GHOSTBUSTING 101

By Iain Bennett
With Ben King and Fritz Baugh
Fall 1973
He stared at the large buildings in awe, Columbia University, world reknowned and one of the best in the country.

"Wow..." Peter breathed, taking in the architecture of the buildings in the leafy, expansive campus. Like Peter, there were hundreds of students who were new arrivals at Columbia. As Peter glanced around he saw plenty of trail-offs from High School: people laughing out loud, girls chatting, and even one poor guy getting bullied by, Peter was just about to walk over to see what was happening fully when a figure stood up on a bench.

"May I have your attention please!" A voice shouted. "Thank-you, in a few minutes the welcoming assembly will be beginning with a speech from the Dean, after that you will be issued your accommodation keys and then you will be free to explore the campus. Thank you!" The man finished and stepped down from a stone bench, he walked over to a set of wood and glass double doors and grasped the brass rail, he then opened the door and the large crowd of students, including Peter started to swarm into the main building of Columbia University.

Pete shuffled through the doors, a beautiful blonde walked past him, and Pete just couldn't help following her with his eyes. "Maybe this place isn't so bad after all!" he thought.

The welcoming speech from Dean Vanevar Yeager was about to start and Peter was late for it.

"Welcome to Columbia University!" said the Dean, "First off, it's great to see so many new faces, and so many old ones as well! I can tell that this year will..."

The doors to the lecture room burst open and a young man sprinted in.

"Well, well, well, and who do we have here?" Yeager asked.

"Pete Venkman sir!" Replied the boy.

"Peter Venkman. Well. Well congratulations on your first impressions here. Why, pray tell, were you late?"

Pete was nervous, but this was new territory, and with new territory came new material!

"Well sir, you've seen the girls round here, I was a bit, um, tied up!"

The entire hall roared with laughter, all except Dean Yeager, Pete was feeling pretty good, people knew him now!

"Well, well, we have a clown do we? I warn you Mister Venkman, do not cross me!" Yeager's face contorted with rage, fire practically danced in his eyes, Peter felt as small as he could do, he had just been humiliated in front of his future colleagues. And worse, in front of future dates! "Sit down Venkman, and for the love of God, be quiet!"

"Yes sir..."

Every chair in the hall, was full, there was only one left, an aisle seat on the back row. Pete walked over, his shoulders hunched. He slumped down onto the chair, he felt like he could crawl into a hole and die. Next to Pete there was another eighteen-year-old, he was wearing a white Notre Dame cap and jeans. The kid leaned over to Pete.

"Boy, you really got on the wrong side of Yeager fast, huh?" the boy chuckled in a Southern drawl.

"Tell me about it!"

"Ryan Harness--Pleased ta meet ya, Peter Venkman."

"Same."

"So what are you taking?" Harness asked him

"Taking?"

"What classes?"

"Oh, joint Parapsychology and Psychology, you know, the easy A!" Venkman responded with a smirk that reminded Harness of the Cheshire cat.

"Hey! Me too! What teacher have you got?"

"Um, Doctor Thompson, I think!"

"Me too! Wow, looks like we're in the same class!"

"Cool!"

"I'm sorry--Mr. Venkman?" roared Dean Yeager, "I do hope that I'm not boring you?"

"No sir, not at all!" Said Peter.

"Well then maybe I can continue..."

Yeager usually had a good sense of intuition, and he could tell that Venkman would bring him no end of trouble, he was sure of it! Venkman would have to be watched!

The welcoming seemed to last forever to Pete, and he was very glad when it was over! Pete and the other freshmen had each been ordered to report to the admin office, here they were supposed to receive the number and key of their dormitory.

God, what an officious prick. Probably thought of himself as high and mighty too. Peter thought as he got up, slinging his backpack over one shoulder. Within ten minutes he was standing in line for a key to his new lodgings.

"Next!" The Bursar yelled and Peter stepped up to the window. "Name?"

"Venkman." Peter replied.

"Okay Venkman, you're in Room 13, Johnson Hall. You're roommates with Spengler." The Berser informed.

"Spengler? That some kind of radio?" Peter asked, the Bursar cast him a glare.

"Oh...I can see you're gonna fit in just fine here...NEXT!" Peter held the key in his hand for a few moments, staring at it.

Oh well...might as well make a good impression. Peter thought and moved off in the direction of Johnson Hall.

"Well," Said Ryan, "I guess I'll be seeing you!"

"Yeah," Replied Pete, "I'll see you in class tomorrow!"

With that Ryan and Pete went their separate ways, each heading for the room in which they would be spending the next few years of their life.

Venkman came up to room thirteen, and opened the door to find a kid who looked to him to be no older than sixteen, though maybe tall for his age, sitting beside a huge stack of books. The boy had the weirdest haircut he'd ever seen, and glared at him with disapproval through his eyeglasses. Probably my roomy's little brother or something...

"What are you doing here?" the boy asked him in a surprisingly deep voice, setting the Twinkie he was eating down on the table next to him.

"Room thirteen, Ziggy?" he asked the boy. Venkman had been in a habit of giving people nicknames his whole life, and somehow "Ziggy" just popped in there.

"That is correct."

"Then I live here. Pete Venkman--your brother or whoever around?"

