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

History

Primary Canon

Ghostbusters

The P.K.E. Meter was one of the oldest invention and piece of equipment used by 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. Egon and Ray responded to a call from the New York City Public Library and investigated. Egon took took P.K.E. valances and it went right off the top of the scale. Ray emphasized to Peter it buried the needle and they were close to finding a real ghost. After Ray returned with Peter, Egon continued taking reads and informed them the ghost was on the move. They went into the stacks. Egon took readings off the Symmetrical Stacking and told them it was "hot" then after the slimed card catalog, he picked up stronger readings. Soon, the P.K.E. Meter lit up. They went down the next aisle. The arms on the P.K.E. Meter rose up and Egon held out his hand to the others to stop. They found the Library ghost. Egon used the readings to run calculations on his PC-4 Calculator and verified their theory they could catch a ghost and hold it indefinitely. Egon swept the halls of the 22nd floor of the Sedgewick Hotel with the P.K.E. Meter after the Ghostbusters split up to find Slimer. Egon later scanned Louis Tully/Vinz Clortho with the P.K.E. Meter and watched as the readings quickly surged. Egon turned it off and turned to the Police Sergeant and suggested they better bring him into the Firehouse.

Ghostbusters II

By the time of the Vigo Incident of 1989, Egon developed a new meter to specifically read psychomagnotheric energy, unceremoniously dubbed the "Giga meter." The others like Ray continued to use the P.K.E. Meter.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

The P.K.E. Meter was still in use during the events of Shandor Incident of 1991. Just like in previous years, it is used to detect ghosts and other paranormal items. New features were added to detect and identify Cursed Artifacts, scan entities to add their paranormal information to an electronic Tobin's Spirit Guide, and work in conjunction with Ecto Goggles.

Secondary Canon

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. In 1984, Egon and Ray went to the New York City Public Library after Roger Delacorte called them about an incident. Egon tested his P.K.E. Meter for the first time outside a laboratory setting in the Reading Room and successfully picked up the Library ghost's P.K.E. reading. About two days after Winston was hired, 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

Primary Canon

Ghostbusters

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.

Ghostbusters The Video Game

The P.K.E. 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

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]
  • During production of the first movie, only Harold Ramis knew how to use the P.K.E. Meter prop.[7]
  • In Ghostbusters: The Supernatural Spectacular the P.K.E. meter is referred to as a "Aurascope".
  • In the August 5, September 30, and October 7 drafts, Egon uses his P.K.E. Meter after Gozer vanishes whereas in the movie, he uses the Gamma Rate Meter.[8]
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.[10]
  • 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.
  • On Cover B of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2, on the bottom right is a P.K.E. Meter.
  • On page 6 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2, Ray reveals he suggested a few tweaks to the P.K.E. Meter during graduate school.[11]

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. Ivan Reitman (2005). Ghostbusters- Commentary (2005) (DVD ts. 08:31-08:40). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Ivan Reitman says: "This piece of equipment, only Harold got to learn how to use it. He had sort of had a secret way to use the three buttons that were on it that made the little wings rise and fall. "
  8. Aykroyd, Dan & Ramis, Harold (1983). Ghostbusters (First Draft August 5, 1983) (Script p. 125). Line reads: "He scans the temple with his PKE meter, not at all convinced the danger has passed.""
  9. TomWaltz Tweet 7/10/18
  10. 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."
  11. Ray Stantz (2020). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2" (2020) (Comic p.6). Ray Stantz says: "That said, I did suggest a few tweaks during grad school."
  12. 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."
  13. 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."
  14. 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

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.