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Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11157 Posts

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This Mini Haunted House thread was started in another area quite some time ago, and after some down time, I have been able to do some more work on it, and have added a couple more photos of the progress.

Thought the builders might want to see this thing.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
gsidhe
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Inner circle
Michigan
1726 Posts

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I don't get really excited about a lot of posts...
BUT THIS IS THE COOLEST!!!
I have been working on the concept for a Haunted Dollhouse for years! The idea was sprung from a short story I read in a collection of ghost stories when I was only 8.
A family finds a dollhouse complete with a little dollhouse family in the attic of their home, a duplicate of their own house. They clean it up, and put it in the little girls room.
She complains every night that the lights keep coming on in the dollhouse, that she sees figures walking past the curtains and hears tiny whispered voices.
The parents don't believe her.
One day she vanishes. Months later, when the family decides she is not coming back, they clean out her room. Inside the dollhouse is a new doll sitting on the couch with the rest of the doll family.
It is their little girl.
That story scared me so bad that I made my little sister keep her dollhouse in the basement.
Ever since then, I wanted to build my own haunted dollhouse! I have talked about it with my own children in the last few months, and they came up with some brilliant ideas that I want to incorporate as well. I have a huge list of things I have worked out and effects I really want inside.
You have inspired me to get it done this winter.
What effects are you including? How close are you sticking to the purchased plans? How complete are they?
The pics look great! Hope you have more to share soon!
Gwyd
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11157 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
My story is still being fleshed out, so the particular effects are still in the works, as well. I made a couple of the items suggested in the Leon booklet, but I'd really like to develop as much original stuff as I can. Naturally the effects should coincide with the story, and not just be random. The included story, and therefore some of the effects would not fit me.

The main decision that I have made is that I wished to have the house Antebellum style. Most of the shows that I do are in the Southeast, and therefore the theme is common and more easily relatable. Houses like this are scattered all over the region. Done properly though, the story should work just about anywhere.

So, with that much in mind, I decided to go ahead and build the house minus the effects, which will be filled in as the story takes shape for me. Building the house as I wanted it, was a daunting enough task. Getting the correct roof pitch on the gable was quite an ordeal, and stretched my recall of geometry to the edge. Ha! For some reason I couldn't figure out the formula needed. Eventually made it work though, and without ruining any wood. Smile

I built the house along the same basic design as in the booklet, but I take artistic license with just about every project I do. Although the book also suggested simply modifying a pre-built doll house, I am too much of a sawdust junkie for that.

The modus operandi of the effects is the same. I found no good reason to change that.

I'd really like to see what you come up with. The only other one that I have seen photos of is the one on Chuck Caputo's website.

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Spellbinder
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Inner circle
The Holy City of East Orange, NJ
6438 Posts

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Great job, Michael! As Jim Gerrish and I discovered when putting our two versions of Sefalaljia together, there are more than enough spirit effects available, once you have the basic concept down. I bet you could add a Parker Swan Dollhouse base and have chickens and ducks scampering out of the doors and windows of that Southern Plantation!
Professor Spellbinder

Professor Emeritus at the Turkey Buzzard Academy of Magik, Witchcraft and Wizardry

http://www.magicnook.com

Publisher of The Wizards' Journals
RiserMagic
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Michael;
Great start on the house. I've been building them with neo-magnets holding things together rather than pin hinges. This way nothing gets lost in transport. BTW - there is another set of plans out there for a different type of miniature spirit cabinet. I can not get to my plans right now for the name on them (they are buried under a stack of books and fabric). It uses a very different principle. I'm not certain if these other plans are still being sold. I got mine when I bought a guys magic library in the 1960's. It's a good method.
Jim
RiserMagic
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Michael;
I dug the plans out to get the name for you. It is Jack Wilson's Miniature Spirit Black Art Cabinet Copyright 1942 (Plans by Palmer). It came with 6 pages of typed instructions/routine and the 2' x 3' plans.
Jim
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11157 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Jim,

Interesting idea with the magnets. I didn't know you made them, but I shouldn't be surprised! I will be using magnets to secure the business end of the gimmick, as suggested in the booklet. Much better idea than the original.

Losing pins is a part of the game, I suppose. I have been using them to hold many things together over the years. I use coathanger wire bent in an "L" with one short leg. One thing I learned years ago was to carry extras... and I put them in a few different locations in my equipment bags. I always have spares. Smile

There are so many routes I can go with on this thing. As with most things, I'll probably consider this a work in progress. Except for the front wall, most would be easy to replace if better ideas came along. The booklet suggests gaffing the back wall as a JAP handkerchief box. Spellbinder's comment on the Parker Swann Dollhouse base is also good.

For the meantime, and with the current apparatus, I will probably focus on the basic method, and set my effects according to the quality of the story I come up with. I'd rather rely initially on presentation, and not too many bells and whistles. Once I can do it justice selling it to an audience, then I can look at more elaborate gimmicks as more than a crutch.

Thanks for the name of the Jack Wilson instructions. I will keep an eye out for them. Any chance you'd want to part with yours?

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
RiserMagic
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Michael;
I do not advertise nor show on my web site most of the things that I make. FYI - If you take the "pins" , form a loop at one end, and solder the joint closed, you can attach a braided nylon cord with a screw into the house wall. This will prevent pin loss. The pins will be permanently attached to the house next to the hinge where they will be needed. I've also used beaded chain for this as it is much more durable and even has nice end fittings to attach everything together.

Plans are not for sale - sorry.
Jim
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11157 Posts

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Jim,

In the time that I have had to become familiar with your work (which granted, isn't long), I am pretty much convinced there isn't much that you couldn't make! Smile

Re: the pins - Do any of these extra attachments compromise the background effect needed to pull off this illusion? I took great pains to cover the hinges themselves, even to the extent of cutting the patch fabric along pattern lines that render it nearly invisible from a foot away.

I understand on the plans. Some things I will not part with either. I'll just keep my eyes open! Smile

Thanks as always for your help!

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
RiserMagic
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Michael;
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do not use loose pin hinges for assembling this effect. I mentioned the chains or cord on the pins as a tip on other goodies I make. I prefer the magnets. Everything is easily covered with the background material and is not seen. As a matter of fact, the connecting magnet assemblies can be placed outside of the house hidden in the natural looking framing of the house. This leaves everything inside absolutely smooth - no lumps to worry about.

You might also consider putting a strain relief on the thread - either a flat spring to which the thread is attached inside of the house (depending upon house design/trim) or an elastic between the pants pin and the thread. This prevents accidently breaking the thread by putting too much strain on it.

Let us know when the house is completed.
Jim
Michael Baker
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Eternal Order
Near a river in the Midwest
11157 Posts

Profile of Michael Baker
Quote:
On 2006-11-18 20:00, RiserMagic wrote:

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I do not use loose pin hinges for assembling this effect. I mentioned the chains or cord on the pins as a tip on other goodies I make. I prefer the magnets. Everything is easily covered with the background material and is not seen. As a matter of fact, the connecting magnet assemblies can be placed outside of the house hidden in the natural looking framing of the house. This leaves everything inside absolutely smooth - no lumps to worry about.


Ha-ha! Looks like I should be using those magnets to put 2 and 2 together.

Quote:
You might also consider putting a strain relief on the thread - either a flat spring to which the thread is attached inside of the house (depending upon house design/trim) or an elastic between the pants pin and the thread. This prevents accidently breaking the thread by putting too much strain on it.


Very good idea! I was also going to be adding grommets or hollow rivets to the holes where the thread must run to cut down on possible friction that may fray the thread.
Quote:
Let us know when the house is completed.



Will do. Smile Thanks!

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
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