One of the first pieces I wrote for Limited Hangout was a philosophical movie review of the all-female Ghostbusters reboot film and what it revealed concerning the astral plane (or at least memetic frames in the collective human aethers concerning the astral plane anyway).

While the pseudo-controversy that surrounded that film at the time of its release focused on the gender/culture war aspect, all of that acted as a smokescreen for the darker intention of the film I contended: namely to co-opt the Ghostbusters franchise into a defense of scientism. Thus supporting Christopher Knowles' First Law of Media: "Whenever a controversy over symbolism erupts in the media, it's usually disguising a completely different symbolic message altogether."

The all-female reboot was titled Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. The Call, officially, was the call of female empowerment (“Girls can be Ghostbusters too!”) but, as I argued in that piece, was rather answering the call of a larger psychological operation complete with military industrial high tech weaponry, scientism, and social engineering that the film subtly promotes. For more background on scientism, as a public secular religion, masking occult powers for the elite, see this piece.

I’m not going to rehash that whole argument here—read the piece for that argument. Instead I’d like to tune back in for an update to the update on the astral plane by reviewing the most recent Ghostbusters film called Afterlife. As the subtitle of this film also shows this film is not about Ghostbusting (original), nor answering the call (reboot), but rather about the Afterlife itself. Specifically the Afterlife of Egon Spengler, originally played by the late great Harold Ramis who died in 2014. Jason Reitman directed the film, following in the footsteps of his own late father, Ivan Reitman, who directed the original.

Ivan Reitman, along with actor Bob Gunton, were body doubles for Ramis/Spengler, along with CGI and prosthetic effects that create a ghostly presence of Spengler who never speaks in the film and yet whose presence communicates the entirety of the film’s deeper messaging.

Egon Spengler’s name are both cyphers. Egon is a form of Ego. For Rudolf Steiner, whom I quoted in the last Ghostubsters piece, the Ego is not the ego of Freud. It’s not the space-time human personality but rather the “I” sense that transmigrates from life to life. The Ego, for Steiner then, is equivalent to what most other traditions call the soul. Egon, in the movie is a soul, became an Ego(n) in Steinerian language.

Spoilers Ahead

The film begins with a shrouded figure (whom we later learn is Egon) hightailing out of The Shandor Mine. Ivo Shandor was the architect of the building in the first Ghostbusters film where the culminating events of the film that place: i.e. the sex magick ritual between Zuul and Vinz Clortho possessing the bodies of Dana Barrett (Sigourney Weaver) and Luis Tully (Rick Moranis), opening the portal to allow in Gozer the Gozerian. Shandor, as referenced in the original film, ran a cult dedicated to creating a gateway for the Sumerian god(dess) Gozer which would bring about an apocalyptic cataclysm. Shandor, as we learn later in this film, continued his occult pursuits, building a mine on top of an ancient temple to Gozer in present-day Oklahoma.

Egon flees the mine being pursued by some sort of spectral entity. He has another entity trapped in a containment unit in his truck. He speeds home and seeks to lure this other entity onto his property where he has an electrified grid set up but the grid fails at the key moment. Egon hides the containment unit in the floorboards and then dies from an attack from the entity.

The film flashes to the life of a mother of two, Callie (daughter Phoebe and older son Trevor). Callie is the estranged daughter of Egon, making Phoebe and Trevor grandchildren of Egon. The family inherits the old family farm in Oklahoma which is in derelict condition.

Phoebe is most clearly the direct descendant of Egon—she is an uber nerd, has the same circular eyeglasses, and unruly, black curly hair. Phoebe begins to notice pieces moving around the chessboard. She decides to play and some ghostly presence plays with her. She eventually realizes this presence is her grandfather—whom she had never heard of. Her friend shows her clips of the original Ghostbusters film online and she learns the truth of her ancestry. Egon’s ghost—or rather technically his poltergeist since he can modify basic electrical equipment, small physical objects—uses a signalling system with lights, not unlike famous seance practices of the 19th century (e.g. table knocking/rapping).

Egon had became convinced that Gozer, Zuul, Vinz Chlortho, and the Shandor cult were defeated but not destroyed in the initial film. The other original Ghostbusters—Peter Ray, and Winston—went off to their own lives, failing to believe him.

Egon took the remaining Ghostbusters equipment—including Ecto-1, the proton packs, PKE meter, and traps—and moved to Oklahoma. He was seen by the local as a nutter—painting signs with Biblical verses on his property and living in hermetic isolation.

Egon’s spirit form reveals to Phoebe how to reassemble the necessary weaponry. Egon’s spirit also reveals to his daughter Callie photos of her on the wall, showing his love for her even as he had to abandon his family.

The rest of the film is mostly a call back to the original film—the demon dogs possess two humans (one of whom is Callie), re-creating the Gatekeeper and Keymaster sex magick rite to unleash Gozer. Gozer returns, Gozer is defeated.

Ghostbusting is not really the main theme of the movie. The nature of the Afterlife is the real focus and to it’s to that exploration we now turn.


In a previous piece I explored an updated understanding of mediumship and communication with the dead through the lens of weird naturalism and ontological flooding. The original Ghostbusters film is about as weird natural as one gets.

