Phasmophobia - Know your ghosts and their habits!

by TheNick
20 minutes
Phasmophobia - Know your ghosts and their habits!

Foreword

Like quite a few other people, I have played way too much of this game (almost 100h). And at some point, you want to give yourself an extra challenge. In my case, that would be the "No-Evidence"-challenge, which means you are not allowed to use any gear which is used to collect primary evidence. While doing this challenge, you quickly notice that every ghost type has some very unique characteristics, some of which are even enough to identify them without any evidence. I decided to share some of the gathered knowledge here, some of which originates from the wiki. So, without further ado, let's get started.

Spirit

Danger level: Wild card.
Primary Evidence: Spirit Box, Ghost Writing, Fingerprints.
Strength: none
Weakness: Doesn't attack for a longer time when being smudged 120 seconds.
Secondary Evidence: See Weakness.

Honestly, one of the most difficult ones to identify by behavior alone since they don't have a special behavior apart from one: Smudge Sticks. Spirits don't attack for a longer period after you smudge their room.
Apart from that, they are, in my experience, pretty much a wild card. They can be extremely shy to the point of not doing anything or be aggressive chain hunters. And therefore, extremely hard to identify without evidence and is usually identified by the process of elimination.

Wraith

Danger level: Dangerous.
Primary Evidence: Freezing Temp, Spirit Box, Fingerprints.
Strength: Can travel through doors and walls, but most importantly, can see through any door (that includes locker doors)
Weakness: Salt. A wraith stepping into salt increases ghost activity and, according to the wiki, stops him from attacking. (I never observed the latter part, though)
Secondary Evidence:
Very high Activity after stepping into salt and being smudged multiple times. Rarely steps into salt and never leaves footprints (due to flying). Rarely produces a footstep sound. Hunts you through closed doors. Technically can go through walls, but I personally never actively observed that.

These boys are dangerous, be it with their ability to see through doors alone. So hiding behind a door like in a locker or a small storage room will not help you one bit. Get a wall between you and the wraith, should he hunt you. According to the wiki, they stop attacking (I assume hunting) when they step into salt, but I have yet to observe that. It might be because they also fly over the salt most of the time.
It also is important to note, due to their ability to fly through walls, it might be that adjacent rooms might also get colder, especially if it is in a large map with many small rooms (e.g., the asylum), so double check your rooms which one might be the ghost's room.
Apart from that, they can get extremely active if you use all the smudge sticks and salt does your disposal, easily surpassing any Oni you might find in the field.
A small disclaimer here, I have seen wraiths leave footprints, but this is rare and most likely a bug.

Phantom

Danger level: Average.
Primary Evidence: EMF 5, Freezing Temps, Orbs.
Strength: Seeing the Phantom drains your sanity faster than usual.
Weakness: Does not attack if players stick together, or at least that is what the book says; I had a few that did it anyway. Disappears if a picture of it is taken (does not stop a hunt).
Secondary Evidence:
Disappears when photographed.

Phantoms are pretty straightforward; if you take a picture and the ghost disappears, it is likely a Phantom.
Apart from that, they have few distinguishing features. Except for their increased sanity drain when observed.

Poltergeist

Danger level: Average
Primary Evidence: Spirit Box, Orbs, Fingerprints.
Strength: Likes to throw a lot of stuff around, and according to the wiki, thrown stuff drains sanity even if you can't see it.
Weakness: None. Technically can't use its strength in an empty room, but who the hell cares to clean out the room in the first place.
Secondary Evidence: Interacts with many physical objects, including doors and light switches.

Poltergeists tend to play with everything they can get their ethereal hands-on, including light switches, phones, doors, etc. So, in that sense, while it prefers to throw stuff, it also touches everything else. This can make it hard to distinguish it from a Jinn since both can be quite playful with phones and light switches.

Banshee

Danger level: Very dangerous.
Primary Evidence: Freezing Temp, EMF5, Fingerprints.
Strength: Can spawn basically anywhere when hunting (more in the text below) and at any time (can ignore sanity).
Weakness: Always has 1 target and will ignore other players if hunting. The crucifix has a 9m radius instead of a 3mone.
Secondary Evidence: Never changes its target unless the target dies or exits the building. Can start a hunt despite extremely high sanity.

Banshees are vicious. If they use their power, they will make their way towards a selected player, and when a direct line of sight is established, she will wait a short amount of time and then start a hunt from that position. If she uses her power, she also ignores sanity. This means she can, in theory, hunt from everywhere at any time. The only saving grace for the players is that she ignores every other player apart from her target, which also serves as a sure identifier. Her ability can also cause a red herring since she doesn't have to spawn in her room.
It is always advised to make sure that you are either close to a deployed crucifix or a good hiding spot.

Jinn

Danger level: Dangerous
Primary Evidence: EMF 5, Spirit Orbs, Spirit Box.
Strength: Faster, the further it is away from its target.
Weakness: Technically none to speak of. Can't use its ability if the breaker is turned off (nearly nobody does that, which only sets him back to be like any average ghost).
Secondary Evidence: Closes the distance to a visible player quickly, but if close (about 3m), slows down to a player's speed. Only ghost that turns the breaker on again. Prefers to interact with electronics. Rarely turns off lights or breaker. Spirit Orbs are very fast (needs proof, more in text).

Even though jinns are dangerous, they tend to be my favorite type of ghost to hunt. Well, technically, they are dangerous should they ever hunt, but due to their habit of rarely turning off lights and the power, sanity tends to stay quite high, meaning very few hunts.
Also, this habit makes them easy to identify without any hard evidence or even a hunt. But the easiest way to identify a Jinn is to observe its behavior during a hunt: If it closes the gap quickly and then slows down when it is close, it is a Jinn. This can also be heard in that the footsteps are faster.
Another unique identifier is that it is the only ghost-type that somewhat reliably turns on the power again and rarely turns it off. While other ghosts tend to do that extremely rarely, with a Jinn, it usually is a sure thing that he will eventually turn on the power.
A friend recently brought to my attention that it seems like the spirit orbs of a Jinn are way faster than with any other ghost; while I feel like I have observed this a few times, I can't say for sure if it is true or not, so take it with a grain of salt.

