Patty came into the Firehouse, a tray of coffee cups in hand.
"CAFFEINE." She shouted in the entrance hall. Kevin looked up from his desk and waved at her, grinning.
She waved back at him, trying to force a smile. What was the point of an assistant if the team ending up doing their own coffee runs.
"Where is everyone?" She asked. Usually the promise of Starbucks would be enough to tear even Holtzmann from her lair. Patty may have bought the coffee, but that didn't mean she'd go floor to floor delivering it. Especially not to Holtzmann's floor. She'd made that mistake once. She shuddered, never again.
Kevin didn't answer her question, instead put his headphones in. Patty rolled her eyes.
"Sometimes your pretty isn't enough." She muttered. Moving to the fireman's pole that went through the whole building, she shouted. "I'M NOT BRINGING IT UP TO YOU. EITHER GET IT NOW, OR DRINK IT COLD."
Patty scoffed. "And they better not come cryin to me when they get out of science land and ask for their cof..." She trailed off as she caught sight of the equipment locker. "fee." She crossed her arms and arched an eyebrow. Three of the suits, besides her, were missing. "Kevin." She said sweetly. "Were we robbed?"
"Huh?" Kevin pulled out his headphones. "Oh wait..." He frowned. "I was supposed to tell you something." He pulled out a notepad.
"Really?" Patty said, sarcastically. "And what might that be?"
Kevin smiled, oblivious to her mocking him.
"Ummm. The girls just got a call for a ghost of a girl." He squinted at his notes. "Down in between City hall and the courthouse.
Patty froze. "...where?"
"In between city hall and the courthouse." Kevin shrugged. "Didn't seem serious though."
"When did they leave?" Patty asked.
"What?" Kevin squinted up at her. She grabbed the front of his shirt and shook him. "Hey." He said.
"When did they leave?" She growled. "Tell me you stupidly attractive ken doll."
"5 minutes ago." Kevin said. Patty dropped him and ran out of the firehouse. "You think I"m attractive?" He shouted after her.
"Here ghostie ghostie." Holtzmann said, walking down the street and looking behind he different cars. "Came out and play with Holtzie."
"What is this ghost anyway?" Erin asked.
"The person who called it in said it's a little girl." Abbie explained. "People have seen her, wearing rags and crying. When they ask what's wrong she disappears."
"Doesn't sound malevolent." Erin remarked. "I don't see why we had to leave Patty."
"Because apparently..." Abbie said. "This is the third time they've called us. The first time, Patty answered, came down here and don't do anything about the ghost. Then the second time they called she didn't send anyone." Abbie shook her head. "It's bad for business if ghostbusters don't bust ghosts."
Holtzmann frowned over at the courthouse steps. "Well hello." She grinned as a blue glowing light began on the steps. The light solidified into a little girl; thin, wearing rags with wide eyes and curly hair that was out in a messy 'fro. "Gotcha." Holtzmann said, powering up her proton pack.
An out of breath Patty jumped in front of the ghost, making Holtzmann pull back her gun. The girl disappeared.
"What the hell, Patty?" Abbie asked.
Patty put her hands on her knees and took three deep breaths. Straightening up, she shook her head. "You can't bust this ghost."
"Yes we can." Holtzmann said, waving around her proton blaster. "I didn't make these for fun...I mean I did, but...they have an actual practical use, so bonus."
"That's not..." Patty broke off and shook her head. "Do you have any idea where you're standing?"
The other three ghostbusters looked at each other in confusion.
"In front of the courthouse..." Abbie said slowly.
"But what are you standing on." Patty said.
She was met with three identical blank looks.
"Don't you know anything about this city's history?" Patty asked, throwing her hands up. "This was the old African American burial ground. Slaves weren't allowed to be buried in Trinity Church cemetery so they had a separate one." She paused. "In the 16 and 17 hundreds New York had the second largest slave population in the country, after Charleston. There's a couple of thousand people buried here." She paused as the blue glow began again. "They found the bodies when they were digging to build Foley Square. There's a memorial and a monument, but most people don't know." She stopped as the little girl materialized and looked up at her, as if she were listening. Patty looked back at the team. "She's here because she doesn't want people to forget what happened."
Around them more blue glows began. People of all ages wearing similar clothes to the young girl, their faces grave, stood silently, looking at the team. Patty swallowed before saying. "Some ghosts you shouldn't bust."
Image of a map of the African burial ground in old New York:
Image of marker from the current monument:
The African American Burial ground is a memorial in downtown Manhattan and you can visit.
