Symmetrical Stacking is a unique form of psychokinetic activity that involves the precise vertical stacking of books.
Symmetrical Stacking in the Primary Canon is developed from Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. In Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Versions), a Secondary Canon, Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II pre-date the game, Ghostbusters: Afterlife conflicts with the game. Symmetrical Stacking appears in the IDW Comic Series, a Secondary Canon, which follows Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II, also includes some elements from Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Versions) and Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Stylized Versions); as well as being canon to Tobin's Spirit Guide (Insight Editions). Symmetrical Stacking (from Dimension 50-S) in the IDW Comic Series, is a alternate version based on Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime. Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime video game, deemed a Tertiary Canon, follows Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II.
Primary Canon History
While investigating a sighting of the Library ghost in the New York City Public Library, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, and Egon Spengler observed symmetrical stacking. Peter was skeptical it was paranormal in nature. Ray cited the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947 event while Egon took readings with the P.K.E. Meter.
Symmetrical stacking was present in Egon Spengler's Farmhouse in his study on the first floor.
Secondary Canon History
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Stylized Versions)
According to Tobin's Spirit Guide
- Category: None
- Abilities: None
In certain ares of high psychokinetic activity I've seen peculiar things happen to small objects, especially flat ones. In addition to the almost commonplace levitation and hurling about objects will occasionally end up in perfectly symmetrical stacks, ranging anywhere from a few to dozens of feet in height. I've measured several of these stacks over the course of my studies and they all exhibit perfect mathematical symmetry beyond the capabilities of normal human beings.
I've had the privilege of seeing a few of these stacks firsthand. It's fascinating how rapidly these stacks can be assembled, almost falling haphazardly into place but still retaining their amazing symmetry. Had Tobin been around for a few more decades, he would have seen the Philadelphia Mass Turbulence of 1947, one of the most impressive instances of this phenomenon to date.
Don't do what Venkman did and try to play Jenga with them, OK?
The art page can be found in the NYC Public Library, during the "Get Her!" section. It is hidden in a microfiche reader in the room just before the sorting room; lots of stacked books are nearby.
After Winston Zeddemore was hired in 1984, the Ghostbusters returned to the New York Public Library and trapped the Library ghost. A symmetrical stack of books manifested behind Peter.
- The stack of books was Ivan Reitman's idea while he was on his way to the morning shoot of Ghostbusters. He felt it was a strong set up for the ghost sequence.
- On page 7 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2, panel 1 recreates when Egon stepped away from the Symmetrical Stacking while Ray filmed it in the first movie.
- On page 19 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2, in panel 4, behind Peter is a symmetrical stack of books.
Primary Canon Appearances
- Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Secondary Canon Appearances
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Versions)
- Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Stylized Versions)
- IDW Comics
- Shay, Don (November 1985). Making Ghostbusters, p. 28 annotation. New York Zoetrope, New York NY USA, ISBN 0918432685. Paragraph reads: "To sustain the suspense -- and at the same time reinforce the comedy -- Ivan Reitman felt that the first real ghost sequence demanded a stronger setup than what appeared in the script. So, on his way to the set on the morning of shooting, he came up with the idea of having his scientists discover a single stack of books piled from floor to ceiling."
- Joe Medjuck (1999). Ghostbusters- Commentary (1999) (DVD ts. 08:48-08:53). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Joe Medjuck says: "Now, Ivan, this was your idea was your idea. You were driving to the set and you got to the set, you told them to do this, I remember."
- Ray Stantz (1999). Ghostbusters, Chapter 3: "Get Her!" (1984) (DVD ts. 08:56-09:00). Columbia Pictures. Ray Stantz says: "Symmetrical book stacking, just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947."