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

Janine handed us this note one morning as we came back from a call: "Mr.Jackson, address. Sound of silk skirt rustling, once or twice a week. Creepy feelings. No sightings. A woman died in the house in 1897. Tales locally of one major haunting in nearby fields by many ghosts one night in 1903.".

We attended as routine. The house had been a farmhouse before the city spread around it. We found no PKE in the house or anywhere near. The silk skirt noise started while we were there; Egon easily identified it as the usual cause of that noise: water swishing about in a pipe (in this case an old house sewer that had run to a septic tank before mains sanitation came there), and said so. I recorded this call as yet another NX (Natural eXplanation), and gave them the bill for our time. As we left, Slimer (our resident greedy green ghost) came in and dived open-mouthed like an excavator's scoop at cakes on a plate.

I warned him off with the first object to hand, my PKE meter. It read his presence, as expected; but as I turned it away from him it also read something in the house's foundations. I sent Slimer out, and the PKE source stopped, but restarted when he suddenly came back and scooped up the cakes all at once as easily as an inshore fishery sea-patrol's fast capture-sub diving and scooping up a gang of unauthorized shellfish-poaching sport scubadivers. Mr.Jackson protested; I routinely apologized and said I'd knock the price of the cakes off our bill. As often, dire fates for Slimer filled my mind briefly; but at least he had learned by now not to leave his slime about in other people's premises.

"In your house's foundations there's probably something made of ecto-matter that's not alive, so it doesn't make its own PKE, but it can reflect outside PKE such as that emanated by Slimer." said Egon.

"I know enough about ghosts to know that leaving ghost objects about may cause funny goings-on later. You better dig it out." said Mr.Jackson.

I and Slimer followed the PKE reading to a spot at the back wall of his house. I sent Slimer to find and if possible retrieve the ecto-object (since, being a ghost, he can go through normal matter). He found it but returned empty-handed gabbling in fright about "Baddybad deemoneemon thing in wall daren't touch!", and would not describe the object in more detail.

I got from the Ecto-1 an ecto-metal tool that Ray had made from a piece of scrap that may have been one of the control push/pull rods that had abounded in the huge innards of {GBM46:3 'Ponquadragor II'} Nekkdasgeddon's megalomaniac machine which I and Egon had put an end to. As a handle one end was coated with Enampa (Ecto/Normal Anti Mutual Penetration Agent, a substance designed by Egon to stop normal and ecto objects from penetrating each other); the other end was bent into a hook. As I reached down with it, it penetrated the normal-matter earth and walls easily, but proved not to be long enough to reach the hidden object.

I sighed tiredly and phoned a tool hire shop for a compressor and a pneumatic drill. While Ray went to fetch them, Mr.Jackson hastily evacuated four square yards of petunias above the site of the PKE echo. Ray and Winston and Egon kept their proton guns at the ready while I dug down, in case there was something genuinely dangerous down there. Four feet down I was as near to the source as I could get; I reached down the hole with my hand and across into the wall with my ecto-hook, but still could not reach the object. I had to drill. Pneumatic drills are heavy and noisy and awkward and have many of the properties of a class 6 ghost in a bad temper. I decided sadistically to make any interrupting door-to-door pesterer do army-style rifle drill with it; but none came. After drilling into the foundation for ten minutes I tried my hook again; as well as the common slight resistance of ecto-matter going through normal matter, I felt it rubbing something hard and rounded. As I felt about, I had to be careful that I did not push the object away out of reach. I finally hooked what felt like a loop of cord attached to it, and pulled. It moved slowly as if it was bulky. I pulled hard with both hands, and it came up and out of the wall and the earth.

"One of those! Is that all it is? you acting like that. You've seen them before." I said to Slimer, who said nothing but kept well away from it.

"Crumbs! It's a ghost flamethrower!" Mr.Jackson exclaimed when he saw it, bulky and lethal-looking, but semitransparent and insubstantial, dangling from my hook, "What's it doing there!? If that silk skirt noise is only the drains like you said, then we've had no hauntings around here that I know of since that big one in 1903. That was before flamethrowers were around! Nothing's happened here involving a flamethrower as far as I know. I've only seen them in films.". He tried to touch it, but it and his hand went through each other without resistance and without damaging each other.

"They were invented thousands of years before that, and far longer lasting on a fueltankful, and with more firing modes built into them, where this one came from." said Egon as its ghostliness disappeared behind the solid handle-able coating of Enampa that I sprayed all over it, "It was not made on Earth, and by no living man. It is a weapon of the Beyond which Tobin wrote about: we call it an ectoflamethrower. It is empty, and we as yet have no way of refilling it. That haunting in 1903 was likely a demon-fight which either spilled over into our world or was started here by an unrecorded unwise dabbling in the occult which had gone wrong. Likely when it ran empty in the fight whatever was using it ditched it, and it got left. Its fire can't hurt people, only ghosts and ghostly things. But to them that sort of weapon is quite solid and real, and very lethal, and is one of the commonest battle and law-enforcement weapons 'over there'. The powers 'over there' keep tight control on who gets them.".

