(GBA#0) ('I' hereinunder = Peter Venkman) (See end of this article for notes)


To help pay the bills we publish matter (comics, cartoons, books, etc) about us, or let others publish it. In this matter, particularly in such as is likely to be seen by children, to avoid (a) horrificness, (b) unwise imitation:-

(1) We change many personal and place names and some personal details, to maintain privacy of our customers. That is why some names, particularly in the comics, may look unlikely or silly or wrong.

(2) In matter for children we do not show the electric shock prod mode of proton guns, to avoid unwise playing about with electricity in imitation. (Some comics are not so careful: e.g. one (not written by or about us!) once showed [and in reality: Author] in detail how to use electric shock as an interrogation aid, showing it as funny; I [and so did I: Author] wrote a sharp complaining letter about this to the comic's editor, who did not reply.)

(3) We do not show details of black magic ceremonies: e.g. {GBC 'Ragnarok and Roll'} in a cartoon reconstruction of a risky job that we had clearing up after someone's unwise black magic, we replaced the actual demon-summoning words by well-known harmless words from Tolkien's 'The Lord of the Rings'.

(4) In matter for children we do not show ectoflamethrowers, as we feel that not showing how pressurized-liquid flamethrowers work is the better part of not encouraging readers to try to get them or (as is all too easy in a workshop) make them for themselves. (Likely for the same reason, the flamethrower worn by one of the 'G.I.Joe' toy soldiers is nothing like the real thing.)

(5) Although in our work, as is to be expected, we see death and unpleasant sights sometimes, in anything that children are likely to see we try to keep a light and pleasant tone and to keep the act of human death (as distinct from merely saying that someone had died) completely out, even if it means changing part of a story.

(6) The USA Comics Code, enacted in the mid 1950's after public reaction against a massive excess of unpleasant publications, forbids (in its clause B5) depicting 'the walking dead' (i.e. possessed corpses as distinct from ordinary ghosts); in matter for children we obey that rule, although we have to bust such things sometimes: "I've seen shit that would turn you white", as Winston said once {GBF1}. Text like "we had been busting some pretty standard mega-gross composite spooks in the suburbs" {GBB "Movie Magic"} is as far as I am willing routinely to go in describing such things. Once only I allowed a major breach of that rule {GBM54:3 'Zombies - Dance of the Dead'}, when someone unwisely invoked paranormal powers to get success for his pop music group, causing a walking dead outbreak which I and Egon felt it best to describe despite 'clause B5' to warn young readers of what may result from unwise messing about with the paranormal; we kept depicted unpleasantness to the minimum compatible with getting the message across; I shudder to think how some pre-1954 comics would have handled that story. The word "corpse" is emotive and I try to discourage casual use of it, e.g. as slang for "ghost". Once an Army slang phrase "cardboard corpse" for man-shaped (or in our case ghost-shaped) target practise targets {GBM37:17 'Feline Phantom'} slipped past me onto paper when I wasn't looking.

(7) Our skill as comic artists and writers varies: e.g. Egon is a competent comic strip artist, but unless watched is liable to bulk text out with long scientific discussion, expanding comment boxes to fill whole frames, and distending speech balloons until the characters saying them are reduced to small heads pushed into corners; Ray is likely to go off into long descriptions of how mechanism works, or insert an excess of puns and similar jokes.

(8) We do not make crime a theme, and certainly never tell people how to commit offences. That was a much too common theme in pre-1954 comics.


"... bullets and shot getting irrecoverably scattered about the environment to become poison ... the world's lead mines won't last for ever." (BBC television interviewer to an English country squire).

"You mean the time'll come when I'll have to junk my good matched Purdeys and take guests out shooting with factory lasers handheld run off battery backpacks looking like a lot of ghostbusters!? Aim, zap, no wind effect or having to aim ahead: no skill in that!" (The squire in reply).

This is our mainline weapon against paranormal dangers; it is depicted in many stories about us and need not be described in detail here. Like much of our kit, Egon designed them and Ray makes them.

