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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Something to add (maybe) to a Seance (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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qurgh
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Independence, KY
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This maybe completely off topic, but in my mind it seems to fit in, even though it's not really "magic".

One of the common things that happens when there is ghost activity is that electronics tend to act funny. Recently I ordered, and just recieved, a device called the TV-B-Gone. It allows you to turn off or on any TV and it's a tiny little black box with one button on it.

Something that could really add to a seance (in my mind), and give people a nice fright, would be to do the following: Turn the volume up loud on a TV, put it on a channel that tends to blair out stuff and then turn it off. Then, when the spook activity is high, hit the button on the device and let it flick on the TV. Everyone jumps. If someone has to get up to get the remote to turn it off, it'll convince them that "you" didn't do it. Even better would be to hit the button again and have it turn off before someone else can do it.

Maybe I'm waaaaaaaaaaaaay off and just a rambling newbie (if so, someone can get rid of this post), but if people are in the right frame of mind they will believe it. Also, the device is pretty small and doesn't really look like a remote. People may look for one of those universal remotes, but this thing doesn't look anything like it.

Being a geek I think of these wierd things.
Phil Thomas
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Newark, Ohio
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That just might work. I am fairly new to the bizarre myself, but I think that is a great idea. Even better, just put the tv on nothing but static. That way when it comes on, it's an extremely loud hiss that will make em' jump out of their pants. That's not a bad idea at all.
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
The Reverend
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Qurgh,

When I perform my bizarre/mystery show, I have a "chilling" backing track on CD (composed by myself - therefore not cheesy!) playing in the background during the show. Added to the candlelight, it provides a very creepy atmosphere, however, recently, I've been thinking about providing, at some stage of the show, a sudden FRIGHT to my guests which sounds a bit like what you may be trying to achieve.

You know those remote controlled small land buggy/car toys that you can find in the toy shops?
I plan to place the buggy in a small tied up sack, place it in a nearby small cupboard and, at the appropriate moment in my "chilling tale", operate the remote under the table and have the buggy go into "convulsions" rattling off the cupboard walls, then this would surely frighten my guests!
e.g. You could talk about the woman who was buried alive in this actual house in the basement back in 1888 etc etc before you activate the remote.

Mind you, this fits with my act and character but it may be a bit OTT for your needs. (go on.... try it!)

I'm going to experiment with this over the next few months. If you try it, let me know how it goes.
Hope this helps.

best regards,
Stephen.
robb_randall
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surprise, arizona
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What about this...

Prior to the beginning of the seance, someone notices the distraction and turns the television off. Then, at an opportune moment you cause your little black box (sounds like something a 21st century Wicked Witch of the West might say...) to do its thing. But instead of broadcast images and sound, the screen is filled with "white noise" static...

...except for every once in a while...when a shadowy/static-y image crosses the screen. Naturally you could have faint, barely audible, sounds/voices accompanying the fuzzy transmission "from the other side..."

It would me most effective, I feel, if the shadowy/static-y images and other-worldly sounds were extremely faint, so that some would see/hear them...and others would not...

I kinda creeped myself out just thinking about it. Memories of the little girl from Poltergeist saying, "they're back..." are swimming in my overactive imagination.

Robb Randall
Magickman
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St.Petersburg, Fl.
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Put your imaginations together on this one.
As you all know timing is everything!
January 7th is the date of a new movie
that I'm sure will make a few waves.
The important thing would be, do this effect before this date!

http://www.aaevp.com/

Magickman
What man knows he calls Science
What he has yet to learn he calls Magick
Both are real!

_Tony Andruzzi_
Bill Fienning
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Use of the TV-B-Gone device is an interesting idea. Remember that TV remote controls operate on a coded infrared signal. The remote control must be pointed at the TV or at a mirror that would reflect the signal to the TV (if the signal is strong enough).
Bill Fienning

"It's More than Tricks"
DamienT98
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London UK now live in Austin Tx
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If it were the static on the TV that would be a creepy reminder from the film Poltigeist.
qurgh
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Independence, KY
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The signal seems to be pretty strong. The designer created it to turn off TVs in bars/restaurants/etc so that he and his friends wouldn't just sit and stare instead of talking.

One side-effect of the device is that is can take up to 50 seconds or so to cycle through all the different on/off codes. So if you're jumpy and you use it, it'll make you jump because unlike a normal remote which works right away, this one can have a delay.

I like the static/shadow images idea. To take it one step further, you could hook a PC up to the TV and have it loop some kind of footage maybe even having someone in another room send the signal and use pictures of the people in the séance.

I know that would freak me out to see a picture of myself flash on the screen. It wouldn't be hard to do, a little webcam with either a stream filter or a few minutes in Photoshop before flashing the image.

If your "ghost" is a malicious one, you could have blood run down the inside of the screen, over the static or edit the pictures so they are bloody or cut in someway. There are lots of possibilities.

To expand the idea of electronics, you could go the whole nine yards and hook a bunch of appliances to a computer via the X10 system which would allow you to remotely turn them on or off either through a manual control or a program that acts as a timer. It's kind of freaky when the TV turns onto static, then the Hi-Fi on white noise, then the blender, then more and more and then it all cuts off at the same time. The silence if deafening.
kaytracy
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Central California
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I recall seeing interesting footage once of a video loop where the camera was pointed at the tv screen, the image continued to distort as the slight delay in the two devices keep the image shifting!
As to things that go bumb, there is that silly little kids ball with the large knobby bits on it, we used to use those in our LARPING, hang it with a small thumbtack by a string and it will work itself loose and start thumping about in box or whatever-
Kay and Tory
www.Bizarremagick.com
George Ledo
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Great ideas! Some years ago, I was playing with the remote (not much to watch on TV, so ya gotta improvise!) and found I could point it at the wall on the other side of the TV and it would still work. Guess the IR signal just bounces off the wall?

