ARTICLE: Ghostbusters Classification System

Tony Wilkins looks at the classification system used by the Ghostbusters

“Sir, what you had there was what we refer to as a Focused, Non-Terminal, Repeating Phantasm, or a Class 5 Full-Roaming Vapor . . . a real nasty one too”.
– Ray Stantz

Ever since that line was uttered after “Slimer” was busted in the original Ghostbusters movie millions of fans have wondered “What is a Class 5 and what are the other classifications since there are at least 5 of them?” While the movies never established this classification list one was produced for the role-playing game that came out shortly after the movie. This classification list established that there were seven distinct classes of ghosts referring to their psychokinetic energy. Because it was directly tied in to the movie many fans now consider it canon to the movies.

The animated series frequently made mention of classifications but differed markedly from the ones established in the RPG with numbers going as high as 12 therefore it is generally agreed that this is a separate system. In this article we will only be looking at the movie/RPG system. I have tried to find pictures that would best fit the description.

So here goes…


Class 1 – A Class 1 is an undeveloped ghost being difficult to see with the naked eye. Often they have no form but appear as spectral lights or whispy clouds. They have limited interaction with the environment in which it inhabits meaning they are neither hostile nor friendly.

Class 2 – Class 2 ghosts are generally similar to a Class 1 except that they are a little more powerful and have more of an effect on the environment they inhabit. When visible they remain faint but take a more defined shape which is often incomplete. Some poltergeists are Class 2.

Class 3 – Class 3 have a distinctly human shape and some of the higher examples possess personality traits from their previous lives although often they have no memory from before their death. Some of the more aggressive poltergeist cases are often Class 3.

Class 4 – Class 4 ghosts are the same as Class 3 except that they have memories of their past lives. They are often fully formed ghosts that believe they are still alive although many accept their deaths and use their new found energies to continue the ambitions they had in life. Often a Class 4 can be dealt with by helping it complete it’s “unfinished business” at which point it will crossover.

Class 5 – Class 5s like Slimer are ectoplasmic manifestations as a result of the psychokinetic energy around a place of significant spiritual importance. In Slimer’s case it is now firmly established thanks to the video game that he was created as a result of rituals performed by a cult at the Sedgewick Hotel. Because they weren’t ever alive they don’t take on a human form.

Class 6 – A Class 6 is the ghost of a lower life form such as a cat, dog, horse etc. The power of these types of ghost varies significantly based firstly on the type of creature and the level of psychokinetic energy it possesses. Therefore animal ghosts have a range like human ghosts do but because they are not as common (or often not as frightening) they are consolidated in to a single category.

“Are you a God?”
– Gozer

Class 7 – A Class 7 is an exceptionally powerful “Metaspectre” often residing in an adjacent dimension to ours until someone on this side grants them access. Most religions refer to these beings as demons rather than ghosts because they are so powerful. The RPG actually says that the best tactic against these beings is to prevent them from coming in to our dimension in the first place. Gozer was a Class 7.


Thanks for reading…


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