A/N: Alright, my first LDPP, where I basically get to go on a rant analyzing something in the Danny Phantom Universe!
This whole idea stemmed from the General Beliefs section in my profile that I formed a few months ago when I started looking deeper into Danny Phantom and noticed that some topics weren't as clear cut as they may seem, like the origins of ghost hunting or Jazz's future job or Dan's relationship with time. So I started thinking about them, finding so much information and developing so many theories, finding more and more proof in the show to support my theories that I discovered I had enough information and belief in my theories to not only start my General Beliefs section, but to start writing analytical essays about them as well.
Now I know, you hear the word essay and you groan and might get turned away, but it's really not an essay in the boring school assignment way. It's really an in-depth look into a certain area of Danny Phantom "Philosophy" if you will. Each entry will analyze a different aspect of this amazingly deep show, using as much canon background as I can find and supporting the rest with outside research. And if you don't feel particularly interested in the topic at hand, I still encourage you to check in later (if you're still interested) for another topic that may peak your interest. I have some very controversial ones picked out (including an unbiased analysis of Danny's relationships) so please stick around if you're interested.
Alright, and onto the LDPP! Hope you enjoy!
The Origins of Ghost Hunting
Every author of Danny Phantom fan fiction knows that ghost hunters are an important part of the story, as important as the ghosts themselves. Ghost hunters are found in the very center of the plot, whether they be the Guys in White aiming to bring the ever elusive Danny Phantom in for experiments or the self appointed Valerie or even Danny's own parents. But for all their importance in the plot, so little in fact is known about them. Where did they get all their information if none of them had ever seen a ghost before? How are they able to create weapons and inventions that actually work based on incorrect research assumptions? How can Jack and Maddie support a family off this profession? There are so many questions on ghost hunting as a profession and its evolution, and yet the largest insight the television show provides into this field is in "Million Dollar Ghost" where it is shown that there are other ghost hunters and that they all know of each other, but it seems merely to tease the authors more than supply answers. But, what if the answers were in front of us the entire time? What if the show never really needed to go into depth on the origins and evolution of ghost hunting because it's all there, just waiting for the faithful readers to delve a bit deeper, apply some outside knowledge, and find it?
To begin looking at the beginning of ghost hunting, we must first look at the beginning of ghosts, for the two of them are directly related to one another since without ghosts, there would be no need for ghost hunters. The belief in ghosts and spirits has been around since the beginnings of time, each religion and culture having their own opinion on what happens after an individual leaves the world of the living. Cultures such as the Chinese had traditions where individuals facing a dilemma would look to the spirits of their deceased ancestors for guidance or protection, showing they believed that the dead could somehow affect and communicate back to the living world, even though they were no longer a part of it.
Ghosts have always played a prominent role in the development of early cultures, so it seems only natural that along the way someone in history, quite possibly a scientist, would start wanting to know more about these ghosts, trying to find a scientific explanation for something that was until that time based solely on belief. But still, how was the research even conducted? The ideal way for this aspiring researcher to obtain the information he sought would be to encounter a real ghost, but if it were that simple to obtain a ghost then it wouldn't be necessary to scientifically prove their existence because there would be countless reports of actual sightings to confirm their existence for him. So, this brilliant researcher would have to settle for going the scientific route, thus creating the field of ghost research.
Without an actual ghost to experiment on, the scientist would have to start from the beginning, building up the backbone of ghost research. Of course some theories would be quite obvious, like ghosts lacking a heart beat and their independence from life's essentials such as air, water, and nutrients since they're dead, but what about the less obvious questions, like what they were made out of and what gave them their powers? Ghosts obviously weren't made of muscle, skin, and bone, since their body still remained on this earth, so they had to be made of something else, and thus began the research on ectoplasm, the study of which would flourish and become the focus of ghost research for many years to come.
According to Wikipedia, ectoplasm is defined as "dense bio-energy" which causes "the materialization of ghosts." This substance is what a ghost is made out of and the source of all its ghostly abilities like intangibility, invisibility, etc, as showcased many times during the show. Wikipedia states that "numerous studies were carried out in the 1950s and 60s" in regards to ectoplasm research. It's most likely that it was during this time when all the information Jack and Maddie have in regards to ghosts and ectoplasm was developed. This research is what gives them the knowledge to create all their various inventions and weapons and what allows them to actually work because while Jack and Maddie are unsure of their reliability, fans and authors know that they work, and in the words of Danny, "a little too well" ("What You Want"). Now whether the researchers in the fifties and sixties actually obtained a ghost to experiment on or whether they just took the theories developed by earlier scientists and elaborated upon them with better instruments is unknown, but trying to figure out which is the actual source of the information is frankly a moot point. There's no way to know which was true and how they obtained it; all that really matters is that they did and now ghost researchers and hunters around the world can use their information to finally catch one of those elusive beings.