" 'Live here'...this must be a mistake." The boy growled, his face contorting with growing disdain. "They said I'd be roomed with an upperclassman...crumbs..."

The boy stood up and shook Venkman's hand warily. "It appears that we are stuck together, Mister Venkman, at least until I can get someone in the administration to straighten this out."

"You're losing me here, Ziggy..."

"I am your roommate. Egon Spengler"

Venkman laughed. He couldn't help it. " 'Egon Spengler'? Is that your real name or did you get that from an episode of that Star Trek show a few years back?" It was just about the funniest name he'd ever heard.

"This coming from a man who's surname is derived from a term for vermin..." Spengler retorted. "Ugh, I meant why did you come to this university?"

"Oh! Well, I kind of want to be a game show host, but they said I needed a degree!"

"And what are you taking?"

"Parapsychology and Psychology."

"Parapsychology? Fascinating..." Venkman noticed the kid's expression seem to soften ever so subtly. Not one of the expressive types...and man, does he look younger than he should, even as tall as he is...

"Yeah, what of it?" Venkman replied warily

"It seems that we have a mutual interest in one of your subjects!"

"Well...I really only chose it because it seemed like an easy course." Peter replied. This guy for real? Did he just seem to perk up when I mentioned my classes?

"Oh." Egon's eyes seemed a little disappointed behind his red glasses. "Well...welcome to Columbia University. You better have brought a week's worth of clothes." Egon said, getting up from his bed.

"Why?" Peter asked.

"Because if you don't have what it takes...you won't last a week." Egon replied.

"Ouch." Peter replied, he then dove into his backpack and started to fish out his personal things, several non-lecture books which were written by his favourite authour: Dewey LeMorte, a lamp, a rare photograph of the entire Venkman clan together, and an alarm clock. Peter paused before he pulled out the last personal effect, a silver lighter with a green four-leaf clover painted on the side. Peter gripped the familiar object in his hand before he stuffed it into his pocket, a few minutes later Spengler returned with a plastic box. "Lunch?" Peter asked.

"No...spores." Egon replied dryly, he then pulled the lid off of the box and placed it by the window, Peter hazarded a glance into the box, and quickly drew away.

Gross "That a science experiment?" Peter asked.

"No...my hobby." Egon replied, he then placed a legal pad with long scrawls of writing and times next to the box.

"That's your hobby?" Peter asked in disbelief.

"Yes...I collect spores, moulds and fungus." Egon explained quickly.

"Gee...great." Peter said, he then reached into his bag and pulled out several textbooks. Some of them psychology, others on parapsychology and a select few on science and spirits that he'd been happy with being able to bring in without being seen. Egon looked at the books, and then turned away.

"Aren't you going to ask?" Peter asked, almost expecting probing questions into his selection of textbooks.

"Why? What a person likes is his own business, no-one can tell him what he can and cannot like." Egon replied. For some reason, that made Peter feel a little bit better. Alright...maybe this guy isn't completely stuffy...maybe get him a little loosened up in the nearest watering hole... Peter thought.

"Thanks." He replied. "I guess you wouldn't know the hot spot where everybody on campus goes to?" Peter asked.

"You think because I have an interest in fungus that automatically means I don't know where everybody goes to when they go out? You would be right." Egon said with a smile. "It's a bar...Benny's, I don't really bother going, just follow the big group of football players, they'll lead you right to it." Egon replied.

"Thanks." Peter said, he then deposited his keys in his pocket and stood up and walked to the door, pausing to glace at Egon for a moment. "This semester should be fun." Peter grinned and left.

Egon sighed; this wasn't the best day of his life.

Egon Spengler sat back down to finish his cup of tea. It was rather ironic, thought Egon, that he had been placed in room number thirteen, and had he often wondered whether it was some joke played on him by the admin officers.

Now he knew it had been a bad joke

Egon HAD been at the welcoming ceremony, he wasn't quite sure why he had turned up; he'd come here to learn, not to socialize with the common rabble. And then some jackass had decided on having a battle of wits with the Dean. Most found it highly amusing, Egon, on the other hand, did not.

And now he had to share a room with the jackass.

This is just not fair... he mused bitterly.

Scott Jackson lay in bed, contemplating the day's events. He was twenty, but was good friends with Dean Yeager; in fact Yeager was Scott's uncle. The two had what you might call an understanding. Scott was The Dean's eyes and ears around the campus; he would keep an eye on troublemakers. And right now, his attention was turned towards Peter Venkman, an obvious delinquent. Yeager had made it quite clear that Venkman was to be watched very closely!

"Yes..." Muttered Scott, "I'll watch him very carefully!"

"Eeegon..." the voice called, leering and pregnant with malice. "Where are you? It's time to play...." And then...he was there, his giant face grinning, eyes bulging with horrific glee...his hand reaching for him...

Egon awoke in a violent sweat; he had been having the nightmare. Again.

"Easy Egon..." He said to himself. "It was just a nightmare, there is no way on Earth that he could get you here."

Egon looked over to Pete. He was fast asleep. Egon contemplated going back to sleep, but it occurred to him that it might be a good idea to check what time it was.

"Seven Fifteen?" Egon yelled.

"What you say?" Groaned Pete.

