Ski-Lift Ghost

This was our first prop. We built him in 1994, the second Halloween in our first house.

There are no pictures of the build, but the ghost can be seen in a number of layouts in the yard of all three of our houses.

In effect, it’s just a ghost riding a steel cable between two bicycle rims. The real trick to this was the stepped pulleys that hold the weight of the cable and hopefully prevent the cable from slipping off the rim.

It’s a logistical nightmare to put it up, requiring staked wires to hold the posts upright (which become a tripping hazard. You need a ladder to put the cable back on if it every comes off. It’s also extremely susceptible to wind, with strong gusts causing the mount to rotate, and the cable to drop off when they come off the pulley.

But for years, this was the headlining item in our display.

This prop is really what got me interested in building my own mechanical display pieces. He was really the inspiration for putting up the fence in the first place. I didn’t want anyone getting hurt tripping over the cables in the dark. Lord knows I tripped over it many times. I would spend hours trying to tweak the angle of attack on the cable to give it longevity of run-time. But inevitably, I’d look out the window and he’d be nowhere in sight, either wrapped around one of the drive wheels, or laying on the ground in a tangle of steel cable.

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