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Ghostbusters Wiki

The Trap (also known as Ghost Trap and Muon Trap[1]) is one of the tools used in capturing ghosts.


The Trap is a sealed container that allowed the Ghostbusters to transport the spirits to the Containment Unit, where they would be released into the grid. It is unclear what happens to the trap once placed inside the grid, though some have theorized that when a captured ghost is put into the Containment Unit, the entity is pumped out of the trap cartridge so it can be used again.

Once a trap has captured a ghost and has closed, it cannot be re-opened without releasing the ghost contained within. For this reason, the Ghostbusters must each carry several traps. They must empty of a trap once it is used.

Normally, Proton packs used in conjunction with the trap to position a ghost for capture. However, in special cases such as the Jogger Ghost that was moving on a predictable path, all the Ghostbusters had to do is place a trap on that path and open it the instant he was stepping over it to capture him.

Video Games

In the video games, traps were often absent. Some games had the player getting a ghost into the trap in order to catch it and some had no traps and simply had the ghosts destroyed by a blast from the proton pack.

In Ghostbusters: The Video Game, the player is able to use a traps to capture ghosts and confine it indefinitely after the ghost is trapped. The trap can also hold many ghosts without getting too full. Some ghosts in the game simply dissipate after long enough exposure to the Proton Stream or other weapons.

Secondary Canon History

Ghost Trap in the Animated Series

At first glance the Traps in the Real Ghostbusters, look like they work the same way, but they actually performed some different functions and have different characteristics(though some of these functions were present in the second movie, such as the trap being capable of capturing multiple ghosts at one time). The Containment Unit is also used differently. The animated traps are capable of "sucking a ghost into itself the entire time it is open, not just as it is closing (as with the original movie traps).

IDW Comics

About two days after he was hired, Winston went on his first bust. Near the Washington Square Arch, Egon asked Winston if he knew how to use a Trap. Winston replied he only knew how to empty them. Egon instructed him on the spot and Winston trapped the Black Cat Ghost. Egon remembered at the last second and yelled not to look in the Trap. It was too late. Winston rubbed his yes. Peter was amused and mentioned Egon did the same thing during their first case. Egon chided him. Ray held up the Trap and congratulated Winston on completing his first real bust.

Banished by Koza'Rai, the Ghostbusters came up with their own designs for various equipment such as the Trap. While Peter's most closely resembled the original, Ray's looked to be modified from a chest, and those used by Janine's Ghostbusters Versailles were created by Leonardo da Vinci.

An avatar of Britt stole a Trap from the Firehouse basement and used it to capture and temporarily store a portion of Gozer's essence. Several Traps were used to capture the Megaspook but it approved too powerful and melted them all as it escaped. One Trap was unable to hold one of The Collectors, the one that resembled Winston, for long. Rodefhiri, while multiplying its psychokinetic reserves via absorption of ambient mental energy, resisted the pull of one Trap. Five Traps total were able to capture it.

During an encounter with Chi-You at the Madison Square Garden, it was discovered he could not be trapped before first severing the tethers he had to his thralls.[2] The Trap holding Chi-You was dumped in the Turtles' dimension, 4.2 light years from Earth. For the Poveglia case, Ray stored the Poveglian Artifact in the back up Trap because it was the only thing on hand capable of containing the psychokinetic energy the artifact was drenched in. In the finale of the County Clare case, Aibell ripped a Trap in half with her bare hands - releasing the captured Banshee in it.

After Winston Zeddemore recovered the Rauoskinna in Gottskalk Nikulausson's secret tomb in Iceland, the Ghost Priests surrounded him and kicked at him. Winston opened his Trap and captured all of the ghosts at once. Since the Trap was not designed for that much psychokinetic energy, the Ghostbusters fled the tomb. Gottskalk and the priests emerged from the tomb as one gigantic amalgamation. After Jenny Moran was killed by Aibell and manifested as a ghost, she participated in experiments for the Ghostbusters. She allowed herself to be trapped. She likened the conditions of the Trap as being put under full anesthesia and there was no pain or ill aftereffects from the experience.[3] Jillian Holtzmann modified several wired manual release Traps to open wirelessly and connected them to her Upper Arm Remote Trigger. She used the wireless function to her advantage in the Woodlawn Cemetery case by luring the Moby Dick Ghost towards the hidden traps then opened them.

