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Dr. Martin Heiss[1] was a famous debunker of the supernatural.[2]

History

For an undisclosed amount of time, Martin Heiss was the chairman of the Council of Logic and Data and a well known debunker of all things supernatural. He was also considered a highly regarded scientific authority with impeccable credentials. During the Council's annual nondenominational winter holiday office party in 2014, Heiss received a copy of Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal as a white elephant gift. He read the synopsis out loud and everyone laughed. Later that night, back at his home in the Upper West Side, Heiss flipped through the book with a bottle of eggnog. He concluded Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates were completely unqualified to write it and the book was either nonsense or an elaborate in-joke. He attempted to sell his copy but every used bookstore already had numerous copies, several signed by Abby. Heiss even found a copy made out to Abby's mother.

When a video of the Electrocuted Ghost surfaced on the Internet, NY1 News brought Heiss in to comment on its authenticity. He recorded a one-on-one with Pat Kiernan, an anchor. Kiernan brought up Heiss' accolades first. Heiss thanked him. Kiernan addressed the implication of if something of true scientific interest was in the video, Heiss' words would go a long way to legitimize the Ghostbusters and everything they stood for.[3] Heiss confirmed that would be a game changer. Kiernan asked him if the video was real. Heiss emphatically replied it wasn't and laughed. Heiss observed the public reaction to the debut of the Ghostbusters and the existence of ghosts as a form of group delusion, mass hysteria. He took it upon himself to expose them as frauds.[4] Shortly after the Ghostbusters returned from Stonebrook, Heiss came to Ghostbusters headquarters, and demanded proof that there was in fact a ghost in their possession. Kevin informed them the Ghostbusters was a "Smartin Christ" to see them. Erin was confused and realized he meant Martin Heiss. Abby was not happy. Kevin pointed to Heiss, who was standing in the doorway. Abby directed him to tell Heiss they weren't there. Erin was confused why she said that. Abby stated she didn't want to talk to him. Kevin told Heiss they weren't present. Heiss entered the lab area. Erin greeted him. Heiss asked if it was a good time or if was the dinner rush. Abby told him to make an appointment. Erin countered it was a perfect time since they were doing some experiments.

Heiss sat down on a chair. He wanted start light and easy then asked them why they were pretending to catch ghosts. Before Erin could answer, Abby picked out how easy it was to just be a naysayer and not do anything. She contended humankind only comprehended about four percent of the universe and repeated the fact. Erin stopped Abby and reiterated they were adherents of the scientific method and she, in particular, dedicated her life to it. She picked up the Trap and told him they captured a Class 3 vapor at 4:32 pm. Heiss pointed his cane at the Trap and wanted to clarify the ghost was indeed inside the "thermos." He poked it but Abby pushed the cane away, telling him not to touch it. Holtzmann remarked, "Booyah. Emphasis on the "boo"." Heiss remarked he would really love to see it. Abby was firmly against releasing the ghost and stated they were still assessing what type of containment method to use in the lab. Abby tried to take the Trap, Erin resisted, but Abby yanked it away. Heiss was amused at his timing, they caught a ghost but he couldn't see it. Erin admitted it sounded like they were making it up, it sounded crazy, and they probably don't really look like legitimate scientists. Heiss contended they only lacked the proper equipment, like a garbage truck to hang on to the back of. Erin's smile turned to a frown and glare. Abby pointed out that came out of a man with a walking stick and floppy hat. Heiss revealed it was his mother's. Kevin leaned back from his desk and complemented the hat.

Patty cleared her throat and thanked him for stopping by. Heiss was disappointed the graciousness ran out. Erin was still intent on showing him the ghost. She grabbed the Trap and set it down on the floor. Abby told her not to do it. Erin released the pedal. Abby pulled her back and questioned her. Erin insisted it was because he didn't believe them. Holtzmann and Patty quickly strapped on their Proton Packs. Heiss got out his camcorder and recorded. Abby tried to talk Erin out of it, citing they finally succeeded at doing the thing they talked about since they were little kids and it wasn't worth it trying to impress him. Heiss thought they were something. Erin apologized to Abby. Abby told her it was okay. As soon as Abby turned away, Erin stomped the pedal and the Trap opened. Heiss cheered her on. Erin and Abby cringed. Erin quickly apologized. Heiss mockingly referred to Mayhem as Casper. Suddenly, Mayhem manifested, flied out of the Trap, carried Heiss through the window and Zhu's sign, and dropped him onto the street below. Kevin remarked he went out the wrong door. Holtzmann, Patty, Abby, and Erin ran to the window and looked. Holtzmann broke the tension and remarked he wasn't really Ghostbusters material. The police ruled it a freak accident but continued investigating. Sergeant Lance Larson was skeptical based on his injuries. Heiss was hospitalized.[5][6] Two days later, the incident was mentioned in a late edition of the New York Post. Heiss paid thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical expenses and spent many months in physical rehabilitation. He changed his opinion on the Ghostbusters and was also removed from his position as chairman of the Council of Logic and Data.[7][8] Heiss later wrote the new foreword for the revised edition of Ghosts From Our Past. He shared anecdotes about the first time he saw the book and his encounter with the Ghostbusters. He ended with a warning that life was too short to be skeptical about ghosts and this book had to be read.

