From Destinypedia, the Destiny wiki
Find, resurrect, and protect their Guardians
- "In its dying breath, the Traveler created the Ghosts...To seek out those who can wield its Light as a weapon. Guardians, to protect us, and do what the Traveler itself no longer can."
- — The Speaker
Ghosts are small, sapient machines created by the Traveler shortly after the Collapse. Their sole purpose is to locate and resurrect deceased individuals capable of wielding the Light as Guardians, and to support their Guardian charge in combat.
Ghosts are floating machine entities slightly larger than a human hand. They consist of a spherical core with a single glowing "eye", which is surrounded by a "shell" of several pieces that can separate and rotate freely around the central sphere. The default Ghost shell consists of eight roughly tetrahedral segments colored white with orange highlights, but there is a huge diversity of shells available that Ghosts can adopt for cosmetic purposes.
Every Ghost has a unique personality and identity, though not necessarily a name. This personality may be intended to complement that of the Chosen they're meant to eventually revive,  and often they have a name coined by their Chosen, whilst others may take names they are given by others.
When a Ghost revives their Chosen, they are bonded together from that point forward. A "neural symbiosis" begins between them. Every Ghost has one specific person they are meant to revive. For some, their Chosen is a sort of "soul mate" and they know instinctively when the right remains have been found;  for others, they simply search until they find someone they feel is worthy of the Light or has a "spark". Many Ghosts have spent the time since the Collapse searching fruitlessly for their Chosen. In the worst case, their Chosen's corpse may be irretrievably destroyed before they could be revived, leaving the Ghost's quest eternally unfinished. 
Some Ghosts lose hope in ever finding their Chosen; these usually find some other way to make themselves useful, such as joining the Vanguard's covert Spectral Network, where they act as scouts and spies for the Vanguard. Ghosts that never find their Chosen may be referred to as "unconnected" or "unpartnered".
On revival, the Ghost's Chosen becomes a Light-bearing Guardian. Once a Ghost chooses, they can revive no one else. It is possible for a Ghost to bond to someone other than their original Chosen, as with Shin Malphur, though that case required special circumstances.
Destiny 2 reveals that Ghosts enter a temporary catatonic state when the Light is cut off from them. Much like their Guardians, the Lightless Ghosts are severely weakened and damaged. Worse, should the Guardians be killed, then they will be unable to resurrect them. Fortunately, at least one Guardian was able to regain their Light from a broken shard of the Traveler in the European Dead Zone.
For a Guardian, their Ghost serves as a companion, scout, librarian, and mechanic, waking ancient machinery and cracking ancient codes. Ghosts can support Guardians by performing certain actions such as illuminating darkened areas, repairing technology from the Golden Age, hacking into machines, informing Guardians of incoming hostile threats, calculating complex enemy behaviors, determine combat outcomes, mapping numerous projectiles and their myriad of trajectories, and providing communications. Most importantly, Ghosts may revive Guardians from death. As long as the Ghost survives, and barring special circumstances, Guardians are effectively immortal and may be resurrected fully intact from any death without consequences. The death does not have to be immediate, nor do they have to be revived in the same place they died.  Ghosts may also repair any injury a Guardian suffers in a matter of seconds, though can sometimes have such difficulty repairing Exo Guardians that it is easier to resurrect from scratch.
Ghosts have no special control over their Guardians' actions, other than talking to them, or potentially withholding the resurrection of a Guardian who becomes dangerously erratic or monstrous. 
Although Ghosts have been associated with human Risen for most of their history, it has recently been revealed that there is nothing fundamentally preventing them from choosing non-human Lightbearers; a subset of Ghosts have chosen Hive partners, beginning with Immaru who resurrected Savathûn, the Witch Queen. These Hive Ghosts would become part of the Witch Queen's Lucent Brood, with Fynch, a renegade amongst them, stated that Savathûn and Immaru tricked a number of Guardian-less Ghosts to join them, claiming that the Hive were more deserving of the Light than humanity and would give the Hive Ghosts purpose. However, while human Risen often treat their Ghosts as friends and companions, the Hive Lightbearers are less generous in their treatment of the Hive Ghosts, with most treating them with contempt, suspicion and hostility. Immaru and Savathûn are the only known exception to this, as they treat each other as equals.
Due to the integral role the Hive Ghosts have to the Lucent Brood, the Guardians would have little choice but to target the Hive Ghosts to defeat the Hive Lightbearers to prevent them from rising again. This would be the first time Guardians would have to target Ghosts since the age of the Warlords. The Guardian's Ghost, would view the Hive Ghosts as traitors to humanity and the Light, unable to understand the reasons in their choice of siding with the Hive.
After the Collapse, the wounded Traveler deliberately shed many pieces of itself. These pieces understood intuitively that they had a mission to raise a companion from the dead, their Chosen, and created mechanical shells for themselves. As far as the Guardians know, no new Ghosts are currently being made; each one lost is irreplaceable. It is unclear whether all Ghosts were made at once, or over a period of time; Immaru is stated to be among the oldest of the Ghosts, suggesting the latter. Despite their origin as pieces of the Traveler, Ghosts do not possess any special insight into the nature of the Traveler, or into other matters pertaining to the Light and Darkness.
Ghosts serve the important function of a narrative device, acting as a vehicle for important tasks such as informing players of new objectives, and also serve as a revive/respawn marker when a player's character dies during cooperative play. Ghosts notify players when another player/Guardian has left the area or is revived. A Ghost can assist to more quickly revive another fallen player by holding the X button on the Xbox 360/One, the square button on the PlayStation 3/4, or the E key on PC. This can only be done in close proximity to a fallen player's death location, marked by their Ghost. On occasion, while on missions, certain objects must be scanned either to progress the narrative or provide additional context to the Guardian, which is visually represented as the Ghost flying out and scanning the object of interest. For example, scanning a dead Cabal on Phobos will have Ghost describe what legion it's from.