"I said it's quarter past seven, we're going to be late for our first lecture!"

"Seven fifteen? Still practically the middle of the night..." Pete muttered, pulling himself out of his bed.

Contrary to Egon's preconceptions, they arrived at the lecture early, so early in fact that the only other person there was Ryan.

"Hey!" Yelled Ryan, waving at Venkman "Over here Pete!"

"Morning Ryan!" Replied Peter.

Peter and Egon walked over.

"Yo, Pete, who's this?"

"Oh, this is Egon, my room mate!"

"Egon...pleased to meet ya...'

"Nice to meet you." Said Egon, extending his hand to Ryan.

From behind the lecture hall door, Scott Jackson watched on, an evil sneer crossed his face...

The lecture hall didn't fill up much, in fact, aside from Pete, Egon and Ryan; there were only three other students. Prof. Thompson stood in front of a projector, ready to start his lecture.

"Good Morning Class..." Said the professor, "I'm Professor John Thompson, and I will be your parapsychology lecturer. Now if you will all take out your books, I will begin with the basics of parapsychology."

Thompson set up a projector and turned it on, the screen behind him lit up.

"Now, the first thing you need to know, is what parapsychology is. Can anybody tell me?"

Egon raised his hand, eager to impress.

"Yes, err, what's your name?"

"Egon Spengler, Sir, parapsychology is the study of anything that cannot or will not be explained by conventional science methods..."

"Let me tell you one thing right here: call me Dr. Thompson. Or even John. None of this 'Sir' stuff. Continue"

"Um...yes..." Egon looked nonplussed for a second, then cleared his throat and continued. "Contrary to popular belief, this does not include only the subject of ghosts, but phenomenon such as ESP, telekinesis, the theory of Atlantis, mythical creatures and other unexplained events."

Thompson cocked an eyebrow "All of you take note of Mr. Spengler, he is an A grade pupil!"

Peter leaned over to Egon, who was red with pride.

"Well, looks who's teacher's pet!" Said Pete

"Now, then..." continued Thompson, "The first module of the course is spectral entities..."

After the class, Egon had gone back to the dorm and Peter had gone to sample the "atmosphere" at Benny's. Three hours later, he stumbled back obviously drunk.

"You knowsh Spengs...Spengs...," Peter tried to get Egon's name out. "Y're weird sometimsh...Hell...I donsh even knowsh you...but you...are also an alright guy!" Peter said, gesturing at him wildly with his mostly empty bottle of Budweiser.

"Glad to know." Egon muttered, he then deposited Peter on the his bed, he now was completely out. "Inebriated. If you'd drank anymore, you'd probably qualify for Tri Kuppa Bru's short list." Egon mused. He then watched the sleeping form of Peter Venkman for a few minutes. "Welcome to Columbia University Peter Venkman, you have passed the first test." Egon said quietly before he prepared himself for bed.

Peter sniffed and was suddenly awake. A mechanical clock ticked away quietly to itself over by Egon's empty and neatly laid out bed.

"I am glad to see you are awake." A voice said, then a coffee cup appeared in view.

"Wha...what time is it?"

"It is 8:15AM, 45 minutes before your first class." Egon replied, handing Peter the cup. Peter took it gratefully and drank from it. "And, if you want to give a good impression, you might want to change your shirt." Egon said, he then walked over to his desk and picked up a pile of books.

"Where are you going?" Peter asked.

"Library, I've got some studies to do." Egon replied. "I'll see you later." Egon said, he then walked over to the door and opened it, then a few minutes later it closed.

Peter's head dropped back down on the pillow, but it shot up again. He downed the rest of the coffee and stared at his clothes, he could keep the jeans and maybe even the socks, but the shirt had to go, it was a mixed concoction of alcohol, sweat...and Peter had the slightest suspicion that there was the hint of vomit. It only took Peter ten minutes to change and get a quick breakfast, another two and the light stubble on his chin was gone. He then gathered his books and went for the door.

"Yo Venkman! Nice contest last night, will we be seeing you again?" A voice shouted, Peter had a dim memory of seeing the guy the previous night at Benny's.

"Yeah...sure thing!" He shouted. The guy nodded, joined a group of football players and vanished down one of the man pathways of the campus. Peter finally entered the building that had the cafeteria and he joined the line in waiting, he grabbed a tray and as the line progressed, he stacked food that caught his fancy, which wasn't a lot.

Looks like the junk food mentality is enforced at University. Peter thought. As Peter made his way across the cafeteria, a hand snagged his arm. Peter looked down. There was one of the only faces from last night that he had a name for.

He saw Ryan, and was moving towards his table when another hand grabbed him.

"Come on Venkman, we've got a space here." It was the same guy from the night before. Barry...that's his name...

"Hey Barry, what's up?" Peter asked.

"Nothing much...just talking about last night." Barry replied.

"Well, I wish you'd tell me. I can't remember."

"Haha! That's a good one Venkman!" Barry clapped Peter on the back, though Barry thought is was a joke, Peter had been serious, however he replied with a grin.

Peter sprinted across campus at a speed, he was late. A stone bench quickly approached, Peter vaulted over the bench and windmilled his arms to stop from toppling, doing this as he continued to run. There was a large grouping of people at a door into the Psychology Building. Peter swung his body sideways and passed through the gap in one fluid motion.

