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Pepper’s Ghost Illusion

The Pepper’s Ghost Illusion is a significant piece of theater history, first seen in Charles Dickens’ “The Haunted Man” in December 1862. This breakthrough illusion creates the appearance of a ghostly spectre or figure on stage which will appear and then instantly disappear with a flick of light or shadow. When experiencing this illusion live, viewers are left confounded and delighted.

So, how can you create this remarkable effect? This article reveals all the details needed to understand and create your own rendition of the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion. We also look at some incredible performances where this illusion was used, helping us appreciate why we often remain spellbound after watching it!

stereoscopic hologram

Pepper’s Ghost Illusion is a breakthrough in theatrical performances that creates a dramatic, realistic ghost effect. It was first used in December of 1862 at a performance of Charles Dickens’ The Haunted Man. This remarkable illusion has been used in countless plays and musical performances over the years and is an incredible way to make your audience gasp in amazement. But if you want to create this mysterious effect for yourself, what do you need? In this article, we’ll go over how to achieve the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion, the materials required, and some famous exhibitions that featured it.

So how does it work? It all comes down to two key elements: reflection and refraction. The stage is equipped with a sheet of glass (or other transparent material) which creates an ‘invisible’ barrier between two separate parts of the stage. A light source from above shines brightly towards the below section and reflects off of something hidden beneath – allowing for an eerie phantom-like figure to “magically” appear on stage without any special effects or complicated masking techniques. Afterward, the pocket where the figure lurks suddenly becomes dark reversing the process – making them vanish as if they had never been there at all!

To get started setting up your own Pepper’s Ghost Illusion onstage you will need some basic materials including: a large piece of glass or plastic; lighting fixtures; reflective material such as mylar foil or reflective paint; black felt fabric; props; and puppets/human figures that can be manipulated inside the pocket where they will reappear onstage. Make sure you keep your setup small so as not to take away focus from other aspects of your production such as sets or costumes!

Visual Diagram of How to Set Up A Pepper’s Ghost Illusion. 


The Pepper’s Ghost Illusion has long been used in theatrical productions around the world, from classic productions like Hamlet at London’s Globe Theater to more contemporary shows like Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna Tour. For those looking for something more permanent such as theme park attractions, there are plenty of great examples utilizing this mesmerizing illusion including Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion rides across various parks along with Disneyland Resort Paris’ Phantom Manor! You can’t forget about the Platform 9 3/4″ at Universal! Finally, one cannot forget about its implementation at Universal Studio’s Halloween Horror Nights – where visitors can genuinely feel spooked by some classic monster characters from films such as Frankenstein Monsters thanks to their masterful use of Pepper’s Ghost Illusions!

When it comes down to it, set pieces employing Pepper’s Ghost Illusions are truly captivating spectacles perfect for stealing people away into another world full of mystery! With just a few simple steps outlined above and minimal supplies you can easily create your own magical soundstage performance captivating any audience no matter age or experience level. Now all that is needed is creative flare and expression – let your imagination take charge!

Check out the following video! It demonstrates an intricate Pepper’s Ghost Illusion created with beamsplitter glass.

How To Create A Pepper’s Ghost Illusion For A Larger Audience Or Performance

The pepper’s ghost illusion is a stunning effect that can bring theatres alive and wow audiences at live events. So, how do you achieve this magical display? Here’s your step-by-step guide to setting up the pepper’s ghost illusion, including important tips for making sure it looks just right.

Step One: Set Up Your Equipment

Before you can set up the pepper’s ghost illusion, you will need to gather all of your equipment, which includes a type of projection, mirror or glass pane, something to raise the glass/mirror off the floor/stage (stilts or cinder blocks work well) and any further materials needed to secure it in position, and a bright light.

Step Two: Find the Right Angle

An essential part of achieving a successful peppers’ ghost effect is getting the right angle – and that means exactly 45 degrees. To make sure this happens accurately and consistently each performance, create a reference point on either side of the stage by painting lines on the wall or lining up chairs at an angle. This will help ensure everyone knows exactly what 45 degrees looks like before they start building the frame for the glass/mirror.

Step Three: Raising It Into Position

With your initial measurements complete, it’s time to raise your piece of glass/mirror into its exact location above center stage – that’s where is should be slightly higher than ground level in order to reflect images perfectly from underneath onto variable surfaces below it such as curtains or lecterns. To do so, start by securely attaching stilts or cinder blocks together on either side of your structure. Make sure everything is firmly in place and adjust if necessary – remember that your plate of glass/mirror needs to remain straight otherwise the image quality will suffer during your performance!

Step Four: Setting Up Your Projector

Projectors are used alongside mirrors/glass plates as they provide an illuminating source for projecting images onto them so that they can be projected onto other surfaces around an auditorium. Depending on whether you’re using multiple projectors or one single projector system setup, you’ll need make sure your lights are correctly aligned with both projector lens quality adjusted properly prior to showtime run throughs. Once done, adjust lights according angles created by walls and ceiling pieces for richening graphical perception even further! It is harder to use live actors to create an illusion, but it has been done before ifyou do not want to use a projector!

Step Five: Testing It Out

Before letting anyone see your pepper’s ghost illusion in its full glory, test out several times having attendees move around stage area making eye contact viewing different angles and  observing visual results. It may take few tests tweaking but once perfected the audience will always be wowed with such gorgeous visuals and effects created by master artists ready give great entertainment!

Setting up a pepper’s ghost illusion requires careful planning and attention to detail but with practice you can perfect it every time! By following these steps – securing appropriate equipment and finding accurate angles – you can put together an effective technique that brings excitement whenever it’s used!


  • Glass Mirror
  • A Light Source
  • An Empty Room
  • A Display Area

You can use any type of glass or clear material for your Pepper’s Ghost Illusion. However, you need to remember that the material you use will effect the clarity of the reflection. For example, if you use a semi-transparent/semi-reflective material such as Beamsplitter (AKA Dielectric) glass, you will have a stronger and more vivid reflection.

At Home DIY Pepper’s Ghost Illusion

Are you interested in building your own Pepper’s Ghost Illusion for a fun project? But, you don’t need a huge stage or performance to go along with it? Have no fear! You don’t need a huge setup or rig to create this effect. You will still need all the materials, but you can utilize them in smaller spaces (they make GREAT Halloween decorations)! Below is a great DIY video on how to create the Pepper’s Ghost Illusion with materials you might simply have just laying around your home!

Halloween is a great time of year to get creative! You can dress up as your favorite characters and you can also create amazing decorations. One of the most impressive decorations is a Peppers Ghost Illusion. This classic ghost illusion has been around since Victorian times and it’s easy to recreate if you have some simple materials and know how to do it.

Pepper's Ghost Diagram.

Adjust everything according to what looks best to you – move lights until reflections created give off subtle ghosts dancing about before you… And Ta-Da! Now there should be an image just like what was placed beneath the framed mirror reflecting right out into view at anyone who looks in its direction!

The Pepper’s Ghost Illusion has been used more often than you think! It is used in Disney World, movies, concerts, TV shows, art exhibits, and more! The following video is an example of how the illusion is used in modern day performances.

Tell us about your experience with Pepper’s Ghost Illusions! 


Article Author: Hannah

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