By Selene Steese
Who can forget the iconic moment in the original “Ghostbusters” (1984), when EPA Officer Walter Peck (featuring William Atherton as the character you loved to hate) orders the shut-off of power to the containment grid, consequently creating an eruption of ghosts upon the Manhattan skyline; the disembodied spirits and amorphous entities ushering-in looming apocalyptic events. With the release of the new “Ghostbusters”—replacing the four guys with an all-female team—we will be treated to new cinematic moments as the ghosts, spirits and entities are reimagined courtesy of new advanced CGI animation and special effects. And with the resurrection of the “Ghostbusters” franchise will be a cascade of sequels, cartoons, spin-off video games and everything “Ghostbusters”! Whether its this new movie-reboot or the iconic original version, there’s no doubt that the “Ghostbusters” entertainment brand offers a fun-filled fictional leap that is also a subtle reminder of the real phenomena being experienced around the world and of the real ghostbusters that continue to investigate and confront these phenomena.
While “Ghostbusters” focuses on the fictional ghostly events plaguing New York City, the real-life reports of ghosts, poltergeists and hostile spirits is a global phenomena that is well-known to the majority of cultures around the world. In Taiwan, rituals involving firecrackers, elaborate costumes, and tables laden with food were created over the centuries to appease hungry ghosts, known as è guǐ in Chinese. These spirits hunger because they long for food and drink, yet are unable to take them in. The Chinese people dedicate an entire month to ghosts, and hold festivals to appease the starving spirits of their ancestors. In Ireland, home to the infamous banshee—or bean sidhe—has a culture threaded through with spirits of the dead. If you hear the bean sidhe’s blood-chilling cry, or happen to spy her combing her long hair, someone in your family may be about to die. In fact, the Irish are known to use the threat, “I’ll haunt you” to frighten misbehaving loved ones. In Scotland you’ll find Glamis Castle, reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the world. Built in the 14th century, this historic site has had several hundred years to accumulate ghosts. Among them is the spirit of Janet Douglas, wife of the sixth Earl of Glamis. After being falsely accused of witchcraft and imprisoned, she was burned alive at the stake in 1537. Witnesses observe that her ghost seems sorrowful, and she’s most often seen kneeling in prayer in the Castle’s chapel. In the town of Matjiesfontein, South Africa, lays claim to a large number of apparitions, three of which haunt the Lord Milner Hotel. Kate, a nurse during the South African War, died at age 19 under mysterious circumstances. Employees of the hotel still hear the sound of shuffling cards from the tower room where she played card games with her convalescing patients.
If one were encountering these supernatural forces and in need of real life ghostbusting, the question of “who are you going to call?” is more difficult now than ever before. With the proliferation of “ghost hunting” TV series and Internet websites/blogs, it seems that anyone that can hold a video camera or an EMF scanner or that can build a website can call him or herself an expert paranormal investigator, arguably resulting in an overall discrediting of the field of true paranormal investigating and parapsychology as a whole. Needless to say, many of those self-proclaimed experts don’t really have a sound, scientific approach to gathering and analyzing evidence of the paranormal, let alone qualified to be dealing with situations in-the-field that often involve victims of these phenomena. It’s gotten so bad that apps have been written for iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system, to reportedly help the user detect ghosts. There’s even one called, “Ghost Radar”, that bills itself as “the original application designed to detect paranormal activity.”
So how does one find a real-life ghostbuster? Sadly enough, in the last 100 years of parapsychology and psychic and paranormal research there’s only been a hand-full of professionals in the world that have been established as credible qualified paranormal investigators to deal with ghosts, poltergeists and similar paranormal phenomena. Hans Holzer, William Roll, Scott Rogo and Thelma Moss are among those that are no longer with us, leaving only two in the world that continue to investigate these phenomena; Christopher Chacon and Loyd Auerbach. No other living paranormal investigator or parapsychologist today has a better understanding and grasp of investigating haunt/poltergeist phenomena than these two veteran experts. Loyd Auerbach is a parapsychologist that has conducted hundreds of investigations in the US dealing with haunts, poltergeists and psychic phenomena and has written multiple books on the subject. Christopher Chacon is a parapsychologist and the world’s top anomalist and has conducted thousands of investigations in every corner of the world, not only with haunts and poltergeists, but also every type of paranormal phenomena imaginable. Each of these ghostbusters has received unique formal training and education and have spent many, many years conducting their research and have earned their reputations many times over as authorities in the field of parapsychology and paranormal research, bringing their own unique and incomparable expertise to the exploration of haunts and poltergeists.
Chacon and his research and investigations is a great example of how these “ghostbusters” are preeminent in every sense of the word. Because of his credibility and success in dealing with all manner of paranormal phenomena, as well as maintaining the confidentiality of his clients, Chacon is in huge demand around the world with an ongoing waiting list, from average everyday families to Interpol and the Vatican’s special investigative team. He is armed with a unique and effective hybrid approach, a product of his extraordinary and vast background that applies a variety of disciplines, schools-of-thought and techniques (scientific, parapsychological, metaphysical, etc.) and has been known to deal with a phenomenon by utilizing such innovative methods that range from one end of the spectrum to the other, including from applying millions of dollars of next-generation technology to applying ancient and arcane metaphysical/occult methods. Among his impressive history, he spent a dozen years with a scientific think-tank where he got his training as an anomalist, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and advanced scientific methods to assess every manner of phenomena. Unlike the movie “Ghostbusters”, Chacon never charges his clients, which are international and include individuals/families, private organizations of every type, religious and academic institutions, government agencies (from scientific to law enforcement) and corporations.
Though they work independent of each other, Chacon and Auerbach have each been continuously at the forefront of investigations and research into ghosts and poltergeists long before the Internet ever existed and certainly long before there were any faux-documentary ghost hunting TV shows and are indeed the last of the true ghostbusting parapsychologists. But what happens once they too are gone? Even now, there are just too many reports globally of ghost, poltergeists and paranormal phenomena out there for these two top authorities to handle them all. And it is unlikely that any of the ghost hunting TV talent (for lack of a better term) or the Internet paranormal investigators for that matter, to be able to legitimately take-on all these reports, let alone fill in the void that these two paranormal icons will leave, as each is irreplaceable. That being said, the need for a new generation of credible parapsychological investigators and researchers with the proper background and training to deal with ghosts and poltergeists is needed more than ever. With any luck, the next generation of true ghostbusters will apprentice and train with one of these world-famous parapsychologists or will earn their own way, both academically and through field research, by taking-up a scientific discipline, learning from past parapsychological research and from many hours of conducting lab and field research and then by properly applying it all in new cases.
Now that the new “Ghostbusters” has reawakened a global cultural zeitgeist inadvertently bringing to light personal ghost-stories and real encounters with haunts and poltergeists, we are reminded that such phenomena not only exists, but is thriving, reiterating the necessity for credible paranormal investigators that can accurately access the phenomena and give aide to those who are in need. It is safe to say that in all versions and forms that “Ghostbusters” takes, from movies to video games, the fictional paranormal heroes will always conquer over whatever supernatural ghostly foes they confront. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t so safe and predictable, each chilling paranormal encounter and manifestation fraught with uncertainty, sometimes with no clear-cut answers or conclusions. But whether the phenomena is a passive haunting or a disturbing poltergeist, you can be rest assured that the world’s best and most qualified parapsychologists; Chacon and Auerbach, are on the job, coming face-to-face with these paranormal forces as the world’s top real ghostbusters.