The Karmic Balance / Imbalance Theory was created by Marcus Bowenford of the Pacific Northwest Ghostbusters' Emerald City Division in early 2012, after he took extensive time to review several of the case files related to major incidents handled by the New York, Denver, Salt Lake City, New Hampshire and Minneapolis franchises. It aims to rationalize why a majority of the ghosts that appear are so distinctly inhuman while a minority somehow are able to maintain some semblance of their humanity in one way or another. Marcus' theory states that, at the time of your death, some unseen supernatural force registers your karma and, should you not choose or are otherwise unable to pass onto the afterlife for whatever reason, alters it accordingly to reflect the good deeds or misgivings that you managed to accomplish during your time on the mortal coil. A prime example of a so-called "karmic imbalance" would be the Ghostbusters' very own mascot, Slimer, whose NOW Comics Annual 1992 profile reads: "In life he was an extremely greedy and obese man. After death he forgot all things about his life, even his own name, except the urge to continue eating." On the opposite end of the spectrum, Marcus cites the late Professor Harold Teplitz as a text book case of "karmic balance" bordering on "karmic purity," because Professor Teplitz hadn't even known he had died until he was confronted and subsequently given a reprieve by the late Doctor Egon Spengler.

Of the many actual ghosts that the Ghostbusters have encountered during their careers, only a few dozen either still vaguely resembled their former selves or somehow still did resemble their former selves. Not counting the previously mentioned Professor Teplitz, this list contains the likes of Vigo Von Homburg Deutschendorf, the Scoleri Brothers, Cornelius Wellesly, the so-called Central Park Jogger and even the infamous Ivo Shandor. There are special cases, however, that must be taken into account, such as the late Eleanor Twitty. Marcus' theory contradicts Tobin's Spirit Guide, which dictates, "...some manifestations have hidden reserves of energy either buried deep within themselves or stored in an external location, similar to the way ancient Egyptians used canoptic jars. When in duress, these specters will often draw from this source to assume a more frightening form. Far from a scare tactic, this new shape carries with it any appendages and size advantages that its appearance implies. This is usually a last-ditch move for the ghost in question, though, as tapping the secondary energy source will drain it until it can slowly build up over a couple of weeks or months." In Marcus' opinion he believes that Miss Twitty's ability to change from a Class 7 Full Torso Floating Manifestation into a Class 5 Transmogrified Manifestation was the result of her killer, Edmund Hoover, disrupting her karma when he made her into the guardian of the Gozerian Codex after he murdered her, and that her transformation really was nothing more than a scare tactic. When questioned why he thought this, Marcus cited the November 1991 New York Franchise Case File that detailed the Ghostbusters' encounter with Miss Twitty in the secret room beneath the New York Public Library, which reportedly contained the aforementioned Codex. Analysis of the document revealed that Miss Twitty, even in her transformed state, never physically harmed any of the Ghostbusters, but merely battered them with objects native to the environment as if trying to ward them away.

Marcus also believes in conjunction to this theory that souls cannot be destroyed, only temporarily harmed, incapacitated, banished or, with the proper application of magic, bonded to a specific person, place or object. In the case of banishment, which Marcus believes is what happened to the spirit that Neil Anderson of the Denver Ghostbusters supposedly destroyed with Ed Spengler's prototype neutrino pack, the ghost is forcibly exorcised to either Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory, depending on what their karmic state of being was at the time of their "first death." In the case of the aforementioned, due to its inherently violent nature toward the Ghostbusters and the citizens of Denver, it was likely dispelled to Hell after the neutrino pack destroyed the ghost's ability to remain semi-corporeal within in our realm.