"HEY!" A voice shouted, Peter ignored it. The door to the Psychology Hall loomed, the last people were making their way in. Peter then slid one foot forward and slid the remaining distance, his sneaker holding the door just before it closed.

"I'm glad to see that the last of us arrived before the door locked." The lecturer said a few people laughed and Peter shook it off with a grin. He then found a seat and sat down at it.

When Psychology class ended, Peter walked along the hallway back the way he'd come.

"Hey!" The voice called again, it was gruff...and it belonged to a man in a pair of tracksuit trousers and a white T-Shirt, a whistle hung around his neck and there was a blue cap on his balding head, completing the high-school Coach look. "I want to talk to you..." He said.

"I didn't do anything." Peter said.

"Yes, you did. You got moves, ever think about playing football?" The Coach asked, Peter could imagine the guy chomping down on the end of a cigar.

"No..." Peter replied.

"Well you should, we could use a player like you." The coach said. "Try-outs start in two months, don't forget." As if to emphasis the fact, the coach stuck a sheet of paper on a nearby noticeboard, as soon as he'd left a few people were signing their names on the sheet.

"Come on, Venkman, the way you sprinted across campus was faster then some of the existing team." Barry had appeared from nowhere.

"I don't know...I've only been here a day."

"Come on, if you don't like it then drop it...it's not like Coach Vorhees is gonna force you with a shot-gun." Barry signed down his name and then held the pen out to Peter, he stared at it for a few minutes, shrugged and took it. He then wrote his name down on the sheet.

"There ya go Slim." Barry said.

"Slim?" Peter asked.

"Well, there's no way someone my size could have made that gap between the Coach and the door."

"Slim Venkman." Peter said, it seemed okay.

"You got anything next?" Barry asked as they left the building.

"Nope...free period." Peter replied.

"Same here, fancy going down to Benny's?" Barry asked.

"Sure." Peter replied.

Benny's was really just a glorified bar with Columbia U memorabilia. Photos and University football team shirts adorned the walls. There was also a jukebox and the lighting was moody. For all intents and purposes it was the usual hangout for Columbia's jocks and students who wanted a decent place to drink which was a short walk from the main campus.

Barry pushed the metal bar on the steel door and allowed loud music to spill out onto the street. One other thing Benny's was infamous for...was supposedly making one guy go deaf from the noise.

The main layout was a based on a 50's diner, the bar along one wall with metal stools flagging the customer side, along the outer walls below the windows were booths where at least a good chunk of the student body of Columbia had hung out at one time or another. Above each booth was a stained-glass lampshade and on the table was a small tray containing salt, peper and a menu.

"Hey guys!" Barry called to a group of people sitting in one of the booths near the back of bar, half of them sported football jackets which bore their seperate names. "I'd like to introduce you to a friend of mine. Meet Slim Venkman."

"Slim eh?" One of them asked.

"Yep, you should have seen him dodge Vorhees' fat ass, man he was blocking most of the door but my man here managed to dodge past him." Barry explained.

"Well, looks to me like we've got ourselves a new member." The guy replied. He then gestured for Barry and Peter to take a seat at the booth. "What's your first name?"

"Peter..." Peter answered.

"Welcome Pete, as Barry may or may not have told you...we're Columbia's football team, we don't usually allow freshmen...however we're willing to make exceptions. We're all members of Tri Kuppa Bru--you might have heard of us."

"I've heard of some of the things you've done." Peter replied.

"Good, then you'll understand that we're big on jokes. Tell you what, we'll make an...initiation for you to come into Tri Kuppa Bru." Peter's mind tossed, he was only just getting used to his current lodgings.

"I'm not sure...I'm still new here."

"Fair enough, just let us know when you're settled in and we'll arrange it. I can see a good future for you here Pete." The jock laughed.

Egon and Ryan listened attentively as Dr. Thompson was finishing his lecture. Venkman, having spent too much time out with the football team getting drunk the night before, was almost fully asleep.

"Now class... I appreciate that this is the first week, but I'm setting you your first coursework."

"Aw man," moaned Peter.

"What are you talking about?" Asked Egon, "This is great!"

"You have a weird definition of great, Spengs..."

"Okay then," Said Thompson, "What I want you to do is to choose any aspect of Ghosts to do a report on, I trust you all know the standard form of coursework! I want you in groups of four or three.

"So..." Said Ryan, You lot want to work together?"

"Yeah, s'pose..." Said Pete.

"Well then it's settled!"

Egon, Pete and Ryan sat on a bench in the university's grounds.

"So, what are we going to do our project on?"

"Why don't you ask Egon?" Said Pete, "He seems to be the brain behind the outfit!"

Egon just glared for a few seconds

"Egon?"

"Well," remarked Egon "I suggest we study the effects of a spectral presence, on the temperature of the environment."

"If that's the way to go..." Said Pete, halfheartedly.

"Great!" Cried Ryan, "So when do we start?"

"This weekend. I have an idea."

"Egon!" Shouted Peter, "When I took Parapsychology I did not bank on spending the weekend in a cold and very damp Fort!"

They had pulled up outside an old Virginian Fort, it had been wrecked for years, and everyone knew that it was supposed to be haunted.