"One if by land, two if by sea." Kevin read out from his laptop.
Patty looked up from her magazine. "What?"
"One if by land, two if by sea." He repeated.
"You planning on getting engaged?" She asked. He looked at her, puzzled. She sighed. "The restaurant. It's one of the most popular engagement spots in the city." Kevin shook his head.
"I'm checking up on this ghost blog and someone mentioned the restaurant." He pointed to the screen. "Maybe you girls should check it out."
"Nah." Patty turned her attention back to her magazine.
Kevin frowned. "You sure?"
"It's not haunted." Patty said, simply.
Kevin frowned and looked back at the screen. "I guess you're right."
"Of course I am."
"I mean, it says it's haunted by Aaron Burr and he's not real."
Patty dropped her magazine. "Say what?" She looked over at Kevin's grinning face.
"Aaron Burr. He's not a real person." Kevin said. "I mean how stupid do they think people are if they think it's haunted by a musical character."
Patty covered her face. "He's not a musical character, he's the third vice president of the United States...." She trailed off. "Hang on...were you talking about Hamilton?"
"How do you know about Hamilton?"
"I saw it." He said dismissively.
Patty gaped at him. "HOW? I've been trying to get tickets for MONTHS, do you know a witch doctor or..." She shook her head as Kevin gave her a vacant look. "Never mind. This place still isn't haunted."
"What's not haunted?" Erin said, coming into the main reception area. She smiled at Kevin. "Hi" She waved at him. Patty rolled her eyes.
"This restaurant." Kevin said. "It's haunted by the ghost of Aaron Burr, who's apparently real."
Patty covered her face as Erin insisted on calling the team.
"Don't bother, Erin." She said, walking back over to the couch and grabbing her magazine.
Erin walked over to the fire pole that stretched from the top floor to the bottom. "Hey we've got a case." She shouted.
"No we don't." Patty said, sitting back down on a couch. After a few seconds. Holtzmann slid down the pole, doing a spin as she landed. Abbie squeaked down a couple seconds later and landed flat on her butt, fanning her hands as if they were on fire. "Pole burn. Pole burn."
Holtzmann sat on Kevin's desk and looked at his laptop. "Huh, Aaron Burr's old house. Flickering lights, tugging on people's clothes and jewelry...sounds like a job for the ghostbusters."
"No." Patty said.
"We should suit up." Abbie agreed.
"You're wasting your time." Patty said, turning the page. The other three women looked at her.
"Patty." Abbie said as they grabbed their gear. "You coming?"
"I got better things to do." Patty said, holding up her magazine. "Namely busting open the secret of who wore it best." She smirked at as the others rolled their eyes. "Y'all can chase this non existent ghost, but when this doesn't work out, don't come whining to me."
The others shook their heads and left. Kevin frowned. "How do you know there's no ghost?"
"One of these days, Kev Kev." Patty said, turning her page. "One of these days they'll learn not to doubt me." She put down the magazine. "Now about those Hamilton tickets."
Sure enough three hours later the three women drove Ecto 1 back into the firehouse. Patty came out of the kitchen, eating an apple. "How was the ghost hunt?" She smirked.
"Nothing." Erin grumbled.
"Not even a ghost cat." Holtzmann muttered.
"How did you know?" Abbie said.
"Elementary my dear Yateson." Patty said, taking another bite of her apple. "Aaron Burr never lived in that house."
"But the blog said-" Kevin said.
"And everything someone posts on the internet is true." Patty interrupted. Kevin blinked and tilted his head as if considering her words. Patty gaped at him. "Are you serious right now?" She said, shaking her head, she turned back to the three scientists. "It was a carriage house. He owned it, but he didn't live in it. His horses did. He's also buried in New Jersey." She shook her head. "Why the hell would he drag his ass all the way here to haunt where his horses slept?"
"But-" Erin began.
"Carriage house." Patty said. "Horses." She shook her head. "Seriously, you have Phd's." She went towards the door. "I'm going out for drinks. You guys coming?"
Kevin stood. "I am." He walked towards the door.
"Good, you're buying." She said.
"So if Aaron Burr's real does that mean Hamilton's real too?" Kevin asked as they left the firehouse. Patty shook her head.
"For your birthday. I'm getting you a library card."
The carriage house:
The inside today:
One if by Land, Two if by Sea is an actual restaurant in NYC that did belong to Aaron Burr at one point. It's been reportedly haunted for years by the ghosts of both Burr and his daughter Theodosia. Theodosia was kidnapped by pirates, never to be seen again. Burr died at a very old age and was buried near Princeton with his father. Visitors to the restaurant claim to have had their earrings pulled and witnessed strange lights flickering and doors opening.
