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The 15 Best Scooby-Doo Villains Of All Time

Out of all of Hanna-Barbera's many shows, the "Scooby-Doo" gang continues to reign supreme as the most iconic of the company's animated properties. Since debuting in 1969, virtually every generation of audience members are at least partially familiar with the famed members of Mystery, Inc. Traveling around in their trademark Mystery Machine, the young investigators journey from destination to destination, solving a vast array of seemingly supernatural crimes.

At the start of each episode, it seems that every mystery the gang sets out to solve is indeed paranormal in nature, with Mystery, Inc. regularly contending with a variety of ghosts and ghouls in their adventures. However, almost every "Scooby-Doo" story ends with the reveal that — more often than not — some average person is simply impersonating the spectral antantongists the gang have encountered, usually motivated by greed or as part of a financial scheme.

It's the mystery of who these specters are, what their motive is, and how they've been managing to successfully masquerade as a ghost that remains one of the chief joys about "Scooby-Doo." As wonderful as the main characters of "Scooby-Doo" are in their own right, in some cases, these villains even manage to steal the spotlight away from Mystery, Inc.'s members.

From mummies and infamous pirates to deranged physicians and sinister clowns, here are some of the greatest villains in "Scooby-Doo" history.

15. The Phantom of Vasquez Castle

One of the earliest ghosts ever featured on "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!", the Phantom of Vasquez Castle originally appeared in season 1's "Hassle in the Castle." After running aground on Haunted Isle, the Mystery, Inc. gang venture to the nearby abandoned Vasquez Castle — a hideout previously used by the 17th century buccaneer, Vasquez. Exploring the decrepit castle, the gang soon run into the cackling, seemingly transparent Phantom, who repeatedly warns them to flee Haunted Isle before it's too late.

In reality, the Phantom was merely a persona assumed by the ex-magician-turned-wanted-criminal Bluestone the Great. Using his magical background to his advantage, Bluestone managed to convince anyone who arrived to the island that he was a real ghost — able to pass through walls and levitate with ease. With the island free to himself, he could then search the castle to find the fabled treasure left behind by Vasquez centuries ago.

From his appearance alone, the Phantom comes across as a very stereotypical interpretation of a spirit, right down to the standard white sheet tossed over his head and the characteristic "ooohing" sounds Bluestone makes. Still, his straightforward, cliched design helps give him a strangely classical feel, even if the Phantom tends to pale in comparison to practically every villain that followed.

14. The Ghost of Dr. Coffin

One of the better villains to come out of 1976's "The Scooby-Doo Show" is easily the Ghost of Dr. Coffin, who appears as the main antagonist of season 1's "The Harum-Scarum Sanitarium." In life, Dr. Coffin founded the mental health facility of Shady Sanitarium near Niagara Falls. Eventually passing away, Coffin reportedly returned as a "mad ghost" bent on continuing his research into "brainwaves," supposedly using human subjects as the next basis for his experiments.

As in most episodes, the Mystery, Inc. gang later find out that the Ghost of Dr. Coffin wasn't actually a ghost at all, and was, in fact, being impersonated by a Canadian bank robber on the lam from a recent holdup in Montreal. Having successfully stolen a fortune in gold bullion, the bank robber assumed the name of Officer Oldfield, a member of the Royal Canadian Border Patrol. Using the Sanitarium as a base of operations, Oldfield and his goons carried out a complicated plan to smuggle the bullion into the US.

Admittedly, Dr. Coffin's dastardly plot makes little to any sense, his plan being so overly complex that it seems almost impossible to follow. But what makes him a great villain is his visual design alone. With his piercing green eyes, sickly radioactive glow, and the kind of frilled doctor's costume you'd expect to find at Spirit Halloween, he's one of the most striking characters to appear in "The Scooby-Doo Show." Making it all the better is that image of him standing on the edge of the Niagara Falls, his silhouetted figure soon bursting with eerie green light.

13. The Mummy of Anka

The members of Mystery, Inc. have encountered virtually every figure in horror you can imagine, from werewolves and vampires to zombies and killer robots. That being said, it's not at all surprising that they one day come across a mummy — an event that provided the basis for the 12th episode in Season 1 of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!," titled "Scooby Doo and a Mummy, Too." The episode sees Mystery, Inc. meeting with an archeology professor at a local university as he eagerly awaits the arrival of the legendary Mummy of Anka — one of the most feared and wealthy pharaohs in all of Ancient Egypt.