The students looked in awe at the wreck in front of them. Pete had had very little sleep the night before, and had been up extremely early in the morning.

"I'm telling you Egon! I am NOT spending the weekend here!"

"How the hell did you get me into this?"

Peter sat on a stool in the dank hall of the fort, the scientific equipment unpacked; Egon was already setting it up.

"This is not how I pictured my weekend!" Pete screamed.

"Ach, come on Pete..." Ryan walked over to Pete and put a hand on his shoulder, "It's a chance to touch the other plane!"

"The only plane I want to touch is a plane back home!"

"Now," Said Egon, "I think we're ready to start!"

"Wonderful!" Said Pete, sarcastically.

"OK then, this hall is where the ghost of an old army captain is said to roam. We will be measuring temperature through the night, we're looking for rapid drops."

"OK, Egon, I get that, but what are all the other machines for?" Ryan asked.

"Well, we have the digital thermometers..."

"Yeah..."

"Digital clocks..."

"Right..."

"And over here are devices for measuring energy and classifying it."

"Ah, gotcha."

"With everything set up, all we have to do is wait." Egon summarized.

"Right.... Well then, now that everything is set up, who wants some vodka?" Pete grinned and pulled a rather large bottle of Vodka out of a box.

"Peter." Retorted Egon, "You are, if I'm not mistaken, only eighteen years old--it is not only unprofessional for you to be consuming alcohol, it is technically illegal."

"Suit yourself...I had to cancel a date with the head cheerleader to sit in this drafty old dump, so I want some enjoyment out of this...Ryan?"

Ryan sighed and shook his head. "Ahh, well, um, maybe it would be best if I didn't, you understand!"

"Fine, all the more for me!"

And with that, Pete took a swig out of the bottle.

"WHOA!" That's good stuff!"

Egon shook his head in disdain.

Five hours later it was ten past eleven; the students had encountered no joy.

"You know Egosh, Ish could tell thaaa mesh n you were gonna beesh gooood friensh, right from the firsh time Ish shaw you! All I need to do ish find you a woman...get you laid...like that idea, Shpengsh?""

"Peter, you're drunk!" Replied Egon.

Pete sat on his stool, rocking back and forth, he was completely intoxicated, the bottle of Vodka lay on the floor bone dry.

"No Ish not..." Grunted Pete,

Pete sat on his stool, rocking back and forth, he was completely intoxicated, the bottle of Vodka lay on the floor bone dry.

"Ach, Ish fell shick! Ach"

Pete doubled over and began to vomit, violently, Pete pulled his head up, his eyes blood shot and his mouth covered in puke.

"Well, Egosh, Ryne, I feel.... Goosh Night!"

Suddenly Pete toppled backwards off his stool and lost consciousness

"Idiot..." Remarked Egon.

"He'll be OK, he'll just have one giant migraine when he wakes up." Ryan chuckled. "He has to be on Tri Kuppa Bru's short list..."

"Actually, from what I understand, yes. He is."

The digital thermometer was beeping rapidly. On the screen the number decreased rapidly. Egon ran over to his machines.

"Fascinating. There's a rapid drop in temperature!" Remarked Egon.

"Whoa..." muttered Ryan, "Something doesn't feel right here!"

By the doorway a white mist floated in; Egon and Ryan stood up, looking at it. Each of them was speechless. Egon's machines beeped rapidly. The white mist floated up to Ryan.

"Egon.... Help..." Whispered Ryan. Ryan's face showed nothing but fear, the white mist floated in front of him, as if inspecting him.

"Don't move!" Whispered Egon.

"Easy for you to say!"

The mist seemed to loose interest in Ryan, and floated over to Pete's unconscious body, it hovered for a moment, before disappearing. "Well..." said Egon, the closest to smiling Ryan'd ever seen him. "I think that's enough field work for this weekend, shall we err, go?"

"Sounds like a good idea!" Replied Ryan.

Venkman snored loudly.

"We shall have to carry Venkman to the car, however." Egon stated.

"We could just leave him here..."

The students drove back to New York, Peter laid out on the back seat, a bucket next to his head, his eyes began to twitch and he woke up.

"Ugh... what happened?"

"You got yourself well and truly intoxicated Peter." Retorted Egon.

"Don't use big words like that. My head's all thumpy"

"It's quite simple, you had too much Vodka!"

"Ugh... I have such a headache!"

"Serves you right..." Ryan chuckled.

"So, have I been out the whole weekend?"

"Err, no..." Replied Ryan. "We left early..."

"Great!" Said Pete, "Um, Why?"

"Well" said Ryan, "We encountered something..."

"What?"

"Just something..."

"Ryan..."

"Alright we encountered a spectral presence..."

"A ghost?"

"Yeah..."

"Hah! Good one Harness...you had me going for a minute!"

"But it's true..."

"Sure it is!" I bet you got some results too huh?"

"Yes we did!"

Peter tapped his nose as he spoke, "At least we won't flunk!"

"But it's real data!"

"Whatever, if you don't mind, I'm going back to sleep."

And with that, Peter slipped back into the dream world, where he dreamt of things that go bump in the night.