To capture all four Collectors once and for all, Egon and Donatello worked on an idea to combine the portal technology of the Interspatial Teleportation Unit with the Traps to directly transport them into the Containment Unit since a Trap alone failed in the past. Donatello devised a Trap-Gate. Kylie Griffin and Ron Alexander trapped Connla at Grand Central Station before they verbally identified him. As a result, Connla escaped from the Trap and grabbed Kylie by the throat. He became enraged they attacked him from behind and tried to entrap him without knowing who he was. With little other choice, Ron dispersed him with an atomizing stream. Kylie later identified him as Connla based on several clues and attempted to trap him again. Connla pleaded with his army to help him. To the Ghostbusters' surprise, the ghosts pulled at Connla's head and neck to prolong his capture. Peter and Winston threw out their Traps and completed his capture. Lacking enough Traps to capture his army, Egon used his Remote Portal Access Band to recruit more help.

Several Trap-Gates were modified to fit atop Traps in order to send the ghosts dispersed from the Containment Unit directly back into it as efficiently and quickly as soon as possible once they were located. However, each Trap only had enough power for one use.[4] After the Ghostbusters siphoned off Tiamat's P.K.E. to random dimensions with seven Trap-Gates, she was reduced to a skeleton. Peter wrangled her with a single stream and asked Winston to put a bow on the situation. Egon presented him with a normal working Trap. Winston trapped her. Tiamat cursed them all as she was pulled in. Winston suggested they leave her in the limbo dimension instead of depositing her in the Containment Unit.

Ectronymous Diamatron introduced himself to the Ghostbusters in Prospect Park and explained he came to Earth in search of a signal native to his home planet Cybertron and the Trap was interfering with it so he requested it to be de-powered. Ectronymous took offense to being called an "it" and repeated he wanted the Trap turned off. Ray introduced himself and explained their occupation was the capture and detainment of disruptive spectral entities including the one in the Trap who displayed an aggressive tone and questionable P.K.E. profile. They were at an impasse. Ectronymous activated a miniature blaster on his right wrist and shot the Trap. Starscream was released and shot at them in a rage. Another entity arrived, a Kremzeek Sprite emerged from the crater. Starscream became irate and told them to kill it immediately. Peter failed to see how a little bean would be a problem. Egon confirmed it had a high-spectrum P.K.E. reading. Peter relented and trapped the sprite. After he picked up the Trap, it blew up. Peter was annoyed they lost two in one night and quibbled they cost a fortune to replace.

The Ghostbusters were soon called to a haunted building in Brooklyn. Egon immediately detected a reading similar to the Kremzeek Sprite. Erring on the side of caution, Egon suggested they modify a Trap just in case the entity also emitted an electrostatic discharge. Ray wondered if they should bypass the Cobbler Switch on the Trap. Egon thought that would be bad.[5][6][7] Ectotron asked if he could take a look. His goggles slid over his eyes. Peter asked how he was going to do modifications with such big fingers. Ectotron pointed out that was why tools existed. He suddenly got an idea. It worked and the Electric Ghost was successfully contained. Ray and Egon disassembled and analyzed the Trap Starscream escaped from. Ray was amazed by the scorch marks and speculated there was a power surge. Egon noticed traces of a second P.K.E. signature was being detected, too. Ray wondered if that meant a jailbreak but remembered there were safeguards to prevent that. Ectotron wondered who would free Starscream. Winston countered the better question was why. Optimus Prime agreed it could be part of a larger plan since Starscream always preferred ambush tactics and doubted that changed in death. Winston detected some skepticism and remembered how he used to be like that. Soundwave, Shockwave, and Megatron were captured, leaving the Ghostbusters with one Trap left. Optimus Prime decided to take the Traps with him and attempt rehabilitation of the three Decepticons.

Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime

The Ghostbusters continue to use traps to capture ghosts but are exhausted. They hire a junior team and equip them with new Proton Packs. The capabilities of these Packs reduce the need for the traps. The junior team only uses them once they've weakened a controlling entity such as the Electroshock Construct or Slime Golem. One clear change in the traps is the lack of a cord, which suggest that they run by remote control of some kind.

Design and Use

Primary Canon

Ray Stantz warns the other Ghostbusters not to look directly into the trap when it is open. Egon Spengler does just that, but suffers no ill effects.

This also happens in 1989 when they caught the Jogger Ghost. Peter Venkman looks in the trap and suffers no ill effects.

However, it's believed that if you look in the trap for too long, you'll go blind.

Also, some have speculated that if you look into a ghost trap, the trap will suck out and imprison your soul. This idea was used in the fan film Return of the Ghostbusters.

Capturing a ghost occurs in three steps:
1) Zap 'em - Fire a Proton Stream at the ghost until they lose sufficient P.K.E.
2) Cap 'em - Activate a Capture Stream holding the ghost in place.
3) Trap 'em - Activate the trap and move the ghost to the storage facility.

The trap differs greatly in Ghostbusters: The Video Game compared to the films. It does not differ in appearance, but in behavior. For example, in the films you would need to have someone push down a button, which is linked to the trap, with their foot, and the ghost is sucked in automatically. However, in the video game the trap had replaced this "button" with a red beacon signal coming from the trap itself that, when a ghost comes into contact with it, opens and slowly sucks the ghost in. However, the Ghostbusters must use the Capture Stream to keep the ghost in the containment cone the trap releases, thus "forcing" them in. This is not how the trap reacted in the films. Perhaps it is due to the fact that, since that game is set in 1991, the ghosts have grown much more powerful, thus the trap needing the help of the Capture Stream. However, this would not explain how Slimer is able to resist the containment cone just as the other ghosts because he was seen getting sucked in automatically in the first film. In fact, Ray had even said, "Turn off your streams as soon as I close the trap."

Another explanation could be that the Psi Energy Pulse seen in the beginning of the game had given every ghost in New York greater strength, including Slimer. This would make sense since Slimer was able to break free of the Paranormal Containment Research Tank after the pulse as he was unable to before. Either way, the trap will contain a ghost indefinitely until it is transferred to the Containment Unit.

Secondary Canon

IDW Comics

When a ghost is captured, its psychokinetic energy is compressed and rendered inert by the Trap.[8] The Trap can only take in a finite amount of spectral matter and render it inert. If the energy drawn in exceeds the maximum safe capacity of a Trap, then the entity is present enough to fight containment or simply press its way out like water from a ruptured balloon. A sample of the captured ghost can be extracted from the Trap for further study.[9]



Chuck Gaspar manufactured four working Traps complete with electrical wiring and connections, a hydraulic foot pedal and a Futaba remote control box that allowed for the opening and closing of the Trap's doors. Four working Traps were made in total and each Trap measures 6 inches by 8 inches by 14 inches.[10][11] The smoke made from after the Trap captures a ghost was made from fabric strips socked in smoke-generating liquid.[12]

Ghostbusters II

The Industrial Light and Magic animation department also expanded on the Trap and its interaction with ghosts. Instead of just having the ghosts disappear into the Trap, the team animated the ghosts coming apart and added comets and lightning to the inside of the trap cone field. Mike Lessa devised a staggered effect where Nunzio was sucked into the Trap head first and his shoes would be left behind for a few seconds. Dennis Muren suggest Tony Scoleri's eyes to be left behind for an instant.[13]


