First, my thanks goes to all those who have been supplying me with tales of ghosts in New York. If you're unfamiliar with why I'm collecting such information, it is for an upcoming book about ghosts in Brooklyn. If you have any tales, rumors, or supernatural critters in a cage, please feel free to email me. Below is an interesting bit from my research:
[Not actual image. Special thanks to Ghoststudy.com for their wonderful library of ghostly images.]
When people think of ghosts, they often think of non-physical apparitions. But, in the 1800s, the Society for Physical Research offered a reward for the capture of a ghost. There were a few takers…
At least one fellow devised a clever plan. By placing asphalt in an area where a ghost was commonly reported to go out for evening strolls, he hoped to makeng something like ghostly-flypaper, and trap the ethereal trespasser. According to newspaper accounts of 1885, it seems he had moderate success. One night, the ghost appeared, and when pacing about, found itself held fast by the sticky asphalt. The "trapper," overrun with enthusiasm for his success, trotted into the asphalt as well, to apprehend his "prize." Unfortunately, asphalt is just as useful in capturing corporeal entities as non-corporeal.
By the time the man was able to free himself, the ghost had also escaped, returning to its otherworldly domain. But it wasn't all for naught. This "experiment" seemed to indicate that ghosts could be apprehended by physical means. Unfortunately, the man who conceived the clever trap had no known successes in the afterword. I'm not sure if the reward is still being offered. The society, however, still exists.