This short story must have been the inspiration for the popular movie Ghost Busters (1984). The humorist-author here tells the tale of a scientist-philosopher who invents devices to capture ghosts and sets up a business of eradicating them from haunted houses. If youve seen the movie, you will recognize the resemblance in this excerpt:My assistants with the extinguishers stood firm, and although almost unnerved by the sight, they summoned their courage, and directed simultaneous streams of formaldybrom into the struggling mass of fantoms.
As soon as my mind returned, I busied myself with the huge tanks I had prepared for use as receivers. These were fitted with a mechanism similar to that employed in portable forges, by which the heavy vapor was sucked off. Luckily the night was calm, and I was enabled to fill a dozen cylinders with the precipitated ghosts. The segregation of individual forms was, of course, impossible, so that men and horses were mingled in a horrible mixture of fricasseed spirits.
I intended subsequently to empty the soup into a large reservoir and allow the separate specters to reform according to the laws of spiritual cohesion.The ghost-capturing business was going well until one customer refused to pay after his ghosts were safely incarcerated in canisters.
The ghost wrangler decided to get revenge, but unfortunately for him, things didnt go as he planned.The story was published in Cosmopolitan Magazine, April, 1905.