"There's a herd of elephants stampeding on the Brooklyn bridge.' Kevin announced as he walked into Holtzmann's lab.
"What?" Erin asked, taking off her safety goggles. The new proto type of the proton gun she was testing went off, sending her crashing backwards into the wall. She groaned. Patty went to help her up as Abbie looked over at Kevin.
"What's going on?"
"Ghost elephants on the Brooklyn Bridge." He frowned. "This city is weird." He shook his head and went back downstairs.
"Why would there be elephants on the Brooklyn Bridge?" Abbie asked.
"Or anywhere in Brooklyn." Holtzmann muttered. Patty chuckled, shaking her head.
They drove to the bridge and sure enough, 21 elephants were running on the Brooklyn bridge. People, both living and ghost were running away, though the elephants posed no threat; passing through cars and people. A woman in late 1800's clothing ran up to Ecto 1 and pressed her face against the glass. Her eyes were wide and terrified. She ran, going through the car, screaming "the bridge is collapsing."
We should turn around." Erin said.
"You're going to take advice on architectural stability from a ghost?" Abbie asked.
Patty ignored their argument and got out of the car and ran across the bridge. "Ghostbuster coming through." She shouted. "If any of you trample me, I might blast you; just a warning." She walked straight up to the only African elephant. It had sad eyes and tucks that were broken and filed down to small nubs. Patty swallowed and shouted. "JUMBO." The elephant swung its head toward her. It let out a trumpeting sound. It was breathing heavily. "Hey." Patty said. "I'm sorry about what happened to you. You didn't deserve it, but..." She looked at the other elephants who'd taken Jumbo's lead and had stopped, looking straight at her. "The circus is getting rid of the elephant program. There won't be any more elephants that suffer like you did."
The elephant raised its trunk and let out another trumpet noise. Then it turned and began walking down the bridge. The other elephants followed. As they moved their outlines began to simmer and disappear. Then they were gone. The other Ghostbusters had joined Patty on the bridge and watched them go.
"He's off to that big African Savanna in the sky." Patty said.
"How did you know it's name?" Erin asked. Patty just smiled and turned her attention to the 12 other ghosts that were screaming about collapsing bridges. Whistling, she tried to get their attention.
"YO. Screaming lunatics. The bridge is over a hundred years old. It's not falling down. Either cross or get busted." The figures froze and looked at each other. Then shrugged and continued the screaming. Patty sighed. "Well, you can't say we didn't warn you."
"Proton packs up." Erin said.
Holtzmann pulled hers out and kissed the muzzle, winking at Erin, who blushed. "Let's get them."
Brooklyn Bridge around the time it opened:
Jumbo was the first African elephant that was successfully brought out of Africa and held in a circus capacity (the rest died. Even today African Elephants do not do well in circus environments and most acts use Asian elephants). As a result it was bought by Barnum and put in the circus. In 1883, six days after the Brooklyn bridge was opened a stampede erupted on the bridge, trampling 12 people to death. A rumor spread that the bridge was going to collapse and people panicked.
The next year, in a publicity grab for his circus, Barnum had Jumbo lead a parade of 21 elephants across the bridge. It helped reassure people it wouldn't crumble into the river.
Jumbo tragically died in a train accident. He was hit and dragged when the circus was loading the elephants into boxcars. The detail about his tusks comes from the fact, that he filed them down by rubbing them against the bars of his cage. He was the largest animal ever kept in captivity. It was rumored that he'd been killed as a result of a publicity grab by Barnum.
Chapter 4: How Many Mass Graves are There in Manhattan?
"Ghost plague" Abbie announced, coming into Holtzmann's lab. They were all gathered around the table, examining her latest ghost bomb that was glowing and probably leaking radiation levels close to Chernobyl. Erin frowned.
Patty shook her head and muttered. "I've been hangin around you too long because that didn't even make me blink."
Holtzmann examined her blowtorch, playing by turning the flame on and off. "What exactly is a ghost plague?"
"People are experiencing symptoms of Yellow fever." Abbie explained, putting her laptop on the table, jostling one of Holtzmann's inventions. It made a strange whistling. noise. They all jumped back except Holtxmann who kept playing with her blowtorch.
"Don't worry." She said, bored. "Whistling is fine. It's when it starts screaming that we need to get worried."
"O...kaaay?" Erin said.
