Spidera and magnet platform

When the kids get close to the fake wall, a foot-wide rubber spider suddenly jumps out from behind a piece of furniture and races all over the wall from the table to the ceiling. The spider has a cubic-inch-sized neodymium magnet in it bought from a surplus catalog for $5. This magnet is so strong it'll hold a paperback book to a refrigerator. To reduce friction, it's covered with a thin layer of teflon sheeting, and the wall is polished with oil. On the other side of the wall, another magnet is held a millimeter from the wall (which is 1/4 inch thick paneling) by a platform with three casters. The position of this magnet is adjusted by four screws so we can get it as close to the wall as possible without it scratching. The operator moves the spider by hand when he sees on the video monitor that the kids are in optimum scaring position.

When I was video taping the effects late Halloween night, I walked into the room and a magnet jumped out and ran all over the wall. I yelled to the people behind the wall, "How long has it just been a magnet on the wall!?" It seems the spider had fallen off some time ago and we had tried to scare several guests with a little magnet. Needless to say, somewhat less effective. I fixed this by epoxying strips of wood to the magnet and screwing the rubber spider to them.

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