I am a brother to dragons
and a companion to owls.
My skin is black upon me,
and my bones are burned with heat.

Job, 30:29-30

The darkness within the Wraith shows up when the Shadow is brought to the fore in Shadowstate, and begins to appear once the Shadow grows in power. These manifestations of the Shadow's abilities are known as Symptoms, and Wraiths are terrified of them showing, as they not only attract harsh treatment from Pardoners, but make other Wraiths less likely to be friendly to them. They also cause problems in their own way by making some things more difficult for the Wraith, due to the deformity or unpleasant aura they create.

Whenever a Wraith enters Shadowstate, the Symptoms of all her Thorns show up, even if the Shadow hasn't made them all available for use. There is no way for a Wraith to hide them, either - it's all part of the deal when you clasp hands with your Shadow.

Thorns also begin to show up when the Shadow is strong enough. Once Angst reaches four, a Symptom appears right on the Wraith - usually the Heart's Thorn - and a new Symptom appears for each new dot of Angst gained thereafter. The Wraith can spend a dot of Willpower to cover up one, and only one, Symptom for a Scene, along with its modifiers.

Note that the possession of the Eidolon background delays this, negating a dot of Angst for each dot of Eidolon the Wraith possesses. However, no amount of Eidolon will hide Symptoms while in Shadowstate.

Stacking Symptoms

Having the Symptoms for all your Wraith's Thorns be clearly visible can be a real drag at times, to put it lightly. This not only has the effect of making the Wraith look utterly monstrous and terrible, but seriously impedes any attempts to be friendly with others, or receive kind overtures from strangers, much less allies.

Players may wonder if certain Modifiers would be lessened, or removed altogether, by other Modifiers. The general answer is no: the losses are supposed to be cumulative. Thorns are nothing to laugh at, and the hideous nature of what they do should be emphasized.

However, Storytellers are free to wheel and deal with their players if they feel the penalties are too harsh. For example, the losses to social rolls can be taken in average, or the losses restricted to the Symptom that takes away the most dice.