Abbie cleared her throat. "The strain of Yellow fever in question hasn't been seen since the late 1790's." She frowned. "The symptoms disappear after a few hours."
"Let me guess." Patty said. "All the victims at one point recently went to Washington Square park."
Abbie gaped at her. "How did you know?"
Patty sighed. "It was a potter's field...a poor people grave for those who couldn't afford a cemetery." She clarified when Holtzmann gave her a blank look. "During the yellow fever outbreak the bodies of the infected were thrown there." She looked around at the stunned faces of her teammates. "Open a book sometime."
Holtzmann pulled a jar of candy out of her desk and pulled out a lollipop. "How many mass graves are there in Manhattan?" She asked, popping it in her mouth. Patty shook her head.
"If you're walking on it, there's probably someone buried under it."
The others shot each other worried looks.
"Don't worry." Patty said, patting Erin on the shoulder. "It's what keeps the lights on around here."
As if on cue, the lights went out. They all looked up at the ceiling.
"This..." Patty laughed nervously. "Might be a good time to mention that this firehouse was built on the site of an old tenement building where a bunch of people died during a typhoid outbreak."
There was a scream from below.
Abbie rolled her eyes. "Looks like we're going to have to save Kevin...again."
A map of the different graves in Washington square park:
Because the firehouse doesn't exist the tenement building thing is made up.
However the mass grave under Washington Square park and it's connection to the Yellow Fever outbreak of 1794-1810 is not. The actual total of people buried there is unknown and it's estimated that there are still about 20,000 bodies in the area.
In addition Washington Square park was used as a hanging ground during the American Revolution.
"Where are we going?" Patty asked as she got into Ecto 1.
"The call came from Roosevelt Island." Erin said as Holtzmann pulled out into the early evening traffic, sirens blaring. Patty gulped. Abbie, who was sitting shotgun, narrowed her eyes at the rearview.
"I know that face." She said. "What is it?"
"Nothing. It's just...." She paused. "You do know that there used to be an insane asylum on Roosevelt Island, right?" The other women looked at each other. Erin and Abbie groaned. Holtzmann grinned.
"This should be fun." Erin muttered.
"I know, right?" Holtzmann said, speeding up and honking at the car in front of them. "Move it or lose it."
Patty frowned. "Trust me; if half of what I've read is true...we better be ready for a whole army of angry, crazy ghosts."
As they approached the Octagon, it was clear that it was being haunted by extremely malevolent spirits. Glass lined the street from where it had been blown out of the windows. People were outside, staring at the building in fear. Wails could be heard, shadowy figures appeared in the windows only to disappear in puffs of smoke, lights flared.
"I'm going to take a wild guess." Erin said. "And say that this is where the asylum was?"
Patty nodded, readying her proton pack. They walked into the building, the doors slamming behind them, the entire structure seemed to shiver.
"We should split up." Holtzmann said. "We'll cover more ground." Patty gaped in horror as Abbie and Erin seemed to consider her suggestion.
"No." Patty said. "That sounds like the exact opposite of what we should be doing." She shook her head. "You as crazy as the ghost."
"Scared?" Holtzmann asked.
"Concerned." Patty replied. "And apparently the only rational human being on this team."
"This is a big building." Abbie said.
"Believe me, most of the energy is going to be concentrated on the Octagon." Patty muttered.
"Okay." Erin said, nervously moving from foot to foot. The building had gone silent as if listening for their next move. "What do you think we should do?"
Patty looked around. "Talk to them." She suggested.
A cold wind blew through the center of the octagon that sounded like laughter. A ghost appeared on the top of the second level of the octagon. Her hair was out, her eyes were glowing. She was wearing a loose white dress that looked like an oldfashioned nightgown and was stained on the bottom. "You want to talk?" She asked, her voice amplified, her hair waving out as if it was underwater. She threw back her head and laughed. There was a flash of light and she disappeared.
"I say we bust her." Holtzmann said.
"This ghost isn't crazy." Patty said; she'd recognized her. "Isn't that right?" She shouted, stepping into the center of the octagon and turned her ace towards the ceiling. "NELLIE?"
The ghost reappeared, this time a look of interest on her face. "You know who I am." She said. Patty nodded. There was a flash of light, then the ghost's appearance changed. She was now a prim, proper, lady wearing late 19th century early 20th century clothing.
"Why are you here?" Patty asked.
Nellie laughed. "Look around you. All the suffering that people endured here. The torture and now it's an apartment complex. There's even a swimming pool." She closed her eyes. "The world has forgotten." She shook her head, floating down to stand in front of Patty. Holtzmann gripped her proton gun tighter, but Erin held out her hand, stopping her.