Our proton packs have an electric shock prod mode, intended as a non-lethal warding-off weapon against living troublemakers or attackers. This mode has other uses: for instance when we were at an incident at a theatre which turned out to be yet another 'natural explanation', a man in the audience collapsed with a heart attack. I set my proton gun to electric prod mode and put its muzzle against his chest to electric shock his heart's disturbed control system back to its normal rhythm. Doctors call this 'defibrillating'. Some of the audience mistook our purpose and with commendable misplaced courage tried to rush us to save our 'victim'; Winston and Egon had to shoot over their heads to make them back off. Police were called, including fortunately a police doctor, who realized what we were doing. The man with the heart attack recovered.

The usual ghost-catching mode fires a beam that in air wavers about and needs much practise to aim well. If we had to do our first bust in {GBF1} the Sedgewick Hotel again now, we would have the ghost in a trap within five minutes with far less burn and blast damage to property. When it hits ecto-matter (including a ghost) it forms a branching network of tracks round the ghost and holds it. In this mode feedback gives the beam some rigidity, so the ghost can be hauled in or brought near a ghost trap. It should be noted that letting the main streams of two proton gun beams cross is dangerous only in some modes, including this mode. As there is no delay while a bullet flies, target accuracy in the straight-beam modes is much easier and does not have to allow for movement of target or of shooter, or for crosswind.

We do not go into every bust with all guns firing; often we merely set ghost traps and wait till the ghost gets in range of them, or fire briefly once to break up effective struggles the ghost makes against being sucked into the trap. It does not improve our reputation to leave the scene of the haunting charred with proton beam burns.

We could sell hundreds of proton packs if we had the materials and time and space to make them. Some people do not realize how carefully they have to be handled: for example during the Vigo affair {GBF2} a man asked us if he could have a proton pack for his son, although he was obviously much too young to have a son old enough to trust with anything that powerful. Real proton packs aren't toys. They can burn or blast through thick metal or wood very quickly, and can stop an army tank. Also, I do not trust the uses that many of the enquirers may have wanted to put them to; they could make short work of guards' bulletproof undersuits and strongroom doors alike. Also, like some nail-firing guns powered by powerful electromagnet coils, they make no gun bang and do not expend special ammunition whose supply can be controlled; but at least proton packs are larger and less concealable, and (at least those that we make) in use hum and their guns when fired make a characteristic continuous electronic sparking noise. (But harmless powerless toy proton packs for children are available readily.)

As this invention has shown that powerful handheld energy weapons are possible after all, others than us have tried to make them, and some have succeeded despite our rule against giving the general public full design details of them. For example, an oddball {GBM183-184 'Do Not Attempt To Adjust Your Picture'} named Professor Dweeb lives near us with only a cat for company and was once described as "a scientist's head on a thug's body, in a thick rough white coat". He has made two, with the backpack part inside a (now much dented and patched) smooth red fibreglass casing, and the gun part cylindrical and larger than ours. He uses them for various metalworking and scrap-cutting and guarding jobs to add to what he gets from various scientific work to help scratch a living, and to bust an occasional ghost, and to blast through things (and occasionally people) that get in his way or in or too near his lab; a steady stream of scorched street-pigeons vanishes into his freezer; alleycats that hold concerts in the night in gunsight of his windows or roof-door waking him never do so again; and our greedy green pet ghost Slimer has learned the hard way to leave his food alone. We have used a 'Dweeb pack' occasionally in test and on ghost busts, but by now we are used to our own type.

Words for things are often used as slang for other things: people sometimes call our proton guns 'phasers' as in Star Trek {GBN#5:10.4}. Among the devices which people sometimes nickname or codename as 'proton packs' are: flamethrowers and blowtorches and sprayers run off backpack tanks, breathing sets in backpack boxes, backpack powerpacks (generators and heavy battery packs) to run electric welders and handheld industrial lasers off, and those lethally powerful handheld sonars running off a battery backpack that in the hands of patrol divers or inshore sea fishermen in small boats are an all too silently efficient finder and eliminator of submerged sport scuba divers found too near secret underwater installations or suspected of poaching shellfish; men wearing any of these are sometimes nicknamed 'ghostbusters'. This and the previous paragraph should be read before sending an interrogation team here every time a 'proton pack' incident is complained of.

