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Thursdays Thesaurus: Peppers Ghost

As promised, this Thursdays Thesaurus will explain Peppers Ghost!

Peppers Ghost Optical illusion effect used to make a ghost appear on stage next to an actor. Using a sheet of glass and special lighting techniques, it can make objects seem to appear or disappear, or make one object seem to morph into another. It is named after John Henry Pepper, who first demonstrated the technique in the 1860s.

In order for the illusion to work, the viewer must be able to see into the main room, but not into the hidden mirror room. The edge of the glass may be hidden by a cleverly designed pattern in the floor.

The illusion was first shown at the Royal Polytechnic Institution in London by it’s creator, J.H.Pepper on Christmas Eve, 1862. Following many subsequent events, Charles Dickens used it during readings of The Haunted Man. Several plays were written specially to use the effect around 1863, but the long-term future of the effect was limited by the fact that the ghost couldn’t speak.

Even though this illusion may seem like it is restricted in its use in this modern age, then you may be surprised to know that you have probably seen it quite a bit but didn’t know what it was!

Peppers Ghost is used quite a bit at amusement parks in their rides. At Knotts Berry Farm they have a live actor and film projection along with the ghost effect in the Mystery Lodge exhibit but most famously you may know it from the Haunted Mansion and Twilight Tower of Terror at Disneyland Parks (yes, I think that the Haunted Mansion effects count as theater, don’t you?)

Now I want to go to Disneyland, any takers?

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