  • According to Drew Haworth, Creative Director of Ghostbusters: The Video Game, there were discussions of Traps that players could plant like trip mines. Once set, it was like a 'super bomb' that pulled everything in the room including physical objects.[14]
  • In the Ghostbusters: Mass Hysteria hard cover collection, different views of the Trap are explored on
    • The front cover has a bird's eye view of a closed Trap
    • The interior cover is from the perspective of looking up at the opening of a Trap from the inside
    • Page 1 is looking into the Trap while not in use
    • Pages 2 and 3 show a partially disassembled Trap on top a Trap schematic
    • Page 464 shows a Trap's circuit board
    • The interior back cover shows the entirety of a Trap schematic
    • The back cover is the underside of a Trap
  • In Ghostbusters International #4, page 8, Ray falls "victim" to the classic 'don't look in the Trap' gag from the first movie.
  • In Ghostbusters International #4, page 6, Peter is seen carrying two Traps on his belt.
  • In Ghostbusters International #4, page 18, Ray speculated if the Poveglian artifact could generate a large enough P.K.E. surge near an occupied Trap, it would result in an entity's release.[15]
  • In Ghostbusters International #4, page 23, it was stated three Traps were used to capture the Caribbean Pirate Ship Manifestation.
  • The Trap was mentioned in the 101 Cadets' bio in the 38th Crossing Over Virtual Trading Card, released on June 28, 2018.[16]
  • On page 12 of Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #8, Winston made a similar decision to leave Tiamat, the story arc's main villain, in a Trap at the end like with Chi-You in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Volume 1 rather than deposit it into the Containment Unit.
  • In the IDW canon, Winston used a Trap to capture a ghost for the first time at the conclusion of his first bust.
  • On Cover B of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2, on the bottom right above the P.K.E. Meter is Stephen Dane's Trap sketch.
  • On cover B of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #4, a Trap is under the desk.