Egon is not the first in his family to study the paranormal. Last century his ancestor Eli Spengler lived in a small town in Pennsylvania and there trapped a witch-spirit {GBC 'If I were a witch man'} who had terrorized the area. Egon's grandfather, was an industrial chemist, {GBM#63:13.1 WD} and was known for his habit of routinely wearing an army flamethrower at his work, and odd he looked with its heavy pressurized fuel tank strapped to his back over a white lab coat. He reckoned that it was the best weapon available at the time against such sudden paranormal dangers as he was likeliest to run into. A wise precaution, for among other things he studied the ectoplasmy slime that some ghosts leave, and at least once this inadvertantly created a dangerous ghost-like being, which fled after being badly scorched by him with it. (It is said that he also a few times used it to give an unexpectedly warm welcome to thieves.) We still have this crude ancestor of our proton packs, and it is still usable; after testing it one day at home (on holiday from university) Egon decided to design a better and more up-to-date backpack-powered anti-paranormal weapon, and came up with the proton pack.

Not every proton pack call that we get is for a ghost: for example, several times we have been called to shoot down steelwork which age or a fire or a building collapse had made dangerous. In our hands they have proved effective against non-ecto living targets in self-defence (unlike rifles etc, we can set them to cause only skin burns) and a few times to shoot deer or the like when we urgently need food in the wild. Workmen with proton packs or the like made by other people have been known to systematically traverse power beams across stinking infected starling roosting ledges one after another on buildings at night, and sweep up the result by the truckload. When suddenly faced with a need to feed a lot of hungry people in the St.Etheldreda affair {GBA#4} we swept a straight beam mode up and down seven V-formations of flying wild geese, with a 100% kill every time: all too easy, as we only had to burn the flight feathers. Another odd job that the straight-beam modes occasionally get used for is when we are invited to open a public event, to fire at a switch to start a mechanism or light display. So far none of our proton packs has got into the wrong hands, and we do not sell or give them to all and sundry. But now we have a moral dilemma that has come to others before: now that other researchers, having filled the gaps in what Egon thought fit to publish, are making and selling a variety of energy weapons, run off a backpack or vehicle-carried power supply (not yet small enough to be built into the gun), do we stick to our rule, or do we help to pay our bills by selling our make of proton pack and gun anywhere we legally can?


'PKE' = "Psycho-Kinetic Energy".

We used a PKE meter in action for the first time {GBF1} in the New York Central Library case. It detected the ghost, but, since we had no proton pack or ghost trap working yet, we could do nothing except try to grab the ghost in our arms, which merely annoyed it. (Later we came back, with full kit and much more experience, and caught it by laying ghost-traps on the floor and waiting.)

They usually detect the presence of ghost life forms, or of ecto-matter, but they can be set to detect normal-matter life brain activity, or (when, as sometimes, we are in a largely ecto environment) any normal matter.

We do sell PKE meters sometimes. People who falsely claim paranormal powers (clairvoyants, seance operators, fortune tellers, etc) do not like them, and are liable to bounce out roughly anyone found trying to bring one in. As the original type's size and bleeping is easily detected, we have have also made wide thin flattened PKE meters that can be worn undetected under clothing, with a silent skin contact vibrator instead of a bleep.


At first we had little access to ecto matter, except ectoplasm from ghosts, and a few weapons and other objects which ghosts had got from 'over there' and dropped as they vanished into our traps. Until Egon invented ways of handling it, we could do nothing with it. One early attempt at an ecto/normal-matter composite device was {GBM52:17, GBM192 'Trouble Vision'} special goggles to see normally invisible sorts of ghosts. But ecto matter can be treacherous to the unwary (as many dabblers in black magic find the hard way! and we have to clean up after them): the goggles distorted images and made normal things look demonic, and then their ecto component separated and organized into spectral venomous snakes. We destroyed the nasty little creatures with proton gun fire, and were left shaken and wiser. When stray ectoplasm on Earth accumulates stray ambient emotional or other energy and thus grows until it organizes into a new ghost, any ecto objects that appear with it are part of it, and when separated from it revert to ordinary ectoplasm much too readily to be trusted.


