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Thomas R. Morgan ponders the phantom pain and pleasure perspective.

Despite the numerous interpretations that have been made about its themes, the original Ghostbusters (1984, directed by Ivan Reitman) contains a glaring ethical problem which has been largely overlooked in the many years since it was first released.

The problem is addressed very briefly within the film itself, when, during a montage depicting the main characters’ growing success, a copy of The Atlantic magazine flashes up with the headline ‘Do ghosts have civil rights?’. In response to the question, Matthew Phelan wrote a spoof article of that name, which focuses mainly on the legality or otherwise of ghostbusting practices. It also briefly compares ghosts with illegal immigrants. However, there remains a general lack of exploration of the moral question of ghost-catching within the Ghostbusters universe.