Of Cabbageheads and Kings and Mice and Elfmen and...and...

"A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct." -- Frank Herbert, Dune

So, hello. I'm stepping into the blogosphere, one tiptoe at a time. For those of you who don't know me yet, I'm a fantasy writer (Singer of Norgondy), an editor at the online magazine, New Myths, and...(insert evil laugh) a puppetmaster. My characters often yell at me for leaving them dangling on a string, but they're so delusional; I only use hand puppets in real life. No strings attached. In addition to my fantasy novels (see http://www.holdenstone.com), I'm hoping to write and publish puppet plays of fairy tales and fables for kids, parents and teachers, and then later translate and adapt Medieval and Renaissance puppet plays and help bring that tradition back to life. So I may mention my stories or puppet plays here sometimes. But my intent for this blog is to mainly talk of odd tidbits from history that I've needed to research for my novels. And to start here's info on--

Magic lanterns

If you guessed a magic lantern is what Aladdin used, guess again!

--invented in the 16th century
--used to "raise dead spirits" and to summon ghosts by conjurers and magicians
--called the lantern of fear
--first ones used candles or oil lamps
(figured it out yet?)
--when mounted on a trolley, it could make the devil float around the room in mid-air -- to be more precise, make the image of the devil projected onto a gauze screen fly around the audience, often creating panic in the city and nightmares.
--by the 1800's the showmen used mechanical slides and several magic lanterns to make the images move throughout the audience in large darkened theaters
--the tinker Crel in Singer of Norgondy makes a magic lantern of tin cylinders with animal-shaped holes punctured into the outer cylinder that slid around glass slides on the inner cylinder as his masterpiece. ;) Knowing how to make one gives him an idea that he uses as his weapon in the final battle scene.

yep! you guessed it, a magic lantern used to project moving images of light onto walls during the Renaissance was the precursor to the movie projector. You can still see some early 20th century ones used to show (shh) risque striptease slides in some museums around the country. But oh! the use of magic lanterns during "phantasmagoria" shows in the Renaissance can bring such a goldmine of ideas to a fantasy writer!
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Published on May 22, 2014 11:54 Tags: i-b-conman-b-i, i-b-crel-b-i, i-b-magic-lantern-b-i
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