Undead vs deceased spirit

What is the difference between an undead and a spirit of a deceased person?

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Undead are fictional physical beings, a spirit animating a corpse that still works without a beating heart or breathing, and doesn’t rot for paranormal reasons that are left a mystery.
Undead may be vampires, liches, zombies and others. The cursed pirates in one of the pirates of the carrabean movies… yeah.

Note I heard Anne Rice who wrote the Vampire Chronicles featuring undead as vampires recently died, may she rest in peace. She made an anti vampire undead that was nourished by the sun in her book Ramses the Damned, which was unique and never copied as far as I know.

In contrast. a spirit, of a dead human or otherwise, is not fictional, and doesn’t have a physical body.


I will have to say here, based on people in my life who have passed on, I occasionally thought I saw them … more and more over time. Deceased people will typically show up in dreams.
Example: A friend recently died of cancer, and was originally a friend of a friend. The friend, his brother, the deceased and I once shared a house together and was usually fun times. My friend had a dream where the two of them met for breakfast at Wendys. My friend hates Wendys breakfast in particular, but apparently was the deceased choice for breakfast. My friend did not know this until recently talking to the deceased brother. There was no former knowledge of the fact. To see deceased, well, that is a different story, a daughter of a friend typically saw spirits. I tried to intervene for the daughters possessed friend. It was not successful. So, the undead I would consider those like the one who possessed the girl.


Very interesting. @Nightside For me personally i cannot see something as undead unless its a living corpse which living people possessed by the dead are not.

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I wonder what kinda afterlife awaits those who don’t get good at magick in life.

Would the mind or spirit of a non-magickal person be strong enough to keep existing after death or even have an afterlife?

The term “undead” comes from anthropologist accounts of Voodoo rituals in Haiti. It’s also where the word zombie originates.

In Voodoo, a zombie is a person who has been stripped of all sense of self and free will through drugs, hypnosis, and psychological conditioning, part of which involves being buried alive for several days. When they are then “raised from the dead”, the combination of fear, and drugs, places them into a state in between life and death, hence neither alive or dead, but “undead.”

The George Romero Night of the Living Dead walking corpse kind of zombie is entirely fictional.