Spectres came from the void between worlds in the multiverse. Each time Æsahættr, the subtle knife, was used to cut a window, a Spectre was created. When Lord Asriel harnessed the energy released with the intercision of Roger Parslow to create a bridge to the world of Cittàgazze, a great many Spectres were created.
- "In some lights they were hardly there at all, just visible as a drifting quality in the light, a rhythmic evanescence, like veils of transparency turning before a mirror."
- —The appearance of the Spectres[src]
Spectres were invisible to prepubescent children. To adults, they appeared as shimmers in their air which moved with malevolence.
Spectres fed on Dust by attacking post-pubescent humans and eating their soul, leaving them as a mindless shell. If an external dæmon was attacked, they appeared to perform the same process much more slowly. Humans who had undergone intercision were immune to Spectres. Both Serafina Pekkala and John Parry likened a Spectre feasting on attention to a vampyre feasting on blood.
Spectres were originally earthbound, until Marisa Coulter taught them to fly.
Defence against Spectres
When travelling, all human groups in the world of Cittàgazze were required by law to contain a man and woman on horseback to flee in case of a Spectre attack, to later return and look after the children.
Behind the scenes
- Philip Pullman has said that Spectres were his way of talking about mental states such as depression and self-hatred.
- It is quite possible that the Windsuckers that Tony Costa spoke to Lyra Silvertongue about are actually Spectres.
- The Subtle Knife
- The Amber Spyglass
- His Dark Materials (TV series), Series 2
- The Secret Commonwealth (Mentioned only)
- The Subtle Knife, Chapter 14
- Philip Pullman - Questions Frequently Asked (Archived 23rd Aug 2015)
- Northern Lights, Chapter 6
|Humanoid||Angels • Dæmons • Deaths • Gallivespians • Ghosts • Humans • Mermaids • Witches • Zombi|
|Other||Cliff-ghasts • Harpies • Mulefa • Night-ghasts • Panserbjørne • Spectres • Will-o’-the-wykes|
|World of Cittàgazze|
|Countries||Benin • Brasil • Corea • Eireland|
|Locations||Bergamo • Cittàgazze • Cittàgazze cave • Sant'Elia • Unidentified village|
|Buildings||Belvedere tower • Cittàgazze café • Torre degli Angeli • White villa|
|Natives||Angelica • Giacomo Paradisi • Joachim Lorenz • Paolo • Striped T-shirt boy • Tullio|
|Important||Guild of the Torre degli Angeli • Spectres • Subtle knife|