A wraith is someone who has been killed yet lives on by some dark sorcery (necromancy or a Morgul-blade), or someone who died in darkness or serious dishonour (the latter are comparable to popular culture's notion of ghosts).


First Age

During the First Age, the love-sick Gorlim, having betrayed his comrades-in-arms, appeared to Beren as a wraith, confessing what he had done.[1]

Second Age

During Sauron's influence and rule in Middle-earth, he swayed and corrupted nine powerful Men of Númenórean and Easterling stock by giving them each one of the nine Rings of Power. Afterwards, they slowly faded into darkness, becoming Ringwraiths enslaved to the will of Sauron, fated to roam the world until their end.

Third Age

The Dunlendings feared that Helm Hammerhand was a wraith that wandered through Rohan as its protector.[2]

No other evidence of any other wraiths are recorded as existing in Middle-earth, save for the Ringwraiths, who continued in the East and in Mordor and when the Ring was discovered came out to search for it. When Frodo was stabbed by the Witch-king of Angmar he was infected by the evil magic from a Morgul-knife; if Glorfindel had not saved Frodo, he would have eventually become a wraith himself.[3]


  1. The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Chapter XIX: "Of Beren and Lúthien"
  2. The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A: Annals of the Kings and Rulers, II: The House of Eorl
  3. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book One, Ch. XII: "Flight to the Ford"
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