So now information on ghosts is available to the public, as evidenced by the many books shown in Vlad's cabin library in "Maternal Instinct", inspiring people to delve into further research, or even prove the research by capturing a ghost, which leads to the creation of ghost hunters. They use the knowledge of ghosts gained by the researchers and create weapons and inventions used to capture and locate the ghosts. Research companies, interested in gaining an actual ghost to prove their theories, as well as the government, creating their own branch titled the Guys in White ("Million Dollar Ghost"), fund the hunters, making it an official profession.
And along comes a Fenton, an intelligent and seemingly normal fellow who happens to have an unhealthy fascination with ghosts. He discovers the books produced by the research companies on their findings and becomes obsessed, as only a true Fenton can. He reads everything he can, applying his intelligence to the study of ghosts, devising his own theories and thoughts on ghosts and decides to test them by becoming a certified ghost hunter. His intelligence and brilliant theories gets the funding of a large ghost research facility and he begins his job as a ghost hunter, creating weapons that he, sadly, never has a chance to test. But still he continues on, passing the tradition and obsession on to his child, conditioning him to ghosts at an early age so the child can't help but be obsessed with them too, carrying on in the family business and taking it over when his father cannot. And thus the trend continues, the funding and tradition passing on from generation to generation down the line, devising codes of conduct for the Fenton Ghost Hunting clan as they continued to hunt and research ghosts.
Now where the Fenton's lost their credibility is uncertain, but they did in fact lose it, as demonstrated by Jack's not so supportive reception from the other ghost hunters ("Million Dollar Ghost"). It could have been Jack that lost the credibility or it could have very well been his father or grandfather, but it seems certain that they did not lose their funding, since they somehow must be able to make a living off the ghost hunting business and would probably need some sort of a patent to produce, store, and use all the dangerous materials needed to create their inventions. It's most likely not the government, since they have their own branch, so it has to be a ghost research company, quite possibly even the Dalv group run by Vlad as showcased in "Maternal Instinct"
Of course, this is all based on speculation. There is no definitive way to know whether or not actual events played out as they have been hypothesized here. There is so little fact in the canon world of Danny Phantom and even the real world when it comes to ghost research and hunting that it is impossible to form a solid, factually based claim on the evolution of ghost hunting from its research based roots. One more known fact could change the time stream elaborated above considerably, facts like whether the researchers ever obtained ectoplasm to conduct their experiments on, thus giving a more reasonable answer to why the Fenton inventions work, or whether the research companies do fund the Fenton research, thus officially establishing where Jack and Maddie get enough money to not only continue with their research but to care financially for their family as well. These little details could solidify the gaping holes surrounding the ghost hunters, but unfortunately the nature of those details still remains theoretical. But it is at least a foundation. These theories at least provide enough speculation to lay out a reasonable and logical time stream that fills in the large holes. Yes, they leave little holes and details that need to be filled in, but in general they provide a reasonably solid backing for the origins of ghost research. After all, a towel with small holes may not be able to carry rice or grain without a few pieces falling out, but the point is that it still carries enough to properly do the job, and that's really all that matters.
Danny Phantom Episodes ("Maternal Instinct", "Million Dollar Ghost", "What You Wish"): copyright Butch Hartman and Nickelodeon
Wikipedia: http / en . wikipedia . org / wiki / Ectoplasm(underscore)(percent) 28 parapsychology (percent) 29
A/N: So, my first LDPP up! Woot! Hope you all enjoyed it! Please feel free to flame (though preferably not on my writing style unless you absolutely can't help it) and get into debates with me about anything expressed in this LDPP. I am so always up for a debate, so please feel free to argue with me all you want! If this wasn't a highly debateable subject, I wouldn't be writing about it!
Also, if you have any requests for an LDPP entry feel free to e-mail me. If it's controversial enough and has enough canon and/or outside research backing, I'll write on it!
Now I just have to give a fair warning, these won't be posted on a semi-regular schedule like my other ones. It's just basically going to be whenever I get around to it, so it might be two weeks it might be a month before the next entry, it really just depends.
So, having said that, I'm going to leave you with a look at the next entry!
Vlad Masters: The Man Behind the Cheese
What caused Vlad to become the man he is? Is he really evil? What urges him to follow through with his actions? And how is he different from Danny, both in personality and in power? An in-depth look into the man that is and was Vlad Masters.