For an extra little something, how about "unplugging" the TV and having the cord just draped over it? I could say something about duplicate cords, but that would just be exposing the secret. Smile
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
qurgh
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Independence, KY
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Kaytracy - Off topic, but your a LARPer? I also LARP a ton and I even use my magic in it. It's an odd place to do it, but it really can add to the atmosphere Smile

George - that's a great idea. I didn't think of that. Time to drill a small hole in the side of the TV Smile
Jonathan1000
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One of my older books on mentalism --I don't remember which one -- suggests hooking up a hair dryer to the same circuit as your TV to secretly generate electronic interference on the TV set.

At the time, I remember thinking that it would be a challenge to muffle the sound of a running hair dryer, but perhaps there are quieter appliances that would do the same thing.
"Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals." -- Homer Simpson
Phil Thomas
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Newark, Ohio
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Hey qurgh,

Check out this website

http://www.bigscreamtv.info

If you are familliar with the "Pepper's Ghost" illusion, this will suit you fine. You could use your little black box in conjunction with this and let the screams begin.

Phil
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
Osiris
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Quote:
On 2004-11-14 17:55, DamienT98 wrote:
If it were the static on the TV that would be a creepy reminder from the film Poltigeist.


Actually there was a device on the market in the early/mid 80s that did exactly this... created static on the screen. The problem was, you had to hit the "reset" button on the back of the set in order to correct the condition caused by one's Psi power. In some instances, especially with cheaper television sets, there is no re-set available to bail you out.

I honestly can't recall who put this out... I believe it was a mentalist based in Maryland however.
qurgh
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Independence, KY
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Phil,

That site is a blast and gives me a bunch of ideas... time to go find some cheap plexiglass

Chris
George Ledo
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Another thought on this (fueled by stephen's note on the little RC toy cars)... the solenoid from a standard "chime" style of doorbell can be adapted as a tapping device. Have it tap inside a cabinet in response to questions, or jiggle a tambourine, or maybe it's next door tapping on a drum to create that nice hollow sound.

This just in from the field... if you're in a house with a central air system, remove the grille from a diffuser in a nearby room and insert the solenoid inside to tap on the metal duct. Sound carries. You're on your own on this one.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
Kenn Capman
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The problem with using anything technological in magic nowadays is that, as a society, we are jaded to 'miracles' like fax machines, television, internet, portable mp3 players, TIVO, etc. etc.

Authur C. Clarke said that "a sufficently advanced civilization would be indistinguishable from magic."

If you decide to pursue a technological effect, please (pretty please?) remember that presentation is everything.

A good portion of today's sophisticated, educated audience will simply write off an effect to technology if there's a way to do so. Obviously, the 'sell' of an effect is paramount here.

I like some of the ideas here. A lot of them have good 'shock' value even if they are quickly rationalized away.
"The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents."
- Salvador Dali -
George Ledo
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You're absolutely correct: it's all in the presentation. The audience would quickly guess that some of these effects are based on technology, even if they didn't figure out the nuts and bolts.

The key, I think, is to make sure that these effects are done totally in context with the seance, and that they're fast enough that nobody has enough time to think about one effect before their attention is brought back to the seance by something else. The seance has to flow like a story, with no commercials to break the concentration and disrupt the overall experience.
That's our departed buddy Burt, aka The Great Burtini, doing his famous Cups and Mice routine
www.georgefledo.net

Latest column: "Sorry about the photos in my posts here"
qurgh
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Independence, KY
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Kenn is completely correct. You have to psychologically pursade the audience that what happened wasn't anything to do with technology. When your using a TV, having it obviously unplugged (maybe even unplugging thing to "prevent any distractions" before you start) will help with the belief, especially for people who watch horror movies and know that ghosts like to turn on unplugged TVs or call disconnected phones.

Speaking of phones, you could easily setup one to ring and then put a tiny RF reciever in the handset to make it talk to people even though it's unplugged. I would love to see someone's face when they are on the phone talking to someone, and then you lift up the unplugged phone line.. Smile Of course, this wouldn't work if it just happened for no reason, but during a seance you could call to a spirit asking them to contact you in anyway they can and suddenly, on cue, the phone rings. Phone calls from the dead was (maybe still is) very common for a while.

Growing up in a household with a parapsychologist is going to come in handy after all Smile

Chris
Phil Thomas
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Newark, Ohio
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Hey Chris,

If you have a Spencer Gifts store in your area, you might find the bigscream stuff there really cheap due to clearing out all the Halloween stuff. If not, you can always order online. As for the plexiglass, I find that Lowe's and Home Depot have the best prices and you can get a sheet of plexiglass quite cheap, but it all depends on the dimensions. Make sure to have the correct measurements when you go as they can cut it to size for you. Have fun with it. I have the bigscream stuff and it's a "scream". It really freaks em' out as there is vocal tracks with it. Now go scare the socks off em'!!

Phil
"If we lose the sense of the mysterious, life is no more than a snuffed out candle."

Albert Einstein
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