How do you Prefer Pepper’s Ghost? Big or Small?

As we dive headlong into creating our best Halloween displays, it is always a great idea to look back at one of the great time-honored tricks of the haunting trade: Pepper’s Ghost.

This week, we have videos from two clever AtmosFANs, both of whom have put their own spin on the Pepper’s Ghost effect. Eric Roberts of Norfolk, Va., has put together a great large-scale display using a three-dimensional hologram fan projector. Sheila Nielson, of Sarasota Springs, Utah, takes her display in a different direction – she uses an iPad to go small. What do they have in common? They both look great. Let’s start with Eric Roberts’ display. 

Perhaps we should start with a description. For those unfamiliar with Pepper’s Ghost, it is an illusion commonly associated with the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland. Essentially, the effect is created by placing a piece of glass at an angle so that it catches the reflection of something that is hidden from the intended audience. Because the audience can’t see the glass, whatever is reflected onto that glass appears as though it is materializing out of nothing – like a ghost.

As you can see from Eric’s video, he does a masterful job taking clear cellophane, tightly stretching it over a large frame, and then positioning that frame where the viewer cannot see it. When the lights are off and the projector displays the AtmosFX Digital Decoration Collections onto it (In this case: Terrors from Beyond, Eerie Eyes and Phantasms), Eric is able to make it appear as though he is interacting with these haunting digital decorations. It’s pretty impressive.

Eric uses a 3D hologram fan projector in his video, and we love to see how the digital decorations look when he uses it, but remember that no matter what projector you are using, this Pepper’s Ghost effect will still look great. Similarly, having a real person in the frame along with the digital decoration, as Eric is doing, elevates the display to mind-blowing proportions. But even without a live human, this clever trick is still amazingly convincing.

Now, let’s take a look at Sheila Nielson’s video.

Sheila takes the Pepper’s Ghost effect in the opposite direction with her haunted Halloween dollhouse. This miniature room, even without the Pepper’s Ghost effect, is already captivating – the detail is fantastic. You can see why a display like this is a perfect showcase decoration, whether it is for a Halloween party, or simply a part of many decorations placed around the house.

As you can see from Sheila’s creation, an already amazing dollhouse room looks even more so when you add a few happy ghosts from Boo Crew Digital Decoration Collection. The great thing about this Pepper’s Ghost effect is that it is so easy – all Sheila had to do was place a piece of glass at a 45-degree angle in the dollhouse, and then plop her iPad in the ceiling. The reflected image from the iPad then creates this mysterious illusion!

There are so many ways to create an amazing Pepper’s Ghost effect this Halloween – Eric and Sheila’s great displays are only just the beginning. We cannot wait to see what you will create!


Make sure to send us photos and videos of what you are working on this Halloween, or perhaps images of your most haunting creations from previous years! You’ll be inspiring countless other Halloween enthusiasts – plus, you might just win a free AtmosFX Digital Decoration Collection if you are selected to be the AtmosFAN of the Week! Submit your creations here!

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