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Projected Light Ghosts Projected Light Ghosts

The Effect:

The effect is simple, but very effective. Scores of illuminated ghosts continuously swoop through the air around the guests. This is similar to an effect used in the Disneyland Haunted Mansion.

Projected Light Ghosts (2000) Projected Light Ghosts (2004)

How It Works:

A slide projector (Projecting an image of a ghost) is set up so that it faces a rotating mirror ball. Several small ghosts are reflected in the many mirrors of the mirror ball and projected onto the screening or fabric you have hung. As the mirror ball rotates, the ghosts continuously "fly" across the fabric.

Projected Light Ghosts

  • Motorized rotating mirror ball
  • Slide projector
  • Ghost slide (Blank slide, black paint, green light filter)
  • Screen door screening
Approximate Cost: $40.00 - $80.00
(I have bought four slide projectors from thrift stores ranging from $10-$20 each. A rotating mirror ball costs around $30. Screen door screening is sold at Home Depot in rolls of 3'x24' for about $12.)


Once you have the materials, construction is very simple. The only thing you need to make is the actual ghost slide.
  1. Find a blank slide. If you know anyone who takes slide photography, he will probably have some. Otherwise, you may be able to get blank slides from a camera store that develops slide film, or you can make your own slide using clear acetate (or some other clear material) and cardboard. See the tree projection instructions for a more detailed explanation on how to make your own blank slide.

  2. With black paint (not ink - light will still penetrate ink), paint around the outline of a ghost on the blank slide. Everything should be painted black except for the ghost. Paint eyes and a mouth on the ghost. It may help to draw your image on a piece of paper and place the slide over that while you paint it.

  3. To add some color to the ghost, find some sort of green light filter that will work in a slide projector. Tape this filter onto the back of the ghost slide, so the projector will now project a green ghost. The filter can be any color, or you can omit it all together. I use green because it gives the ghosts an eerie look.

    Slide Front Slide Back

  4. Put the slide in the projector, and you're ready to set up the effect.

This is the part that takes some work. Hang your fabric where you want the ghosts to be projected. If you have screening, your ghosts will appear to fly through the air. You should put this somewhere in an open area. With opaque fabric, the ghosts will appear to fly across the wall. You can put this fabric anywhere. If you do not have screening, you may want to have the ghosts projected onto the interior walls of the haunt so that ghosts appear to fly around the guests' heads.

The screen backdrop Setting up the projector

Once you have the fabric up, you need to find a place for your slide projector and mirror ball. several things must be accounted for. If it is in a place that guests will have access to, it needs to be sturdy enough to take some bumping. Also, you need to make sure that the light will not be shining directly into anybody's eyes and that the ghosts will not be obscurred as people walk by. This usually means putting the projector somewhere high, above guest's heads. You can use a ladder to hold the slide projector if there is not a shelf conveniently located.

Projector Setup (2001) Projector Setup (2000) Projector Setup (2004)

You will need to experiment with the angle at which the slide projector faces the mirror ball. This is pretty flexible, as you can position the slide projector almost anywhere within a 180 degree arc around the slide projector and still adjust it so that the ghosts are projected at your fabric.

The Completed Effect:

Projected Light Ghosts



Completed Effects:
- Magic Box
- Projector Ghosts
- Pepper's Ghost
- Rickety Floor
- Cobwebs
- Tree Projection
- Curtain Spirit

Incomplete Effects:
- Living Head

All original content copyright 2004 Raymond Fero

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