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10.4: Remove duplicate 'ghost' Mail messages Apps
Tiger only hintBeing a catastrophically stupid gremlin with regards to computers, I somehow managed to get tons of 'ghost' duplicate messages when importing old mailboxes into Tiger's Mail.

The content of these messages bangs on about a failure to download the original 'from server,' even though the original is universally sitting, threaded, just above or below the 'ghost.' I'm sure someone will be able to tell me what I've done (please), but a quick fix is the following...

Construct a Smart Mailbox which excludes mail from all your real mailboxes -- Inbox, Sent, Import and so on. Insofar as the 'ghost' duplicates are identified by Mail as residing in no specific mailbox, they will be grouped in this new smart mailbox, ready for deletion.
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10.4: Remove duplicate 'ghost' Mail messages | 4 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Remove duplicate 'ghost' Mail messages
Authored by: representa on May 13, '05 12:12:56PM

I had this problem, too, and I'm not sure what caused it either. However, another simple solution is to use the "Rebuild" command, the very last item in the "Mailbox" menu. This clears out the "ghost" messages, too. One thing to note is that if you had ghost messages in imported local folders, too, you have to run the command on each folder individually, thus a Smart Mailbox might be the way to go.

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10.4: Remove duplicate 'ghost' Mail messages
Authored by: Mattherat on Jul 09, '05 09:30:56AM
Unfortunately for me this fix didn't help because I deleted the accounts from were the orphaned messages came from, trying to fix this error. Without any luck...
BTW, I suppose these ghost messages occur when Mail crashes while downloading them by pop from your account and/or while importing them from somewhere... Also inaccessible IMAP mails result in such messages.

In my case I found the mails as stated above with a Smart Mailbox, but when I tried to delete them the font color just became grey but the messages stayed where they were...

After a little bit of searching the web, I thought I found the solution by re-indexing for mails with Spotlight, as is using Spotlight in it's internal search (and therefore in the Smart Mailboxes)
mdimport -r /System/Library/Spotlight/Mail.mdimporter
Found at
but also this didn't help... :-( Does anyone know how I can get rid of these annoying messages?

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10.4: Remove duplicate 'ghost' Mail messages
Authored by: Mattherat on Jul 09, '05 11:43:50AM
After further thinking and trial and error, I finally found out how to solve my problem:
  1. Exit
  2. Backup your ~/Library/Mail folder
  3. Delete ~/Library/Mail folder
  4. Start and set up at least one of your accounts
  5. Select File->Import Mailboxes, choose "Mail for MacOSX" and select your previously backuped Mail folder
  6. all your Mails should be imported now and if you set up a Smart List as mentioned above, no orphaned Mails exist anymore
  7. Exit and copy MessageRules.plist, SmartMailboxes.plist and you Bundles Folder from your backup to ~/Library/Mail to recover your rules, smartlists and plugins...
That's it...
For my 10000+ (1GB) mails the import lastet less than 10mins...

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10.4: Remove duplicate 'ghost' Mail messages
Authored by: mahakali on Dec 12, '06 07:13:27AM
This command worked for me:
sudo mdimport -f ~/Library/Mail/

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