Egon sat alone in one of the university labs, he had a sheet of graph paper in front of him along with the time and temperature results from the previous nights encounter. On top of these he had a read out from the energy measurer.

That idiot Venkman...it's all a game to him...an "easy A" indeed...

Maybe the shallow, self-absorbed man never would understand.

Ever since he was a child he had found great satisfaction in exploring the unknown. Egon's parents had never believed in toys...the first present he remembered was a microscope when he was three...You will be the greatest scientist of all time his father said to him constantly. It was not a prophesy. It was not a suggestion. It was a command.

But Father never understood...perhaps never could. I told him about the monster in the closet...and he ignored it. It only angered him. Egon, you are smarter than that. This talk of a Boogeyman in your closet is completely irrational. It will cease at once, or you will be punished.

And it did cease. The talk. But the monster would continue to appear.

And it's victim burned with hidden anger even when it had gone, to move on to younger, more shakable victims.

What are you really, Boogeyman??? And how can I stop you??? How can I make sure that I can keep you from scaring an innocent child ever again???

He pushed the thoughts from his mind. He was dangerously close to being emotional when he needed all of his reason.

It's quite obvious that the temperature readings and my theory was accurate...but that's not the source of concern...The readings on the device that detected and classified energy, be it thermal, electric, magnetic and so on... Well it's picked up an unknown energy source, this X-energy, was detected a soon as that mist appeared, and was lost just as quickly!

He grabbed a piece of paper and scrawled a bunch of figures on it. It might be caused by a fluctuation of quanta...moving between the energy and matter state but staying in neither...pure potentiality...energy to cause psychoreactive manipulation of external matter and forces...

Psycho Kinetic Energy

This requires a lot more research...but I have an idea...

Ryan could here a rapid knocking at his door; slowly he pulled himself off his bed and walked over. Opening the door, Ryan found Egon standing outside.

"Egon, how are you?"

"I'm fine, Ryan--you have to look at this!"

Egon stormed into the dorm and stood by the window.

"What is it?"

Egon held up a strange device.

"What the hell is that? It looks like a shoe polisher..."

"This, is a real breakthrough--it's a PKE meter, that's psyco-kinetic energy! The X-energy I detected at the event!"

Some of what Spengler was saying flew completely over his head, but he understood enough to be impressed. "Wow!"

"The only thing is it is still in the experimental stages, it needs to be tested in a new location!"

"Come on let's tell Venkman!"

Egon and Ryan burst through the doors to dorm 13, only to stop in horror.

There was movement on Venkman's bed...a groan...a distinctly female groan, followed by Venkman's voice..."Oooh yeah...yeah..."

Egon blushed for a few seconds, as it penetrated his mind what was happening here. He backed away...ready to retreat...when he tripped and fell over one of the stacks of books he'd left on the floor, and landed with a loud crash.

"AAAHHH!!! WHAT THE HELL???" Venkman shouted, poking his head up over the covers. As did a beautiful blonde that Ryan recognized as the head cheerleader. The girl screamed as she saw Egon and Ryan; she jumped out of the bed with only her shirt and knickers on. The girl picked up her skirt and shoes and ran out of the room.

"Oh! Thanks a lot guys!" Complained Pete. "Why do you have to ruin everything?"

"Oh for God's sake Peter!" Roared Egon, "How old are you?"

"How old are YOU!?" Venkman shouted back. "You sound like you're forty but can't seem to understand a little thing like 'Yo, I'm busy, I got a girl here, come back later'--I wanna live when I'm still young enough to get some, but if you guys keep interrupting every time I get lucky, then I'll be old before I know it!"

"I will be sixteen on November 21, but I fail to see of what significance that fact has"

"You're shitting me" Venkman said, incredulous.

"I never kid." Egon spat back.

The Next Day
"And so, by setting the device to check for the signals given out only by energy-x, or psyco-kinetic energy, we developed the PKE-meter!"

Egon stepped down of the speaking podium and returned to his seat.

"Well, thank you Mister Spengler, that was very, um, interesting." Said Professor Thompson. "Can we have the next report?"

"They were laughing at us!" Snorted Ryan.

"Yeah," Replied Pete, "They were!"

"There's no recognizing genius!" Remarked Egon

Peter looked at him...it was strange how different Egon looked to him all of a sudden...Only fifteen, and an upperclassman? It all fits...like how he's all brains with the social skills of, well, aluminum siding...he had to have been driven...or driven himself...or both...pretty damn hard. But he never learned to be a kid...never learned to socialize...which is why he's such a pompous asshole... Peter stopped as he realized the depth of his insight. Jesus, now I sound like those psychology classes are taking...what is wrong with me?

Scott Jackson walked into the room, a sneer on his face...

"Well, well, well," Said Scott, "If it isn't the clown gang..."

"What do you want Dickless?"

"Shut it Venkman! I know what you cranks have been up to, and don't worry, the Dean will be informed!"

"And what exactly have we been doing?" Asked Egon.

"Well... You've been... That is to say... um... you... well, all right but let me tell you something! One day you guys will slip up, and when you do I will be there to see it and report it to the Dean!"

With that Scott took his leave.

"Well," Said Ryan, "That was unexpected!"

"Quite!" Replied Egon.

"Do you think he meant it?

"Yes, but we haven't done anything wrong!"

