Spectra first made her appearance in "My Brother's Keeper", posing as a teen therapist/counselor and motivational speaker at Casper High School. She was there in part to build up spirit for the students in time for the Casper High Spirit pep rally. Despite her incredibly chipper attitude and use of meaningless inspirational catchphrases, she has a seductive tendency to tell her patients things that leave them incredibly depressed,Danny being her favorite victim.
Danny, Sam, and Tucker later figure out that she is a ghost, hiding it by always having the air conditioner turned up so that Danny's ghost sense was lost among normal breaths from the cold. They also learn about her plans to up the ante of depression by killing Jazz in the school pep rally so that she can suck up the ensuing severe depression of the other students and forever remain youthful. Danny, however, manages to save Jazz in time, trapping her assistant Bertrand in the thermos as well as Spectra herself -the latter with help from Jazz.
Spectra returned again in "Doctor's Disorders". Her ultimate goal was to create the perfect human body for herself to inhabit. She tried to achieve this by gathering DNA samples from the various students in Casper High through the means of ghost-bugs overshadowing them, and sending them to a fake hospital resembling the old, disturbing ones found in the days before safe medicinal practices. Knowing that she needed Danny's DNA to grant full power to her "body" as well as stabilize it, she tried to capture him and extract it from him personally. Danny later finds out Spectra's plans, but when Danny's DNA is about to be taken, Danny instead lets his father's handkerchief he blew on earlier get sucked up instead, so by the time Spectra's perfect body fully activates, she gains Jack's giant figure and later turns into a living pile of mucus. Danny defeats her afterwards and traps her in the Fenton Thermos.
In "Reign Storm", Spectra can be seen among other ghosts fleeing the Ghost Zone after Pariah Dark started destroying all their homes. She was also one of the many ghosts to help Danny save Christmas in "The Fright Before Christmas".
In "Girls' Night Out", Spectra allies herself with Kitty and Ember McLain in a joint attempt to get rid of every man in Amity Park. They are later defeated by Sam, Jazz, and Maddie.
Spectra's final appearance is in the series finale, "Phantom Planet". She is first seen terrorizing Paulina Sanchez and Star in the halls of Casper High, appears later with the many ghosts who fought Danny in the Ghost Zone, and finally is one of the many ghosts who helps Danny and Skulker turn the entire planet intangible, so that the Disasteroid can pass through it. Spectra is seen in all three of her main forms: her "My Brother's Keeper"/"Girls' Night Out" body, her shadow form, and her powered-up body from "Doctor's Disorders".
Penelope Spectra bears a very strong need of being young and beautiful, going though unscrupulous means in order to keep her youthful appearance, and freaking out if she becomes old or ugly. She might be one of the most sadistic ghosts in the show, along with her assistant Bertrand, as they happily attempt to kill people (first Jazz, then all of the Casper High students) in order to accomplish their plans. She is smart and dissimulative, as she persuades many people to think that she is really a shrink, and she presumably has remained much time in the human world feeding on the misery of students. This also indicates her deep knowledge on psychology, as shown when she uses her falsely kind words to expose the teenagers to their deepest fears, leaving them depressed.
- They are never seen in an episode without each other, but they seem to gradually grow distant from one another along the series. In "My Brother's Keeper", they seem to have a friendly relationship, even planning in the hallway to have a cappuccino together. In "Doctor's Disorders", they seem to have little to no relationship, but are still partners. In "Girl's Night Out", their relationship has a completely different perspective: Spectra views Bertrand as annoying and treats him badly, to the point on wanting him gone forever when Kitty's kiss made him vanish, but that was probably done to fit into the theme of the episode.
Powers and Abilities
- Misery Empowerment: She uses the misery of children in order to retain her youth and possibly increase her power.
- Shapeshifting: She can change her appearance from human to ghost, and vice versa.
- Flight: Standard ghost power.
- Superhuman Strength: She is roughly as strong as Danny.
- Superhuman Agility and reflexes: Spectra's agility, balance, reflexes and bodily coordination are enhanced to levels that are beyond the natural physical limits of even the finest human athlete. For instance she could easily dodge a blast from the Plasma Peach lipstick.
- Telekinesis: She seems to be able to hold objects in the air without her hands like she did with her new body before getting inside it.
- Energy Hand Construction: She can create a large hand out of purple ecto-energy.
- Superhuman Durability: The tissues of her body are considerably harder and more resistant to physical injury than those of an ordinary human.
- Superhuman Stamina: Spectra's musculature produces considerably less fatigue toxins during physical activity than the musculature of an ordinary human.
- Intangibility: Standard ghost power.
- Explosive Energy Disk: She can fire explosive disks of ecto-energy.
- Invisibility: Standard ghost power.
- Master Planner: She has proven to be very skilled at making complex strategies to achieve her goals, for instance, since she knew about Danny's ghost sense she lowered the temperature to make it cold; making Danny think he was seeing his breath. She also made a very complicated plan to get the best qualities from Jazz, Paulina, Danny and Dash to create the perfect body, a plan that involved getting sick every teenager in town and send them away from their parents.
- Genius Level Intellect: She is also very smart as proven when she created her second body by combining the best genetic traits she could find. The body was meant to have Danny's hybrid DNA so she could be as powerful as him.
- Skilled Fighter: She has proven to be very skilled at fighting against Danny, Maddie, Jazz and Sam.
- 109. "My Brother's Keeper"
- 202. "Doctor's Disorders"
- 204. "Reign Storm"
- 210. "The Fright Before Christmas"
- 303. "Girls' Night Out"
- 312. "Phantom Planet"
- Her last name is an obvious pun on the word "specter."
- In "The Fright Before Christmas", one can see Spectra grab two Christmas trees, one when in disguise and one in her true form.
- Since Spectra's true form is a shadow ghost, that makes her the second known ghost to be a shadow. The first one was Johnny 13's partner.
- Spectra is the first ghost to have remained in the human world for a extensive amount of time, moving from school to school and feeding on misery.
- Danny's main insecurity is revealed when he first meets Penelope; his confidence and faith in his abilities as a superhero and as a person.
- It´s possible that she was a fashion model addicted to her beauty when she was alive, and might have died young, hence her wish to stay beautiful to this day.
- Her outfit in "Doctor's Disorders" looks similar to the one in he Fairly Oddparents episode "The Big Superhero Wish," in which Vicky becomes a super villain. The difference is it had flames on the side where her gloves, boots, and her bare midriff are.
- She shares simalarities with Vicky from The Fairly Oddparents. Both have red hair, and feed off the depression of children/teenagers.