"Er-oh. They sound a real right handy weapon. In that case I don't ever want to become a ghost, unless I by some unlikely chance get my own one of these after I go 'over there'." he said, and shuddered a bit, "Not guilty. None of my family have been in the occult as far as I know. Don't want to. Dangerous business. I don't want ghost stuff about. Take it away. I occasionally felt a bit creepy when I went on the floor in that back room just inside there.".

I gave him a new bill, for our time, minus the cakes, plus hire for the compressor and the drill, which we took back to the hire shop as we returned to base. As I catalogued the empty ectoflamethrower and put it in store in our basement, Slimer again backed away from it in fright.

"Why are you so afraid of it? You've seen them before here. You even used one once here." I asked him, wondering what incident in Slimer's long past before we caught him in our first ever bust equipped with proton packs (at the Sedgewick Hotel {GBF1} in New York) had made him so scared of that particular weapon.

"Baddybad deemoweemon owns it!" he gabbled, hiding behind me and pointing at its gun part, which I examined and on it found, as well as the usual operating symbols in a demonic writing system, its owner's personal symbol, which I looked up and found in a list in Tobin's Spirit Guide.

"It's got that one's sign on it. What happened between you and him? When and where?" I asked Slimer, showing him the entry.

"I start [= my first memory was of being] in big crowdy room where men eat. Longylong ago. I was nevernever man. I eatyeat gorge yummyyum boarsheadyhead vennennison everything cram it all down. Men chase me, slip on slimeeees, not catch me, no proton pack make hottyhot burn squashee in trap boxee then. Priest come, wave big book, say go away ghostee, Slimeree go away wait a bittybit come back." he started, remembering a long-ago time of undisturbed plenty. Then he sounded scared: "Men all go away gone, no more foodyfood for Slimerwimer.". No wonder they abandoned the place as haunted! with an ever-hungry Slimer about and no way to protect their food from him. "Big deemonee come one night. Say he put seed made me. Have nasty deemonee burn gun with big tanks on back, worse than protonnypack, [could] burn me to nothingnilnil fastyfast. This one! His mark! He say I go with him be slave. I run. He aim burn Slimeree bad with gun big ekkekto whooosh burnyburn so I can't run. He pump me in[to] big big binnytank [= strong collapsible ecto-metal container] that he tow. Put me in hole, press handle hard sqnnch, pump Slimereee inside. Manylotty ghostee in tank, can't get out. He take us to hole in sky [= an interdimensional gateway].".

It was as Tobin and later Egon suspected happens sometimes. Something had entered the material world and planted an ecto-active focus to collect ambient stray PKE and emotional and other energy until it had enough to organize into ghosts, which when ready were collected, often not gently, and taken back to the Beyond. Sometimes these ghosts are an image of the body and mind of a particular human (usually but not always at the moment of the human's death), sometimes not. Sometimes the ghost misses being collected and remains in our world, and becomes a nuisance, and we have to catch it.

"Other deemeemon come, they argargargue very crossyangry. Other demon look in binnytank. Some ghostees get outout run away. Slimer get out. Not could run fast this time. He aim ectoburn gun, ghosts that run burnt to nillynilzilch whooosh gone. Burn meeme bad again. That why I only half. Nice leggylegs burnt off gone nevernever grow back. Like that why manylotty ghostees get wrong shapes. Boss demon get nasty, so ekkekto burn. Some grow back wrong. Other deemonee say not waste fuel that one bad no good greedygreed sillysilly thing leave him. Slimeee get away. Hurt bad. Hideyhide long time. Then I go with men across big wettywet water so deemonee not find me againagain." he continued, scared and gabbling.

Slimer, being not the image of the whole mind of one man but made up of the greedier sillier slobbish emotions copied from many people, would have been of little use for what he had been wanted for, and likely not to last long if he had been taken across as planned. An unremarkable fragment of the long and dark account of what goes on 'over there', that usually does not cross paths with men's doings, but occasionally does, making work for us. Ectoflamethrowers are handy weapons, or would be if we could capture more of them and/or refill them.

Hearing yet again of such goings-on, I felt an enraged desire to put a stop to it, to wield an all-slaying gun at the head of a far bigger army than we could afford in reality to pay and equip and arm, to the Beyond in a fleet of Ecto-4's to overthrow the demon-lords and their dark evil-filled castles and start 'over there' a free and fair ... etc as in many radical political movements' speeches down the years, and as likely to end up with most things settling back as they were before as practicalities of day-to-day rule return after all the confusion and violence of war. Knowledge of our limitations quickly dissolved the fantasy. We are merely one public emergency service among many, and should remain so. Coming back to practicality, I compared Tobin's description of the weapon's apparent owner with a list that Egon had made of what we had caught so far.

On hearing that that demon was probably one we had caught before, Slimer in relief rushed at me to hug me. His hugs are slimy and several times less welcome than a big dirty-pawed slobbery dog jumping up. I said "Just dare!" and put my proton gun between and dodged. He missed me and knew better than to try again. I went upstairs to rest. I sympathized with what he had gone through; but when later, going for a snack, I found that he had emptied our refrigerator yet again only two days after promising to leave all stored food alone, I realized which of our empty ectoflamethrowers I would refill first and be strongly tempted to use when we find how to refill them ...