Real Name: Dennis Rafkin
Occupation: Psychic, Paranormal Researcher
Known Relatives: None known
Base of Operations: New York City, New York
First Appearance: Thirteen Ghosts (2001)
History: Dennis Rafkin is a paranormal researcher and associate of occult expert Cyrus Zorba with whom he shared his psychic experience in paranormal research. Along with researcher, Zalina, Rafkin and Zorba traveled abroad looking into evidence of supernatural activity, often responding and acting with unethical and possibly illegal means to prove their theories.
Born December 13, 1970 in Flushing, New York, Rafkin was a psychic prodigy as a youth capable of seeing ghosts by the age of five. At eight years old, he was being regularly harassed by earthborn spirits and tormented by evil spirits. His parents, however, did not believe his claims of seeing ghosts, and Rafkin was often being abused by his father trying to get him to stop claiming to see ghosts. Becoming neurotic, he had a nervous breakdown in his teens and spent a few years in the Holloway Mental Hospital in Elmhurst, New York after trying to commit suicide. His psychic abilities soon came to the attention of serious psychic researchers who gave him the support he needed to function in society. Much of his support came from psychic B.F. Fischer, who saw much of himself in the youth, and regarded Rafkin as his protégé, teaching him how to control and harness his psychic abilities. Through the Late Eighties and Nineties, Rafkin lived and worked at the Carradine Mental Hospital in Albany, New York while hesitantly assisting them in paranormal research in random haunted locations.
Sadly, after Fischer died in 1998, Rafkin came to the attention of demonologist Cyrus Kriticos, who was reportedly the illegitimate son of paranormal historian Plato Zorba, and heir to his paranormal research. Assisted by tech expert, Kalina Oretzia, Kriticos took Rafkin around the world seeking specific spirits to research and contain, using physical objects connected to these spirits in life. Kriticos managed to keep these spirits trapped in his home in upstate New York in Westchester County, but Rafkin eventually deduced that Zorba had an ulterior motive to create and study a Medieval ritual known as the Black Zodiac which required the archetypes of certain earthbound spirits to conjure it.
Unfortunately, Kriticos was killed shortly after "capturing" the last spirit, and Rafkin took it upon himself to find out just how far Kriticos had reached in creating the Black Zodiac. Traveling to Kriticos's mansion, he encountered Cyrus's nephew, Arthur Kriticos, and his family, who had inherited the estate. However, the inheritance was all a ploy to set the spirits in the Zodiac loose in the house so that Kriticos, who had faked his death, could study the results as the spirits attacked Arthur's family. Rafkin tried to protect the family as best as he could, even as Kalina helped Kriticos keep the family trapped. However, Rafkin was killed in one of the house's torture traps and after he passed over, he appeared once more in pure spirit form to help Arthur turn the trapped ghosts against Kriticos and Oretzia were dead, the house unlocked itself, and the spirits were able to cross over. However, it is unrevealed if Arthur or his family kept the inheritance and destroyed the relics connected to the spirits to keep the from returning.
Case Files: Old Fourth Street Warehouse (Chicago, Illinois), Old Dodge County Fairgrounds (Fremont, Nebraska), Old Michaels House (Brentwood, Ohio), Old McKinnon-Tackleberry Medical Building (Hollywood, California), Marshall High School (Madison, Wisconsin), Bournewood Mental Hospital (Bournewood, Essex), Isabella Smith Historic House (Coventry, Massachusetts), Markley Woods (Springfield, Missouri), Old LeGros House (Houston, Texas), Kriticos House (Newport, Connecticut), Queensboro Junkyard (New York City), et al.
Powers/Abilities: Dennis Rafkin possesses the ability to sense and detect psychic energies and communicate with ghosts, the astral spirits of people who have died. A Class Two psychic, he is clairvoyant and can read the history of any location he visits through the psychic energies of individuals who have been there before him. As this energy can wane and dissipate, his ability to read a location is only as strong as the energy he encounters. A signal person spending a lifetime in one location can be much stronger than a person who was only briefly connected to a subject. Furthermore, events which produce larger signatures of emotional and psychic turmoil, like wars, murders and tragic loss can produce energies that can be overwhelming to Rafkin's fractured psyche, a product of his own up-bringing. This ability is limited mostly by the strength of his will power and mental acuity. He can do a complete reading of a person by touching them, but he can be completely overwhelmed to the point he goes into seizures around persons of excessive loss and tragedy. When he encountered Arthur Kriticos, a widower who had lost his wife, Arthur's extreme loss was so overwhelming that Rafkin was almost completely taken by the emotion.
Rafkin can also sense and perceive the astral spirits ("ghosts") of people who remain earthbound. However, he is not a medium; he cannot communicate or perceive the messages of spirits in the afterlife. While most people can see and perceive ghosts to some extent, usually no more than sensing a presence or glimpsing faint images, Rafkin can sense and detect their presence on a higher level than normal human beings. His sensitivity to them is possibly so acute that their presence can even lure him out of deep sleep. There is possibly a limit to how much psychic stimulation he can tolerate; white noise can give him a headache by overloading his psychic senses all at once.
Unable to see ghosts, Rafkin was often assisted by a pair of ecto-glasses, a set of plastic eye glasses that allowed him to see spirits in a form similar to how they looked in life. It is not known exactly how they worked, but they were the creation of research between Cyrus Kriticos and Kalina Oretzia. Treated with an unknown combination of chemicals, the glasses seemed to allow Rafkin's vision to pierce the ultra-violet portion of the visible spectrum, allowing him to see spirits. However, since it is difficult for spirits to even maintain a humanoid form, usually staying in a misty gaseous like form, it seems Zorba must have employed an extra external source of energy for the spirits to keep a humanoid form for the glasses to perceive them as pseudo-humanoid beings, otherwise Rafkin would have constantly seen them in the traditional anomalous apparition form.
When Rafkin saw the ghosts, he experienced them in a state connected to how they died. For example, he saw the ghost of Breaker Mahoney as a desiccated corpse riddled with bullet holes and George Markley impaled with railroad spikes. He also saw them with manifestations of the physical objects they were associated with in life. For example, Ray "The Jackal" Kuhn appeared with a steal cage enclosed over his head. These objects as well as their clothing were conjured by ectoplasm, the psychic manifestation conjured by all living things used by spirits to attain visible form and help them perform physical feats, such as poltergeist activity. Despite their forms of deaths, all ghosts have the potential to attain a normal human form unaffected by physical impairment or genetic disability, but because of unknown factors, possibly conditional or psychological, they usually appear in states connected to their deaths (hanging victims often appear headless) or a form familiar to them (such as a military uniform) they had in life.
Comments: Dennis Rafkin is a fictional character played by actor Matthew Lillard in the 2001 reboot of "13 Ghosts." The extending cast was played by F. Murray Abraham (Cyrus Kriticos), Tony Shalhoub (Arthur Kriticos) and Embeth Davidtz (Kalina Oretzia).
Matthew Lillard also played Norville "Shaggy" Rogers in "Scooby Doo" (2005).
B.F. Fischer is a character from "The Legend of Hell House" (1975).
Rafkin's case-files are very loosely based on some generic locales that have been re-named and re-located to the following fictional apparitions: