G. W. Thomas
THE G. W. THOMAS CRITERIA for GHOSTBREAKERS
It has been bothering
me for some time in my study of the Ghostbreakers that some characters
or stories come very close to the sub-genre but fall short. Others plague
me with doubts though I include them. This criteria is presented as a yardstick
by which I select those entries on this website. I'm not claiming it is
perfect but some readers might find it useful. If you want to make comments,
use the email button at the bottom. I will try to incorporate any useful
A GHOSTBUSTER ...
- seeks out supernatural phenomena for their own reasons or as the agent of another.
- must have experiences or knowledge of the supernatural which allows them to see what others miss.
- uses unusual methods not available to ordinary people.
- understands both the supernatural and the scientific (usually seeing them as two halves of a single whole) and
(a) differs from a priest or holy man in that he does not operate on faith alone but a bank of careful study.
(b) differs from the scientist in that he can deal with phenomena that defy commonly-held scientific beliefs.
- may have psychic abilities or supernatural powers.
- need not be "human", but usually fights on the side of humanity, consciously or not.
- can be one of four types (roughly speaking) or a combination of:
1) a psychic doctor, such as Martin Hesselius or John Silence - a psychic doctor deals with problems as a physcian would, with an understanding of supernatural ailments or causes.
2) an occult detective, such as Sherlock Holmes or Jules de Grandin - an occult detective uses deductive methods to solve supernatural-appearing mysteries (either real or false).
3) a psychic detective, such as Moris Klaw or Norton Vyse - a psychic detective uses psychic abilities to solve mysteries -these do not have to be supernatural in nature.
4) a ghostbuster, such as John Thunstone or Silver John - a ghostbuster is a person who specializes in defeating monsters and their human masters or slaves.
Otis Adelbert Kline wrote in "Why Weird Tales?" (1924):
"The types of stories we have published and will continue to publish may be placed under two classifications. The first of these is the story of psychic phenomena or the occult story. These stories are written from three viewpoints: The viewpoint of the spiritualist who believes that such phenomena are produced by spirits of the departed; the scientist, who believes they are either the result of fraud, or may be explained by known , little-known or perhaps unknown phases of natural law; and the neutral investigator, who simply records the facts, lets them speak for themselves and holds no brief for either side."