Clio, Michelle and me set off to create our own Pepper's Ghost Illusion. Quickly, we learned ITP isn't the most ideal location to prototype something that requires such finite control of light and perspective.

Right before coming back to New York I went to Universal Orlando to experience the new Harry Potter attractions. But I made a pitstop at Eart- er, Disaster! The show/ride has gone through another reboot since I last saw it. And now features a segment where a live actor with a Pepper's Ghost illusion of another person. They did a great job, combining physical gags with the video, making it appear as though the live person and recorded person were actually interacting with the same things.

And then there's the entrance to Platform 9 3/4 which was also excellent until someone forced them to install an EXIT sign over the 'wall.' Doh.

Bloody Flock

Anyway, we attempted to project a Processing sketch that produced a flock of "bloody stuff" onto a piece of plexi by bouncing the video off the floor. Using a Leap Motion controller the user would be able to commands the flock before something scary happens! This didn't work out so well.

Attempted Pepper's Ghost Effect Attempted Pepper's Ghost Effect Attempted Pepper's Ghost Effect Attempted Pepper's Ghost Effect

However, we quickly discovered it was difficult to control our bloody flock using the Leap Motion (poor user interaction) and we didn’t have a strong concept of what our illusion and user interaction was. In addition, we purchased a piece of plexi from Home Depot that was not rigid and when we set it up at an angle, the plexi was warped and would not stay rigid.

The Amazing Mystic Box of Horrors

Amazing Mystic Box of Horrors Drawing inspiration from historical sideshow haunts and Cony Island-esque things we created a controlled environment with a Pepper's Ghost illusion. In addition, three slots were placed below the viewing portal.

Pepper's Ghost Inside the Box

When a user places their hand into one of the slots he/she experiences some type of mysterious tactile feeling. Suddenly, a frightening image of what they are touching is projected within the mysterious brick covered dungeon inside the box.

Pepper's Ghost Inside the Box Pepper's Ghost Inside the Box

This multi-sensory experience was a lot more successful. Our classmates felt teeth, a human heart and blood which left their hand covered when they it out of the box. In reality the teeth were made from sculptors clay, the heart was a skinned tomato and the blood was stage blood. It was still very effective.

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