Shortly after the Mummy's entrance to the university, it comes back to life, enacting an age-old curse that promised to turn anyone who removed him from his tomb to solid stone. On the tail of the "Scooby-Doo" gang, the group deduced that the Mummy seemed more interested in acquiring an old Egyptian coin that Shaggy had accidentally collected. Upon capturing the Mummy, they then revealed that it was Dr. Najib, an expert in Ancient Egyptian culture who needed the coin to solve Anka's puzzle — unlocking a priceless diamond scarab that he hoped to steal.

Like the Phantom, the Mummy employs a fairly simplistic design, lacking much of a personality beside his constant mutterings of "Coin, coinnnnn." But what makes "big, bad, and bandaged" so memorable is the ingenuity of Dr. Najib. Using the ruse of the Mummy as effectively as possible, he fully embraced many of the cliches associated with the Mummy of Anka, using them to his advantage.

12. The Ghost of Redbeard

"Scooby-Doo" has always been very good at portraying "gimmick-heavy" villains — whether it's sinister Old Western miners or the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow. Arguably the strongest of their gimmicky villains, though, is the Ghost of Redbeard — a 17th century pirate who plagued the high seas. Having had his reign of terror come to an end by the hands of the Magnuses, Redbeard swore revenge on the family that had wronged him. Centuries later, the Ghost of Redbeard begins targeting the Magnuses' steamship line by the events of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!," seemingly out of vengeance for his ill-fated demise.

As the Mystery, Inc. gang later discovers, Redbeard is actually CL Magnus, the descendant of the party who had brought Redbeard to justice. With his family's steamship business on the verge of bankruptcy, Magnus resorted to plundering his own cargo and storing it at the legendary Skull Island, masquerading as the pirate as part of an insurance scheme.

What makes Redbeard such a fresh and fun villain is his basis in largely dated stereotypes surrounding real-life pirates. From his over-exaggerated laugh, nautical dialogue, and flamboyant costume, he seems like a background character you'd expect to find at Pirates of the Caribbean in Disneyland. And yet, as outlandish as the character is, there is something immensely appealing and even a little bit frightening seeing him on the deck of a ruinous ship sailing through the fog — the only sound his booming laughter, instilling fear in the hearts of any would-be victims.

11. Professor Pericles

One of the biggest narrative reveals of "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated" was that the Mystery, Inc. seen in "Scooby-Doo" wasn't the original iteration of the famous sleuth group. Over a decade prior, another group of teen investigators pioneered the name "Mystery, Inc.," each member seeming coincidentally similar to the version of the group we see in "Scooby-Doo." A notable example of this is the appearance of Professor Pericles, the team's de facto mascot who occupied a very similar role in the group as Scooby-Doo.

The pet companion of Ricky Owens (the original counterpart to Shaggy Rogers), Professor Pericles was once warm, friendly, and affectionate towards his Mystery, Inc. team members. In sharp contrast to Scooby, he also displayed great intelligence, frequently lending his mental insights to any case the group was focused on solving. However, Pericles's mind was soon corrupted by an evil entity trapped below Crystal Cove, clouding his judgment and turning him against his former teammates. Because of this, he grew obsessed with unleashing the entity, believing that — should the creature escape — Pericles would be granted power beyond his wildest imagination.

Pericles is — like Scooby-Doo — a descendant of the Anunnaki, an ancient race of extra-dimensional beings that are essentially omnipotent, hence his extreme mental proclivity and genius-level intellect. Where Scooby-Doo is moved by feeling and human emotions, though, Pericles is driven by logic, self-interest, shutting himself off from any feelings whatsoever. You wouldn't expect an antithesis to Scooby-Doo to be as humorous and dastardly as Pericles is, but looking at it, there's no better or more dangerous villain in all of "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated" than the self-proclaimed "smartest criminal parrot in the world," Professor Pericles.

10. The Witch Doctor

A fan-favorite character who appears in "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" season 2's "A Tiki Scare Is No Fair," the Witch Doctor is also one of the more ingenious villains to ever cross paths with Mystery, Inc. When the gang visits Hawaii for a vacation, they come across the Witch Doctor as he tries to scare the locals away from a mysterious, supposedly haunted village nearby. Invoking the ancient ghost of Mano Tiki Tia — a towering stone creature that terrorizes the Hawaiian populace — the Witch Doctor routinely drives away anyone who comes too close to the village.

