The Crimson Ghost: From Cult Character to Punk Rock Icon

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Written by Brian Linsky
A lot of people may recognize the Crimson Ghost skull logo from T-shirts, stickers, or patches, but how many people actually know the true origin of the ghostly image?
Popularized in the late 1970’s by Jerry Only, founder of the band Misfits, the Crimson Ghost character can actually be traced back to the 1940’s.
Originally filmed as a 12 chapter series in 1946, the Crimson Ghost was the sinister title character of the series draped in a hood and cloak, with a skull mask, and skeleton hand gloves.
Crimson Ghost

The Crimson Ghost was a 12 chapter series which ran in 1946.

The Crimson Ghost was determined to get his fiendish hands on a device called Cyclotrode X, originally invented by Dr. Chambers, and was designed to be a defense mechanism against a possible atomic bomb attack.
In the wrong hands, and used as a weapon, Cyclotrode X would be catastrophic.
The Crimson Ghost

The Ghost plots his next move.

The Crimson Ghost intended to use the Cyclotrode X to carry out plans of sabotage and extortion, due to it’s ability to also cancel out any other device which was being electrically controlled.
The Crimson Ghost

The Crimson Ghost ,1946

The series was directed by Fred C. Brannon and William Witney, and also known by the name Cyclotrode X. Following it’s run, the Crimson Ghost would have most likely faded into obscurity if not for the band Misfits.
Spawned from the town of Lodi, New Jersey in 1977, the Misfits emerged from the punk scene with their own brand of “Horror Punk”, and went on to resurrect the Ghost’s ghoulish image.
In 1979, the Crimson Ghost made his first appearance as the band’s mascot on a flyer promoting an upcoming show at Max’s Kansas City. The image would later surface again on the cover of the band’s EP “Horror Business”.
The Crimson Ghost

Misfits show flyer and EP cover first debuting in 1979.

When the Misfits’ album American Psycho was released in 1997, They took their admiration for their mascot one step further by titling one of their songs “The Crimson Ghost”.
The Crimson Ghost

Misfits members Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein, Glen Danzig, & Jerry Only

The Crimson Ghost mascot is now known as the Misfits’ iconic “Fiend Skull,” the band’s official logo, and it’s painted on all their equipment, clothing, and everything else they could get their hands on.
With the Misfits reuniting their original lineup last year to play at Riot Fest, a whole new generation of fans are now wearing the iconic figure, though most remain in the dark over it’s background story.
Today, the Fiend Skull is easily one of the most recognizable symbols, in not only the music industry, but throughout the entire world.

Misfits playing with the Ghost in the background

Crimson Ghost

Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein

Crimson Ghost