Picture of The Pepper's Ghost Illusion

Pepper's Ghost is a special effects technique for creating transparent ghostly images. It works by reflecting the image of a ghost off of a sheet of plexiglass. IThis effect has been a staple of theaters and haunted houses since John Pepper popularized it in the 1800s. In this project, I am going to show you how you can incorporate this technique into your Halloween setup.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: How the Illusion Works

Picture of How the Illusion Works
The main background and any live characters are positioned in front of the audience. The ghost is located off to the side where it is not in the direct view. The ghost room can either be black or a mirror image of the main background. A sheet of plexiglass is positioned in front of the audience and set at a 45 degree angle to both the audience and the ghost. At this angle the background remains clearly visible but the glass also partially reflects an image of the ghost. To the audience, it appears as though there is a transparent ghost in the scene in front of them.

Step 2: Create a Ghost in Your Pictures and Video

Picture of Create a Ghost in Your Pictures and Video
The pepper's ghost technique is an easy way to insert a ghost into your pictures and videos without using any software. All you need is a small piece of clear plastic such as plexiglass.

Set up your camera in front of the desired background. Position your ghost to one side of the camera. The ghost can be a person in a costume, an image on a computer monitor, or just a picture. Hold up the plexiglass in front of the lens at a 45 degree angle to both the camera and the ghost. The camera will see a faint reflection of the ghost.

You may also get reflections of other objects around your ghost. To avoid this, you can either set up your ghost in front black backdrop or you can put the ghost in a dark room and use a flashlight or lamp to light up just the ghost.
sadariyah1 month ago

hi, i did at home but there is a problem . i got two reflection or may be you can say offset of the projection . can you clear that how can make professional Glass like this "http://www.realfiction.com/casestudy-item/martell-cordon-bleu/"

I think that you are getting a reflection off both the front and bad faces of the glass. You can use a really thin sheet of Plexiglas. That way the offset would be smaller. Or you can make everything bigger. The bigger the projection is, the smaller the offset seems by comparison.

NomadHobbyist6 months ago

Cool! I have to try this sometime.

Austydude1 year ago
WOHA!!!! Cool! It is good I used it in my movie I scared the pants on the people that saw my movie!

Very nice! Fun fact: this technique is still used today at Disney's Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.

mino20031 year ago
metalsonic1 year ago
Sorry, I double posted .
metalsonic1 year ago
I may have to try this some time
metalsonic1 year ago
I may have to try this some time
We'll do
Great instructable!! Keep up the good work!
blodefood1 year ago
Thanks for the history lesson and the technical variations!
cybercapri1 year ago
Well done, thanks for sharing....
Thanks! Great vid!
How much does a small sheet of plexiglass cost?
It depends on the size and the thickness as well as which hardware store you go to. Just stop by your local hardware store and check.