Pepper’s Ghost

Magic at the Museum

McCord Museum

Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 2017

The McCord Museum specializes in social history and houses Canada’s largest collection of posters and documents on the theme of magic. Illusions: The Art of Magic takes a look at the golden age of magic shows and their promotional and advertising mechanisms. In addition to presenting original posters, the exhibition reveals the secrets hidden within the decor of various magic tricks. The museum’s team called on XYZ’s experts to develop a holographic installation using the Pepper’s Ghost technique. This optical illusion, invented in the 19th century, is still used in theatre, at theme parks and on television. It gives the illusion that people or objects appear, disappear or become transparent.


The Pepper’s Ghost illusion was created by having archival images reflected on a plate of glass suspended at 45 degrees. When facing the installation, exhibition goers see magicians floating in mid-demonstration. The equipment is purposely visible so that spectators can understand the mechanism behind the illusion. XYZ supplied, installed and calibrated the equipment.

Photos: Illusions: The Art of Magic © McCord Museum, Montreal, 2017


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