Mare

Danger level: Above average.
Primary Evidence: Freezing Temps, Orbs, Spirit Box.
Strength: It hunts earlier if the ghost's room is in the dark (at 60% average sanity). Turns off power and light frequently.
Weakness: Next to none, due to Habits. Hunts less if the ghost's room is lit. (at 40% average sanity)
Secondary Evidence: Turns off lights and power extremely often. Tends to hunt very often due to the resulting sanity loss.

Mares... I hate them. Not only do they turn off the lights and power all the time, but they also hunt early and often. They like the dark, and it shows.
It is also important to note that this habit has a strong impact on players' sanity, making a Mare hunt relatively early. This only gets emphasized that a Mare hunts more often if it is dark. Candles can help counteract the darkness somewhat (they need to be placed down when carried. They don’t have sanity-saving properties).
This habit alone makes them quite easy to identify without any hard evidence. But it is still important to distinguish if the ghost turned off the breaker or if the players just overloaded it by turning on too many lights. Usually, you can distinguish this by checking if all light switches turn off simultaneously when the breaker is tripped or if the lights turn on again as soon as the breaker is fixed. If the switches turn off, then it was the players’ fault.

Revenant

Danger level: Extremely Dangerous. (you may hide, but not run)
Primary Evidence: EMF 5, Ghost Writing, Fingerprints
Strength: Extremely fast if a target is visible for it.
Weakness: Very slow if no target is visible.
Secondary Evidence: See Strength

Due to their power, Revenants are extremely dangerous. If they can see you, they will get you. Your only chance will be to break the line of sight and hide ASAP. But given that the devs plan to implement that, ghosts will try to search players at their last seen location, which will make those ghosts far more dangerous than most others in the future. A smudge stick may help in an emergency.
Sadly, this behavior is the unique secondary evidence it has, and collecting this evidence is often paid for with life. Therefore I recommend distinguishing this ghost by the process of elimination.

Shade

Danger level: Average
Primary Evidence: EMF 5, Orbs, Ghost Writing.
Strength: Low activity if multiple players are near.
Weakness: Will rarely start a hunt if players are in the same room.
Secondary Evidence: Low activity 3+ players are in the room, high activity if only 1 player is in the room.

Shades are quite elusive ghosts. Their habit of having very low activity when all 4 players are present makes them hard to find and even harder to identify without any hard evidence. But it should also be noted that they can have a rather high activity if only one player is present, sometimes even rivaling an Oni. In that sense, they are much like a reverse Oni, in that they get more active the fewer people are near.
It is also important to note that proximity is usually defined by being in the same room with the player. This means that a player outside the door, even if he is less than a meter, away counts as alone, making it more likely to trigger a hunt should the average sanity is already below.
Also, it seems to lower the chance of a hunt if players are together; it won't prevent it from hunting.
All in all, this behavior makes it nearly impossible to distinguish from other ghosts since it is extremely hard to notice.

Important to note that the number of players in a game does not affect the ghost. This means if you play solo, a shade might be as active as an Oni.

Demon

Danger level: Above average
Primary Evidence: Freezing Temps, Spirit Box, Ghost Writing.
Strength: Hunt earlier (65% average sanity) and more often.
Weakness: It doesn't drain sanity if it answers a question on the Ouija Board.
Secondary Evidence: See Strength.

Demons are extremely aggressive and therefore hunt earlier than most and more often than most. Using an Ouija board doesn't drain sanity if it answers, but it will still drain a high amount of sanity if it should refuse to answer (light flickering even if the breaker is off and the board turns off).
Even though you think those 2 facts make it easier to distinguish, it is not. I have seen many ghosts that were even more aggressive than a demon, and the normal sanity loss of a few percent is barely noticeable.
So, it is recommended to use the process of elimination if no primary evidence is found.

Yurei

Danger level: Average
Primary Evidence: Freezing Temps, Orbs, Ghost Writing.
Strength: Drains Sanity quicker than other ghosts
Weakness: None to speak of.
Secondary Evidence: Tough luck, if at all faster sanity loss.

If it weren't for their freezing temperatures, Yurei’s would be indistinguishable from a normal Spirit, especially since any sanity loss is extremely hard to notice.
Due to them draining sanity faster than other ghosts, they seem to hunt very early. So one way to distinguish a Yurei from other ghosts would be to be conservative with your sanity and check sanity after a hunt. If your sanity is unnaturally low, it might be a Yurei.
But apart from that, there is no other way to identify a Yurei by behavior alone.

Oni

Danger level: Average
Primary Evidence: EMF 5, Spirit Box, Ghost Writing.
Strength: Very active the more players are close
Weakness: None to speak of.
Secondary Evidence: Extremely active if all players are close.

Onis will rip apart any room they are in if all 4 players are there, even without using smudge sticks. This fact makes them relatively easy to identify. But keep in mind it is barely active at all if there is only one player close, even less active than a Shade might be. That said, they are pretty much a reverse Shade.
A small disclaimer: Higher ghost activity also means that they hunt more often than other ghosts.

Important to note, the total number of players does not affect this ghost either. If playing solo, an Oni will barely do anything.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks a lot for reading, and I hope it helps in your ghost hunting adventures. Should I have forgotten any important details, let me know in the comments.
PS: Let me know in the comments if you would be interested in this to evolve into a full guide.