In mid-February 1858, the John Milton was caught in a winter storm coming back from the Chincha Islands. It was believed Captain Harding misidentified a lighthouse and took the ship the wrong way. The John Milton ran aground and killed everyone on board. Most of the frostbitten bodies of the crew washed ashore soon after.
In the present, during the summer, the John Milton reappeared near Montauk, south of Long Island. After an ominous disembodied voice warned a ship to leave, it would be frozen. The Governor called for the Ghostbusters to take care of the matter but it was only added to an already stretched workload. Growing impatient, the Governor demanded a quick resolution. Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz and Kylie Griffin disembarked on Marine Ecto-8. After a hour of searching, Ecto-8 detected the John Milton, amid an ice sheet in the middle of the ocean. The trio walked up to the John Milton despite Peter's misgivings. P.K.E. readings indicated the whole ship was active. Kylie then shot a hole through the hull. Upon entering the ship, they were surrounded by the deceased crew.
Kylie shot out the floor based on earlier unique P.K.E. readings. Her hunch was correct and the interior displayed massive extradimensional expansion in the form of an ice cavern. They encountered Francis Harding, the controlling entity, and trapped him. However, Francis' hold was so strong that the Trap didn't sever his connection to the John Milton. Upon releasing Francis at his father's grave, the John Milton sailed off into the sky.
- Erik Burnham chose to use the John Milton because it shared the name of the writer of "Paradise Lost" and he thought it was a great way to connect to the haunting. 
- IDW Comics
- Insight Editions
- ↑ Ray Stantz (2013). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #7" (2013) (Comic p.17). Ray says: "It is the John Milton!"
- ↑ Ghostbusters Wiki Interview with Erik Burnham Part 2 Question 19 10/22/15
- ↑ Ray Stantz (2016). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters International #9" (2016) (Comic p.3). Ray Stantz says: "We haven't seen a good phantom ship since the John Milton, and-oh!"
- ↑ Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.32). Paragraph reads: "They tend to disperse peacefully as soon as they are able to remember their past life, such as the case of the elemental spirit of Francis Harding, a teenager lost in the sinking of the John Milton, a ship captained by his father, in 1858."