"No they haven't" Patty said. "I remember, and after this display, people will definitely ask questions; they'll want to know more." She smiled. "You've given the dead back their voices."
Nellie bowed her head. Patty smiled.
"You'll tell them?" She said.
Patty nodded. "There's a news crew outside. We'll go directly to them."
"It'll be in all the papers?" Nellie asked.
Patty said. "Newspapers? We can do better than that; you going to be on TV." She pulled out her cellphone and took a picture. "And twitter."
Nellie blinked. "This new world is strange." She said.
Nellie sighed. There was a glow and she began disintegrating, slowly vanishing before their eyes. Patty turned around and looked at her team. "Nellie was a reporter. She stayed here for 10 days to expose how bad the patients here were treated." She looked up at the ceiling of the octagon. "She was still looking out for them. Even now."
The land where the New York City Lunatic Asylum was today:
Some images of aslyum before it was turned into an apartment complex:
(Note that the Octagon is the same.)
Nellie Bly spent 10 days in the New York City Lunatic Asylum. At that time, the definition of insane was very broad, especially for women. Insane asylums were less places of treatment and more places where society could hide those they didn't want to deal with or didn't fit in.
Nellie's Bly's expose brought more attention and eventually lead to reforms. But the Asylum was eventually closed and the building fell into ruin. It was eventually turned into an apartment complex with only the renovated Octagon remaining from the original building.
"Field trip!!" Holtzmann said, entering into Patty's room in the firehouse. Patty raised an eyebrow.
"If you're excited I'm concerned." She said.
"Be ready in 3 minutes." Holtzmann said. "We've got a case upstate." She jumped on the pole and slid down.
"I thought you said this was a field trip?" Patty said, coming over to the pole and shouted down after her.
"Working field trip." Holtzmann shouted up.
"Where are we going?" Patty said as they drove out of the city.
Erin and Abbie shared a look before answering.
Patty burst out laughing. "Why are we going to hunt the headless horseman?" Her laughter died as she looked around at the others. "You can't be serious."
"Of course not," Erin said sarcastically. "Because we all know that ghosts don't exist."
"Not this ghost." Patty said.
"There was a sighting." Abbie said.
"Eye witness accounts are deceiving." Patty retorted.
"There's multiple witnesses." Erin said.
"Mass hysteria. Check the water." Patty said. "There's probably something in the water."
"There's a video." Abbie said. Erin handed her her phone, there was a video of a man on a black horse galloping towards a bridge before exploding. Patty frowned.
"Consider me slightly less skeptical." She muttered.
"Why don't you think it's real?" Holtzmann said.
"Because it's called the Legend of Sleepy Hollow for a reason." Patty said. "It was a work of fiction by Washington Irving."
"Weren't you the one who said just last week that all legends have some portion of truth to them?" Erin smirked. Patty snorted.
"You sure picked a hell of a time to start listening to me." She muttered. "If this thing turns out to be real, I'll kiss Kevin."
"Yeah, because that'll be such a punishment." Erin grumbled.
At 11:45 they set up on either side of the bridge where the horseman had been sighted. Erin and Holtzmann were on one side, Abbie and Patty on the other.
"And now I'm cowering in a damn ditch." Patty muttered.
"Shhh." Abbie said.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Am I scaring the ghost?" Patty hissed. "It's been dead. I'm pretty sure me complaining about the fact that I'm getting mud in places where mud should not be really beats dying of decapitation."
"I thought you said there was no ghost." Abbie whispered back.
"At this point there better be." Patty grumbled. "Because I sure as hell did not waste this time in a ditch for there not to be a ghost."
They fell silent. The minutes ticked by so slowly, Patty was just dozing off when Abbie nudged her.
Patty groaned. "What..." She paused. "There's something crawling up my leg." She shook it out. Whatever it was was still there.
"Patty." Abbie said.
"Get out of there, bug." Patty said. She stood and stamped her leg, trying to get it out, but it was still there. Moving, she ignored Abbie's grabbing hands and stepped into the road. "Stupid crawling creature." She hissed. "I hate the suburbs." She turned and glared. "Stop judging me you stupid headless ghost." She froze, then looked back at the road. About 20 feet down the road a figure completely dressed in black sat on a horse. The horse's eyes glowed red and it's nostrils flared. It pawed the ground in front of it. The rider, Patty realized as she looked more closely at it, had no head. He charged.
