Monday, August 8, 2016

Ghostly Conversations

Experience:
Patrons will experience hearing eerie, ghostly conversations and otherworldly sounds.

Blueprint:
The audio source of this blueprint is a Tesla Spirit Coil: a non-powered crystal radio circuit.  It is an relatively easy DYI build that can react to radio sources, lightning, electrical interference and even light.

As Tesla himself recounted upon hearing his invention in action:
"My first observations positively terrified me as there was present in them something mysterious, not to say supernatural, and I was alone in my laboratory at night."
To give you an idea of what this device sounds like, check out this video when it is reacting to a laser and then a flashlight: Spooky Tesla Spirit Radio

Because the sounds are all produced live, patrons will have never hear the same thing twice. It is also a nice upgrade from prerecorded haunt soundtracks and atmospheric audio.

Sketch:
Instead of a sketch, I'm linking you to a Instructable project with step-by-step directions: "Spooky Tesla Spirit Radio"

Practical considerations:
This is a low-cost no-brainer that does not require an electricity. You need to add this to your haunt pronto!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Human Curtain

Experience:
The patrons enter a room with no obvious exits. On the opposite wall, there is a tall man bound with chains and hooks. He is in obvious distress and pleads for help. He begins screaming as the patrons realize his body is being ripped in half  vertically. His head is still screaming, but now his parted body reveals the exit to the room. Patrons must walk under the live head and past his dangling spinal cord and guts to exit.

Blueprint:
The tall man is a actor with just his head visible through the wall near the ceiling. His body, from the neck down, is two vertical halves of a dressed manikin. This body is attached to black curtains, which when opened from the bottom provide the effect of the body being ripped apart. Behind the curtain are the crafted spinal cord and dangling "guts": hoses and string, etc. The exit is a normal doorway behind the curtain.

Sketch:
Coming soon.

Practical considerations:
  • Comfort of the actor in an awkward position with just his head visible. 
  • Pacing should be fine as the effect is still strong if the curtains need to be left open for a period of time. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A Witch Runs Through It

Experience:
Patrons walking down a long hallway suddenly see an witch/actor running toward them. Right before she runs into them she disappears and blast of cold air is felt in the patron's faces. The witch will them reappear behind them, cackling hysterically.

Blueprint:
As the witch/actor is about to collide with the first patron, a strobe can fire as she ducks into a side cubby-hole. At the same time, a fan can blow a blast of cold air through tubes mounted on the walls.  These tubes would work similar to a homemade device for chilling fog machine fog for a better ground effect. You'll need ice and/or dry ice to chill the metal vent pipes. A second actor costumed the same as the first, can then appear from another cubby-hole hole behind the patrons.

Sketch:
Coming soon.

Practical considerations:
  • For the chilled air effect, it is probably more important to be cold than to produce a big windy effect.
  • To avoid accidental collisions between actor and patrons, the hallway could contain some divider mechanism so that they never actually meet.  In this case, there would be a side exit from the hallway at the point where this divider is set up.

Running on the Ceiling

Experience:
Patrons walking down a long, narrow hallway suddenly see an actor running upside-down on the ceiling toward them.

Blueprint:
Two story hallway with two large 45 degree mirrors at the end of the hallway will reflect the actor in the upper hallway (running toward the mirrors) will look to the patrons as if he is running toward them on the ceiling on the lower hallway.

Sketch:
Coming soon.

Practical considerations:
  • Cost of the two mirrors
  • The timing of the actor is important.  He needs to start running so as to reach the end of the hallway approximately when the patrons do for the best effect.
  • The footsteps of the running actor in the upper hallway should enhance the effect if the acoustics of the hallways cooperate.

I Want to Hold Your Hand

Experience:
A pair of patrons reach a portal with two side-by-side exits.  An actor explains that the patrons must go through as pairs, one in the left exit and one in the right exit. After they go through the exit door frame, they must hold hands. The pair can see each other through Plexiglas divider as they walk about 10 feet together. Upon reaching the end of their parallel hallways, and rejoin in the next room, they realize they were not holding each others hands, but that they are each holding the hands of an actor between them.

Blueprint:
The devil is in the details on this one.  There must also be cooperation of both patrons to willingly follow the instructions for the effect to work.  The space between the Plexiglas needs to be just barely wide enough for an actor to fit into and walk back and forth in.  The actor needs to hunch over so that he is not seen as the patrons look at each other while walking.  Also, the slot for the hand holding needs to be below the Plexiglas, so as to not give away the secret.

Sketch:
Coming soon.

Practical considerations:
  • Since actors are deviating from the no-touch policy, advance notice for patrons should be considered.
  • Possible pacing problem as an actor must explain that pairs go through each side individually.
  • Possible pacing problem as a single actor may not suffice for a large group.

Bloody Mist

Experience:
A darkish room is entered with a spotlight pointed on an actor against the opposite side wall.  He is chained to a table and screams for help. Another actor enters behind the table with a chainsaw. As he cuts into the stomach of the man on the table, customers feel the spray of blood on their faces.

Blueprint:
Create a simple PVC tube mister attached to a garden hose, such as is setup at outdoor public events on hot summer days.  It just needs two vertical legs and one horizontal beam across the top with the spray nozzles pointed downward.  This will be setup above the patrons such that they must walk under it to exit the room. The idea is to spray a minimal amount of water to get the sensation of being splattered without making anyone wet for the duration of the haunt.

Sketch:
Coming soon.

Practical considerations:
  • Although only a fine mist, advance notice for patrons should be considered.
  • The floor under the mister should be non-slip and should drain or prevent the water from puddling.