See Also


Secondary Canon Appearances


  1. Egon Spengler (2009). Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Realistic Version)- Panic in Times Square Level "At the start of the level" (2009) (PC/PS3/Xbox 360). Atari. Egon Spengler says: "Against the minions of a god? That was never the intent, but in theory I suppose it could. But a Muon trap of this capacity has never been used, or even tried before."
  2. Ray Stantz (2014). IDW Comics- "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Issue #3" (2014) (Comic p.5). Ray says: "He should've been sucked right into the trap. There's no way he could fight it unless--unless he's more directly connected to his thralls than we thought."
  3. Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #2" (2017) (Comic p.24). Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes reads: "For the record, Ms. Moran has also been able to relate first hand the conditions of the ghost traps from the perspective of one with a full human consciousness: she likens it to being put under full anesthesia. Quick and painless oblivion, and no ill aftereffects."
  4. Egon Spengler (2018). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #3" (2018) (Comic p.19). Egon Spengler says: "Each trap has enough power for one use."
  5. Egon Spengler (2019). IDW Comics- "Transformers/Ghostbusters Issue #3" (2019) (Comic p.10). Egon Spengler says: "We'd better play it safe and modify a trap to better deal with electrostatic discharge while he have the chance."
  6. Ray Stantz (2019). IDW Comics- "Transformers/Ghostbusters Issue #3" (2019) (Comic p.11). Ray Stantz says: "Maybe if we bypassed the Cobbler Switch?"
  7. Egon Spengler (2019). IDW Comics- "Transformers/Ghostbusters Issue #3" (2019) (Comic p.11). Egon Spengler says: "That would be bad."
  8. Ray Stantz (2018). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #1" (2018) (Comic p.4). Ray Stantz says: "I mean, I assumed the psychokinetic energy that made up each individual ghost remained compressed and inert like they do in the Traps... but what if it doesn't?"
  9. Ray Stantz (2019). IDW Comics- " Transformers/Ghostbusters Issue #1" (2019) (Comic p.19). Ray Stantz says: "We can draw a sample from the trap, run a few tests... maybe we discovered a new kind of spectral entity?"
  10. Hake's "Auction #225 Part 2 "GHOSTBUSTERS" & "GHOSTBUSTERS II" GHOST TRAP FILM PROP retrieved 10/28/18 Letter reads: "Ghost Trap from "Ghostbusters" 1984, and "GhostbustersII" 1989. A spectacular prop used in both films, this trap is one of four working "ghost catching traps" designed by the prop department and photographed for special effects. This working trap was manufactured by Chuck Gaspar and upgraded and kept operational by the prop department."
  11. Hake's "Auction #225 Part 2 "GHOSTBUSTERS" & "GHOSTBUSTERS II" GHOST TRAP FILM PROP retrieved 10/28/18 Item Description reads: "6x8x14" metal free-wheeling Ghost Trap prop used in both 1984's "Ghostbusters" and its 1989 sequel "Ghostbusters II" comes complete w/electrical wiring and connections, hydraulic foot pedal and remote control box that allows opening and closing of the trap's doors (comes w/display cable)."
  12. Wallace, Daniel (2015). Ghostbusters The Ultimate Visual History, p. 57. Insight Editions, San Rafael CA USA, ISBN 9781608875108. Line reads: "Fabric strips soaked in smoke-generating liquid produced the effect during filming."
  13. Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Ghostbusters Revisited, Cinefex magazine #40, page 20. Cinefex, USA. Tom Bertino says: "Instead of just having ghosts get sucked into the traps and disappear, we wanted the audience to get the feeling that everything that happened to the ghosts happened for a specific reason. So when these hunks of unearthly ectoplasm get sucked into the traps in this film, we created animation of them coming apart. We also added comets and lightning inside the trap cone field that appear to have a direct effect on the ghosts. For the scene when Tony and Nunzio finally get sucked into the trap, Mike Lessa devised a great staggered effect where Nunzio went in head first, leaving his shoes behind for just a second before they too dropped in. Then at Dennis' suggestion, we had Tony leave his leave his eyeballs behind for just an instant so that the last thing we saw were these two glowing orbs. We wanted to suggest that the ghost trap was literally pulling these guys apart."
  14. Reddit AMA "AMA with the developers of 2009's Ghostbusters: The Video Game!" 7/16/16 Drew Haworth says: "There was a lot of discussion about having traps that you could stick, like trip mines. You could stick them on ceilings or on walls. There was a trap that once you set it, it was like a super bomb. It would pull everything in, everything in the room, into it, including physical objects ."
  15. Ray Stantz (2016). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters International #4" (2016) (Comic p.18). Ray Stantz says: "Well, I suppose -- oof -- if the Poveglian Artifact provided a large enough PKE surge, while in close proximity to an occupied trap, this could happen. In theory."
  16. TomWaltz Tweet 6/28/18
  17. Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes (2017). IDW Comics- "Ghostbusters 101 #4" (2017) (Comic p.24). Ghostbusters 101 Class Notes reads: "The portable ghost trap allows for us to contain a finite amount of spectral matter for transfer to our larger containment unit."
  18. Winston Zeddemore (2017). IDW Comics- "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #2" (2017) (Comic p.2). Winston Zeddemore says: "Besides -- the number of traps we'd've needed would be too heavy to run with."
  19. Egon Spengler (2017). IDW Comics- "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #2" (2017) (Comic p.5). Egon Spengler says: "My thought is to combine the portal technology with that of our Ghost Traps in order to send the Collectors directly into the Containment Unit."
  20. Egon Spengler (2017). IDW Comics- "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #5" (2017) (Comic p.18). Egon Spengler says: "This trap isn't drawing you towards a low-power mobile storage unit - it's drawing you towards a miniature dimensional gate, with a pre-chosen destination... the inside of our Containment Unit."
  21. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.23). Paragraph reads: "The ghost's predictable route made it relatively easy to capture; we simply calculated the time of its next manifestation and stationed Dr. Venkman at a park bench near the reservoir with a ghost trap."
  22. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.49). Paragraph reads: "With so many revelers gathered in Times Square, Rodefhiri became so powerful that we needed to use more than one trap to capture him."
  23. Narrator (2016). Insight Editions- "Tobin's Spirit Guide" (2016) (Book p.59). Paragraph reads: "Before being sucked into our trap, the entity conjured one final fire, engulfing Salem Witch Museum."



Primary Canon

Secondary Canon

Behind the Scenes