During during the 17th century AD, a high reward is given to anyone who can successfully capture a serial thief who is known to be able to travel in and out of any shadows on any surfaces. The moment he or she touches the shadow or any physical contact he or she is immediately teleport into an alternate dimension that mirrors reality.

About the wizard's power

  • Teleport between reality and shadow realm is triggered solely by will and physical contact of good shadow on any surfaces.

  • Upon teleporting no time is lapsed.

  • Staying for prolonged periods of time exceeding 10 minutes is fatal to anyone inside the shadow realm.

  • Despite everything in the shadow realm is simply a mirror reflection of the real world, the wizard cannot be hurt or contained.

  • The shadow realm can only be accessed if and only if the wizard allows and have met all conditions stated above.

  • The wizard cannot move any faster regardless of which dimensions he or she is in.

  • As long as there is a sharp drop in the density of photons with wavelength falls within the visible light spectrum and the surface area marks by such sudden drops is bigger than a penny is considered a good shadow.

  • The wizard cannot cast shadow and this phenomenon extends to object that comes into physical contacts with his skin and such effect is temporary.

Also shadow casts onto fog or the likes cannot be used to reduce the complexity. Remember light bulb didn't invent yet, best answer explains how to track the target and then take him or her into custody.

How to capture this serial thief with the ability to move between dimension through shadows?

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    $\begingroup$ "Quality of shadows doesn't matters." If I have two light sources, and one of them is obstructed, does the area count as shadow because light doesn't reach it from one side, or does it count as lit beause at least one light is lighting the area? $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Nov 5 '15 at 3:09
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    $\begingroup$ Where to begin... "Quality of shadow doesn't matters." No object is perfectly smooth, which means its microscopic bumps cast little shadows on it. Also there are extraordinarily faint light sources casting shadows on everything which may be in the noise that your eye cannot see (i.e. a bright light shines on a wall, and a little bit of that reflects off the wall behind you making a VERY faint blurry shadow of you on the wall). Furthermore, there's a shadow under their foot as they step down. $\endgroup$ – iAdjunct Nov 5 '15 at 3:10
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    $\begingroup$ Also: if he really cannot cast a shadow, that means light either bends around him or passes through him - in either case, he's invisible. $\endgroup$ – iAdjunct Nov 5 '15 at 3:12
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    $\begingroup$ I mean, in the presence of two light sources, it is possible to cast two very distinct shadows, one from each light, which may not overlap. In that case, every inch of ground around you has at least one light illuminating it, but our human eye perceives two shadows on the ground. Can he escape then? (Also, as a second question, what is his mobility in the alternate dimension? Can he travel anywhere? Can he only travel through connected shadows? Can he travel anywhere but only reappear in shadow?) $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Nov 5 '15 at 3:23
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    $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon: I know what you are asking, I was thinking should I use the ratio between the density of photon in the visible spectrum to qualify a shadow but it will be extremely difficult for a human mind to sense hence I need sometime to establish a good rule at the same time agrees with laws of physics even when I didn't use any sort of such tag. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 5 '15 at 6:47

As some commenters have said, depending on what it means by "quality of shadows doesn't matter", and ignoring the obvious logistics of him casting no shadow, there are a few possible options.

One: If there is a certain threshold for which a shadow "counts" (e.g. requires a certain amount of surface area (removes the use of microscopic bumps) and is required to be a certain darkness (removes the use of very faint shadows), but assuming he can move to ANY shadow once in the world (even if it's not connected to the entry point), the obvious solution is to trap him in a room and fill it with a brilliant light before he can react. Since he casts no shadow, he will be unable to enter the shadow realm, if nothing else is in the room. He is now trapped.

Two: A slightly roundabout solution. If shadows need to be connected to the entry point for him to move around, eg. he needs to stay in the original shadow mass, lure him into a room and shut him in there. Light up the outside of the room, and make sure there are no gaps to slip through. He can only step into and out of the shadows in the room, and cannot get outside. Then, use a light source to shrink the shadow, until you can cover it with a box, then carefully close the box. He is now trapped in the darkness inside the box.

Three: Fight him with an energy-based, magic being, like a fire elemental. A fire elemental produces light and casts no shadow for the thief to exit into, and will illuminate the room to eliminate any other shadows. Knock him out, wear him out, something. He's now trapped.

