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Ghostbusters Star Dan Aykroyd’s Roots in Real Life Ghost Hunting

When Dan Aykroyd wrote the original Ghostbusters film, he was drawing from a rich family history of spiritualism and the paranormal.

For those of us who grew up in the 80s, the 1984 Ghostbusters film was probably one of our earliest introductions to the occult, inspiring a lifetime of obsession with all things paranormal. Sure, I was disappointed when I learned Tobin’s Spirit Guide wasn’t real, but my hope was renewed when I discovered real occult texts.

And of course Ecto-1, a 1959 Cadillac combination car built by the Miller-Meteor company, kick-started a love for creepy cars and all things hearse-shaped.

Ecto-1 in the Ghostbusters: Afterlife trailer
Ecto-1 goes for a spin in the trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife

Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

I grew up reading about these topics. My mother passed down to me a rabid interest in the unexplained. But since I was 3 when Ghostbusters hit theaters, it was surely my earliest introduction to fortean subject matter.

Dan Aykroyd, who portrayed Ray Stantz and co-wrote the original Ghostbusters film, is a 4th-generation ghost hunter with a lifelong interest in the paranormal. He still lives on the family farm in Ontario where his great-grandfather Samuel Augustus Aykroyd used to conduct seances.

Vintage seance photo

“My mother speaks about a time when she was nursing me and an old couple came to the end of the bed,” Aykroyd told The Telegraph in 2012. “The image faded away. She pulled out an album and saw that it was my great grandfather Sam and Jenny, his wife, coming to approve the new child.”

In an interview with the late John Belushi, Belushi said he and Aykroyd would visit the farmhouse, turn off the lights, and wait for the spirit of Aykroyd’s grandfather to appear.

“I am a Spiritualist, a proud wearer of the Spiritualist badge,” Aykroyd said in a 2009 issue of Psychic News. “Mediums and psychic research have gone on for many, many years. Loads of people have seen spirits, heard a voice or felt the cold temperature. I believe that they are between here and there, that they exist between the fourth and fifth dimension, and that they visit us frequently.”

Watch the first trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the upcoming sequel to the original Ghostbusters films: