The Techonology of the Ghostbusters

The proton pack may be the primary weapon utilized by the Ghostbusters in their endeavors to battle the paranormal, but they also utilize a wide array of gadgets and gizmos that prove just as helpful as the packs themselves. Considering I’ve been a huge Ghostbusters fan since I was a child, watching both movies repeatedly over the years, playing the recent video game several times over, and even buying the complete Real Ghostbusters box set when it was released by Time Life; I figured I would take some time to discuss the equipment used by the paranormal exterminators.

While the proton pack may be able to ensnare and restrain the ghosts initially, it’s the trap that enables them to take the ghosts out of the equation permanently. The trap itself is a small box shaped contraption that comes attached to a large cable with a pedal on the other end of it. When the ghost is trapped in the group’s proton stream, a Ghostbuster need only slide the trap under the ghost and press down on the pedal. This will open the trap and pull the ghost in.

Once pulled into the trap, the Ghostbusters can then bring the filled trap back to the firehouse. It is here where the traps are emptied into a custom built containment unit. The upper limits of the unit’s storage capacity has never been specified, though occasionally a member will mention that it’s getting crowded in there when business gets really crazy. The specifics of the grid are never brought up, but it does use lasers to a certain extent. We also know that shutting down the power to the device is dangerous and can result in a giant explosion, not to mention the release of hundreds of spirits.

Of course, before you bust the ghost, you have to find the darn thing. For this, the Ghostbusters tend to equip one of two devices. There is the handheld PKE meter, which measures psycho-kinetic energy and can help the Ghostbusters locate a ghost or ghosts. There are also the ecto-goggles. Like the PKE meter, the goggles pick up energy readings, but can prove helpful when tracking invisible entities. It also gives the wearer a visual representation of any residual energy, giving them a literal trail to follow. Given the similarities, it’s no surprise to learn that the two devices were combined in the recent Ghostbusters video game that was released for the current generation consoles.

The Ghostbusters also have access to a “ghost-sniffer”. This is the contraption that Peter Venkman brought with him to Dana Barrett’s apartment when he went to investigate the reported bizarre phenomena. It was only seen the one time and it is implied that Peter wasn’t even using it correctly. As such, it’s no surprise that this device fell behind when it came to memorable tools used by the Ghostbusters.

There are real life ghost hunting kits available for purchase, and while those are cool in their own way, the devices they offer don’t really hold a candle to the advanced technology and gadgetry utilized by the one, the only, the real Ghostbusters.


Ghostbusters. Ackroyd, Dan and Ramis, Harold. Directed by Ivan Reitman. 1984

Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Ackroyd, Dan and Ramis, Harold. Developed by Terminal Reality. 2009

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