Before Ghost Hunters and that 80s cartoon that was sued for being the same thing, there was Ghostbusters – the Original Ghostbusters (as the first cartoon had to name itself!). Before chunky, middle-aged guys on the Syfy Channel were sniffing around old prisons and Civil War memorials, registering their own flatulence on high-tech spirit gadgetry, there was the real Ghostbusters. Nowadays, we can see how much patriarchal tyranny was involved in the original Ghostbusters, with four men who busted ghosts (only one black guy, no other races, only the evil man-race!).
Now that the sacred feminine has arisen, four horse-faced women of the apocalypse will prevent the Apocalypse in Ghostbusters 3, which was the plot of – you got it – Ghostbusters. A lot has changed since the 80s, a glorious time for Hollywood by comparison. Judging by the trailer for the new one, a film version of the 80s knock-off cartoon with the ape would be preferable. Maybe Ghostbusters 3 is actually the knock off cartoon and Melissa McCarthy is playing the ape. Don’t cross your fingers, or the streams.
But enough of that nonsense – let’s talk the original film, which does have some interesting esoteric elements, but remember, before there was “see something, say something,” there was “who ya gonna call?” And before I get an email telling me I’m ridiculous for proposing that Ghostbusters was terror programming, it was a dumb joke. The first element that stands out is Peter Venkman’s (Bill Murray) work as a “PhD” in psychology and parapsychology hearkening to something akin to the infamous Sanford Research Institute programs such as “Stargate,” involving elements as bizarre as mind control, spoon bending by Uri Gellar and remote viewing. There is also a subtle side theme in the film where Peter realizes they can achieve much more if they are a private institution – signifying the real work of the establishment’s social engineering is done by private institutions – like Esalen (as in the battle with “dickless” from the EPA).
Venkman is a representation of this trend, while the script even references their desire to get funding from “MIT and Stanford.” I recently did an in-depth discussion with Tom Secker and Pearse Redmond on the subject in relation to The Men Who Stare at Goats, and what stands out as the key connection here is the Esalen Institute. Esalen, shown in both the finale of Mad Men and Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, attempted to combine elements of the occult, mysticism, paranormal and meditation into their philosophy, and while Esalen is not merely a foundational element in rising New Age Movement, it has named amongst its roster of members some of the top globalists like Aldous Huxley, as well as key MK ULTRA figures like Gregory Bateson and Timothy Leary. Hilariously, Venkman even seems self-aware of his role as a manipulator as he intentionally electroshocks the actually clairvoyant misfit geek, while telling the daft cute blonde she has “powers.” MK ULTRA also included electroshock torture through the work of Dr. Ewan Cameron, as I have discussed here.
I am not literally saying Venkman represents MK ULTRA, but it does seem a vague reference to the program, as the SRI programs were aspects of MK ULTRA and mass mind control. The Men Who Stare at Goats actually demonstrates this by briefly referencing MK ULTRA, as if it were shut down, when the real program is demonstrated at the end of the film, where Kevin Spacey’s character is involved in private PsyOps through explicit culture creation. Given Ghostbusters is one of the most recognizable films of at least the 80s, and possibly of all time, could the reference actually signify that Ghostbusters is culture creation? The film is not particularly insidious or secretly promoting any vile messages, but it could possibly be an artistic statement that “ghostbusting” signifies more than getting slimed.
What might ghostbusting signify? One of the curious elements of the film is high place given to science, in the midst of a host of paranormal and occult phenomenon. The crack ghostbusting team is surrounded by both skeptics and believers, but they do not admit to being either fans of scientism or superstition. Considered outsiders, they seem to be conscious of a deeper, hidden metaphysics that is not in opposition to science and skepticism – Ray even suggests their work is “touching the aetheric plane.”
Another indicator of this thesis is the poster in Peter’s lab that appears to be a representation of Hermes Trismegistus, the purported author of the hermetic corpus. Most of the minor characters, in fact, fall into either the Michael Shermer skeptic camp or the overly superstitious Edgar Cayce camp, while even Winston, who appears overly superstitious, believes (somewhat correctly) the best explanation for the apocalyptic events that begin to occur is the biblical last days. Quite accurately, even the Roman Catholic archbishop thinks the demonic apparitions are real, yet, like much of the Roman Church in our day, denies these subjects.
Calling to mind Dr. Peter Venkman, a recent mainstream article appeared in The Washington Post by Richard Gallagher, which deals with the very real psychiatric diagnosis of demonic possession. In fact, Gallagher writes concerning a Satanist he counseled:
“I believe I’ve seen the real thing. Assaults upon individuals are classified either as “demonic possessions” or as the slightly more common but less intense attacks usually called “oppressions.” A possessed individual may suddenly, in a type of trance, voice statements of astonishing venom and contempt for religion, while understanding and speaking various foreign languages previously unknown to them. The subject might also exhibit enormous strength or even the extraordinarily rare phenomenon of levitation. (I have not witnessed a levitation myself, but half a dozen people I work with vow that they’ve seen it in the course of their exorcisms.) He or she might demonstrate “hidden knowledge” of all sorts of things — like how a stranger’s loved ones died, what secret sins she has committed, even where people are at a given moment. These are skills that cannot be explained except by special psychic or preternatural ability.”
