Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.

In this day in age thousands of people are easily deceived with “authentic” ghost videos that spring up on YouTube almost by the minute. The abundant software and hardware that the technological boom has provided only facilitates the hoaxers efforts. Some of us are quick to point out the obvious “Photoshop” or CG editing mistakes, or lack of talent and therefore debunk the claims fairly quickly and efficiently.

What many are not aware of is that even before the digital revolution, there were ways of “manifesting ghosts” out of thin air.

An inventor named Henry Dircks, created the ‘Dircksian Phantasmagoria’. This is a technique that was used to create real-time translucent ghosts on theater stages in the late 1800s. With crafty lighting and glass panes, he was able to reflect the image of an actor portraying the ghost, onto another glass pane on the stage. The effect create a “real” looking ghostly image.


Dircks/Pepper ghostly image
Dircks/Pepper ghostly image

Customizing the idea a bit, John Pepper made it possible for it to be implemented on theaters with much ease. What is popularly known as “Pepper’s Ghost” is one of the oldest ways people have been using to manifest ghostly apparitions.

Check this video out. No video editing was used whatsoever:



The effects remind you of Disney Land’s “Haunted Mansion” ghosts doesn’t it?

Well in a less “flashy” way, this same technique can be used to create ghostly images that looks so real and authentic, that you could easily convert any old building into a haunted building.



So as investigators/researchers, one must always remember that not everything that you see nowadays has been processed digitally. So looking for any digital discrepancies while reviewing evidence might not be 100% accurate. The “Pepper’s Ghost” technique is as effective today, as it once was.

Hey maybe some of you want to create your own neighborhood haunted house. Using this technique would surely make your home standout.

  • Gary

    Good article, good topic. As you said, not all video needs to be manipulated when illusions can be created, as seen in the videos. Of course, these types of illusions only really stand up under general observation. If further investaged, the gig is up, so to speak!

  • BC

    Welcome back Javier! Thanks for this. Very cool videos on a subject I was not familiar with.

  • BC,

    Thanks!

    Chicago is cold….too cold. 🙂

    The illusion of “Pepper’s Ghost” can be really effective if done in a more simple method (as opposed to the video of the ghost playing piano). It’s a really cool illusion.

    -Javier

  • jbondo

    Yea, it was fairly cold the past few days in Chicagoland. I thought it might actually snow.

    As for the subject: Does this have something to do with Dr. Pepper?

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  • Clarke Kaiya

    How does Pepper’s ghost illusion work??
    I need this to be answered by Wednesday 6th March please

  • Valkyrie13

    Whatever you have planned, hope it’s devious and exciting.  Not sure
    if this helps, maybe see the notes at the bottom of the page.  
     http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pepper%27s_ghost_illusion
     

  •  Val, as usual you are incredibly helpful to people who have never heard of a search engine!

  • ghosttheory

    I would have waited to post your response until Thursday the 7th, Val.   🙂

  • Valkyrie13

     Haha, you guys 🙂  My favorite when I want to be mean is this:  http://lmgtfy.com/?q=pepper%27s+ghost

  • jonnyhologram

    For a history of the Victorian Pepper’s Ghost effect check out http://www.ic3dsfx.co.uk/#!peppers-ghost-overview/cfta