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Dead spirits (死霊) are the spirits of the dead that roam the the Interstice and the shallow levels of the Astral World. They are among the creatures drawn to the Brand of Sacrifice, and come out only at night since they retreat under sunlight.[1]


Dead spirits are restless and tormented, clinging to life due to lingering regrets. They may become aware of thoughts that a person may have been hiding, and will use this to break down the minds of a victim and force them to act on them, as happened with Farnese[2] and Guts.[3][4]

Despite being repelled by sunlight, dead spirits are described as yearning to the warmth of a living body's flesh and blood.[5] But they can also possess corpses, skeletons, and inanimate objects like trees and snow. Restless spirits, until they possess a person or animal, do not present much of a threat on their own, relying on sheer numbers to overwhelm opponents with any defensive skill.[4]


Thought-reading: spirits can become aware of a person's darkest thoughts and secrets, and have used this ability to torment both Farnese[2] and Guts, with the latter suspecting his inner darkness also had a say on it.[3]

Possession: spirits can enter the body of an individual and control it, leading them to commit acts they otherwise wouldn't; usually heinous and violent. Examples include Farnese acting upon her sadomasochistic tendencies[2], Guts trying to choke Casca[4] and some of the refugees of Saint Albion eating one another.[6] Dead spirits can also enter the bodies of animals. So far, dogs[7] and horses[8] have been shown as victims of possession by dead spirits.


  • Humans[2][4][9][6]
  • Skeletons[10]
  • Corpses[10]
  • Pagan tree[11]
  • Mad dogs: stray canines that have been possessed by dead spirits, gaining human-like faces with wide eyes and much longer, sharper teeth.[7]
  • Mad horses: horses that have been possessed by dead spirits. The horses gain wide, expressive eyes and a more human-like jaw, and can speak the human language. One mad horse in particular attempted to force itself on Farnese before being swiftly decapitated by Guts. Still, the spirit gave it a temporary head of its own. Guts then bisected the horse.[8]
  • Snow [12]


Since the Eclipse onward, while Casca was protected from them for a few years by being placed in an elvish cave, Guts fought against dead spirits on a nightly basis while being tormented by them. For this reason, unable to do so for a priest and daughter, Guts typically stays away from other people for their own safety.[10]

SK and Luca witnessing the ceremony begin

The risen dead of Albion.

Dead spirits play a larger role in the Conviction Arc, as the forces of causality trigger the events that bring Casca to Albion, the city itself being infested with dead spirits who either died of torture at the hands of the Holy See's inquisitors or fell to disease and starvation.[13][14][15] When Casca's child attempts to protect Casca from possessed pagans, it results in a chain of events that places her within the Tower of Conviction. With Guts arriving to Albion, the presence of two Brands of Sacrifice intensifies the spirits' presence and numbers exponentially.[16][17][18] Large masses of spirits begin appearing then. First possessing the members of a heretic group, the mass is identified by Isidro "like the smoke swooped down on them like it was alive".[19][9] When Casca is captured and taken into the Tower of Conviction, her presence within its walls brings forth the spirits of those who have suffered antagonizing and unjust deaths under the Holy See.[20] These spirits take residence in a blob made of human blood which consumes all humans within reach with the exception of Casca, as the Demon Child was using its energy to protect her.[21][22]

Dead spirits begin to have less presence in Guts' life after he meets Schierke, who can temporarily seal the Brands with a talisman.[23] Casca's necklace and the talisman Flora carved into the armor also served as a temporary ward.[24]

Other Appearances[]

Griffith meeting with spirits

Griffith surrounded by spirits.

Griffith can use spirits to give people peace of mind by allowing them to see their loved ones before sending them off.[25][26] When Mule asks where they go, Griffith replies with the line "To where they will become one".[25]

Sword of the Berserk[]

Berserk and the Band of the Hawk[]

In the 2016 game Berserk and the Band of the Hawk, dead spirits make up a large bulk of the fodder enemies from the halfway point of the game onward, and the player may regularly be asked to kill up to a thousand of them in one sitting. They are no more dangerous than any other fodder enemies. Dead spirits are also present in the Endless Eclipse. Here, they serve a more challenging function as "Mad Horses". On certain stages, Mad Horses may appear to pursue players across the map and violently and relentlessly attack. The player will be tasked with either defeating them or escaping from them, and the latter will be extremely difficult due to the fact that the Mad Horses will follow the player to the next layer even from as far away as half the map, and move extremely fast. Defeating them is also no easy task, as Mad Horses have immense health and durability, easily outpacing some bosses, and will restore 3% of their own health every few seconds. However, a large reward can be gained for putting them down.



  • In the Visual & Story File artbook, a spirit is known as a "ghost" (ゴースト), while a possessed corpse is known as a "zombie" (ゾンビ).
  • During the Incarnation Ceremony, and as acidic blood is created out of dead spirits, a similar event happens in which mounds of corpses appear. According to the Skull Knight and Puck, it's the essence of the malice that permeates Albion.[27][28] When the mounds converge on the Tower of Conviction and form an outer layer, Puck states that "the living and the dead are crying out in desire for one thing".[15]


  1. ^ Berserk :: Volume 14, "Demon Child"
  2. ^ a b c d Berserk :: Volume 17, "Morning of Truth"
  3. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 16, "Beast of Darkness"
  4. ^ a b c d Berserk :: Volume 23, "Winter Journey (2)"
  5. ^ Berserk :: Volume 13, "Vow of Retaliation"
  6. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 20, "Shadow of Idea (1)"
  7. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 17, "Night of Miracles"
  8. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 17, "Recurring"
  9. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 19, "Ambitious Boy"
  10. ^ a b c Berserk :: Volume 1, "The Brand"
  11. ^ Berserk :: Volume 14, "Black Swordsman, Again"
  12. ^ Berserk :: Volume 23, "Winter Journey (1)"
  13. ^ Berserk :: Volume 18, "Children of the Shadows"
  14. ^ Berserk :: Volume 18, "Spirit Road (1)"
  15. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 21, "Resonance"
  16. ^ Berserk :: Volume 17, "To the Holy Ground (2)"
  17. ^ Berserk :: Volume 19, "Straying"
  18. ^ Berserk :: Volume 20, "Omen"
  19. ^ Berserk :: Volume 18, "Zealot"
  20. ^ Berserk :: Volume 19, "Iron Maiden"
  21. ^ Berserk :: Volume 19, "Blood Flow of the Dead (1)"
  22. ^ Berserk :: Volume 20, "Spider's Thread"
  23. ^ Berserk :: Volume 24, "Elementals"
  24. ^ Berserk :: Volume 27, "Roar of the Sea"
  25. ^ a b Berserk :: Volume 23, "Night of Falling Stars"
  26. ^ Berserk :: Volume 38, "Divine Right of Kings"
  27. ^ Berserk :: Volume 20, "Collapse"
  28. ^ Berserk :: Volume 21, "One Who Clings, One Who Struggles"