Born to a prostitute at some point in the year 1887, Ryan Kuhn grew up to develop a sick, insatiable and uncontrollable taste for women. As a result, he became a wild and cunning, sexual predator, attacking, raping, and murdering strays and prostitutes in the dead of night like a wild animal.
Seeking treatment, Ryan committed himself to Borinwood Asylum, where he eventually went insane. He scratched at his cell's walls so violently, that his fingernails were torn completely off, making his hands claw-like.
When Ryan attacked a nurse, the doctors decided to put him in a straitjacket and tightened it whenever Ryan acted out, contorting his limbs horribly. However, Ryan gnawed through it, so the doctors locked Ryan's head in a cage-type helmet and locked him in a dark, basement cell, where he grew to hate any human contact, and would cower and scream madly whenever approached.
When a fire broke out at the asylum, while everyone else escaped, Ryan chose to stay behind and meet his deserved fate, and he apparently died in the fire.
Following his death, Ryan's spirit remained bound to earth, and was subsequently captured by Cyrus Kriticos in order to become The Jackal. The Jackal was then moved to the basement of Basileus's Machine with the other eleven ghosts. The Jackal is the fifth ghost to be released.
He eventually comes across Kathy, and viciously attacks her, clawing at her. But he is forced to release her when Kalina arrives and hurls a flare at The Jackal. He pursues Kathy, Kalina and Arthur, but is separated from them by a sliding glass door, the barrier spells preventing him from crossing.
Later, The Jackal re-encounters the group up in the house and attacks Arthur; viciously clawing at his back until Kalina uses another flare to ward The Jackal off. Later, a Latin chant causes the Jackal, along with the other eleven ghosts, to go to the center of the machine and power it up.
When The Jackal and the other ghosts are freed from the trance, they throw Cyrus into a rotating crest of rings. The house then explodes, destroying its walls and freeing The Jackal and the other eleven ghosts.
- According to Kalina, The Jackal is the sign of Hell's Winter.
- In the original script, the Jackal was called The Hyena.
- The Latin inscription beneath The Jackal's symbol in The Arcanum, "Canis Aureus", literally translates to "The Golden Dog."
- Similar to The Bound Woman, the whispers which signal the Jackal's approach appear to be psychotic screaming and/or insane laughter.
- Based on the damage done to the cage helmet, it's implied that the Jackal either managed to break out the helmet or this damage was done during the fire that killed him.
- He is apparently another ghost that committed suicide.
- The Jackal flees with evident panic from lit flares, suggesting that he retains a dread of the fire that killed him.
- If one were to listen carefully, it sounds like the Jackal says, "Leave me alone" when Bobby is hearing the voice of his mother.
- According to Dennis, the Jackal is the Charles "Charlie" Manson of the ghosts.
- The Jackal is also highly similar to the famed serial killer Jack the Ripper. Though Jack the Ripper was never identified, he also lived during the Victorian era, and was known to target prostitutes and other lower class women in a brutal and bloodthirsty manner.
- His ghost file is represented by the jaw of a human skull.
- He was the next-to-last ghost seen to disappear at the end of the film.
- He and the Tall Man are the only known men to have raped someone, or in his case, more than one person.
- Clips in the Jackal's backstory include scenes from House on Haunted Hill (1999), another film from the creators of 13 Ghosts.
- His backstory states he committed himself to psychiatric care, implying that he did understand what he was doing was wrong.
- If one looks closely at his face in the face, the Jackal appears to have multiple teeth in his mouth.