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The Ripley, also known in the novel as Byrus (Byrum for plural), are a fictional complex parasitoid alien macro virus that appear as primary antagonists of the Stephen King novel and film Dreamcatcher. The adult aliens resemble deformed serpent-like beings with legs, while the younger aliens, or byrum - nicknamed "shit-weasels" because they can be created in a host organism's stomach and escape by eating their host's body between the stomach and anus - are legless, smaller versions of the adult alien. Both the adult and young aliens have a mouth that consists of a slit on the underside of the head that goes down the length of the worm. The mouth lips separate to reveal hundreds of teeth that can bite through steel.

Both the adult and shit-weasel aliens are capable of immediate asexual reproduction using eggs. The eggs hatch into even smaller versions of the byrum that already have the carnivorous instinct of the adult aliens.

The adult aliens are capable of not only telepathy, but the ability to give those around them telepathic abilities. They can also manipulate the minds of those around them. They use this power to appear as "Greys". "Greys" look nearly identical to the stereotypical grey alien look (it is mentioned in the story that the Ripley have been plaguing Earth since 1947, the year of the Roswell crash), but with pus-like skin. Greys may spontaneously explode in a cloud of red dust for two reasons: if near death, or as one final attempt to spread the infection.

In the story, an adult alien appears behind the character Jonesy as a Grey and promptly explodes to infect him. However, because of his special telepathic powers (given to him by Duddits), Jonesy is instead taken over by this particular Ripley, named Mr. Grey, so it can escape in his body and embark on a mission to infect the rest of the world.

The virus is able to rapidly manifest itself and infects any living host on contact. While most people who are only externally exposed will survive (Despite a claim by Abraham Kurtz that they will all die from it, or that it cannot be predicted), any ingestion of the viral mold will almost certainly lead to the formation of a byrum, and eventually death.

A minor note is that the Greys and byrum are not the same beings in the book. The Greys are the alien image we see, while the byrum are a different alien that coexists with the Greys and is spawned by ingestion of the byrus. The byrum give the Gray Boys their telepathic ability.

The byrum are stronger than humans, both in the ability to withstand pain and in physical strength. However, they die from almost anything that would kill a human. They are especially frail in the cold, thus it can be assumed that they originate from a warmer planet. The aliens are covered with a mucus-like substance to withstand their hosts' stomach conditions. The mucus quickly becomes viral on surfaces.

Death

After many events involving deaths of many hosts, destruction of eggs and surviving human hosts' exposures to extreme temperatures (fatal to byrum, especially cold temperatures), Grey eventually arrives to the water supply for several cities in the area; Henry and Duddits confront him. Duddits uses his powers to force Henry and Jonesy into a place in which Grey, inside of Jonesy, will be vulnerable; he and Henry manages to kill Grey. As Henry and Jonesy make their way back to their original bodies they find that Duddits has died from the combination of overusing his powers and leukemia. The last byrum tries to escape only to die in the fire: the last of the alien byrus on earth died.

Appearances

  • Dreamcatcher (novel)
  • Dreamcatcher (film)

Gallery

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Carrie
Billy Nolan | Carrie White | Chris Hargensen | Donna and Mary Lila Grace Thibodeau | Helen Shyres | Margaret White | Mortimer Snerds | Rachel Lang | Ralph White | Ruth Gogan | Tina Blake

Salem's Lot
Kurt Barlow | Richard Straker

Children of the Corn
Children of the Corn (Isaac Chroner | Malachai Boardman) | He Who Walks Behind the Rows

Trucks
Westway Refrigerated Truck | Bulldozer

Jerusalem's Lot
Philip Boone | The Worm

The Mangler
Bill Gartley | Lin Sue | The Mangler | The Mangler Virus

Quitter's Inc.
Mr. Donatti | Quitters Inc.