At the end of the episode, it's discovered that the Witch Doctor is a reporter named John Simms, who had previously guided the Mystery, Inc. gang to a total of 47 luas on the island. After realizing the nearby shoreline was home to an endless supply of pearl-carrying oysters, Simms contrived a plan to secure the riches for himself, using the haunted village as a base of operations.

The thing that makes the Witch Doctor such a great character is how intricately organized his plans are. As we see in the episode, he's managed to construct an entire village, a simulated airplane crash, and even the lumbering Mano Tiki Tia, all to better sell the idea that the island is truly haunted by a mythical deity. His costume and gimmick are also great, and makes for an hilarious juxtaposition when you hear his high-pitched, reedy voice (he sounds more like the nasally King John in Disney's "Robin Hood" than he does the fearsome magical practitioner he makes himself out to be).

9. Charlie the Funland Robot

It's probably fair to assume most people have a fear of animatronics. Watching them perform, part of our mind instinctively begins to wonder: "What happens if these things got loose or had a mind of their own?" Charlie the Robot — the animatronic antagonist who appears in the "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" episode "Foul Play in Funland" — is a fantastic illustration of that nightmarish scenario.

Noticing the long-since abandoned coastal amusement park of Funland is once again running, Mystery, Inc. head into the park to investigate. There, they witness the robotic Charlie running freely throughout the park, essentially running Funland on his own. Initially believing him to be another one of the endless monsters they've faced over the years, the "Scooby-Doo" gang tries to unmask Charlie. The big twist of the episode comes when Funland's elderly owner, Mr. Jenkins, reveals that Charlie is indeed an android that's gone haywire, having initially been created to oversee the park whenever Jenkins is preoccupied.

The idea that Charlie isn't a man in a mask is an appealing one for several reasons. For starters, it helps the robot stand apart from the other villains that usually oppose the "Scooby-Doo" crew. But even more than that is the unsettling idea that Charlie has a mind of his own — a calculating, emotionless, robotic consciousness hiding behind his lifeless eyes and expressionless face. Fortunately, Mr. Jenkins manages to salvage Charlie's body, reprogramming with more human-like emotions — a rare happy ending for the villain.

8. The Black Knight Ghost

A picture-perfect example of an iconic "Scooby-Doo" foe, the case of the Black Knight Ghost was the first mystery the gang ever solved. Making his debut in the first episode of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" ("What a Night for a Knight"), the Black Knight Ghost was a supposedly haunted suit of armor that came to life every full moon. Having been transported to the County Museum's medieval wing, the Black Knight was responsible for the disappearance of the armor's benefactor, running rampant in the halls of the museum whenever nighttime rolled around.

At the end of the episode, it's revealed that, rather than being an anthropomorphic suit, the Black Knight is actually the disguise of the Museum's curator, Mr. Wickles. Having come up with an ingenious plan to steal the Museum's priceless paintings and replace them with mimicked forgeries, Wickles was able to conduct his business in secrecy under the iron helm of the Black Knight.

The Black Knight may employ a relatively simple design — it is, after all, just a man in nondescript black armor with only his eyes seen through the mask — but he remains important for so many reasons. From his fiendish plot to his incorporation of the suit's legendary curse, the Black Knight was the blueprint for virtually every villain that followed on the show. His success as a character even led to his appearance in the live-action "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," played by Kevin Durand and the late great Peter Boyle.

7. The Phantom Virus

"Scooby-Doo" has given way to numerous films and TV specials following Mystery, Inc. as they solve ghostly cases spanning the globe. Many of these movies remain enjoyable in their own right, but perhaps the most beloved among them is 2001's "Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase." Invited to attend their friend Eric's entry into a college science fair, the gang find themselves transported into Eric's computer game, menaced by an anthropomorphic Phantom Virus who stalks them across the game's many levels.