"So," Said Peter, "When do we test out the PKE meter?"

Egon looked at Venkman. It was strange that he would show an actual interest in what he was doing all of a sudden. "Soon. We need to find another location of psyco-kinetic turbulence!" Replied Egon "I have been conducting an experiment in the labs, and I need the new data to continue."

"We could go back to the fort..." Ryan suggested.

"We could--but for my purposes, I would prefer a new event site--to make sure I'm detecting a common trait rather than one specific to the anomaly at the fort."

"So," Said Pete, "This is where you want to find more ghosts..." They were in the rural village of Chumboro, near the capitol of Rhode Island, Providence.

"Chumboro house has a rather notorious reputation--it has it's own page in Tobin's Spirit Guide..." Egon replied.

"Say what?" He looked at the mansion, indistinguishable from many of the other he'd seen on the drive up here. All he could do was think how impressed his dates would be if he took them home to a place like this...

"It's a notable occult reference work--I've read excerpts in Spooks Illustrated. I'm still trying to track down a copy of the whole book, as well as locate a couple more of the greats. The Catalog of Nameless Horrors by Spates, and the book by Zundinger: Magicians, Martyrs, and Madmen..."

"Finding you a girlfriend is going to be harder than I thought--she'll have to be weird enough to stand the shit you're into, not to mention have the stubbornness of a mule and the patience of a saint to penetrate that barrier of yours."

Egon looked at him like he'd just uttered a phrase in Martian. "Venkman, what in Einstein's name are you talking about?"

"Never mind, Spengs..." Venkman smirked. "I'm just glad it's your truck, Ryan--first Virginia, now Rhode Island, you're really rackin' up the mileage."

"I'm a Tennessee boy, Pete--drivin' a pickup is in my blood." Ryan chuckled. "Course, this ain't like huntin' deer..."

The man who led them around the house was a nervous looking man in his late forties. Jonah Haller was his name, and he was giving them the standard tourist spiel: "The original owner was Captain Wilhab Dickenhart, who had it built in the 1840's with the money he made from tea trading with China. The first stories about ghosts started in the 1860's after the death of Dickenhart's fiancee, Eudora Danforth, and only intensified after Captain Dickenhart's mysterious disappearance in 1869."

"After that, the house was purchased by Dickenhart's lawyer, Charles Deveraus--his heirs owned it until 1957, when it was donated to the Captain's Boulevard Preservation Association."

Venkman stifled a yawn. "Which I presume means you?"

"I'm a member of the Association...I get paid to maintain the property and run the tour groups. There aren't too many, and those that do come here tend to be..." Haller spared a glance at Spengler, studying his strange device, the two arms at it's side flashing occasionally. He was oblivious to what they were saying--he knew the history of the place already from Tobin's "...A little weird. No offense intended, of course..."

Ryan nudged Venkman. "Nope. We totally agree actually."

"According to Tobin's..." Egon said "many of the entities are believed to have originated with the Chinese and African artifacts Captain Dickenhart collected. And that Captain Dickenhart and Miss Danforth are believed to be among the spirits haunting the place..."

"I've heard those theories, son, and I honestly don't know if there's anything here. I get these weird feelings from time to time, but I've never seen anything."

"Fair enough. Might we set up our equipment in one of the artifact rooms?"

"Be my guest." Haller responded, with a distinct sense of Just so you leave me alone...

"Ugly dude..." Ryan said, holding one of the tribal masks over his face.

"Actually, it's an improvement over your original face." Venkman chimed in.

"I believe it's of Ibandi origin, probably a depiction of one of their tribal gods..." Egon added dispassionately. "Is the camera ready, Ryan?"

"Ready and willing, Professor." Ryan responded with mock earnestness.

"And this time I didn't bring any Vodka!" Interrupted Peter.

"Well that's good to hear." retorted Egon.

The PKE meter began to emit bleeping sounds.

"Guys!" yelled Egon, "We have something here, it's off the scale!"

The PKE Meter began to go crazy, something big was brewing!

Ryan chuckled.

"This is it! This is definitely it!"

A strong wind struck up, the hair on the students' heads began to blow out of style.

"I don't like this..." Cried Peter

"Can't be too bad..." Said Ryan

"Leave..." Said an evil voice stemming from the walls of the room...

"Uh guys..." Said Pete, " I think we better..."

"LEAVE" The voice screamed, "LEAVE!"

"Let's go!" Yelled Ryan.

"But this is..." Egon started to argue.

"NOW!!!" Venkman cut him off, grabbing his and dragging him off.

The students fled from the room in a state of panic; Haller ran out of the next room

"What's wrong?" he said.

Venkman stopped to put a hand on Haller's shoulder.

"Sell this place and move to the city, Dude. I think you'll live longer."

Venkman ran after his friends and jumped into the truck; Ryan gunned the ignition and the truck sped away."

"Egon, I take back all the stuff I said about you being touched in the head. Jesus, who woulda' thought that that shit was real?" Venkman exhaled, fighting off a sense of genuine panic now that he was far away from the actual Chumboro Mansion.

Egon looked at him with a look that could only be described as lessened wariness. "It's a larger, more complex, and more...interesting world than conventional science wants us to believe, Peter. If there's any positive to this rather...startling evening, it's that you both see that now." He held up his device. "That, and the fact that I know the PKE meter works..."

