Jul 18, 2016 I Paul Seaburn

Ghostbusters and the Existence of Ley Lines

If you haven’t seen the new Ghostbusters reboot yet, this is a spoiler alert.

Still here? If you’ve seen the movie, you may be wondering about the reference to “ley lines” and their power (at least in the movie) to link to the world of ghosts. It turns out this is both a reference to a real and possibly paranormal phenomenon and a callback to the first (and still the best, although this one is good) Ghostbusters movie.

In the new film, villain Rowan North puts a machine at the intersection of two ley lines at the Mercado Hotel in Times Square in hopes of opening a hole to bring out the ghosts. The art deco building is reminiscent of Dana Barrett’s apartment in the original film.

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The Ghostbusters in the Mercado Hotel at the intersection of ley lines

The term “ley lines” is believed to have been coined by British amateur archeologist Alfred Watkins to describe the strange alignment of ancient significant places – both manmade and natural - in straight lines. After confirming his theory with a map, he described what he saw:

The apparent existence of numerous ancient straight trackways formed a network of intersecting straight lines stretching from one end of Britain to the other.

He called them “ley lines” because the names of many of the places crossed by them ended in “ley.” Watkins claimed the ley lines were aligned with the sun at the solstices and that gave them extra credibility and possible spiritual significance.

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A famous ley line known as the St. Michael Alignment

This idea was scoffed at by many who pointed out that England is so dense with ancient structures that you can’t help but hitting a row of them just by throwing a straight line in any direction. Despite that, British author John Michell published The View Over Atlantis in 1969 in which he links ley lines to feng shui, keeping the land beneath them in harmony (at least until Brexit). That coincided with other beliefs that ley lines were aligned with Earth’s magnetic fields and the intersections were power or energy points – similar to the plot in the Ghostbusters reboot. Their perceived alignment with the stars led others to believe the creation of the structures intersected by the lines were directed by aliens building maps or landing sites (a theory behind the Nazca lines).

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Possible ley lines across the United States

Ley lines and their possible paranormal powers became so popular that a publication was devoted to them - the Ley Hunter Journal. Longtime editor (1976-1996) Paul Devereux claims the term got its paranormal popularity from its use in the 1936 novel The Goat-Foot God by occultist Dion Fortune (Goat-Foot god refers to Pan). Devereux also investigated himself out of a job (although he nursed it for 20 years) by professing that Watkins’ ley lines - along with long-distance ley lines connected sites like Stonehenge, Greek temples, Macchu Pichu and the pyramids – are “really just chance alignments of points on maps.” However, he left the door open by stating that:

There are many earth mysteries that we need to continue to explore with our open minds.

So, looking at them with an open mind, do you think ley lines are real or just a movie device to identify where extreme "ghosting" occurs?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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