Chasing them from the surface of the moon to prehistoric Earth, the Virus proves to be a regular thorn in the group's side, trying to halt their progress and trap them in the game forever. By the end of the film, the gang successfully manages to beat the game's final level, destroying the Phantom Virus and returning them to the real world. Upon their arrival, they deduce the identity of the Virus's creator — Eric's best friend, Bill McLemore — who unsuccessfully tried to ruin Eric's game by infecting it with the Virus, ensuring he would take home the fair's prize money for himself.

It's not often that Mystery, Inc. encounters a genuine otherworldly threat in their adventures, the Phantom Virus being the most notable exception. With his near translucent body, blue hues, and electrical powers, he made for a worthy adversary, coming very close to beating the "Scooby-Doo" gang for good. As most of the movie took place in the virtual world, too, the Virus was made out to be a nigh-omnipotent being, able to conjure anything he imagines in the computer game's reality.

6. Miner Forty-Niner

Another fan-favorite villain, the Miner Forty-Niner first appeared in Season 1 of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!," serving as the main antagonist in "Mine Your Own Business." After getting lost in the desert, Mystery, Inc. ends up in the abandoned mining town of Gold City. Finding a room at the nearby Gold City Guest Ranch, they are told that the city is haunted by the spirit of a miner who came out west in 1849, looking for gold. Having yet to make his fortune, the Miner is said to haunt the local caves around Gold City, searching for the gold supply he never found in life.

At the end of the episode, the gang finds out that the Miner is a disguise used by the Guest Ranch's caretaker, Hank. Having found a hearty oil reserve beneath Gold City, Hank's plan was to scare away any tourists who visited the city. With business at an all-time low, Hank would then buy the entire city for a fraction of its cost, ensuring he had exclusive access to the town's rich oil supply.

On paper, the Miner Forty-Niner shouldn't rank as highly as he does. His name and costume are bordering more on camp, his backstory vague and not as fully-formed as some of the other specters that appear on this list. However, he does have more than a few great scenes chasing Mystery, Inc. through Gold City, sharing some hilarious sequences with Scooby and Shaggy — including a memorable mine car chase that almost rivals the climactic sequence in "Temple of Doom."

5. The Ghost Clown

Let's face it, clowns are terrifying. It doesn't matter if we're talking about your average party clown or Pennywise the demonic, child-eating, dancing clown from "It." Case in point with the Ghost Clown, the malevolent circus specter who appears in the "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" episode "Bedlam in the Big Top." According to tall tales in the business, the Ghost Clown is a mischievous spirit who haunts traveling circuses, routinely sabotaging acts and forcefully brainwashing people with the help of his "pretty coin of gold."

After mesmerizing each member of Mystery, Inc. and forcing them to do a number of dangerous circus stunts (such as taming lions or performing acrobatic feats), the Ghost Clown is captured and revealed to be a disgruntled magician-turned-thief named Harry the Hypnotist. Caught stealing from his employers at Mr. Barnstorm's circus, Harry assumed the mantle of the Ghost Clown to get revenge on those who responsible for his stint in prison.

The Ghost Clown is proof of the fact that, even when they're intended to be a more lighthearted or comedic character, a clown can still make for an incredibly scary character regardless. Peering over the tops of bushes or creeping in between circus trailers, the Ghost Clown is one of the few villains on "Scooby-Doo" that is genuinely terrifying, trumping practically every other ghost on this list in terms of his ability to scare people.

4. The Phantom Shadows

Two of the most famous foes in "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" came at the tail end of the series' season in one of the show's most iconic episodes. The episode in question ("A Night of Fright Is No Delight") sees Scooby and the gang headed to an isolated island that houses the rundown, haunted house of Colonel Beauregard Sanders, an old acquaintance who Scooby saved years prior. Upon Sanders' passing, the Colonel names Scooby and four relatives as beneficiaries in his will — the only catch being that they have to spend the entire night at his house in order to secure their inheritance.

Shortly after they settle into the house, Mystery, Inc. and Sanders' relatives are menaced by the Phantom Shadows — two large, ash-gray ghosts who try to drive the beneficiaries away. Scaring off the house's guests one by one, the Phantom Shadows come close to successfully frightening away Scooby. After several close-calls, they're eventually unmasked by the intrepid teen investigators, revealing the Shadows to be Sanders' attorneys — Cosgood Creeps and Cuthbert Crawls — who were set to inherit Sanders' fortune should no one else claim it.