Ecto or partly-ecto devices made by us after more successful later experiments had to be small and few. The furthest we could go in early days was to make a prototype Ecto-Splat Gun which Egon designed; and in making even that, plus the tools needed to make it, Ray's workshop melting-pot consumed ecto-metal amulets and knives and spearheads and the like at a rate to make archaeologists shudder; luckily the first ectoflamethrower we captured was big and full and had a blowtorch mode useful for ectometal-working. The Ecto-Splat Gun is a hand-held gun fed from a power and storage backpack; it fires pellets of ectoplasm at destructive bullet-like speed, a useful extra weapon against dangerous ghosts and demons. Its noise when fired is a hard semi-electronic crack best spelt 'zzax'. It is made partly of normal matter, with ecto-matter where necessary. Gun hobbyists compared its weight/firepower ratio (including backpack) adversely with ordinary bullet guns; but ordinary guns don't have to handle ectoplasm. Ecto matter available to us was scarce, and the only sort of it that we were and still are willing to expend routinely as ammunition is ectoplasm, which we can produce on demand, for it absorbs some forms of energy and thus grows. The Ecto-Splat Gun's backpack includes an ecto-metal-lined pressurized tankful of it and a powerpack supplying energy to make it grow to replace what is fired - and equipment to stop the tank's contents from organizing and becoming a ghost.

Later we made more ecto-splat guns, some more powerful, after the megalomaniac demon Nekkdasgeddon {GBM46:3 'Ponquadragor II'} unintentionally provided us with a new big supply of scrap ecto-metal.


We do not invoke demons! We have had many dangerous fights busting demons that silly people summoned up and couldn't banish afterwards! One such consequence was that the demon's disappearance from the Beyond was wrongly blamed over there and started a major internecine demon war. Battles in that war spilled over onto Earth, and to prevent more damage to people and their property I and Egon had to interfere, {GBM46:3} siding with Ponquadragor (a big four-armed humanoid demon) who sought our help against Nekkdasgeddon (a demonic armoured spider thing as big as a house with a hideous fearsome head). The spider thing proved to be a mechanical vehicle, which blew to pieces when our two proton gun beams entered through a joint in its belly plating and damaged its motor. Nekkdasgeddon himself, an unimpressive teddybear-like creature with big pointed ears riding a tricycle like a child's, survived the wreck and fled back to the Beyond, and his army with him, and the other army pursuing him. So that danger ended; and it left us with the huge litter of shattered ecto-metal scrap of Nekkdasgeddon's war machine, which we took to our base; Ray and Egon learned much about ecto-metal motor and general engineering by examining it.

One early fruit of that new big supply of ecto-materials was more Ecto-Splat Guns. So the ecto-metal of that huge heap of remains of eight massive legs with all-trampling clawed feet, shovelling chomping jaws, fangs, onboard destructor which processed casualties and enemy personnel and vegetation and much else into fuel for its huge fuel-tank, mighty motor, blasting exhaust pipes a yard wide, drive trains, control systems, and huge armoured hull, the long dark labour in a demon-realm of oppressed ghosts most of which had long forgotten their life on Earth, but destroyed in a fatal brief encounter on Earth with two men with far smaller weapons, started to pass on and become, melted and recast a bit at a time, parts of other much more useful devices. Nekkdasgeddon's machine, fearsome slave-made product of his megalomania, is now no more a danger to Earth or to other demon-realms, but one of these small reconverted fractions of it sometimes nestles handily on my back and its gun part in my hand and is a good friend to me in battle when evil creatures of the Beyond are not content with their own realms but come over here to make nuisance and seek prey. We have an occasional humorous toast "To Nekkdasgeddon, for without his kind gift of all that scrap ecto-metal much of this would not have been possible!". Another find of usable ecto-metal anywhere near as big is unlikely: we are still careful with ecto-metal, and are very unwilling to use it up as ammunition or in other irrecoverable ways.


