Nerd Culture

Battle of the Spooks: AZ Ghostbusters vs. AZ Ghost Hunters

This geek blog all started with a trip to the movies to see A Haunting in Connecticut (which incidentally is a pretty decent paranormal flick, but "based on a true story" is really, really a stretch). I won't bore you with all the details, but let's just say that the movie led to a "haunted" cemetery tour, which led to my friend Larry and I talking about the guys we always see dressed up as Ghostbusters from the '80s flick at First Friday. My take? They're cosplayers. His take? They're real-life paranormal investigators.

What's your vote? Find out who these guys (and girl!) really are after the jump.  

"The Arizona Ghostbusters are strictly a costumed fan club," says team leader Matt Haynes. "But our biggest goal is to promote charity." Basically, they're like a cross between cosplayers and Patch Adams. Team members share two things in common: a fondness for the '80s movie franchise and the drive to help others. Now granted, folks who dress up in costumes and stand on a street corner during First Friday might get a few looks. Yes, it's geeky. Yes, it's strange. But here are just a few of the reasons we adore this bunch

1. They ain't afraid of no ghost...or no strange looks from passersby.

They'll wave, smile and pose for pictures, regardless of what any of the urban hoodlums trolling the artwalk for fresh girl meat have to say.

2. They make their own costumes.

No pre-bagged Halloween costumes for the Arizona Ghostbusters. They dye the jumpsuits themselves, sew on nametags and modified Ghostbusters logos, and piece together their own proton packs from found parts. Makes you regret that lousy store-bought "pirate wench" costume you wore last year, doesn't it?

3. Ghostbusters isn't old; it's "retro."

It's been two decades since Bill Murray got slimed and Sigorney Weaver turned into a demon dog, but Ghostbusters never really died. There was the cartoon. The lunch boxes. The game. Now Wal-Mart is carrying official Ghostbusters shirts. Hot Topic occasionally has "Who you gonna call?" tees and Ghostbusters patches.

"Children in this day and age don't even know who the Ghostbusters are," Haynes admits, "but I think that's going to change with the release of the new video game and Ghostbusters 3, which was just announced." I think I speak for most of the geek community when I say, that rocks! 

4. It's for the kids.

The Arizona Ghostbusters have raised funds for The American Heart Association, MDA and Jerry's Kids, MS and Diabetes research foundations and more. Every cent the team makes goes to help someone in need, and really, how can that be bad?

On to the question of the day/hour/moment: So who ARE the folks running cemetary tours and chasing ghosts for real?

Apparently, a few local organizations investigate paranormal activity including The Arizona Desert Ghost Hunters, cemetery tour participants the MVD Ghostchasers of Mesa, the non-profit United Paranormal Investigation Society (srsly, did they notice their acronym is U PIS?) and PAPS (Phoenix Arizona Paranormal Society), one of the only groups to offer to help you get rid of your personal gremlins with the help of a minister.

We admit to being a little skeptical about paranormal events, especially when it comes to those supposed "ghostly orbs" that seem to show up in every photo we take. But the creepy EVP recordings and captured apparitions on some of these websites are pretty convincing. Wait...did you hear something? I think I saw a gh- 

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Wynter Holden
Contact: Wynter Holden