A family in Florida took their love for the film franchise “Ghostbusters” to new heights — and onto new wheels — when they turned their Kia Soul into what they have dubbed the “Ecto-Soul,” nicknamed for the ghost-catching vehicle, the Ectomobile or Ecto-1. (The original was a 1959 Cadillac Ambulance Miller-Meteor, according to the Internet Movie Cars Database.)
Photographs of the vehicle, and the people who drive it, were shared online after the Tampa Bay Times shared the Wittmaak family’s story in early June 2021.
Snopes spoke with Stephen Wittmaak who said that he founded the Ghostbuster fan group, the Lost Spirits Division, in 2017. Membership is a mix of new members from the Wittmaak family and members that left another local group, the Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters.
“We are a local Florida Ghostbuster franchise dedicated to community and charity events,” said Wittmaak. “As our membership is small, we tend to act as a liaison with other groups adding to their numbers for their hosted events with ourselves, our gear, and of course our Ecto.”
Wittmaak told Snopes that there are more than 500 Ghostbusters fan groups around the world while the Ghostbusters Fans Worldwide group on Facebook has over 11,000 international members. Groups like the Lost Spirits Division dress in costume and support charity events around the state. And as many of these events were postponed or canceled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the premier of “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” was similarly delayed from its July 2020 release for a second time, from June to November 2021.
To ease the let-down of another delay, Wittmaak and his family turned their Kia Soul into the EctoSoul to inspire smiles from familiar and unfamiliar faces.
“Why the Ecto? Every franchise group has two things, a franchise patch that’s kind of branding or a group “coat of arms” and an Ecto of some sort,” said Wittmaak. “Our group didn’t have one, and we started with just Ghostbusters stickers on our cars. Big car magnets. Even that got a lot of smiles from kids and passersby and really made me want to tinker and one-up it.”
The car in question is actually the second Ecto. The first was a 2010 Scion XD (nicknamed the Ecto 1XD) that was totaled in September 2020. In the first phase, Wittmaak said that he added basic car stickers and a roof light. The second phase brought with it a base roof rack, cylinders, and front plates while the third phase brought under-glow lights, interior lights, and an equipment rack. Wittmaak said that he plans to upgrade the roof light, horn, and Bluetooth speaker, as well as add a remote start and — perhaps one day — a hover conversion.