Trivia

  • Paul Feig and co. pitched a character who didn't believe in ghosts to Bill Murray. They didn't know until about two days before shooting scenes if Murray was in.[9]
  • On August 8, 2015, it was reported that Bill Murray arrived late in the week in Boston to film his role.[10]
  • Paul Feig simply wanted Heiss to be the kind of person to wear suits but Bill Murray pitched basing the character's look off English writer and storyteller Quentin Crisp.[11]
  • Pat Kiernan returned to Boston a month after filming his initial scene to film a scene with Bill Murray. They filmed for 40 minutes with scripted and ad lib lines.[12][13][14]
  • While filming the scene with Pat Kiernan, Bill Murray recognized one of the technicians as someone he worked with on Saturday Night Live.[15]
  • Heiss reveals he inherited his walking stick and hat from his mother.[16]
  • Heiss was given a walking stick because Feig's hobby is collecting them.[17]
  • Martin refers to Mayhem as Casper the Friendly Ghost.
  • Heiss was going to be killed off. A chalk outline of Heiss, his hat and cane were even filmed but deleted. It was decided to keep what happened to Heiss ambiguous.[18]
    • In the deleted scene Casper, there were chalk outlines of him and his hat and cane.
  • In one of the movie's tie-in books, "Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal," from Three Rivers Press, it is revealed that Martin Heiss survived the fall, but was very severely injured and went through months of expensive physical rehabilitation recovering from his injuries. His encounter caused him to have a change of heart and become thoroughly convinced that ghosts do exist, so much so that he wrote the "New Foreword" to the book.
  • Andrew Shaffer originally wrote the new forward for Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal from the perspective that Heiss was a Class 4 ghost. During post-production of the movie, Heiss's status was changed to be vague. Shaffer modified the forward to reflect he survived the fall but forgot to change a joke on page 17 about him being a ghost.[19]
  • Martin Heiss is the grandson of Vernon Heiss, writer of "The Heiss Guide to Frightful Entities" (1928) which features the Heiss Occult Manifestation Index.[20]
  • In Ghostbusters 101 #4, Erin notes Peter Venkman looks like Martin Heiss.