This is 'Ecto-Normal Anti Mutual Penetration Agent', which Egon invented and Ray made. It stops normal matter and ecto-matter (= ghost matter) from going through each other, and makes it much easier for us to handle and use ghost objects such as ectoflamethrowers and the Nekkdasgeddon scrap.


This is an efficient-looking device made in the Beyond, entirely of ecto matter, of two big metal backpack tanks whose lower ends are connected by a flexible tube to a large gunlike device with several controls and a wide front nozzle which blasts consuming ecto-fire. Nobody alive on earth makes them or the fuel for them. They are in various sizes to fit different sizes of wearer, some so big that we have to mount them on a vehicle. Some have small tanks strapped to the gun and can be hidden under a loose coat. 'Ectoflamethrower' is Egon's name for them; the languages of the Beyond have older shorter words for them, and many phrases laden with fear and dread. Tobin described them. They are very effective against unprotected ghost matter, one of the oldest and handiest battle and law enforcement and riot control weapons 'over there', long before humans invented similar earthly weapons, far longer lasting on a refilling, with more operating modes (including sometimes a blowtorch mode for ecto-metal working). Before our time no living man could use them, but weapon and man went through each other, as empty as the air. We do not often capture them usable, for often they ecto-explode violently, destroying the wearer but harmlessly to us, when pierced by a proton beam or pulled by a ghost trap, or are low on fuel or even empty when captured. If we could get them more often, they would be our readiest weapon to destroy ghosts and burn possessing spirits out of people or valuable objects without damaging anything made of normal matter. We receive and have to ignore various requests to use them as placebo treatment or as film props to represent ordinary flamethrowers.

Eventually in the Ecto-4 we could go 'over there' ourselves routinely and raid them from demon lords' armouries and factories, and once even bring back an ectoflamethrower filler, which Ray and Egon got running reliably in our basement and gradually found out how it worked and how to make one ourselves.

As they are made entirely of ecto-matter, do not expose them to a ghost trap's suction force field (like anything with ecto components but more so!). Do not wear one interpenetrating a proton pack or anything computerized, as electronics and atomic stuff act oddly when interpenetrating dense ecto-matter; proton packs in this circumstances usually go into error mode and automatically switch off.

Recently to our alarm we captured {GBA#11} two ectoflamethrowers of a new design which have an additive tank fastened to the back of their two main cylinders, and a somewhat larger gun part with extra controls: these proved to have a mode that can burn up earthly matter as easily as petrol or propane can, but can be carried through normal matter as easily as the ordinary type. Ray codenamed them 'Busterburners', guessing one purpose of them: unless we were lucky enough to capture all prototypes and plans and designers of them in that action, they threaten to become an alarmingly efficient weapon against us and other opponents of the paranormal both here and in the Beyond. Unless scarcity of some needed material prevents it: but Egon has already found how to make Busterburner additive - which at least helps to give us a defence against living hostiles when wearing only an ectoflamethrower. What our enemies need now (but luckily haven't got at the time of writing) to go with them is ecto-matter overalls and helmets proof against all modes of proton pack fire, making our usual weapon as ineffective as a tiger's claws against a steel scrap-grab while they dispose of us. We were luckier than we realized in a ghost city that we strayed into {GBC 'Flip Side'} where a local force field stopped our proton packs from working, that the 'Peoplebuster' ghosts that we ran into there only had short-range backpack-tank guns that squirted an ecto-fluid that set into sticky entanglement, and that they put us in a containment that had a design fault so we managed to shoot a way back to our own world from its inside. If they had had Busterburners, or a destructor instead of a containment ... We now have fireproof and ecto-proof overalls and helmets; so the arms race continues.


My favourite weapon for underwater busts is now an ectoflamethrower, when supplies of its fuel allow, since, as it is composed entirely of ecto-matter, it (if its fueltank assembly is not Enampa'ed) and an aqualung (not a computerized breathing set) can be worn on the back interpenetrating each other without interference. We have made several underwater busts with a proton pack on the back and an aqualung riding the proton pack or strapped across the chest, or vice versa, but these combination are all bulky and awkward; and proton gun beams are weakened and in some modes stopped by the water. The best sort of breathing set to use with a proton pack is a rebreather (oxygen or mixture) with all parts on the wearer's chest and belly and not on his back; the breathing set should be put on first, then the proton pack straps passed between the breathing set and the wearer's body; but rebreather diving needs special training.