The Ghostbusters, after all, are scientific investigators of the paranormal, who accept the reality of the paranormal. They include deep study of cultural, religious, and mythological symbolism as the intersections of earlier cultures with the spirit world. For the Ghostbusters there is no conflict between the two.

As I mentioned, the real controversy of the failed all-female reboot of Ghostbusters was its attempt to sneak in the religion of scientism to replace the more weirdly natural true intent (and genius!) of the Ghostbusters. The scientist psy op of the reboot is done away with in Ghostbusters Afterlife with a quick dismissal from Phoebe at one point saying, “We are scientists; we’re Ghostbusters!”, thereby restoring the weirdly natural premise of the films. When the CIA created an investigation into remote viewing (that worked!), we now that the study of the weirdly natural/paranormal is the true story behind the scenes, whatever the official mainstream cover story of scientism may offer.

In my piece on communication with the dead I explored two potential schools of interpretation, using an analogy drawn from the particle/wave duality of physics.

The “particle” version of the afterlife is the belief that the ongoing presence of the dead constitutes a continued state of their prior existence: an ex-carnate soul or entity/ghost that represents the true essence of the person beyond death of their human form.

The "wave" version is arguing that not so much the true soul essence of the person is what survives death but rather their karma—their habitual actions, energy, relationships, emotions, and perhaps unfinished business.

The Afterlife portion of Ghostbusters Afterlife straddles the line between these two schools of thought quite deftly and movingly.

Egon, who never speaks in the film, is yet the core figure around which everything else revolves. He's a man who lost everything out of his desire to support and save the world: his family, his friends, his reputation. He died alone in a broken down farm in the middle of nowhere in isolation.

In life, Egon had set up a series of automatic proton blasters to prevent the return of Gozer. His spectral presence remains guarding his own house and the secrets of how to defeat Gozer. Egon’s presence has become an earthbound spirit, choosing to remain on this side of the Spirit Veil in order to complete a task.

From the particle perspective, this spectral entity is Egon’s Soul (or Ego in Steiner’s language). In fact check out this photo of Steiner and notice the resemblance to Harold Ramis’ Egon. In this model, Egon’s ghost is the partic-ular (particle) version of his being: his essence distilled and condensed to it’s most particulate form.

From the wave perspective what remains is Egon’s accumulated wisdom, his fidelity to his purpose, and his love for his family and friends. Those forces or energies (waves) manifest in form.

This portion of the movie is quite (beautifully) haunting. Egon was always the most Uber-cerebral and Spock-like of the original crew. But surprisingly he had cultivated the deepest passion for the work and sacrificial heart.

The film’s finale which again is really less about the ghost busting per se than it is really about the completion and the putting to rest of Egon’s spirit. The original Ghostbusters return to fight Gozer alongside Egon’s descendants (and their friends).

First the Ghostbusters each apologize and say the things that were left unsaid to Egon. He forgives them (again all done silently) simply with a smile and kind look in his eyes. This scene is made more poignant by the fact that (in real life) Bill Murray and Harold Ramis had had a very painful falling out over their joint creation of Groundhog Day. The rumored third Ghostbusters movie was never made prior to Ramis' death, in no small part, because of Murray's unwillingness to participate. Murray and Ramis were able to reconcile before the latter's death. Art imiating life.

Egon then embraces his grandchildren and finally his estranged daughter, asking for her forgiveness and reconciliation through an embrace across the worlds. Egon’s spirit is then able to release into the Light, his mission complete—both in reconciling with his loved ones and preventing the apocalypse of the world.

Rudolf Steiner argued for the development of a spiritual science—a science concerning how living humans relate to the spirit world. Goethe’s work of contemplatively observing the movements and patterns of nature as the basis for a deeper science profoundly influenced Steiner. Goethe’s influence extends to modalities like Permaculture, Steiner’s own biodynamic agriculture, the Findhorn experiment, and the work of Machaella Small Wright, covered in a previous piece on the site.

Steiner sought to bring Goethe’s careful observational posture to interactions with the spirit world. For Steiner humanity could (re)develop senses attuned to the spirit world. He even developed exercises to heighten these intuitive capacities. Interestingly Steiner held that a key to developing these subtle senses was moral imagination and action. Steiner did not desire to extend scientism’s colonizing and conquering mindset into the spirit realm. Steiner termed the force reducing humanity (via mainstream science and technology) to an increasingly servile status that of Ahriman. I’ve explored Ahrimanic tendencies over the last few years in previous pieces (here for example). In fact, in my review of the film Free Guy I argue that Gozer is, in fact, none other than Ahriman.

Egon’s morality is what gives his ghostly presence an illuminated and warming quality. He’s a benevolent presence throughout. He’s the only character we see pass into the Great Beyond.

The dead—whether understood in the particle or wave sense—need to be able to rest their bones. This work of completing karmas is actually best done in life but it can certainly be completed, if need be, in the life after death.

Egon’s last name, Spengler, reminds of Steiner’s contemporary Oswald Spengler. But Egon really doesn’t have much in common, it would seem, with his namesake. Perhaps Egon’s last name should rather have be Steiner?