“Tobin’s Spirit Guide -- Always a Work in Progress”

March 12, 2010

I’m sure all Ghostbusters fan can remember back to the first time Egon ever uttered the words “Tobin’s Spirit Guide”.  It was after he, Ray & Peter had interviewed Dana Barrett and they decided to do some research.  Ray suggested Spate’s Catalog and Egon mentioned the tome that would become synonymous with Ghostbusters lore.  From there the book was mentioned countless times in The Real Ghostbusters, and even featured as archaic computer version in one episode.  

Now as a child I’ll admit that my primary focus was having all the Equipment toys Kenner released, followed by having all the figures, playsets & vehicles, and then all other Ghostbusters merchandise.  So I never really had that big of an itch to have my own Tobin’s Spirit Guide.  When I was young and would pretend, I’d just use some old random encyclopedia book for Tobin’s (yes kids before the internet, there were things called encyclopedias that held information).

Fast forward to a couple of years ago when, just for jollies, I decided to type in Tobin’s Spirit Guide into Amazon.com.  I expected to find nothing, but then I got a shock.  There it was, plain as day and in the actual physical realm, a real Tobin’s Spirit Guide with a price of about $175 I believe.  I did some research and what I learned was the book was part of one of the few Ghostbuster related items I failed to know about or get as a child; the Ghostbusters Roleplaying Game, released around the time of the second film.  Now to be fair in 1989 I was only 5 years old so the chances of me knowing & understanding how to actually play an RPG were slim, but I would have wanted it anyway.  So of course not having the funds to buy said tome for $150 to $175, I lamented a bit but soon just chalked it up to something I could live without, and life went on as usual. 

Now we arrive in about this time last year, while again just searching for fun for Tobin’s Spirit Guide, I happen to find the Ghostbusters International website (http://www.ghostbustersinternational.com/).  I then discovered that their site members had actually been able to purchase a copy of the Roleplaying Game Tobin’s Spirit Guide.  But not only that, they had scanned the entire book from cover to cover, and placed it for download on their site in PDF format.  This was yet another time I was grateful to have high-speed internet access.   I downloaded the text and proceeded to print all 80+ black & white pages out.

The Ghostbusters International website also gave some pointers and tips for fans, once they had printed the book out, on how to create their own Tobin’s.  This involved protective paper sheets, a photo album or scrapbook & lettering.  I had the protective sheets but the closest to a book to hold them was an office black binding book meant for reports.  So I put together my attempt at the book, knowing one day later I’d get around to actually buying a photo album & letters.  That day came a couple of weeks ago when I finally got a red photo album/scrapbook at Wal-Mart, along with the letters.  I printed out a color picture of Tobin to fill in the picture hole on the cover, and then I assembled the book.  I finally had an actual physical Tobin’s Spirit Guide book, and I’m very pleased with it.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is an excellent item for just cosplay or a general Ghostbusters display (especially if you happen to have a homemade Proton Pack prop hanging in your room).  However, the book itself doesn’t cover hardly any spirits actually seen in the movies or show, with the exception of Gozer, Vinz Clortho, Zuul, and Samhain.  This got the gears in my brain turning once more (scary, I know).

Think for a second how HUGE and long the Ghostbusters universe is.  If one were to actually sit down and attempt to create a real Tobin’s Spirit Guide that covered every single solitary ghost, spirit, manifestation, and paranormal being the guys have ever gone up against, you’d have to spend who knows how many hours on it.  Think about it, you’d start with the first movie “Ghostbusters”, then you move onto “The Real Ghostbusters”, next “Ghostbusters II”, all the ghosts busted in the “Slimer” cartoons since it was melded into the same universe through the RGB episode “The Slob”, moving on in order of occurring in the Ghostbusters time you have “Ghostbusters The Video Game”, followed by the spirits in the “Extreme Ghostbusters” cartoon. 

But that’s not all.  When you look at a hidden Easter Egg in the PC, XBOX 360 & PS3 version of the Ghostbusters Video Game (taking place in 1991 GB time), you’ll notice a drawing sent to “Uncle Egon” from the nephew “Ed Spengler”.  This then ties in Hank Braxton’s Denver Ghostbusters from “Freddy Vs. The Ghostbusters” & “Return of the Ghostbusters” Fan Films into the same universe, and means you have to include all the ghosts they busted as well, including Freddy Krueger! 

Wait, we still aren’t done!  With the recent statement of Tom Waltz, chief Editor for the Ghostbusters comics at IDW, he revealed that all their stories had to be approved by the movie studio before they could be printed.  This to me means that if they have to get approval from the studio that indicates that the stories have to fit into the existing Ghostbusters universe.  So then you’d have to include not only all the ghosts from the comic books that IDW has published, but the comics 88 MPH released back in the 2004 – 2005 time frame.  Maybe even the The Real Ghostbusters Comics, Magazines & Slimer Comics from the 80’s?  Not to mention I’d think the same reasoning would apply to novels, so sprits in the very limited “Ghostbusters the Return” by Sholly Fisch would have to be added as well.  And now to top it all off, we have the possibility of the third Ghostbusters film, where you’d have even more ghosts to add.  

So if someone were to take on this daunting task, hopefully they wouldn’t mysteriously end up disappearing like Tobin himself did.  Or even worse, they themselves could end up as a ghost before the book was finished.  Or maybe I'm just over thinking all this just a tad bit.  I’m not saying I want or expect anyone to proceed with this, as I myself would never have enough time to do so, but it would be cool and a definite “get it” item for myself.  Now should I ever win the lottery and I would have all the time I wanted, then yeah I’d consider compiling such a book.  For now, I’ll be content with my home made Tobin’s Spirit Guide.

But it sure does make you realize how big this Ghostbusting world has become, and even still, how much larger it may get.

Have a Nice Day


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