- "The Haunted are a result of Ruvik's mind synchronizing with victims linked to STEM. Although sluggish, some of them can use weapons and tools. You may also find that they move as if taking orders from someone."
- —In-game quote (found in the bonus features)
The Haunted are the most common enemies encountered in The Evil Within.
The Haunted bear various grotesque appearances such as mutilated or rotting flesh, nails and glass pierced through their bodies and having barbed wires or chain wrapped around them. Some of them also have white glowing eyes.
In The Consequence DLC, some Haunted may have glowing tissue throughout their bodies, which indicates that they turn into a Cadaver when killed. This tissue, normally white or yellow, turns bright red when the Haunted is aware of the player's presence, similar to Shade's spotlight.
The Haunted, although savage and brutal, have been shown to have some degree of intelligence. They know how to use a multitude of weapons, ranging from melee to firearms and can often be seen exhibiting behaviors in combat such as ducking, zigzagging, or blocking with their arms. Some Haunted will also attack in groups and work together in an attempt to kill the player. They are also able to create and set up various traps. They also have some similarities to zombies, as they possess no self-preservative instincts and have a strong appetite for human flesh. They are regularly seen feeding on dead humans throughout the game.
Some Haunted are also able to talk. This is shown with Valerio Jimenez, muttering as if he was working with a patient as he was dissecting and possibly eating a dead body. Later on, a pair of Haunted were dragging humans (one of them being Joseph) and beheading them with a guillotine. There is also a Haunted behind the hospice that is carrying a woman over to a burning pile of bodies with wooden stakes protruding from it. If he isn't shot quickly, he will throw her into a flaming spike, killing her instantly. This implies that they torture and kill simply for the enjoyment of it.
The Haunted seem to have a fascination with mannequins. They are seen to be preoccupied with them throughout the game. This is a possible indication that the Haunted are aware of their horrific disfigurements, and view mannequins as reflections of their former appearance before Ruvik transformed them.
According to Shinji Mikami, the Haunted have undergone mutation and are expressing the evil that permeates within them.
The Haunted appear in almost every chapter of the game and are the most frequently encountered enemy type.The Haunted were once normal humans but are are now trapped in the world created by Ruvik. After being mutated by Ruvik's twisted imagination, their new appearance and hostility reflect Ruvik's anger and resentment.
In the earlier stages of the game they frequently appear either unarmed, or armed with low-damage melee weapons such as hatchets, knives and other tools. As the game progresses, some Haunted begin to appear wearing porcelain masks, increasing their defense against headshots. As the player continues to progress through the game, the Haunted become better equipped with explosives and firearms, as well as becoming generally more dangerous and difficult to kill.
A single Haunted on its own poses little threat to the player, as they are slow, unintelligent, and fairly easy to kill. However, large groups of Haunted are much more dangerous, as they can easily surround and overwhelm the player, especially in confined areas.
The Haunted are most commonly encountered wielding melee weapons such as hatchets, knives and pickaxes. In later chapters, the player also encounters Haunted armed with ranged or thrown weapons such as dynamite, Molotovs, crossbows and firearms. Unarmed Haunted will punch and kick at the player. If they get close enough, unarmed Haunted can also use a QTE grabbing move, dealing moderate damage if the player fails to shake them off.
While specific models of the Haunted vary, they can be broadly categorized into the following types:
- Unarmed: The first Haunted encountered by the player, wrapped in barbed wire and nails with glowing white eyes. They attack with kicks and punches and also use a QTE grabbing move. Their unarmed attacks deal minor damage and their grab move deals moderate damage if the player fails to break free.
- Light Melee: These Haunted use smaller one handed weapons, such as knives, hatchets, sickles, or sheers. They deal more damage than the unarmed Haunted, but less damage than most other types of Haunted. Occasionally they will wear white masks, which block headshots unless broken. They cannot be knocked out of their attack animation, so it is best to deal with them at range before they can get close enough to use their weapons.
- Heavy Melee: These Haunted carry larger weapons, such as sledgehammers, rebar clubs, scyths, hoes, shovels, spiked bats, or fire axes. They move slowly compared to other Haunted but can deal huge amounts damage. As with the Light Melee Haunted, they cannot be knocked out of their attack animation.
- Ranged weapons: These Haunted mostly appear in later stages of the game. They are armed with ranged weapons such as handguns, shotguns, sniper rifles, machine guns and occasionally crossbows. Some of them, especially the machine gunners, are also equipped with bulletproof body armour and/or gray masks, making it harder to aim for weak spots. In close combat, they will strike the player with their weapons.
- Explosives/Thrown Weapons: Carrying dynamite sticks or molotovs, these Haunted are particularly dangerous as a direct hit from them is almost always a one-hit kill. They often act as suicide bombers, rushing at the player and killing themselves in the process. Some will also throw their weapons at range while keeping a distance from the player.
- Bloated: These Haunted appear fatter and physically larger than common Haunted. They have the same move set as other Haunted but due to their larger size, they have slightly higher HP. They can survive a single shotgun blast, so the easy way to kill them is to set them on fire after they've been knocked down. They may be filled with glass shards, wrapped in chains or ropes, shirtless or in pope robes.
- Mobius: These Haunted have cracks in them that will glow red due as a result of Juli's past afflicting them. Sometimes they lie on the ground, pretending to be dead, and when someone walks by they will grab them by their ankles.
- Cadaver: These haunted are covered in large, bubbling sores that glow bright red. They usually wield heavy weapons such as sledgehammers or scyths. When knocked back, the sores may flash green, indicating they are stunned. Occasionally, when one is knocked to the ground, it may transform into a hideous, crawling tick-like creature that rushes toward you and explodes. If the are outrun in this form, the sores grow so big that it will just explode before it reaches you.
- Bloated Cadaver: The biggest Haunted of all, about 4 1/2 feet taller than a regular Bloated Haunted, they are strong enough to pick up The Keeper, and must be bonked in the head several times by him before they let go. The red sores on these Haunted now have white spikes protruding from them, and the sores now completely engulf their mouth. The eyes on these haunted now glow red. They will endure a tremendous amount of damage from The Keeper's hammer before they die or can be executed, but they can be staggered. They take no damage from falling, and will sometimes charge at the player with short bursts of speed. They never carry weapons.
- Invisible: These Haunted are invisible unless they are attacking or being attacked by the player. They make a squelching sound as they move and tentacles protrude from their mouth and face. They wear straitjackets; however their arms are not restrained. They perform a grab move similar to unarmed Haunted which can be broken out of with a successful QTE. Watch for environmental clues such as splashing puddles and disturbed items to track their location.
- Ruvik's doppelgangers: Are Haunted that are copies of Ruvik, apparently with no face and wearing a white coat with the Beacon Mental Hospital logo. They use a long range attack that summons long arms (similar to Laura's claws) from the ground, that can travel great distances. As headshots do not work on them and they quickly recover once knocked down, it is advised to trap them with a shock bolt and burn them with a match while they're down to finish them off.
- The Haunted behave somewhat similarly to the "Ganados" from Resident Evil 4, another game by Shinji Mikami. This includes that they are controlled by the main antagonists in the games, their ability to use weapons, create and plant traps, and their tactics such as attempting to surround the player in large groups.
- The haunted also bear some similarities to the Splicers from BioShock.