('I' hereinunder = Peter Venkman) (See GBA#0 'Our Equipment' for notes)

In woods upstate unskilled foolhardy people indulged in a unwise black magic ritual. The two demons they summoned hated each other, and suddenly finding themselves facing each other called their armies. Seeing a heavily armed confrontation instead of the expected willing supernatural servants, the celebrants panicked and fled and rang us. Ray's lunch date with relatives and Egon's appointment with a dentist flew out of the window as, after a longer cross-country drive in winter than I care for, we reached the place. In a long complicated sharp dangerous fight in which our later more powerful Ecto-Splat Guns played a vital part, we destroyed or caught all members of both armies. We coated their many dropped weapons with Enampa {GBA0} (Ecto/Normal Anti Mutual Penetration Agent, which Egon invented) so we could handle them. We took them to our base, and put them into store, and catalogued them. They included 17 full or anearly-full ectoflamethrowers (Ray was sure there should have been 18), an exceptionally big haul, and compensation to us for not finding anyone to pay us for the callout, and for two personal engagements replaced by having to unload yet another three trolleyloads of ghost traps with smelly ghost aura sticking out of their lid joints, and empty and clean them. One of the ectoflamethrowers was so big to fit a user 16 feet tall that we will have to use it mounted on a vehicle. Egon re-booked with his dentist. Our normal work resumed.

Later a circus was advertized locally. One act in it was a conjurer who was widely known for exceptionally good tricks, as if he had real magic powers. Another was 'The Fireproof Man', with a picture of a man being hosed with a flamethrower with no apparent pain or ill effects. We paid little attention to this, as circus 'fire-eaters', and dramatic inaccurate descriptions including photographer's tricks, are many. We went to the circus, partly for relaxation, partly to check on the conjurer.

We went to that day's first show. The first three acts were good and passed unremarkably, then the conjurer came on. His act was indeed very good and realistic - and a PKE meter that Egon had smuggled in (with its bleeper disconnected) gave a strong reading as soon as he came in, and stopped when he left. Most conjurers merely have skillful hands, but a few may have paranormal powers from possession by a ghost or other spirit. Ghosts and demons do not help people merely out of kindness! and such possessed people's careers and lives usually do not end well. I decided to tell the manager quietly after the show.

The next act was one acrobat rather than the promised two. Next act was 'The Fireproof Man', who I recognized as the conjurer wearing only bathing trunks. He let himself be securely tied to a steel post. A man announced as 'Hermann', in a sludge-coloured paramilitary uniform and a wartime-German helmet and wearing a bulky two-cylindered flamethrower, came in. The ringmaster said that Eastern mystic powers made the victim completely fireproof. A recorded roll of drums was played. It was as the advertisement after all, and we watched hard and urgently and alarmedly. Not all the world's ills are of paranormal cause, and a stop has to be put some time to putting people in ever greater spectacular risks for the sake of thrills. Hermann said "You are sentenced to death for spying for the Allies. I have my orders: I am not to allow condemned people last wishes.", aimed, switched his weapon on, put its safety catch off, and fired. In the hot jet of sticky burning liquid the 'victim' silently writhed and bit his gag for eleven seconds, but then relaxed and seemed tired but physically unhurt. Hermann ceased fire. Attendants untied the 'victim', who walked out - empty-faced and shocked. Hermann followed him. I saw an alarmed flicker in the ringmaster's eyes before he continued with the show as usual.

Hermann's flamethrower had an unearthly glow all over, and, as it blasted its victim, our PKE meter's reading had fallen steadily to zero.

We said nothing then, but paid for more tickets and stayed for the next show. We paid little heed to tigers, elephants, and performing horses, for more serious matters filled our minds. Then the conjurer came on - and much of his act failed utterly. The PKE meter gave no reading at him. He left before his time with an excuse. When clowns came in as a stopgap, we left the show and went to see the manager. He recognized us before we announced ourselves. He let us in and asked us to keep our discussion private.

"Honoured ... complimentary tickets if I'd known ..." he started.

"I've come about your conjurer." I said, "I can explain what happened.".

