Who ya’ gonna’ call

Kile Brewer
Posted 10/18/17

MIDDLEBURG – As the Halloween season approaches, the Ghostbusters of Middleburg are gearing up for their favorite month of the year.

While they actually don’t fight any ghosts or evil spirits …

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Who ya’ gonna’ call

Posted

MIDDLEBURG – As the Halloween season approaches, the Ghostbusters of Middleburg are gearing up for their favorite month of the year.

While they actually don’t fight any ghosts or evil spirits that might be stirred up during the spookiest time of year, they usually schedule the bulk of their yearly engagements in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

The group started about five years ago when member Adam Edens decided to build his very own Ectomobile replica with parts he had on hand at the time.

“I had an ‘86 Pontiac sitting in my yard,” Edens said. “I decided to finally do something with it. So, I set it up and started taking it to car shows.”

After the car was finished, Edens began taking the car throughout the state to shows, and eventually met other Ghostbusters fans. After talking with one another, they assembled their jumpsuits and proton packs, and as of 2015, the Ghostbusters of Middleburg were born.

The group travels throughout the state, mostly in and around Clay County and Jacksonville, to cosplay conventions, birthday parties and Halloween events. They also make regular appearances in parades.

The members include Edens, Alan Wittkamp, and Matt Blocker, all of Middleburg. Jeffrey Minigh, Wittkamp’s younger brother, is a recent addition to the team. Minigh, a student at the Seamark Ranch school just west of Penney Farms, serves the group as a ghostbusting apprentice.

Often the Middleburg group will meet up with St. Augustine-based Ghostbuster couple Cameron and Teresa Fisher, who make up the two-person Ancient City Ghostbusters, complete with their own pickup truck Ectomobile. The pair met the Middleburg Ghostbusters at an event and the groups have maintained contact since, making up two of the area’s most official Ghostbuster teams.

Though the guys don’t hold Ph.D.’s in Parapsychology, they play the part well. They are so convincing that they received a request from a spooked Clay County resident following an appearance in last year’s Middleburg Fourth of July parade.

“We got a detailed email on our Facebook page, they wanted us to come check it out,” Edens said. “I told them that we just do the movie stuff, then reworded the about section on our page after that.”

After making the necessary changes to their Facebook page, Edens said they hope people understand now that they are simply a cosplay group and not serious paranormal investigators. He did say they are happy to act as a referral service for any reports of ghosts they hear, and typically pass along information for a St. Augustine-based paranormal investigation group.

Wherever the groups go they typically draw a crowd – not surprising as four men dressed in full blown Ghostbusters costumes walk side-by-side away from an Ectomobile, recreating an iconic image straight from the films. Countless children swarmed the men as they stood in the doorway of the Jacksonville Public Library Maker Con Oct. 14 at the library’s downtown branch. However, nostalgia for their 1980’s-era childhood helps to attract plenty of attention from adults, too.

Adults passing by could be heard saying things to the group like “I’m glad someone still remembers those movies.” The members of the group will point out that several recent events have helped to bring focus back to the hit movie.

With the 2016 release of the series’ first motion picture since Ghostbusters II in 1989, the series was delivered to a new generation of fans with a feminine spin on the classic four-person team, with a cast made up of SNL alumnae and current cast members Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones. In addition to this revival, Netflix recently released the Ghostbusters cartoon that was a hit with kids in the 80’s and 90’s. Finally, the soon-to-be-released Season 2 of the Netflix original show Stranger Things will feature heavy use of Ghostbusters costumes and equipment as a group of four boys in Halloween costumes fight monsters in a paranormal alternate universe.

As part of the series reboot, Sony Pictures restarted an old campaign to find Ghostbusters groups around the country and provide them certificates to make them official members of Ghost Corps. The certificates come hand-signed by Director Ivan Reitman, and is included with a bag of pins for all the members of their groups.

“I’m not sure how official it makes us,” Cameron Fisher said, “but it meant a lot to us as a group.”

Since receiving the certificate, the Ancient City group made copies of the document and began passing them out to kids at birthday parties, announcing the guest of honor as an official Ghost Cadet, something Teresa said has become very popular with young fans.

The group will have a series of events leading up to Halloween, all of which will be posted on their Facebook page Ghostbusters of Middleburg. To catch a glimpse of Clay County’s own Ghostbusters on their home turf, catch them at the Orange Park Trunk or Treat at the First Christian Church of Orange Park on Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m., or Moosehaven’s Heart of the Community Trick or Treat event beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Halloween.

“What we do is very fun for us,” Wittkamp said. “But our favorite part is seeing people smile and knowing we made someone’s day a little bit brighter.”

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