Pepper's Ghost

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Pepper's Ghost is an illusion popularized by John Henry Pepper used in theaters and by some magicians. Objects can be made to seem to appear or disappear, or make one object "morph" into another.

In 1862, inventor Henry Dircks developed the Dircksian Phantasmagoria, a technique used to make a ghost appear onstage. He tried unsuccessfully to sell his idea to theaters. His method would require theaters to be completely rebuilt just to support the effect. Later in the year, Dircks set up a booth at the Royal Polytechnic, where it was seen by John Pepper.

Pepper realized that the method could be modified to make it easy to incorporate into existing theaters. Pepper first showed the effect during a scene of Charles Dickens's The Haunted Man, to great success. Pepper's implementation of the effect tied his name to it permanently. Though he tried many times to give credit to Dircks, the title "Pepper's Ghost" stuck.

References

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