This is the converted Cadillac ambulance that we use for most of our journeys. It has various accessories that we mounted on it, including a powerful proton gun on its roof. It had a long and energetic service before we bought it, and quite a lot of Ray's time is taken up with keeping it going. Once it had to run for 9 weeks with an ecto-metal right rear halfshaft that he made {GBA#7}, and even then we got a normal-metal replacement at an acceptable price only when a dealer heard the matter mentioned as an aside when a TV crew came to our base.


This is our small one-man open-topped helicopter. It has a few ecto parts in instruments but no mechanical ecto parts. It has a high-powered proton gun mounted on its underside. It has proved very useful.


Once we were given a powerful go-kart as part-payment for a ghost bust. Ray, finding two retractible ecto-metal arms among his scrap pile, thought to make the go-kart into a ghost-grabbing vehicle, and worked it out in detail on paper, until Winston found a wide enough gap in Ray's rush of boyish enthusiasm to get enough words in edgeways to point out that ghosts chased in a wheeled vehicle would probably get away upwards or some other way that the vehicle couldn't go safely or at all, and that any vehicle-mounted ghost-catching kit should be able to be demounted and used in the hands. Ray dropped the project, which I was glad of, for proton pack making and servicing was badly in arrears; but his drawings were seen by someone from the firm that makes toy models of us and our kit. (The fee from that firm helps us to pay the bills.) Ray registered the go-kart as a road vehicle with the licence code 'ECTO 3', and altered the seat so that a man wearing a proton pack can fit in it; but unlike its toy models it does not carry ghost-grabbing arms. It is used occasionally.


This is a spaceship-like craft which we made later, which has some ecto-matter parts made from the Nekkdasgeddon scrap. We use it for normal flying, and also to go to the Beyond and back when we have to.


This racing car with a powerful mounted vacuum device for sucking ghosts up only exists as a toy model. A firm called 'Spectre Rejectors' {GBM ann1989:10 'Ghostbusters Busted'} indeed set up in competition with us, using a device that sucks up ghosts and pumps them into a tank towed by hand on castors, using principles like in our ghost traps and containment. We got this device when Spectre Rejectors failed when its two members were involved in a scandal; but chasing a ghost with a capturer mounted on a wheeled road vehicle is not practical, for the same reason as with the Ecto-3. We have a few times used the device, but it is very awkward to drag about on wheels; worn on the back it is very heavy and its bulk stops the wearer wearing a proton pack also, and its electronics and ecto-metal content stop him wearing an ectoflamethrower also. In the one case where we needed a vehicle like this {GBM119:10 WD}, we mounted the suction device on a racing car that we hired for the day.


I (the author) invented these features:- the idea that some Ghostbusters' equipment has parts made of ecto-matter, ectoflamethrowers (but ecto-fire is from {GBM}), Enampa (Ecto/Normal Anti Mutual Penetration Agent).

Initials: NPF = Nothing Paranormal Found, NPI = Non-Paranormal Incident, NX = Natural eXplanation, PKE = PsychoKinetic Energy.

Codes in {curly brackets} are references to other Ghostbusters matter.
{GBA} : event in another Ghostbusters story that I wrote
{GBB} : event in a Ghostbusters book
{GBC} : event in a Ghostbusters TV/video cartoon
{GBF1} : event in Ghostbusters the movie (F = film)
{GBF2} : event in Ghostbusters II the movie
{GBM} : event in Ghostbusters UK Marvel comic
{GBN} : event in Ghostbusters USA 'NOW' comic (mostly repeated in GBM)
'#N' = "issue N", ':N' = "page N", '.N' = "frame or text column N", 'WD' = "Winston's Diary", 'T' = "text story", 'SG' = "Spengler's Spirit Guide", 'F' = "Fact File entry, not a full story".