Through a window, a green, translucent skull rotates in front of a bloody hand. The skull fades in and out. The still image doesn't do this justice so I threw together a way-cool, 135k MPEG for you.

This is a "Pepper's ghost" effect. The skull is reflected by a piece of glass angled 45 degrees to the side of the line of sight. The rest of the scene is seen through the glass. This allows the skull to appear transparent and to fade in and out. The amount of illumination on the skull controls how visible it is. We built a wooden stand to hold the glass and made the rest of the structure out of cardboard. The effect was viewed through a glass window in a wooden wall. The viewer's line of sight must be restricted so he can't see the skull directly. The skull can only be seen reflected in the glass.

We used a magnifying glass on the end of a tube with a light in the other end to make a spotlight for the skull. Later we added a green color filter made from a few layers of plastic report covers. The skull is inside a box lined with black velvet and black felt so only the skull (and not its surroundings) can be seen reflected in the glass.

To build the rotating stand for the skull we glued a slow geared motor to a wooden base, and then made a wooden stand to fit the skull and glued it to the motor's shaft.

We built a mechanism to fade the light in and out using a slow, geared motor and a rotary dimmer (the type intended to be installed in a wall). The motor already had a lever on it with a hinged bar. We built a wooden clamp which we clamped to the dimmer knob, and we attached the bar to the other end. As the motor turns, it pushes and pulls the end of the clamp which turns the dimmer knob back and forth.

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