Without hesitation she pulled her proton pack and shot a beam. It hit the rider square in the chest.
"AAAAAAAAA." She shouted. The ghost fell off its horse. "I sat in a ditch you brainless freak."
Holtzmann slid the trap next to her and opened it. Patty pulled the beam towards the open trap and the headless horseman got pulled in. The trap shut, smoking slightly. Patty was breathing heavily.
"Good thing there's no ghost here." Holtzmann said. Patty looked down at her.
"Uh guys." Erin said. "What about the-"
There was a cold blast of air. Patty turned slowly. The horse was standing there, looking at them.
"Horse." Erin said.
The ghost horse trotted over to them, nudging Holtzmann's arm.
"He's sweet." She said. "We should-"
"NO." Everyone said.
"You don't even know what I was going to say." Holtzmann said.
"We're not keeping him." Erin said.
"Come on." Holtzmann said. "We won't have to worry about feeding him or cleaning up after him." She grinned. "He's the perfect pet."
"Shouldn't we bust him?" Erin asked.
"He's not hurting anyone." Patty said. "You can't blame the horse for the rider."
Abbie smirked. "Especially since he doesn't exist."
"Shut up." Patty muttered.
"But guys." Holtzmann said.
"No horse." Everyone said, walking back to Ecto 1.
"Oh Patty." Abbie said as they pulled into the firehouse. Kevin was making some of his terrible coffee. "I seem to remember a certain promise you made?"
"You don't have to." Erin said, getting out of the car.
Patty sighed as she followed them out.
"Hey girls." Kevin waved. "How's the ghost?"
"Ask Patty." Holtzmann said, walking over to the desk and jumping on it, swinging her feet. "Come on Patricia. Time to pay the piper."
Patty looked over at Kevin. "I nominate Erin to carry out my punishment." she shook her head, walking over to the stairs. All of a sudden there was an excited squeak from Holtzmann
"Damn Erin." Patty said. "You waste no time." She turned and her jaw dropped. In the entrance of the firehouse was the horse. "Oh no."
"Oh yes!" Holtzmann said. "We're keeping him."
"Her." Kevin said. Everyone turned to look at him in shock. "She's got no..." He pointed towards the horse's privates. "Thing."
"Is that the scientific term, Mr. Animal Planet?" Patty said. She shook her head at Holtzmann. "She's sleeping on your floor."
The legend of the Headless Horseman is an old short story by Washington Irving. The story goes that during the revolution a hessian soldier on horseback got his head shot off by a canon and was said to haunt a covered bridge, riding toward it at midnight, looking for someone to give him a head.
Ichabod crane, his supposed Victim disappeared after coming home too late.
It was a slow day. Kevin was trying out new poses for his resume photo and Erin was giving him pointers. Patty and Abbie were sitting back, passing a bowl of popcorn and enjoying the show while ignoring small explosions from Holtzmann's lab.
"Do you think I need to open more buttons?" Kevin asked, motioning to his dress shirt.
"Ummm." Erin said.
"Definitely." Abbie and Patty said.
"Though legally speaking, it's your choice." Abbie said quickly. "What?" She said when Erin turned and glared at her. "Do you want to deal with a lawsuit."
"Uh, Abbie." Patty said, nudging her friend. "That won't be a problem."
Kevin had stripped down to his underwear. Erin dropped the camera. The bowl of popcorn slid out of Abbie's fingers.
"Uhhh." Erin said.
"I think you've got enough shots, Kevin." Abbie said, getting up and grabbing a blanket. Throwing it over Kevin's shoulders, she picked up his clothes and pushed him towards the door.
"What job is this even for?" Patty asked as he left the room.
"Nurse." Erin said.
"Does he have a medical degree?" Patty asked. The others looked at her. "Right, stupid question." She sighed. "What would he do without us?"
"Be living in his parent's basement with his dog, Mike Cat." Abbie suggested.
There was a crash from upstairs. Then Holtzmann stuck her head down, through the hole surrounding the pole. "We've got a case."
"No one called." Erin said.
Holtzmann pulled her head back, a few seconds later, she slid down the pole. "The Brown Building is burning. Except the fire is cold and blue." She grabbed the remote and turned on the TV. The image showed the fire raging, coloring the surrounding buildings with a frightening blue glow. Patty sighed.
"That's definitely a ghost." She said. "We need to get there, now."
They suited up and went to Ecto1, only to find Kevin already in the back. "Kevin." Abbie said.
"I want to help." He said.
"Scoot over." Patty said. They piled into the car, squeezing.
