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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Ceremony Room (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

ptbeast
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Oregon
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For those of you who might have seen my request on other lists, I apologize for making in multiple places, but I think it
is an interesting topic, and want to generate all the discussion I
can...

Anyway, I am going to be building a room that will be located in the
same complex as several major haunted attractions for next Halloween
season. We are planning on doing several different shows in the room. A séance type show, a voodoo related show, and perhaps some longer shows by special request. As I have given it some thought several questions have come up that I thought might be worthy of discussion:

1) If you could build your performance area from the ground up (walls, floor, furniture, everything) what would you do with it?
Looking for all kinds of brainstorming, no matter how wild. Special effects, type of seating, sound, light, whatever.

2) The majority of the type of effects that I would normally do in these shows are fairly subtle. Less is more... But, given that our customers will be drawn there by the haunted houses, do you think that we should include something more 'over the top?' Perhaps an apparition or a gateway to another dimension? Ideas for such an
effect?

3) Has anyone ever worked with either low frequency sound effects or air cannons? I have heard that some have used them to good effect in seance type performances. I have several ideas involving them and am curious how they have worked for others.

Thanks,

Dave

Smile
petethecreeper
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I once had an idea for a room built on high-powered automotive hydraulics. We, the haunted house I was working at, had these things donated to us. They could hold well over a ton. The room would accomodate up to 10 people. It would be billed as a seance room. At the end of the presentation, the air in the hydraulics would be released...making the room drop 1" down with a violent lurch. The audience would be seated on secured benches in the room, and were asked to remain seated at all times.

We never built the thing...mostly because the hydraulics themselves were stolen!
:bawl:

Ah well, such is life.

-Pete
Caleb Strange
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Manchester UK
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Dave, one of my day-dream ideas for the star crossed lovers routine, but not mentioned in the Sword fighting thread was this:

Almost at the end of the routine, as people are squashed into the farmhouse kitchen at night, suddenly it is day outside. There is a few seconds glimpse of the garden through the window, and it is DAY outside, not a night garden lit up, but day. Furthermore, if this were done in winter, then you's glimpse a beautiful summer garden. If on a balmy summer's night, it would be a Doctor Zhivago ice palace winter garden. Both beautiful, but both wrong. And standing silent, out of reach in both of these gardens would be the beloved. Then just as the audience were going 'What on earth..?', the vision would be gone, and it would be night once again outside, and the garden bare and empty. It seem a magical way for her to depart, and to suggest the lovers awful separation.

As for method, well, I'd guess some sort of projection, done quickly, might convince.

Pete, I'd love a hydraulic setup for my bathroom. Some sort of video screen masquerading as a window, a few different programs chosen on entry, and I'd be in heaven. 'Voyage to the bottom of the sea', or 'The magic carpet' would make a better ride than reading the newspaper!

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
Reg Rozee
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I'm wondering if some of the "temple tricks" as used by the ancient Greeks might be appropriate. Many of these are documented in very old magic books (and thus now are basically forgotten about). They include things like doors that only open when a fire is built on an alter, fountains that start producing "milk" instead of water when a sacrifice is received, bugles that blow when doors are opened, etc. You can probably use more modern methods to achieve the same results, but the discussions of what they used might give you some ideas.

You also might want to experiment with ways of introducing "cold drafts" or dropping the temperature of the room suddenly, which are effects often reported during seances or paranormal encounters.

I experienced an effect at a scare venue once you might want to use for the chairs. Basically, there is a hidden air tube about the height of the average persons neck, and stereo speakers also hidden in the top of the chair. At a certain point when it is dark, heavy breathing comes through the speakers and the air tube blows warm air onto the back of the neck in synch with the sound. Very creepy! This particular venue added the effect of a "tongue" licking the neck the second time it was used, but that fit with the particular story they were using. Sure made me jump!
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick



Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
petethecreeper
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Caleb,

You are truly one sick puppy....

...I like that. Smile
Bill Fienning
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See if you can find a copy of Lee Earle's Manifestations. It is a complete description of a seance room that they built (i.e., modified) for seances. I understand that it was quite impressive.

The Magic Castle has a seance room with automated effects that are activated after the first part of the seance with the medium.

Remember, the more complex it gets, the more likely you are to have mechanical/electronic problems.
Bill Fienning

"It's More than Tricks"
Brett Cantrell
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Don't forget to inscribe a large pentagram on the floor. You'll need the protection from the dark elements. hehehe Smile

In the Craft,
Brett
Doug Byrd
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Bleeding walls

A wall of white latex and has people behind. This wall would be behind the performer and would look like the other three walls. At just the right time you could have the souls of the ***ed try to breach the great divide and return to this reality. To which the performer could quiet them and send them back. Necessary screams and incantations needed here.

