Ilyssa Selwyn (also known as Ilyssa Shepard) is an expert in Sumerian and pre-Sumerian cultures, and, along with the Reschler Group, is recognized as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Gozerian mythology. She was the supervisor and guest curator in charge of the "World of Gozer" exhibit in the Museum of Natural History set to open Thanksgiving weekend 1991.[1]


Primary Canon History


Born to unknown parents on November 15, 1961, Ilyssa was adopted by Jeremiah and Fabienne Selwyn, anthropologists associated with the prestigious Chicago Institute for Ancient Eastern Studies. Ilyssa spent much of her childhood accompanying her adopted parents to archaeological sites throughout Asia and Europe, and on lecture circuit tours around the world.[2]

She attended the exclusive Selsemme Academy in Kuwait until age 15, when her parents were killed in a cave-in. Her academic achievements allowed her to enter the University of Illinois early, and generous scholarships awarded by Trompe Corporation, the Shandor Foundation, and the Chicago Institute funded her education.[3]

Ilyssa earned her first Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University, and her second from University of California, Berkeley in Applied Archaeological Sciences. Like her childhood, she spent much of her career on digs and giving lectures. The three academic journals she published went largely unread until the Gozerian craze swept New York City in the early 1990s.[4]

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

In 1991, Ilyssa was selected and recommended by Walter Peck to be a guest curator for a Gozerian mythology exhibit at the Museum of Natural History, set to open sometime during the Thanksgiving weekend. Ilyssa was working on some finishing touches the night before the opening when a cataclysmic force was unleashed. Peter Venkman was the first to encounter Ilyssa during the Ghostbusters' investigation at the Sedgewick Hotel. In his typical fashion, Peter struck out spectacularly with her, and Ilyssa stormed off. It was later revealed that Ilyssa was drawn to the Sedgewick by unknown forces, in some kind of dream-like trance. When she awoke, she was standing outside Room 1221 on the notorious Twelfth Floor of the Sedgewick. Confused and more than a little panicked, she attempted to flee, only to run into Peter and the others. She returned to her temporary office located in Times Square.

The Ghostbusters ran into her again during their second battle against The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in Times Square, rescues her in the process of the encounter, and escorted her back to the Firehouse for questioning. She officially disclosed she was a specialist in Mesopotamian cultures and architecture. Sumerian, primarily. Gozerian, more specifically. Then, Ilyssa explained that she was the guest curator of the new Gozerian Exhibit at the Museum of Natural History,[5] and had been hand-picked by none other than Walter Peck, a previous acquaintance of The Ghostbusters and now head of P.C.O.C. (pronounced "peacock") or the Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission, which supposedly controlled the Ghostbusters' every move.

Later, during the investigation at the Museum, she was kidnapped by a powerful specter known as The Chairman and, after a chase through the Museum's various haunted exhibits, carried her back to the World of Gozer exhibit. The Ghostbusters attacked him with their Slime Blowers and forced him to release Ilyssa. Winston Zeddemore then escorted Ilyssa to safety while the others went after The Chairman.

However, Ilyssa's freedom doesn't last long as she ended up captured again, and, after doing some further research, it was discovered that Ilyssa was a direct descendant of Ivo Shandor, the occultist, scientist, and architect who originally intended to call down Gozer the Gozerian the first time. Shandor required Ilyssa's blood to complete the ritual for a Supreme Destructor Form. The Ghostbusters rescued her, Jock Mulligan, and Peck then fled the Cult of Gozer's Cemetery as it collapsed. Peter and Ilyssa were about to kiss when Slimer slimed her. She later protested to the idea of the Ghostbusters firing the Rookie.

Secondary Canon History

A few years after the Shandor incident, the Field Museum of Natural History decided to exhibit a selection of newly discovered Gozerian artifacts. Dr. Selwyn was called in to authenticate the artifacts. Since Chicago was far from anything built by Shandor, Selwyn accepted the offer. As a precaution, in her contract with the museum's Board of Trustees, Selwyn had a clause drafted that protected her from being held responsible for any damages caused by supernatural means. Before the new World of Gozer exhibit was debuted to the public, Selwyn hired the Chicago Ghostbusters to take a look at the artifacts.

While speaking to Rookie and Ron Alexander, Selwyn was interrupted by the arrival of The Ghost and The Darkness. After they pounced on Ron, Selwyn implored Rookie to help but he detected something else in the museum. Selwyn and Rookie ran off to track down the readings and discovered an artifact with new, glowing Gozerian lettering on it. Selwyn translated the Gozerian as "Beware" and deduced it was a warning. Rookie instructed Selwyn to cover her eyes then he destroyed the artifact. Rookie and Selwyn returned to the World of Gozer exhibit and found Ron with the lions' skin. Ron gave it to Selwyn and rudely surmised she could sew it up or something. She was unfazed and recalled her contract.


  • According to an official fact sheet, Ilyssa enjoys traveling, modern painting, French New Wave cinema, is fluent in six languages (two of which haven't been spoken in over 4000 years), plays violin proficiently, and is learning the cello. She dislikes abrasive or pushy personalities.[6]
  • In the Realistic Version, Selwyn was going to be an unlockable character but she was never added into the final version of the game.[7]
  • In the Realistic Version, after Lost Island Rising, the seventh message left on the Firehouse answering machine rudely alludes to Selwyn.[8]
  • Selwyn is only slimed by Slimer at the end of the Realistic Version.
  • In the Stylized Version, a photo of Selwyn is used for the "The Destined" entry in Tobin's Spirit Guide.
  • In the Stylized Portable Version she calls herself Dr. Ilyssa Shepard. Interestingly, in the console versions of the game, when Ray introduces Winston to the Museum Curator, the curator comments that, "Dr. Shephard said you would come."
  • In Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #18, Ilyssa's contact number is the Field Museum's, 312-922-9410.


Primary Canon

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

Secondary Canon

IDW Comics


  1. Atari: Official Character Factsheet 3/20/09 Spook Central
  2. Atari: Official Character Factsheet 3/20/09 Spook Central
  3. Atari: Official Character Factsheet 3/20/09 Spook Central
  4. Atari: Official Character Factsheet 3/20/09 Spook Central
  5. GBTVGReferenceIlyssa.jpg
  6. Atari: Official Character Factsheet 3/20/09 Spook Central
  7. skankerzero post Ghostbusters Fans 6/19/12
  8. Female Caller; After Lost Island Rising, Firehouse 2nd Floor Answering Machine Message 7 of 8 (2009). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Versions) - Firehouse (2009) (PC/PS3/Xbox 360). Terminal Reality. Female says: "What's going on, Peter? Whose that girl I saw you with on the news? Little tramp! You told me you don't like brunettes. In face, you told me you actually can't see them. Their eyes don't register on the brunette wavelength spectrum. Is that even possible?"
  9. Ilyssa Reference in Stylized Version, Museum of (Super)Natural History


Primary Canon

Secondary Canon

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