"This is exciting." Kevin said. "So do we know what we're up against?"
Everyone looked over at Patty. She looked from face to face. "Well thank you for finally realizing who the brains around here is." She said. "That building, while now a part of NYU, was the site of the triangle shirtwaist fire."
There was a collective hiss of air. "that's a lot of angry souls with unfinished business." Holtzmann said.
"You can say that again." Patty said.
The top 3 floors of the building were engulfed in the ghost flames. The 4 of them got out, grabbing their proton packs. Kevin got out and gaped at the building.
"Kevin." Patty said, snapping his gaze away from the flames. "Can you keep these people back?"
"Huh?" He said, Patty motioned to the growing crowd of people pulling out their cellphones, snapping pictures.
"Crowd control." she said. Kevin nodded and walked towards them.
They walked up towards the 3 burning floors. Holtzmann got there first. "The door's locked." She said.
"Out of the way." Abbie said. "I've always wanted to do this." She kicked at the door. It didn't budge. "Owwww." She said, grabbing her leg. "What the hell?"
"The company locked the workers in the rooms to make sure they didn't take breaks." Patty explained. "So when the fire broke out..."
"They were trapped." Abbie said, closing her eyes.
"Some of them jumped." Patty murmured.
"Well we're not going to be able to kick it down." Erin said, holding the scanner next to the lock. "The door's locked with ghostly energy."
Holtzmann pulled a charge from her pocket, slipping it under the door. "Out of the way." she said. They all ran to the stairwell and crouched down. There was a loud boom. They looked up and walked back up. The door was swinging eerily off its hinges. The room was full of blue light. They entered, proton packs up. It was strange, the entire room was full of flames, but no sound. "This is weird." Patty muttered.
"Fire's silent, it's the sound the objects make as they burn that make it loud." Erin explained. The door slammed. Faces started to appear in the blue flames, screaming in agony.
"Patty." Holtzmann said. "How many people died in this fire?"
"149." Patty said.
"Damn." Erin said. "We're going to need a bigger trap."
An hour later they walked down to the street, exhausted, carrying a smoking trap. Kevin was posing for pictures with the bystanders.
"Oh hey." he said, waving up at them. "Good job girls, putting out that ghost fire."
"Just get in the car, Kevin." Abbie muttered.
Images of the fire and the aftermath:
The triangle shirtwaist fire happened in downtown Manhattan when a bucket of scraps at a shirtwaist fire caught fire. The factory bosses had locked the doors in order to make sure the workers didn't take any unauthorized breaks, and the workers were trapped. The top three floors of the buildings were burned and 149 people were killed. The fire led to stricter safety regulations on factory work.
They pulled up in front of the Empire state building. A man at the security desk ran up to them "Ghostbusters." He said. "Thank goodness. There's tons of them."
"Actually. There should only be 5" Patty murmured. The windows were lighting up with a blue eerie glow.
"So we split up and sweep each floor." Abbie said. "And we meet the top."
"Wait." Patty said "Just...try to talk to them first. If I'm right, you might want to tell them about building safety regulations." She paused. "One of them will also definitely be in the elevator."
2 hours later the four of them met on the observatory deck. "How did you know?" Erin asked. "I didn't even have to bust the guy I met....and how did you know I'd find him in the elevator?"
"Because only 5 people died when constructing the Empire State Building." Patty said. "And one of them fell down an elevator shaft."
"I had to bust my guy." Holtzmann said. "He wanted to blow up the building."
"One of them died by dynamite explosion." Patty said, nodding.
"My guy just kept going on about how amazing the building looked while it was finished." Abbie said. "Then he called me sugar tits." She held up a trap that was smoking. "To be fair, he had it coming."
Patty snorted. "So that makes three. I busted 1 and the last one..." She pointed to the corner of the observatory deck where a man in workers clothes, looked out across the city. He put a hand to his cap.
"Jus' wanted ta see the buildin finished ma'am." He said. "Thank you." He smiled and looked across the skyline. "New York." He sighed. "What a city."
Patty came to stand next to him. "Yeah." She agreed, smiling as he started to fade from view. "What a city."
Some interesting pictures of the building as it was being built:
Only 5 people died in the construction of the building of the Empire State.
1 fell down an elevator shaft
1 got blown up by explosives
1 got hit by a truck
1 got hit by a hoist and
1 fell off the scaffolding
"Why are we even bothering to dress up?" Abbie asked, straightening her Yoda ear head band. "Halloween is the time of year where the veil is thinnest. We're going to get calls all night."