For more information, see Ghost shells.
Ghost shells change the appearance of Ghosts.
In Destiny's The Taken King expansion, defensive boosts and additional effects were added to Ghost shells. Rare shells had a single perk, while legendary shells had several to choose from. Shells could be purchased from The Speaker, the Vanguards, or Lord Shaxx. As of Rise of Iron, Ghost shells marked with New Monarchy, Dead Orbit, or Future War Cult colors and symbols could be bought from faction representives.
With the release of Destiny 2, Ghost shells provided fixed bonuses, such as extra experience gains, or built-in trackers for planetary resources. As of the Beyond Light expansion release, all Ghost shells became purely cosmetic, with four mod slots allowing customization of what bonuses a Ghost could provide, dependent on the upgrade level of the Ghost.
Ghosts without listed Lightbearers are not known to have one, either stated outright or simply never mentioned.
- "This is some great data here. I wonder if Ikora gives hugs to Ghosts. Heheh... anyways, nice work."
- "Don't do that."—says this after the Guardian jokingly calls him "Little Light".
- "Every Ghost is born knowing that we have to find our Guardian. We don't know what they look like. Not on the outside, anyway. On the inside, I'd always known who you were. And that together, we could be something more. When you think about everything we've seen, everything we've done, I feel like... I made the right choice. [...] Thanks - you know - for being my Guardian."—at the end of A Khvostov Rising Mission
- "You know it's starting to concern me how seldom you talk. We've been through a lot together, the neural symbiosis is pretty far progressed, but you'd be surprised how little I understand what you're thinking."
- "I don't think I ever told you this, but Saint-14 was one of the first Guardians I ever met, even before I found you. I always hoped you would turn out like him. I wasn't disappointed. You were a good friend Saint. Goodbye."—at the end of the Not Even the Darkness Mercury World Quest
- "I don't have a mouth."—to The Drifter (character) during the mission variant of The Corrupted strike
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- Ghosts were sometimes called "Dinklebots" by players, as a nod to Peter Dinklage, who provided their voice in the game. As of The Taken King, Nolan North replaced Dinklage as Ghost's voice actor and redubbed lines from the original Destiny game. Players have started to call this new Ghost "Nolandroid", though Nolan North himself prefers "Nolanbot".
- It was indicated pre-release that players need certain equipment before having access to a Ghost. This is currently not the case, as the Ghost is present with the player from the start of the game in current builds (having revived them).
- Holding out a Ghost in some sections of the Moon opens doors. However, they are pitch black inside.
- Ghosts may be deactivated and revived.
- The Ghost's saying "We always visit such cheerful places" is a possible reference to Cortana's line in Halo 2 on the level Delta Halo, saying: "We always visit such nice places".
- Dead Ghosts can be found in the game world which, upon revival, unlock new Grimoire cards.
- According to an advertisement for Destiny, Ghosts existed during the Golden Age. This is likely an error as all other sources have stated that Ghosts were created by the Traveler after the Golden Age.
- The Ghost was depicted as taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge in a short video by Bungie, which donated to the campaign.
- While dead Ghosts are considered to be common, a few sources suggest that Ghosts are virtually indestructible, requiring special means (usually from a paracausal source; a shotgun blast from a guardian, a longbow shot from an Awoken, or a darkness-empowered devourer bullet) to permanently destroy them.
- In the Destiny 2 Dance Trailer a ghost is seen playing music suggesting that they were actually used as music boxes*
One of the Ghost Shells that debuted in The Taken King.
The Ghost replica that is included with the Destiny Ghost Edition.
Concept art of a Warlock with a Ghost.
List of appearances
- Destiny (First appearance)
- Destiny 2
- Curse of Osiris
- Black Armory
- Joker's Wild
- Season of Opulence
- Beyond Light
- The Witch Queen
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Compliments
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Don't Call Me Ghost
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Savin
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Pressure
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Confession of Hope | Part One
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Into the Fray
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: The Watchful Eye
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Confession of Hope | Part Two
- Bungie (2014-6-12), Destiny: Alpha PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Grimoire: Ghosts
- Eurogamer - PS4 E3 2013 Sony Conference
- I: Sparky and the Scrivener
- Bungie (2014-7-17), Destiny: Beta PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard, Calcutta-LR2A Weapon Description
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: No Rez for the Weary
- Bungie (2020/3/10), Destiny 2: Season of the Worthy Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: THE BEGINNING, PART II
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: The Chosen's Choice
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Whether Windmills or Cranes
- Bungie (2018/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: The We Before Us
- Bungie (2019/9/4), Destiny 2: Forsaken Playstation 4, Activision Blizzard, Lore: Who Guards the Guardians?
- Planet Destiny: Vault Space Increased, Infusion, & Swords!
- Youtube: "I wonder if Ikora hugs Ghosts"
- YouTube - Cayde's Stash: New Dialogue?
- Youtube - Destiny 2 Curse of Osiris Secret Saint-14 Quest Line and Ending
- Gameranx: Destiny to Feature the Voice Talents of Peter Dinklage A.K.A. Tyrion Lannister
- Planet Destiny: Expanding & Leaving the Old Behind
- YouTube - Eurogamer: We ask Destiny's Nolan North: Is it Northbot or Nolandroid?
- Bungie.net: The Storm and the Mail Sack
- Bungie (2014-7-17), Destiny: Beta PlayStation 4, Activision Blizzard.
- Destiny the Game: Game Master July 2014 Destiny Cover Issue & PlayStation UK Magazine June 2014 Destiny Hands-on: Breakdown
- EB World - The New Frontier awaits
- YouTube - That Bucket Came From the Moon