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The P.K.E. Meter was one of the Ghostbusters' tools invented by Dr. Egon Spengler that enabled them to track ghosts and other entities.

History

The full name of the device is a Psychokinetic Energy Meter, so named because its function is to detect the amounts of said energy and to direct the user to its location.

The design of the device is a small screen, mounted on a handle, which has a pair of sensor 'wings' protruding from either side. These wings have lights along their length, and will flash and extend as the meter closes in on the source of a P.K.E. signature. Much like a metaphysical Dowsing Rod, the meter will begin to buzz more and more in response to approaching a source of P.K. Energy. Once at the source of the energy, the wings will extend to their fullest length and the meter will buzz noticeably at a higher pitch.

The meters are also apparently the oldest equipment of the Ghostbusters. It was built before the formation of the Ghostbusters and used by Egon, Dr. Stantz, and Dr. Venkman while they were employed by Columbia University.

During Ghostbusters II, Egon appears to have developed a much more advanced P.K.E. Meter, unceremoniously dubbed the "Giga meter."

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

The P.K.E. Meter returns in the events of Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Just like in the films, it is used to detect ghosts and other paranormal items. A new feature is that it is able to detect Cursed Artifacts, which are found throughout the game. The meter has three different colors which it will display to let the user know what is near.

The three colors are:

  • Red
    • Detection of ghosts or other entities
  • Green
    • Detection of a paranormal substance
  • Blue
    • Detection of a Cursed Artifact

The P.K.E. Meter also functions as a PDA with a built in copy of "Tobin's Spirit Guide" and scans entities, substances, and artifacts found.

For more information see: P.K.E. Meter & Paragoggles (realistic version)

Secondary Canon History

IDW Comics

Egon invented the P.K.E. Meter to aid him in his search for the Rauoskinna during a study abroad in his college years.[2][3] It would later be known as the first piece of proprietary equipment built that was used by the Ghostbusters. About two days after Winston was hired in 1984, Egon informed him that he added a vibration function to the P.K.E. Meter handle to direct him and the arms raised higher when an entity was in close proximity..[4] Egon also warned him to never push a certain two buttons at the same time. Winston asked if he would be electrocuted. Egon went with that as the consequence.

During one Christmas holiday, Ray and Egon invented the Ectoplasmic Glasses which could also scan for entities. Upon the manifestation of the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Glasses detected a P.K.E. surge and Egon reported the Glasses may have been broken. When the team went on vacation and attended the Independence Day Con, Egon still brought along his P.K.E. Meter which was a violation of the vacation rules. However, since he had the Meter, Egon was able to confirm the presence of two actual entities, Frank Bancroft and D'Orka.

During the Tiamat incident, Kylie was tasked with using a P.K.E. Meter to observe Egon's extraction of Mot from Louis Tully and Aetil from Dana Barrett. Since the frequencies between the possessing entity and the human soul differed, the meter could detect when all traces of the aberrant frequency were gone. When the Ghostbusters were accidentally cast into Hell with a spell from the Rauoskinna, Kylie tried to take a reading but her meter was overloaded and started smoking.

Sanctum of Slime

Gabriel Sitter, of the junior team, uses a P.K.E. Meter as he is the technical genius of the group.

Function

Secondary Canon

IDW Comics

The P.K.E. Meter's original configuration allowed the Ghostbusters to find a ghost at its active manifestation point or measure the general collection of P.K.E. in a given area. The meter's reception was later adjusted to account for spectral frequencies and thus, more accurately track specific entities.[5]

Trivia

  • An early concept by Stephen Dane was a device that resembled a metal detector.[6]
  • In Ghostbusters: The Supernatural Spectacular the P.K.E. meter is referred to as a "Aurascope".
  • In Issue #1 of IDW's ongoing series, the ghost sprite on the P.K.E. Meter is from the Kenner Proton Pack toy, seen on the boy's Meter.
  • On the Regular Cover of Ghostbusters 101 #3, Egon has a P.K.E. Meter.
  • The P.K.E. Meter was mentioned in Ray's bio on the 41st Crossing Over Virtual Trading Card, posted on July 10, 2018.[7]
  • On page 21 of Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #6, Bridget's biography mentions she scored high in standardized psychic ability tests and is almost as accurate as a P.K.E. Meter.[8]
  • On page 11 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #1, in panel 2, Egon notes a vibration function. Incidentally, that function was incorporated in Ghostbusters: The Video Game in which the player's controller vibrates.

Appearances

Secondary Canon Appearances






Appearances in Non-Ghostbusters Media

  • One of the P.K.E. Meter props was reused in the films They Live (1988) and Suburban Commando (1991), and a second season episode of Knight Rider. It appeared in animated form in the Family Guy episode "Spies Reminiscent of Us".

References

  1. Mueller, Richard (August 1985). Ghostbusters: The Supernatural Spectacular, p. 29. Tor Books, New York NY USA, ISBN 0812585984. "Spengler pocketed the plasmatometer and held up a black teardrop-shaped device with wings. He called in an aurascope."
  2. Egon Spengler (2016). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters International #5" (2016) (Comic p.6). Egon Spengler says: "I admit, I was fascinated by the Rauoskinna - this is what I invented the PKE Meter to help me find - but during the course of my search, I came to believe that maybe, just this once, it would be better to leave well enough alone."
  3. TomWaltz Tweet 7/10/18Virtual Trading Card reads: "Together, the two men conceived of and built all of the Ghostbusting equipment, starting with the PKE meter."
  4. Egon Spengler (2020). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Year One Issue #1" (2020) (Comic p.11). Egon Spengler says: "I've added a vibration function to the PKE Meter handle to direct you, and its arms will raise higher the closer you get to an entity. It should be foolproof. Just... don't press these two buttons at the same time."
  5. Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #4" (2017) (Comic p.24). Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes reads: "It can be used as a high-tech divining rod, following a spectral trail to an active manifestation point - tracking down a ghost -- or it can be used to measure the general collection of PKE in a given area to help decide on an appropriate response (additional ghostbusters, specialized equipment). Adjustments have been made to account for spectral frequencies, allowing to more accurately track specific entities by fine-tuning the meter's reception."
  6. Wallace, Daniel (2015). Ghostbusters The Ultimate Visual History, p. 59. Insight Editions, San Rafael CA USA, ISBN 9781608875108. Line reads: "Stephen Dane's concept sketch for a metal detector-style ghost-detecting device."
  7. TomWaltz Tweet 7/10/18
  8. 50-S Memo (2018). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #6" (2018) (Comic p.21). 50-S reads: "Bridget Gibbons; an energetic young woman who scores high on standardized psychic tests, and whose vibes are almost as accurate as a PKE Meter."
  9. 68-R Memo (2018). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #2" (2018) (Comic p.21). Memo reads: "The echoes will appear in the background, barely registering on the PKE meter, before vanishing."
  10. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.71). Paragraph reads: "Cathulhu, for example, does exist and is a massively powerful entity---the act of trying to register its P.K.E. signature actually burnt out our reader."
  11. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.73). Paragraph reads: "Its P.K.E. reading was well within range of a dormant entity, but in the interests of safety, we left behind a P.K.E. meter with remote transmission capability to give us some forewarning should the entity begin to stir."

Gallery

Primary Canon

Secondary Canon

Behind the Scenes

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