Ahead of the premiere of the fifth season, we're resurfacing this story about one of the most frequently asked questions about Outlander. Proceed with caution—there are spoilers ahead for those who aren't caught up with the TV series!
About 25 minutes into the first episode of Outlander, Frank Randall is seen walking through the rain when he comes across a spectral figure. The man is looking up at a window of the bed and breakfast where Frank and his wife Claire are staying. Claire can be seen there, brushing her hair. When Frank turns to confront the man, he's gone.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," Claire says when her husband returns to their inn.
"I'm not all sure that I haven't," Frank responds.
Indeed, Frank has seen the ghost of his wife's other husband, an 18th-century Scotsman named Jamie Fraser, whom Claire meets after she travels back in time.
Frank's supernatural encounter is hardly the only sci-fi element of the series (it's a time travel story after all), but it's one that has yet to be fully explained, and therefore, is much discussed by Outlander's passionate fan base.
Author Diana Gabaldon, who wrote the book series upon which the Starz TV show is based, has confirmed that it is Jamie's ghost that Frank saw, but she's also stated repeatedly that Jamie cannot travel forward in time. He simply does not have that genetic capability, so how Jamie makes his way to 1946 is something of a mystery.
In an interview with the Outlander Podcast in 2014, Gabaldon also clarified the age of Jamie's ghost.
“Sam Heughan [the actor who plays Jamie Fraser on the TV series] asked me and I hadn’t thought about it before but I just answered him immediately. Do you want to know?” she asked the podcast co-hosts. Naturally, they answered yes.
“He’s about 25,” Gabaldon said.
It's an interesting response. If you're up to date on the series, then you know that Jamie is not dead at the age of 25. In fact he lives far beyond it, so Gabaldon's revelation here has, of course, sparked numerous theories in the Outlander community.
Some think Jamie's spirit (but not his body) traveled to through time to guide Claire to him; others suggest Jamie had a near-death experience after the Battle of Culloden, and that's why his ghost is 25 when he appears to Frank. But fans will have to wait until the final book in the series for clarity on their suspicions.
"The ghost is Jamie–but as for how it fits into the story, All Will Be Explained—in the last book," Gabaldon writes in the FAQ section of her website.
For now, Gabaldon has offered an intriguing—if cryptic—explanation of Jamie's ghost and his age. In a tweet from 2015, she simply wrote, “Ghosts don't exist in a place where time has meaning.”
@hunkegirl Ghosts don't exist in a place where time has meaning.— Diana Gabaldon (@Writer_DG) April 16, 2015
The Outlander TV show is currently on hiatus, but production has officially started on season five. Watch a preview video of what's to come below:
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