Personally, his powers are most plausible if quality does matter. Even if it's a mild distinction, his abilities likely would need to be at least limited by the darkness of the shadow.

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    $\begingroup$ Why only string the shadow in a Box and not completely remove it? That would either force him to come out or, well, would make a good title - "death in the candle light"... :D anyway - great answer! $\endgroup$ – T3 H40 Nov 5 '15 at 6:09

One very simple way, which is predicated on the 'as long as there is a sharp drop in the density of photons' condition:

Trap him in the dark

Set a light-tight box in such a way that it seems well lit. Once the wizard steps inside, extinguish the lights and close the door. If you do it fast enough there will then be no light inside the box and hence: no shadows.

Feeding the prisoner will be tricky, and best undertaken by blind gaolers, but it's possible to keep the wizard in an utterly black situation (figuratively and literally) and thus prevent him from jumping.

If you treat 'shadow' as 'any place that is dark' this answer doesn't work, but as you noted a drop from light to dark in your question: I think it might...

  • $\begingroup$ I think it works with excellent timings. $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 5 '15 at 9:52
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    $\begingroup$ Good reversal on the situation. I like it $\endgroup$ – James Nov 5 '15 at 14:55

Option 1:

Step one: Put something shiny and valuable inside of an opaque sphere of some sort.

Step two: Wait til Mr Magic Thief goes inside the sphere.

Step three: Light up fires in 360 degrees around the sphere

Step four: Fill said sphere with hundreds of arrows. Locking this guy up will not be worth the effort.

Option 2:

Step one: Shoot him in the head when he isn't looking.

  • $\begingroup$ What happens if Mr Magic Thief drops valuable while naked, remember any shadow contacts with his skin activates teleport... $\endgroup$ – user6760 Nov 5 '15 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ @user6760 I don't understand your comment. The idea of a back-lit opaque sphere is that it casts light equally from all directions. If he can get out of that then you either need to accept he is that powerful or you need to tone his power back a bit...for example require that the shadow be at least half his size or something. $\endgroup$ – James Nov 5 '15 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ +1 for simplicity. "Shoot him in the head when he isn't looking" always works. $\endgroup$ – Ian Ng Jul 19 '18 at 2:05

Knock him unconscious when he isn't aware (or poison his food to put him in a long sleep, something like that. That is the step to "capture" him. I don't think there's another simpler method (A good frying pan hit to the head and it's done).

Then :

  1. Put him to the side of a cliff (nail him for a more dramatic effect). If the thief tries to escape, he'll drop in the ocean to an almost certain death (If you can provide a cliff that would give a 10 minutes downfall, you're in business). Since he can't fly, he wouldn't be able to do anything but fall. You can still feed him by dropping food from a rope. If the thief was to take the rope to go up, the person above would just cut it.

  2. If you have access to more drastic means, trap him in an iceberg (That would require some magic). I've never been trapped in an iceberg, but I don't think you'd have any shadow since the ice refracts the light.

  3. Keep him drugged 24/7 so he's never awake. Good luck to flee in that case.

  4. Dismember him. Without legs or arms, he won't travel far in 10 minutes.

  5. If the mage travels with whatever makes contact with him (like his clothes), you could melt metal to his feet (painful, for sure). This way, even in the "dark world", the metal would still be in contact with him and he couldn't move.

(There's a lack of science behind my answer, my apologies but I'm no scientist)

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for the "knock him out" part. Didn't even read the rest - goal is capture. Long-term containment is another's problem. $\endgroup$ – kaay Jan 19 '17 at 8:28
  • $\begingroup$ @kaay Is it even a problem? Just put him in a cage. If his shadow world is a reflection of the real world, he should still be in a cage even after switching. $\endgroup$ – Suthek Jul 18 '18 at 11:43

Trap him in the middle of the ocean.

If everything in the mirror realm is simply an image that cannot harm or contain him, then the moment he gets out of the boat he is in, he'd simply plummet hundreds of feet to the ocean floor and be unable to get back up.

Failing that, 10 minutes of shadow swimming is not going to get him terribly far. The transparency of the ocean would mean there are no sharply defined shadows to use.

  • $\begingroup$ Getting him there would be the trick but it would work $\endgroup$ – James Nov 5 '15 at 19:33

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