Essex: Paranormal problems? Then call the Ghostbusters says Essex County Council in comedy FoI response

Ghost Busters (1984) Directed by Ivan Reitman. From left: Bill Murray (Dr Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroy

Ghost Busters (1984) Directed by Ivan Reitman. From left: Bill Murray (Dr Peter Venkman), Dan Aykroyd (Dr Raymond Stantz) and Ernie Hudson (Winston Zeddmore) - Credit: Columbia/Photofest

Who you gonna call if you have problems with the paranormal in Essex? The Ghostbusters, according to County Hall.

Shaun Of The Dead, with Simon Pegg as Shaun third from left. Picture: Oliver Upton/Universal Studios

Shaun Of The Dead, with Simon Pegg as Shaun third from left. Picture: Oliver Upton/Universal Studios.

A comedy Freedom of Information (FoI) response from a sci-fi film buff at Essex County Council (ECC) reveals all enquiries relating to zombie invasions, UFOs and extra-terrestrials is dealt with by external contractors.

The response was to an FoI request by a member of the public to ECC asking the number of UFO sightings and investigations into paranormal activity dealt with by the authority in the last decade.

The request also asked for a copy of County Hall’s business continuity plans in the event of a zombie invasion or pandemic virus.

In its comedic response ECC said the services had “all been contracted out to external service providers”.

The X Files - Mulder and Scully

The X Files - Mulder and Scully - Credit: Twentieth Century Fox


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UFO investigations are handled by the X-Files agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully “who have been seconded from the FBI to Essex County Council X-Files project”, according to the published response.

Meanwhile the Ghostbusters are dealing with “all investigations concerning paranormal activity” and the public should “contact 555-2368 and ask to speak with Dr Venkman, Dr Stants or Dr Spengler”.

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In two other sci-fi movie references apocalyptic business continuity plans are handled by Simon Pegg’s title character from The Shaun of the Dead, who can be found “c/o The Winchester Tavern, 39 Monson Road New Cross South London” – the main location of the film.

Questions on viral pandemics should be directed to Major Henry West, Christopher Ecclestone’s character from director Danny Boyle’s film 28 Days Later, at the Government Disease Control Centre, in Cambridge.

Cillian Murphy , the star of 28 Days Later . Picture: Fox

Cillian Murphy , the star of 28 Days Later . Picture: Fox

“He can only be contacted 28 days later from the receipt of this response,” says the FoI response.

A County Hall spokesman said the number of FoI requests made to the authority increased by almost 60% from 2011 to 2013, and the council received around 750 requests in the first quarter of this year.

In 2013 ECC spend almost £0.25million in staffing costs to respond to 1,853 FoI requests, taking nearly 16,700 officer hours – equivalent to 700 days.

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