The Boogeyman
The Boogeyman

The Shining
Jack Torrance | Hotel Caretaker | Lorraine Massey | Overlook Hotel

The Stand
Barry Dorgan | Bobby Terry | Harold Lauder | Julie Lawry | Lloyd Henreid | Nadine Cross | Randall Flagg | The Kid | The Rat Man | Trashcan Man | Whitney Horgan

Rage
Charlie Decker | Mr. Decker

The Long Walk
The Major | Gary Barkovitch

Roadwork
Barton George Dawes | Sal Maglorie

The Running Man
Damon Killian | United States of America

The Dark Tower
Dark Tower Villains

Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
Bogs Diamond | Byron Hadley | Elmo Blatch | Samuel Norton | Sisters

Apt Pupil
Kurt Dussander | Todd Bowden

The Body
John "Ace" Merrill | Milo Pressman

Christine
Arnie Cunningham | Christine | Repperton Gang

Cujo
Cujo | Joe Camber | Stephen Kemp

Cycle of the Werewolf
Lester Lowe

The Dead Zone
Frank Dodd | Greg Stillson

Firestarter
Captain Hollister | Doctor Herman Pynchot | John Rainbird

IT
Alvin Marsh | Bowers Gang (Belch Huggins | Henry Bowers | Marcia Fadden (novel only) | Patrick Hockstetter | Peter Gordon | Vic Criss) | Butch Bowers | It | Richard Macklin | Tom Rogan

Creepshow
Creepshow Creep | Crate Beast | Nathan Grantham | Richard Vickers | Upson Pratt | Wilma Northrup

Creepshow 2
Creepshow Creep | Creepshow Bullies | Lake Blob | Sam Whitemoon | The HitchHiker

Creepshow 3
Creepshow Creep | Rachel

Cat's Eye
Cressner | Mr. Donatti | Quitters Inc. | Troll

Thinner
Tadzu Lemke | Billy Halleck | Richie Ginelli

The Tailsman
Heck Bast | Sonny Singer

The Mist
Mrs. Carmody | The Mist

The Monkey
The Monkey

Cain Rose Up
Curt Garrish

The Raft
Lake Blob

Word Processor of the Gods
Richard Hagstrom | Roger Hagstrom

Maximum Overdrive
Bubba Hendershot | Camp Loman | Happy Toyz Truck | Ice Cream Truck | M274 Mule | Vending Machine

Misery
Annie Wilkes

Pet Sematary
Church | Gage Creed | Rachel Creed | Ellie Creed (2019 film only) | Wendigo | Timmy Baterman | Renee Hallow | Gus Gilbert | Clyde Parker | Zowie

The Tommyknockers
Tommyknockers

The Langoliers
Craig Toomey | Langoliers | Roger Toomey

Secret Window, Secret Garden
John Shooter

The Dark Half
George Stark

Dolores Claiborne
Joe St. George

Gerald's Game
Gerald Burlingame | Moonlight Man | Tom

Needful Things
Danforth Keeton | John "Ace" Merrill | Leland Gaunt

Gramma
Gramma Bruckner | Hastur

Crouch End
The Entity

Dolan's Cadillac
Jimmy Dolan

The Green Mile
William Wharton | Percy Wetmore

Sleepwalkers
Charles Brady | Mary Brady | Sleepwalkers

Storm of the Century
André Linoge

Dreamcatcher
Byrus | Mr. Gray

Bag of Bones
Max Devore | Sara Tidwell | Roggete

Rose Red
Professor Joyce Reardon

Insomnia
Atropos | Crimson King

Rose Madder
Norman Daniels

Desperation
Sheriff Collie Entragian | Tak

The Regulators
Seth Garin | Tak

Lunch at the Gotham Café
Guy

From a Buick 8
The Buick

Cell
Phone Crazies | Raggedy Man

Lisey's Story
Andrew Landon | Long Boy

Black House
Charles Burnside

Duma Key
Perse

Under the Dome
Christine Price | Dawn Sinclair-Barbara | Jim Rennie (TV series version) | Junior Rennie | Phil Bushey

11/22/63
Lee Harvey Oswald | Frank Dunning

A Good Marriage
Robert Bob Anderson

Big Driver
Lester Norville | Ramona Norville

Blind Willie
Raymond Fiegler

Mr. Mercedes
Brady Hartsfield | Morris Bellamy

Doctor Sleep
Rose the Hat | The True Knot | Crow Daddy | Grandpa Flick | Barry the Chink | Snakebite Andi

Gwendy's Button Box
Richard Farris

In The Tall Grass
Ross Humboldt

The Crate
Crate Beast

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer
Ellen Rimbauer

The Gingerbread Girl
Jim Pickering

The Ledge
Cressner

The Night Flier
Dwight Renfield

The Outsider
The Outsider

Why We're In Vietnam
Ronnie Malenfant

1922
Wilfred James

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