The Dire Mother is the ghost of Margaret Shelburne, and the ninth ghost in the Black Zodiac.
Margaret grew to a mere three feet in height, and even her own mother would sometimes dress her like a doll. She could never stand up for herself, and was constantly picked on.
Seeking acceptance, Margaret joined Jimbo's carnival, but found this life as an attraction for people to goggle at horrible.
While Margaret was sweeping up the donkey pen one night, the Tall Man raped her, causing her to give birth to Harold. Margaret never stopped spoiling Harold as he grew, causing him to remain in diapers his entire life! But Margaret didn't care.
One day, the circus workers kidnapped Margaret as part of a cruel joke and kept her in a sack, where she suffocated.
Following their deaths, Harold and Margaret's earth-bound spirits were captured by Cyrus to become the Great Child and the Dire Mother.
The two were then moved to the basement of the house.
Dennis encountered the Great Child and the Dire Mother in their containment cube in the basement.
The Great Child and the Dire Mother were either the seventh and eighth, or eighth and ninth ghosts to be released.
Later, a Latin chant caused the Great Child and the Dire Mother, along with the other 10 ghosts, to go to the centre of the machine and power it up.
When the Dire Mother and the other ghosts were freed from Cyrus's trance, they threw Cyrus into a rotating crest of rings.
When the house exploded, destroying its walls, all twelve ghosts escaped the house and into the woods.
- When the ghosts are gathered at the centre of the machine, the Dire Mother is standing on the Broken Heart's platform.