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Across the curator's desk - Pepper's Ghost

Pepper's GhostWhat is this item? 

The True History of 'The Ghost' and all about metempsychosis by Professor Pepper, 1890 

Why is it important? 

Popularly known as 'Pepper's Ghost' this book outlines how to create an optical illusion which manifested a ghost on the theatre stage. First perfected by Dr Pepper and Mr Dircks in December 1862 the illusion took the world by storm in 1863 and played to packed houses in London and Australia. This booklet outlines how the trick was performed and also contains a history of its development.  

Why is it on your desk? 

As a part of my research on the influence of theatre and illusion on the practice of photography in Australia.  

How did it get here?

It is part of the magician Robert Robbins (1926-1964) working collection of reference books.  Robbins performed under the name of Robert Merlini and was the first hypnotist to perform ‘live’ on Australian television. The State Library of New South Wales purchased this collection in 1967. 

Geoff Barker,  Curator, Research and Discovery 

Visit the Library catalogue to view this collection item. State Library Catalogue Reference- RB Robbins 18

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