|For an overview of feral ghouls in the Fallout series of games, see feral ghoul.|
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The degeneration into a feral state (referred to as ferocious post-necrotic dystrophy) is not fully understood. It is known that it is a result of a degeneration of the brain (which is not affected by the regenerative mutation of the spinal cord) and emerges following the atrophy of higher brain functions, accompanied by an increased level of aggression and appetite. When the loss of capacity for thought is complete, a ghoul is considered feral. The factors that may cause a ghoul to enter this state are unclear, but anti-social or isolated ghouls are more susceptible to it. Exposure to intense radiation may also be a factor – feral ghouls have no body heat and emit lethal levels of radiation, indicating that feral ghouls are for all intents and purposes dead, their functions sustained only by their high irradiation. This allows them to survive for centuries, relying only on the energy provided by radiation – at the expense of a horrifying, emaciated appearance. Understandably, the process is irreversible.
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Mindless ghouls appear only in Fallout.
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- Fallout 4 loading screen hints: "While they can easily be mistaken for zombies, Feral Ghouls are actually horribly irradiated humans whose brains have rotted away, causing madness."
- Tenpenny Tower terminals; Exploration Database, Feral Ghouls
- Underworld terminals; Research Terminal, Study Of Ferocious Post-Necrotic Dystrophy
- The Lone Wanderer: "I need more details... What's the breach all about?"
M.A.R.Go.T.: "Internal visual sensing equipment is detecting numerous unidentified persons in the southeast tunnels area. The individuals have damaged metro equipment and refused dialogue with our security units. In accordance with U.S. Security Statute A567/B, the use of deadly force has been authorized."
The Lone Wanderer: "Can you tell me more about these unidentified persons?"
M.A.R.Go.T.: "My apologies. My sensing equipment in that area must be damaged. My equipment indicates the persons possess no internal body heat and are emitting lethal levels of radiation."
- Little Yangtze terminals; Little Yangtze Log Terminal, Elijah's Journal - Day 2