Thursday, October 9, 2008

How to Summon a Ghost to Scare People Using Visual Effects

What's a good thing to do for Halloween? Make something scary of course. Here's a trick that's been used by stage magicians and movie makers for decades to produce an illusion of ghosts. Mind you, this trick has scared audiences due to it's convincing effect and some of the magicians have been jailed for practicing black magic - even though it's simple movie special effects magic!

In old magical stage shows, there used to be this trick in which a ghost is summoned in a box (sometimes it's a coffin). Sometimes, this ghost changes form, it's flesh seemingly dissolving until only the skeleton is left.

Other times, the ghost transforms into a monster with fangs and all! It's a trick that has scared young and old alike and is indeed very convincing if there is a crowd that reacts to it. How is this done?

It doesn't take much to do this as long as you have a digital camera, a computer, a slide projector, some way to generate flameless dry ice smoke (or a large sheet of transparent plastic), and the slide of your "ghost." What you do is to take a picture of a really scary ghost with a dark, plain background (you can paint it yourself if you have the talent, otherwise, get one from an obscure book).

Take your computer and projector and pick a nice, scary place for your ghost to appear at night (preferably beside a private but scary-looking private "haunted" house). Make some dry ice smoke (or set up your plastic sheet), turn on your projector, and make the image of the ghost appear on your improvised smoke or plastic screen!

Note that the dry ice smoke generator should be set up at an elevated place since the curtain of smoke will flow down to the ground and not upwards.

Now that you know how to do the trick, you'd probably like to know how you can make things convincing. That's simple. Just perform your scary trick when people least expect it. That makes it more believable. Just don't do anything that can get you shot for being mistaken as something dangerous!

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