogue. Perhaps we believe in them more than we care to admit

Given the state of the world, it’s no surprise so many of us are turning to spooky stories as a form of escape

E verybody seems to be talking about ghosts right now. I turn up to dinners with friends, we’re talking about ghosts. I sit in the office, the conversation is dominated by ghosts again. I’m scrolling through Facebook groups and reading ghost stories that I then try to tell my boyfriend about (he ignores me). It feels as if ghosts are suddenly having a moment, a strange little resurgence into the mainstream. I think ghosts may be in vogue.

As for how and why ghosts have started to creep into polite conversation, there is a clear culprit. A few months ago the Amazon-owned podcast network Wondery published Ghost Story, a seven-part series hosted by the journalist Tristan Redman. Ghost Story focuses on a murder that occurred two generations ago in Redman’s wife’s family and, by absolute coincidence, took place in the house next door to where Redman grew up.

Redman details unnerving and inexplicable experiences that he had in his childhood bedroom and explains that his investigation into his wife’s family story was launched by news that two families who had lived successively in the house after his own family moved out had also experienced similar – seemingly paranormal – activity.

Despite clearly knowing better than to prod into the details of a little-discussed murder among his in-laws, Redman gives in to journalistic curiosity and delves into the history of the Dancy family (it’s worth mentioning here that the British actor Hugh Dancy is Redman’s brother-in-law).

Ghost Story is a wildly compelling podcast that has received glowing reviews and in the weeks after its release it spread like the pox through my friends’ Instagram stories. It’s not just that the podcast centres on a ghost story – it’s that it’s a ghost story told by somebody who keeps rushing to reassure us that, as a journalist, as a rational, clear-thinking person, he really does not believe in ghosts. But in this case the evidence is too fascinating to ignore.

“Look, I know how this sounds but I think this all might be more than just a bizarre coincidence,” Redman says in the trailer.

It’s in this delicate negotiation between the sensible, scientific world and the unfounded, supernatural world that I believe Ghost Story found its success. While a surprisingly high number of Australians believe (or are open to the possibility) that ghosts truly do exist (48%, according to one 2021 survey), lots of us still seem to rely quite heavily on the beginning of somebody’s story for permission to indulge these outlandish accounts – the part where a person says “I don’t believe in ghosts but … ”

What Ghost Story has uncovered is that, for so many of us, stories of the paranormal can be a strange, exciting and decadent activity, like buying oysters to eat in your own house.

Even if the higher-order thinking parts of our brains quickly remind us that it’s all basically nonsense, ghost stories seem to set the childish, reptilian parts of our brains alight. When one of my best friends agrees to tell the story, in full, of the time that a set of ghostly legs appeared to walk her family dog past her bedroom door, everybody at the table, no matter how cynical, visibly squirms.

After I recommended the Ghost Story podcast to one of the smartest people I’ve met, he messaged soon after to say that he had devoured the whole thing but his partner was away and it had made him terrified to sleep at night.

And look, maybe it’s unsurprising that this year, of all years, people are turning to the paranormal. Interest in the supernatural appears to spike in times of existential crises and a cost-of-living crisis accompanied by a climate crisis as well as the world witnessing a devastating humanitarian crisis feels like a lot to bear.

Stress can increase our awareness of the little bumps and quirks of life that we may have previously walked past without a second thought. And of course it is entirely possible that talking about ghosts with friends primes us to pay attention to the dark corners of our apartments that previously felt perfectly comfortable and didn’t have to contain malevolent spirits or anything. This could be a rather self-perpetuating cycle.

But it’s also fair to say that telling ghost stories can be a simple comfort and form of escapism that we shouldn’t completely denounce. After all, many of us grew up in cultures where ghosts were part of the spiritual landscape and, in the vast universe of bizarre things to believe in, ghosts have to be among the most benign and least politically bothersome. They don’t lend themselves particularly well to the construction of conspiracy theories, they don’t have any troubling racist undertones and they’re not going to lead people to attempt an insurrection at the Capitol Building any time soon.

We should always remain vigilant about the emergence of pseudoscience and perhaps Carl Sagan would argue that even humouring ghost stories is a slippery slope towards a total collapse of scientific knowledge. But I think we can all agree that people can be much more discerning than that and, in the troubling year of 2023, maybe we all deserve a few ghost stories, as a treat.

  • Australian lifestyle

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