In his book Mutants and Mystics (pp. 3-5) the self-professed possessed professor, Jeffrey Kripal provided some interesting information about Ghost Busters star actor Dan Aykroyd. As it turns out the line is fuzzy as we consider whether fiction imitates life or life imitates fiction (see my review of the book here).
As is common with very many authors or pop-occulture of various forms of media (books, movies, comic books, music, etc.) true, real life, occultism leads to what is sold to us as fiction. In other words, a fictitious story is wrapped around the true, real life, occultism worldviews and practices of actors, screen writers, directors, authors, directors, etc.
“consider the tongue-in-cheek blockbuster film Ghost busters (1984) that comedian Dan Aykroyd co-wrote with Harold Ramis. It would be easy indeed to dismiss all that ectoplasm as pure satire.
Except for fact that the film emerged from four generations of Aykroyd's attending, writing about, and studying seances.”
Jeffrey Kripal traces Dan Aykroyd's great-grandfather, Samuel August Aykroyd, who presided over a homemade “Spiritualist circle” which included the spirit channeling medium Walter Ashurst, “whose favorite reading was The Shadow, an early and unmistakable precursor of the superhero genre.”
Dan Aykroyd's grandfather, Maurice Aykroyd, worked as an engineer for Bell Telephone. He:
“actually queried his colleagues about the possibility of constructing a high-vibration crystal radio as a mechanical method for contacting the spiritual world.”
Such conceptualizations are not uncommon and are the background of the invention of telephones, televisions, etc. In fact, in 1920 AD H.P. Lovecraft wrote a story about a scientist who constructs, “an electronic device that emits a resonance wave, which stimulates an affected person’s pineal gland, thereby allowing them to perceive planes of existence outside the scope of accepted reality” (from the Wikipedia entry for From Beyond).
Maurice Aykroyd's son was Peter H. Aykroyd and was Dan's father. Peter kept records on seances which he attended and wrote a history of “psychical research” which was titled A History of Ghosts and remained somewhat skeptical. Therein, he writes of:
“a ‘German ectoplasm hunter’ a wax cast of a materialized hand, and a totally crazy photo of a ‘teleplasmic mass’ emerging from the nose of a medium in which multiple faces appear, including that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the famous detective writer and deeply committed Spiritualist.”
It is ironic that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was into the occult but created Sherlock Holmes who was the consummate rationalist. On the other hand, Harry Houdini was skeptical of the occult but created “magic” illusions (you can learn more about Houdini in the article Penn and Teller - Shut Up and…Presto!).
Peter Aykroyd concluded:
“A thought has been in the back of my mind over the years as I've gone through these files and heard these stories: Whether they were believers or skeptics or somewhere in between, those who have experienced psychical phenomena have been entertained, frightened, amused, touched, moved. And aren't these precisely the emotions we want to experience when we attend a play, or see a movie, or go to a ballet?...Performers? Performances? Created characters? Could these phrases be keys to the phenomenon of spirit contact?” [ellipses in original]
Jeffrey Kripal notes that “By such questions, Peter Aykroyd does not mean to suggest pure stagecraft or simple deceit”:
“He means to suggest what he calls ‘the existence of layers of unconscious creative potential in the minds of sitters’ that create, quite outside any conscious control, an ‘apparitional drama.’
If I read him right, he means to suggest that spiritualistic phenomena were a kind of spontaneous, unconscious projection of the psyches present, a quasi-physical projection that needed the premiere entertainment form of the time-live theater-to manifest and enter our public reality.”
The reality of the matter is somewhere in between. Surely there are charlatans, hoaxers, faker and fraudsters. However, those who are actually making contact with entities are, in reality, in contact with demons who wear various disguises; loved ones, historical figures, gods/goddesses, aliens, etc.
Thus, what the spontaneous, unconscious projection of the psyches is not a quasi-physical projection; meaning that we do not cause manifestations to come into being. Rather, the projection is the demonic manifestation which does act via our wills as the litigious nature demonism demands our free will acceptance of such contact, interaction, etc.
As for Dan Aykryoyd, he notes, “My brother Peter and I read (these accounts) avidly and became lifelong supporters of the American Society for Psychical Research, and from all this Ghostbusters got made.”
So here you have one of very many examples of “fiction” based on true, real life occult worldviews.
Without knowing this, you may have referred to Ghostbusters as promulgating occultism and someone could have simply laughed at you, “What!?!?! That goofy, slapstick comedy with special effects!!! You’re a paranoid, superstitious, ignorant conspiracy theorists…and stuff!!!”
In fact, Ghostbusters is not merely loosely based on vague concepts of half skeptics who were mere observers. Rather, as noted above, some within the Aykroyd family were active practitioners of the occult and, moreover:
“[Dan] Aykroyd was sitting on his family's Canadian property, contemplating tearing down his great-grandfather's house. He asked his departed ancestor if this was okay.”
At this point, note that Dan was, at whatever level, engaged in necromancy; communicating with the dead:
“Suddenly I heard three snaps and everything vibrated like there was electricity around the whole area where I was sitting.”
Dan ended up restoring the farmhouse and Ghostbusters ended up being inspired by his family history and this specific experience:
“I could keep this place as a shrine to a great Canadian spiritualist-my great-grandfather-and to his son and grandson.”
Dan Aykroyd is also quite interested in the issue of UFOs and aliens and has even witnesses UFOs.
He saw a “black Ford sedan” the plates of which looked “fuzzy” so he could not make them out. Out of the vehicle emerged a “big, big tall guy” and just glared at him. Dan noticed him, looked away for a moment, looked back “like a half second later and it was gone.”
From pop-culture to pop-occulture.
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