"Or we have a rep and the spooks know not to mess with us." Patty suggested,
"The phone's been quiet all day." Holtzmann said, riding in on her ghost horse. "Hey guys. Look. I'm Joan of Arc."
"Isn't that how you usually dress?" Patty asked. Holtzmann stuck out her tongue.
"Who are you supposed to be?" She asked, looking at Patty's pink ballgown and crown.
"Glinda." Patty said.
"Oh." Holtzmann frowned. "I just thought you were going as a nightmare from my childhood."
Patty adjusted her crown and gave Holtzmann a smile. Waving her wand she said. "Fuck you and the ghost horse you rode in on."
Erin snorted as she adjusted her Einstein mustache in the mirror. Just then Kevin walked in wearing a red cape, blonde wig and black costume. "There's a call from 72nd next to the park." He said, looking up from his notes. "Something about a lemon." He frowned as he took in the other's shocked expressions. "What?"
"Nice costume, Kev." Abbie said slowly.
"Thanks." He grinned. "I'm Thor!" He waved around the hammer. "The wig itches, though."
Holtzmann urged her horse forward so she was next to Patty. "He looks just like the guy." She stagewhispered, as Kevin held out his arm to Erin who was completely oblivious to the fact that her mustache was lopsided.
"Proton packs." Abbie said.
"Hold up there." Patty said. "You probably don't want to bust this ghost."
Abbie raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
Patty motioned her closer and whispered something in her ear. As she listened, Abbie's expression went from skeptical to interested to excited.
"Everyone in the car." She shouted, grabbing Erin's arm and dragging her away from Kevin. "Now. Now. now."
"I'll follow on the horse." Holtzmann said.
When they pulled up in front of the park at 72nd street a large crowd had formed around the corner building. Holtzmann urged her horse forward, cutting a path through the crowd. The others followed. On the steps of the Dakota a long haired man was sitting, playing a guitar and singing.
"Best Halloween ever." Erin said as John Lennon led the crowd in a sing along of "Imagine".
The Dakota building on 72nd street is the building where John Lennon lived and was assassinated in front of. There have been multiple sightings of him. Fun fact, the part of the park directly across from the building is called Strawberry Fields and there's a mosaic on the park path that says imagine.
"Headless ghost in St. Paul's cemetery." Erin said.
Patty ran up to their makeshift library. They'd begun pooling all their books in the outer room of Kevin's floor, hoping he'd take the hint and open one. So far it hadn't worked. She looked over the different titles until she found the one she was looking for. Grabbing it, she ran back down.
"Hamlet?" Abbie said, looking over her shoulder as she got into Ecto 1. "I'm assuming there's a reason."
"If the ghost is the who I think it is." Patty said, cryptically.
They walked through the cemetery, Abbie held out the ghost sensor. It bean going crazy around one particular grave. Abbie knelt to get a closer look. "George Fredrick Cooke." She read.
"I knew it." Patty said, pulling out her copy of Hamlet she flipped through it until she got to the passage she was looking for. "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow
of infinite jest,"
"What's she doing?" Erin whispered.
"Shhh." Patty said before continuing.
"It's not like he can hear us." Holtzmann said. "He's a headless ghost."
"Can y'all shut up?" Patty hissed. "I'm trying to recite Shakespeare."
"Butcher it more like." A man said. They whirled around to see a well dressed ghost without a head, leaning against one of the neighboring graves.
"Well excuse me for not being a classically trained actor." Patty said, slamming the book shut.
"Get ready to be busted." Holtzmann said. The ghost held up a hand.
"Not so fast." He said. "Now it just so happens that my presence here draws attention to the site. I'm good for tourism. The church might be upset if I were to be dispatched." He paused. "I hurt no one. All I ask, is that you allow me to perform my greatest part and achieve the notoriety that I never had in life." He put a hand to his chest and bowed deeply.
The women looked at each other.
"He's not hurting anyone." Patty said slowly.
"No." Erin said. "We can't keep letting ghosts off the hook."
"We don't let the bad ones go." Patty said. "But he's harmless."
Holtzmann looked at her proton gun and pouted.
"I promise I'll let you have the first shot the next time something big comes along." Patty said. "Just let this guy go."
Abbie sighed and frowned at the ghost. "You're on our list. One trace of ecto vomit and it's curtains."
George Frederick Cooke was an actor who was buried headless after selling the right to his head to science because he was broke. While he wasn't a very successful actor in real life, he none the less had one of the greatest careers in showbiz. His skull was used as a prop for Hamlet.