the darkness of Disney's Haunted Mansion, you watch the ghostly
ballroom antics in amazement as questions swirl inside your head like
the transparent dancers below. Could you duplicate this classic effect
in your home haunt? Could you do it on you much less than Disney-esque
The answer to both is yes.
What is commonly known as the "Pepper's Ghost Illusion," or PGI,
is a stage illusion from the 1800s that can be simulated for a
surprisingly reasonable cost with readily available materials.
The illusion is relatively simple by today's standards and involves principles we commonly experience but may not be aware of.
Clear glass, or plastic, allow you to see a reflected "ghost" image of
something upon the clear surface, while viewing an entirely different
scene behind the surface.
An example of this is when you have lights on inside your home and you
look out a window at night. Often, you will see the interior of your
house (and perhaps yourself) reflected in the glass.
The PGI simply refines this natural occurrence.
Imagine an "L" shaped room with a sheet of glass or plastic set
across the elbow of the "L" at a forty-five degree angle. See figure 1.
It is important to note that each segment of the "L" should be the same
The forty-five degree angle allows something that is properly lit and
placed on side A to reflect on the panel and appear inside of B as a