Several hours later, Ryan Harness's truck pulled up to Columbia University.

"What the hell?" Ryan cried.

There was the glow of red light--the university was on fire!!!

"Er guys..." Muttered Pete.

The New York Fire Fighters had worked quickly, and the fire had been doused quickly, not too much damage had been sustained, only two labs had been destroyed! Outside the burnt labs, Dean Yeager and Scott Jackson waited for the ghost hunters.

Pete, Egon and Ryan ran up to the labs...

"Oh my God..." Muttered Peter...

"Oh My God exactly, Mister Venkman!" said the Dean, "Look what you and your friends have done!"

"Us?"

"Yes, why, if you don't believe me, ask Mister Jackson over here."

"You..."

"Yes Venkman!" Said Scott, "It seems that your little party left a dangerous experiment running, this caused the fire! Well, well, well, you are in trouble."

Pete clenched his fist.

"Why you little..."

"Ah, ah, ah... Calm down Mister Venkman" Said Yeager. "You don't want to get charged with assault as well as being expelled do you?"

"Expelled?" Venkman asked incredulously, his anger growing.

"Yes, it was your fault the fire started!"

"Uh excuse me sir," said Egon "It was my..."

Egon was about to say that he was to blame, but was quickly interrupted by Ryan.

"Sir, It was my fault, I set up the experiment without consulting my associates, it's my fault."

Yeager was destroyed, he wanted more than anything to be able to expel Venkman, but now wasn't the time."

"Very well," Said the Dean, "Ryan Harness, you are hereby expelled from Columbia University, pack your bags, I want you gone by tomorrow!"

With a final incriminating glance from Scott, he and the Dean turned and left.

"Ryan," Exclaimed Egon, "You didn't have to do that!"

"Yeah, I did. You two are the important ones, and I have a feeling you have something important to do..."

Epilogue
Five Months Later
Life at Columbia University had become a colourful thing, with varying degrees of fun depending on which events were occurring in the University Year. Football try outs had begun, and an aspiring Peter Venkman had now made the team and was playing fullback. Egon Spengler and Dr. Thompson had bonded since the incident at Chumboro House, and Thompson had been talking about a lead he'd gotten on a first edition of Tobin's Spirit Guide

How do I get into these things? Peter shivered. He had no idea just how the stunt had been born, but he had a sneaking suspicion that the Tri Kuppa Bru party last night had something to do with it. Oh well, might as well get on with the show. He reached forward to the rope, and pulled it.

"Whoa Venkman! Woo!" A voice cheered, suddenly everyone gathered on the immediate area of the campus turned to look at the flagpole.

"Oh good grief." Egon Spengler cast his eyes downward and shook his head in dismay. He then looked up again in total disapproval. There was a person hung from the flagpole...in his underwear. Egon had never seen anyone pull such a stunt, not even Tri Kuppa Bru.

"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING?!?" A voice exploded.

"GET DOWN HERE THIS INSTANT!" Egon stared at the angry voice as it marched across towards the campus flag pole, it was none other than Dean Yeager himself. To Egon's left, Professor Thompson tried his best not to laugh, it was a surreal image, of Dean Yeager, his face beet red, shouting at a student who'd flown himself up the flagpole by his boxer shorts. So far, it was the most memorable thing to happen on campus. Yeager shouted at the student for a few minutes, and he was then lowered to the ground and marched off into the University Admin building.

"He's in for it." Thompson muttered, he then turned and carried on to where he was going while the gathered students dispersed.

"You...If I had my way, you'd be kicked out of campus this instant, you're just lucky we have Dean Sanders to thank for, now get out of my sight before I throw something at you!" Yeager snarled, swiveling his chair to face the windows lining the back of his office. Peter shrugged, a little beaten from the verbal barrage, he then turned, scooped up his duffel bag that contained his clothes and left the office. He stopped by the toilets in order to change back into his clothes and he then made his way across the campus to Johnson Hall.

"Yo, anybody home?" Peter asked. "Spengs?" He asked, the drunken stumbling over his roommate's surname had become an unofficial nickname.

"Afternoon Peter. I guess today's antics were sufficiently worthwhile?" Egon asked, though Peter could tell from the edge in Egon's voice, and from the look Spengler gave him over the rim of his red-framed glasses, that he didn't approve.

"Meh, it's not really fun when you're up a flag pole shivering in your boxers." Peter said discouragingly.

"No doubt, their suggestion for your initiation." Egon mused. Peter's talking about Tri Kuppa Bru had increased dramatically as soon as he'd gotten onto the football team. It seemed a fair guess his stature with the fraternity would increase due to that.

Peter Venkman looked into the sky, and Ryan's words came back to him. I have a feeling you have something important to do...

Somehow...he knew Ryan Harness was right about that.

And that someday, somehow, he would make this up to him.

Questions? Comments? Go to the Ectozone Message Board
Based on Ghostbusters Created by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis
Disclaimer: Chumboro House and it's descriptions come from the Ghostbusters International supplement: Tobin's Spirit Guide (West End Games, 1989)

Ryan Harness created by Andy Harness



Established 20040113t
Version 20211005t
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