These are compared as such: a phantom is a ghost, but a ghost is not a phantom. The meaning of that is every phantom is a ghost, but phantoms have characteristics that prevents every ghost from being a phantom. What are those differences? I have never known.
According to Longman Dictionary Of Language And Culture:
phan‧tom /ˈfæntəm/ noun
- a shadowy likeness of a dead person that seems to appear on earth; GHOST.
- something that exists only in one's imagination.
ghost /ɡəʊst/ noun
the spirit of a dead person that some people think they can feel or see in a place
also ghost‧writ‧er ...
- give up the ghost ...
- the ghost of a ...
- the ghost of Christmas past ...
Stereotypes of ghosts:
Thus some meaning of this two words are same, and some are not. In other words these two words are synonyms in some cases..
To me there is a difference. In a court case you might say "your case is relying upon phantoms" but not "your evidence is full of ghosts". So a phantom to me starts off as being corporeal material and then becomes hidden; I could walk down the street in camouflage gear and be alive, human and a phantom. But a ghost leands itself more to starting off as dead and then coming back to earth to "haunt" places or people. These diferences are subtle. But they are there.