"That's just what I'd like to see you about, since you're here. He's lost his -er- abilities. Can you do anything about it? Is it a ghost made it happen? Please, I need his act to attract the public." he said desperately.

"Can I examine the flamethrower you used in that act?" Egon asked.

"I can't see what you want it for." the manager said, "The stuff that comes out of it hasn't hurt anyone or anything else we've used it on. Very strange that. We found it acted like that when one of the men tried to burn up rats and rubbish with it. What is that special fuel in it?, so we can get more when it runs empty. Ordinary flamethrower fuel is lethal and burns everything up. That, and that I want our conjurer's abilities back. I'll pay any reasonable price.".

"I still need to examine it." said Egon.

"OK, I'll call the man that used it, and tell him to bring it in with him.".

"Where did you get that flamethrower from?" I asked the manager.

He changed the subject and seemed unwilling to say. After a few minutes Hermann came in, still in uniform and helmet and wearing the flamethrower. One look at it told Egon all he needed to know.

"No need for your boss to call us in!" he said to Hermann, "You did the job for us! There's no ghost now, but that conjurer was possessed by some paranormal being before. Hence his powers. Congratulations on busting your first ghost!".

"What do you mean!?" said the manager desperately, "I'll pay any money. The acrobat who usually doubles as the Fireproof Man went down with flu last night, so the conjurer said he'd be the Fireproof Man instead this week.".

"That's an ectoflamethrower! Nobody alive on earth makes them or the fuel for them! Wherever did you get it!?" Egon exclaimed, and described it, "No wonder he was in pain like that, you ecto-burning a possessing spirit out of him without an anaesthetic! When anybody, we or an exorcizing priest, tries to get a possessing spirit out of someone, the spirit often goes nasty and passes its pain onto its host! Well, your conjurer's ever so profitable indwelling ghostly assistant's gone beyond recall! Anyway, when that weapon of his runs empty, neither we nor anyone else on Earth know how to refill it. Never mind that it won't hurt unpossessed people.".

"And I don't want people showing flame in public as something harmless that can be played with! Fire isn't a toy." I added.

"And I've got my circus's living to earn!" the manager replied, "With my good conjurer gone I'll need the Fireproof Man act even more to pull the public in. I'll hang onto this thing and hope its fuel tanks last out till I can get hold of another special act to replace it and that conjurer.".

"Oo-er. Is that why this thing acted like it did!?" said Hermann edgily.

The manager saw shadows at his windows. A queue of people waiting to see him had built up outside, and caravans are not very soundproof. He knew that 'the grapevine' is as disastrously effective at secrecy-busting as Hermann's weapon had proved at ghost-busting, and that any talk of a real ghost-object in camp would scare superstitious staff and customers off in droves.

"OK. You better have it. One of my men found it on waste land where we were recently, when he let the horses graze there." he admitted, and described the place, which I recognized as where we had had the big fight against the demons.

"It's still 38% full." said Egon, deciphering the demonic writing on its fuel and systems gauges.

"I knew there was one more of them!" Ray exclaimed, "I remember now. Like you said, it was by the three oak trees. A 9-foot-tall blue warty thing with ibex's horns jettisoned it when I shot at him. He'd already seen another go up like a bomb when a proton gun shot hit its fuel tanks, and that was the end of the demon wearing it. After a case or two of that, they were ditching their ecto-burners all over the place. I had time to spray Enampa over it so I could handle it, then the battle surged that way again and I had to leave it. I had other things to think about: I was surrounded and only just managed to shoot my way out. No wonder this one got left.".

"Very exciting." said the manager drily, "That's the end of that, I suppose. Hermann, you better give it to them. That'll be all. Thankyou.".

We went out, and Hermann followed. As he took the ectoflamethrower off, I pinned a pin-on Ghostbusters badge on his left shoulder; the circus staff in the queue sang the 'Ghostbusters' song at him. He blushed and looked annoyed.

We took the ecto-weapon back to base and catalogued it and put it in store.

The circus pasted "Regret unable to appear because of illness" across the relevant parts of their advertisement posters and brochures and programmes.