Appearances

Primary Canon

Secondary Canon

References

  1. NY1 News Anchor #1 (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 8 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:52:32-00:52:36). Sony Pictures. NY1 News Anchor #1 says: "I spoke with Martin Heiss earlier. He's with the Council for Logic and Data."
  2. NY1 News Anchor #1 (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 8 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:52:36-00:52:42). Sony Pictures. NY1 News Anchor #1 says: "He is a famed debunker of the paranormal. Dr. Heiss, you're a highly regarded scientific authority. Your credentials are impeccable."
  3. NY1 News Anchor #1 (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 8 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 00:52:44-00:52:50). Sony Pictures. NY1 News Anchor #1 says: "If you see something of true scientific interest in this video, that goes a long way to legitimize these Ghostbusters and everything they stand for."
  4. Shaffer, Andrew (2016). Ghosts From Our Past: Both Literally & Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal, p. 12. Three Rivers Press, New York NY USA, ISBN 9781101906002. Line reads: "Since no one else seemed up to the task of busting the Ghostbusters, I valiantly nominated myself."
  5. New York Post (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 12 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 1:27:50-1:27:52). Sony Pictures. New York Post reads: "Two days ago, paranormal skeptic Martin Heiss was hospitalized after falling through a window in a freak accident."
  6. New York Post (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 12 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 1:27:50-1:27:52). Sony Pictures. New York Post reads: "Sergeant Lance Larson , who was at the scene of the Heiss incident says it was virtually impossible that Mr. Heiss' injuries could have been caused--."
  7. Shaffer, Andrew (2016). Ghosts From Our Past: Both Literally & Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal, p. 1. Three Rivers Press, New York NY USA, ISBN 9781101906002. Line reads: "Spectral entities are real---and dangerous. If only I'd taken Drs. Gilbert and Yates's research seriously, I could have saved myself thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses. ---Martin Heiss, former chairman of the Council for Logic and Data"
  8. Shaffer, Andrew (2016). Ghosts From Our Past: Both Literally & Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal, p. 13. Three Rivers Press, New York NY USA, ISBN 9781101906002. Line reads: "Don't let the many months I spent in physical rehab be in vain."
  9. Cineblog "Ghostbusters, Paul Feig in Rome: a report from the press" (retrieved through Google Translate) 6/27/16 Line reads: "Murray did not want to do anything and we have proposed the role of a character who does not believe in ghosts. He found interesting, however, does not immediately accepted, so much so that until two days before the shooting did not know if he would have shot."
  10. Super Hero Hype "Bill Murray Spotted on His Way to the Ghostbusters Set" 8/8/15
  11. EMPIRE Online "Empire Podcast: Ghostbusters Spoiler Special with Paul Feig" 23:50-23:59 7/27/16 Paul Feig says: "Well, I wanted him in a suit because we always thought it would be fun if he was that kind of guy but when he showed up, he wanted to base the character, his look off Quentin Crisp."
  12. Entertainment Weekly "Ghostbusters: Anchor Pat Kiernan talks cameo with original star" 7/18/16 Pat Kiernan says: "About a month later, there was an urgent phone call saying, "We have another scene for you. It's not the same scene, and we're pretty sure you'll want to clear your schedule for this one. Could you be in Boston on these days?" It was right in the middle of summer vacation, and they were very mysterious about it, but I said okay."
  13. Entertainment Weekly "Ghostbusters: Anchor Pat Kiernan talks cameo with original star" 7/18/16 Pat Kiernan says: "There were a couple of scripted lines, and Paul Feig, as he is with everything on his movies, just let the actors try to do their things and build on those lines. He just had us do the scene several times with the core of the lines that they'd written, but we’d bounce back in and out of what Bill could come up with on the spot. He succeeded at being the difficult interviewee, and he enjoyed the fact that he was making me squirm a little bit while trying to keep up as the straight man anchor."
  14. Entertainment Weekly "Ghostbusters: Anchor Pat Kiernan talks cameo with original star" 7/18/16 Pat Kiernan says: "The actual time on set with Bill was about 40 minutes, and, as you know from reports back at the time, he was not the first of the alumni to sign up."
  15. Entertainment Weekly "Ghostbusters: Anchor Pat Kiernan talks cameo with original star" 7/18/16 Pat Kiernan says: "As he walked into this huge old converted warehouse they made into a sound stage, he recognized one of the technicians who I think he worked with on SNL, and he goes, "How the hell are you, man?" The two of them just had this warm exchange, and I think it put everyone at ease, because I think there had been some tension over the fact that it was just a one-day shoot and he hadn't been initially eager to do the movie."
  16. Martin Heiss (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 10 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 1:08:43-1:08:44). Sony Pictures. Martin Heiss says: "It was my mother's."
  17. EMPIRE Online "Empire Podcast: Ghostbusters Spoiler Special with Paul Feig" 24:04-24:09 7/27/16 Paul Feig says: "But I wanted him to have a walking stick because of my affectations."
  18. EMPIRE Online "Empire Podcast: Ghostbusters Spoiler Special with Paul Feig" 16:49-17:10 7/27/16 Paul Feig says: "We actually talked about it and then just thought um I don't know if we actually made so you're not quite sure he got killed or not when he's thrown out the window. Originally, I shot it where you literally see the chalk outline of him and his hat and his cane is outlined, too, but ah, maybe we leave the door open for Bill Murray."
  19. Interview with Andrew Shaffer Andrew Shaffer says: "However, during post-production of the film, Dr. Heiss's fate was altered to be vague (leaving the possibility open that his character survived, for potential sequels, I assume). So I changed the foreword to reflect that he was alive, but unfortunately missed the joke about him being a ghost on page 17. That will be corrected in future printings of the book."
  20. Shaffer, Andrew (2016). Ghosts From Our Past: Both Literally & Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal, p. 102. Three Rivers Press, New York NY USA, ISBN 9781101906002. Line reads: "His grandson, Martin, Heiss, is now a famous debunker of the paranormal."
  21. Kevin Beckman (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Extended Edition; Chapter 12 (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 1:17:10-1:17:14). Sony Pictures. Kevin Beckman says: "Hey, guys, I've been meaning to ask, what was that thing that threw that man out the window the other day?"
  22. Officer Stevenson (2016). Ghostbusters (2016 Movie) Deleted/Alternate Scenes; (Deleted Scene): Casper (2016) (Blu-Ray ts. 0:00:09-0:00:15). Sony Pictures. Officer Stevenson says: "And if you tell me that a ghost threw him out of the window again, I swear to you, you're gonna be answering this behind bars."
  23. Erin Gilbert (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #4" (2017) (Comic p.3). Erin Gilbert says: "Patty's Uncle and... and Martin Heiss... and... and that Cabbie."
  24. Peter Venkman (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #4" (2017) (Comic p.3). Peter Venkman says: "Now was I supposed to be the cabbie or the other guy?"
  25. 80-C Memo (2018). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #1" (2018) (Comic p.22). 80-C Memo reads: "The man in Dr. Venkman's face debunked cons, as opposed to performing them."

Gallery

Primary Canon

Behind the Scenes

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