If you've ever dreamt of using a proton pack to ensnare a focused, non-terminal, repeating phantasm before opening your trap and capturing it, then have you ever wondered if it's actually possible to catch a ghost? Well, here's the scientific answer.
I asked an expert, Dr. Hillary Bosnitch. He trained as a physicist, but now works as a parapsychologist working within the scientific community. Of course the nature of ghosts is unknown, some people believe they are reflections of the past while others theorise that spirits are made of an unmeasurable form of psi-energy or psychic energy.
However, for our Dr. Bosnitch, the unmeasurable is essentially the non-existent. A lack of physical proof shows a lack of existence. So, for a scientist, the question isn't being asked precisely enough, he says "we need to set some rules about what we're saying ghosts actually are."
So, if we were to define ghosts as non-physical spirits that can't interact with their surroundings or the physical world around them then, according to the physicist, "it is impossible to catch a ghost… or even see one or interact with one in any way."
If ghosts can't interact with their surroundings, then that would include not just objects, buildings and people, but would also mean they can't interact with the air, light, and other forms of electro-magnetic energy around them. Light would not be able to hit a non-physical spirit and bounce off making them visible to the human eye. They would not be able to interact with the air around them, making speech and sounds impossible.
But that's just one scenario. We could also define ghosts as being capable of interacting with matter. From the scientist's point of view, "I'd first off be intrigued to know how this model could work, but assuming it does, the answer changes."
Dr. Bosnitch explains that if ghosts were able to interact with their surroundings then we just need to determine which materials spirits can't penetrate, according to our expert "ghost stories typically get this all wrong."
In almost all ghost stories the spirit switches between our two scenarios, sometimes ghosts can interact with their surroundings, they're able to move objects, be seen by the human eye, or communicate using sound.
Other times spirits can pass through solid objects, seemingly at will. Dr. Bosnitch gave the example, “think of Casper the Friendly Ghost, he can typically pass through walls, but walks on the floor.”
Most, if not all ghosts seem to be able to walk on the floor, so our experts says "If ghosts can't pass through the floor, then just build a box out of flooring, and use that catch ghosts in. Attach it to a Hoover, and you're good to go."