Dark blue lights and deep purple lights help to make the atmosphere feel evil.

Just my two Drakma worth,
Doug
http://www.bizarremagick.com
"Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc"
Caleb Strange
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Doug, loved the bleeding walls and the white latex. Bigwolf made a great suggestion to look at the historical side of things. I'll post some info about a fantastic, little known site of antiquity, where they did just the BEST bizarre magic, once I can find it in my notes.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
ptbeast
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Thanks for all the great replies.
I appreciate the help. Any further ideas?
Someone suggested 'cold spots'. These have
long been thought to signal paranormal activity. Any ideas on ways to create a cold spot w/o an obvious AC vent/breeze?
Caleb Strange
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There's a great cold spot kiss for a dark seance in 'Mind myth and magick' in the 'Grymwyr' chapter. There's a very similar idea in Jim Magus 'Horror Magic', with a nice idea for a weird sound, see the 'Night of the Yeti' effect. In illuminated situations, suggestion can work wonders. Get them started with a cup of coffee that freezes solid. There was also a great s. p. effect I seem to remember on this board, where a glass of water was pk'ed to slush.

Another thought, apart from the perceived drop in temperature, the other thing that convinces is some sort of thermometer that's dropping. They always seem to have that on 'Sightings'. That and a bit of verbal suggestion might do the trick. Incidentally, anyone remember the impromtu pk thermometer rise in Will Dexter's 'The uncanny power'? He he he!

I'm a technical klutz, but could you have some sort of refrigeration system built into the chairs, e.g. in the metal frame? This would be freaky, especially if only a couple of chairs were gaffed. Put the nervous ones in them. Drip a little ice water from the ceiling...

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
ptbeast
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Thanks again, and another question.

We are having a heated debate about seating. One view is that it should be intimate, perhaps 10 people around a table.
The other view is that we need more throughput to make the concept viable financially. The suggestion there was theatre style seating for 25 - 30.

Questions - especially for experienced séance type performers --

Are both viable?
What is the rational (in show) for the unusual theater style seating?
With the voodoo show an alter could be placed at the front, and makes some sense...how about in the séance show?

Trying to balance the artistic with the
financial can be a real pain...

Care to weigh in? Would love to hear your ideas.

Thanks yet again,

Dave
Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
Necromancer
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Eugene Burger, in Spirit Theater, used theater-style seating; Lee Earle, in Manifestations, used intimate seating around a table. Both have their advantages, and I strongly advise you to read both books before planning any commercial seance. There are great lessons to be learned from them both.

For my own seances, I split the difference: I use theater-style seating at the outset, but have an empty round seance table at the front. During the light portion of the presentation, I conduct a series of tests that involve participants (initialing slates, etcetera), during which I invite many of the selected particpants to the table. By the end of the light portion, the table is fully occupied.

In this way, I can seat as many people as possible (but still no more than 30, or the initimate seance atmosphere begins to deteriorate), while still fulfilling everybody's idea of a seance, which is still that of a medium and participants holding hands at a round table in the dark.

Again, please check out Spirit Theater and Manifestations. Best of luck.
Creator of The Xpert (20 PAGES of reviews!) and the Hands-Off Multiple ESP System ("Quality and design far exceed any ESP cards on the market"-Genii), both at Penguin.
Caleb Strange
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Necromancer, that's great theatre! Loved the way the performance gets increasingly intimate. Also, I suspect, when couples/groups are split in this way, the nervousnes goes up! Dave, don't forget to separate your crowd. Sitting in the dark between two strangers is intimidating. When a hand grabs your knee, even the skeptics get jumpy!

'Spirit Theater' is a great book. It's packed with a wide range of material. A few effects, lots of spirit history, and a great description of Burger's own spirit theatre. From memory, I think he had his crowd half in the round, in a crescent arrangement. He stressed the importance of no one being more than a few rows back.

Burger's pre-show (not in the technical sense) to his spirit theatre is worth looking at, too. His main set-up was in the attic of a rambling house. The lights were off, and people had candles. Couples would be summoned, by a bell, two at a time, to walk up into the darkness, into who knows what. Not only scary for the first few, but imagine being the last pair, stood in a strange hallway, with the amount of light diminishing. Creepy! Lee Earle has some subtleties for this pre-show bit, too.

By the way, I've filled an old hayfever inhaler with icy water, and squirted it over the seance table. It feels horrible. The secret is that the spray is so fine. You feel chilled and choked at the same time.

Regards,

Caleb Strange.
-- QCiC --
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