From their appearance alone, the Phantom Shadows are two of the most downright unnerving villains Mystery, Inc. has ever faced. With their shadowy green costumes, clattering chains, red eyes and red mouths, and incessant cackling they make for a fearsome duo of ghosts. But it's also their diabolical plan to terrorize Scooby-Doo and the gang — such as using realistic dummies of Sanders' families, made to appear dead — that makes them so unsettling to watch as well.

3. The Ghost of Captain Cutler

The Ghost of Captain Cutler may not have been the first ghost to ever appear in "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!", but he was certainly the first to make a lasting impression. Making his debut in episode 2, "A Clue for Scooby-Doo," the Ghost of Captain Cutler was a spirit inhabiting an old-fashioned diver's suit haunting the shores of Rocky Point Beach. According to urban legends, Captain Cutler met his demise after an expensive yacht crashed into his vessel, sending him to his death at the fabled Graveyard of Ships. Before he died, he swore he'd one day return — something that occurs by the time Mystery, Inc. arrives at Rocky Point for a beach vacation.

In a fantastic twist, the episode's conclusion sees the Mystery, Inc. gang uncovering the truth about Captain Cutler's ghost, revealing that the ghost's identity is really... Captain Cutler. Having faked his death with the help of his wife, Cutler began using his appearance as a ghost to steal the marina's supply of yachts.

The great thing about Captain Cutler is that the reveal behind his identity is wholly unexpected, compared to the usual round of predictable mysteries the "Scooby-Doo" gang solves. But aside from the original twist behind Captain Cutler is the amazing design of Cutler's costume. Covered in bundles of seaweed from his time spent at the Graveyard of Ships, he emits a neon green glow wherever he goes, casting a huge green shadow in the ocean after he submerges himself in the sea. It's a simple but impressive costume, and one that makes for a creepy impression whenever he appears to chase Mystery, Inc.

2. The Spooky Space Kook

The rogues' gallery of "Scooby-Doo" was more closely tied to the horror genre, casting numerous well-known horror creatures as the main villains in the series' episodes. In a rare exception, the 15th episode of "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" veered towards sci-fi, with the sinister extraterrestrial traveler known as the Spooky Space Kook appearing as the episode's principal antagonist.

Appearing in the aptly-named "Spooky Space Kook," the Space Kook is depicted as a towering humanoid creature with a skeletal head. Dressed in a burly blue space suit, his appearance is a particularly grisly one, complete with a high-pitched cackle and a flashing red helmet to disorient his victims. After being caught by the "Scooby-Doo" gang, it's shown that the Space Kook is actually Henry Bascomb, a farmer aiming to scare away the locals and acquire more land at a reduced cost.

Despite Bascomb's motivations being fairly weak, the Space Kook is far and away one of the most original characters ever created for "Scooby-Doo." Rather than utilizing horror archetypes like vampires or werewolves, his character is presented with a unique sci-fi flair, right down to the bright green footprints he leaves trailing behind him. "Scooby-Doo" rarely had a villain more memorably sinister in appearance than this old Goony Ghost from Outerspace.

1. The Creeper

Who else but the Creeper? In the entirety of "Scooby-Doo," no villain comes close to the universal recognition the Creeper has attained over the years. Following his initial appearance in the Season 2 "Scooby Doo, Where Are You!" episode "Jeepers It's the Creeper!," he's been featured or referenced in practically every "Scooby-Doo"-related project there is. Whether he's appearing in a cameo role in "Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed," "Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase," "Scooby-Doo, Mystery Incorporated" or even a State Farm commercial, he's one of the most famed villains Mystery, Inc. has ever faced.

In his debut episode, the Creeper is depicted as a lumbering, zombie-like ghost rumored to pass through walls, using his mystical powers to steal bundles of cash from the local bank. After a security officer working for the bank is attacked by the Creeper, Mystery, Inc. investigates, discovering a strange blank piece of paper at the scene. Soon afterwards, the Creeper begins preying on them, demanding they hand over the paper.

The Creeper is eventually unmasked and revealed to be corrupt bank clerk, Mr. Carswell, who's been secretly stealing money from his employers for years (the piece of paper the Creeper's been trying to recover being a photograph of Carswell robbing the bank). It's a fairly entertaining mystery all cleverly wrapped up by Scooby and his friends, giving viewers one of the best villains to ever appear on the show.