It starts to sound more and more like Dr. Venkman, and in particular, his relationship to Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver). If you recall, Dana begins to experience “ghostly” phenomena in her apartment, provoking a call to the Ghostbusters. As becomes clearer throughout the film, almost all the manifestations are demonic. Even the librarian “ghost” at the beginning is revealed to be a demon, while the spirit that possesses Dana is Zuul, a minion dog-demon of Gozer, an androgynous demigod of the Sumerian Pantheon. As a side note, the name “Dana” signifies Danu, a Celtic fertility goddess, which could be relevant, given Dana’s role as the “gate” for Vinz Clortho’s “key,” which are quite obvious references for sex magick. This union occurs at the site of a long-time ritual high place, a former cult started by “Ivo Shandor” – an Architect, or Great Architect.
Although not precise, “Ivo Shandor” is very similar to Anton Szandor (LaVey), the founder of the Church of Satan, while the sexual magick component hearkens to Crowley. In fact, the script claims Shandor’s cult was created to invoke the end of the world through ritual magick and the unleashing of the Destructor. This does echo the Apocalypse of John and the Crowleyan reinterpretation of the text, in relation to Apollyon the Destroyer who is released from the Abyss through a key:
“The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss….They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss, whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon and in Greek is Apollyon (that is, Destroyer).” (Apoc. 9:1-11)
As mentioned, the film is clearly about sex magick, as Vinz Clortho (Rick Moranis) and Zuul (Dana Barrett) bask in the afterglow post-orgasm on the altar – the act that opens the gateway for Gozer. At this juncture, the pyramid of Gozer should be self-evident as a ziggurat. Indeed, Jamie Hanshaw has written extensively on the sexual components of Sumerian and Mesopotamian religious practice which melds seamlessly with Crowleyanism. While it may sound strange to some, inspiration for the story comes from the family of Dan Akroyd (reportedly a Freemason) himself. This comes to the fore in the sequel, where Ray Stantz owns an occult bookstore. Mental Floss writes:
“Aykroyd grew up surrounded by spiritualists. His great-grandfather, Samuel A. Aykroyd, was a noted nineteenth century psychic investigator who conducted séances at the Aykroyd family farmhouse in eastern Ontario with a medium named Walter Ashurst. This predilection for the paranormal was passed down to Aykroyd’s grandfather, Maurice, who was an engineer for the Bell Telephone Company. Maurice allegedly tried to use his know-how to create a high-vibration crystal radio that could contact the spirit world. Dan’s father, Peter, kept a sizeable library of books about spooky subjects (including his great grandfather’s séances) which kept ghosts and ghouls in the back of young Aykroyd’s mind. After he left Saturday Night Live in 1979, he read an article about parapsychology in an American Society of Psychical Research publication, which inspired Ghostbusters.”
While the Ghostbusters seem aware of hidden metaphysics and sciences, the film’s overall theme appears to be the overcoming of spirit and all gods through techne, signified in the “nuke packs” and containment unit the EPA shuts down. The Church and religions are impotent to save man (think of the praying Jews and the spineless Archbishop – who rely on the Ghostbusters). “Crossing the streams” results in a reversal of time-space in some sci-fi fashion and this becomes the means by which the spiritual gateway is closed. Hidden tech, the opening of spiritual planes, the triumph of man though scientism – and this is why the film displays the Rockefeller Plaza Prometheus statue. Nuclear energy signifies the dominance of man over nature in the ritual act of splitting the atom, a form of destruction of prima materia.
“Ghost busting” thus has a deeper significance – it is not merely the rejection of the spiritual for materialism (bare scientism), or the naïve acceptance of the Bible’s last days, since the Apocalypse is hinted at in the film as a Crowleyan-style secret means of invoking the apocalypse (what Ivor’s cult does). As the veil between the spiritual planes thins, we see Stargates and the alteration of space-time – you’re thinking now of retarded “Madela Effect” CERN Youtube videos, but it was just the plot of a mass culture romp you imbibed as a kid – Ghostbusters. Or is it? If the EPA ever shuts down CERN, you’ll know who to call. Thus, the real message of Ghostbusters follows Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law, that advanced technology, or science, is indistinguishable from magic. The thesis of scientism collides with the antithesis of superstition to produce a Promethean synthesis of triumph for man through tech-magic, toppling even the gods of old. When Gozer asks, “Are you a god?” The alchemical, Promethean reply is, “I will be.”