Ghostshows inspired by the Phantasmagoria


Index postcard of Cabaret du Néant

In the history of the cabaret, probably the two most famous are the Folies Bergére and the Moulin Rouge, resp. founded in 1869 and 1889. See some of the women who performed there.

All cabarets were rather bizare places, although some are perhaps more peculiar than others? Three of these even more bizar places in Paris where the
Ghost Show Cabarets:
- Cabaret du Néant (Cabaret of Nothingness or Death)
- Cabaret de l' Enfer (Cabaret of Hell)
- Cabaret du Ciel (Cabaret of Heaven)

Among photo historians and collectors, the Cabaret du Néant is known from photographs made by Eugene Atget.
This cabaret,
located, 34 Boulevard de Clichy in Paris, was founded by Dorville in 1892.


Other interesting Cabaret's where La fin du Monde, Le voyage à Lilliput, Cabaret Bruyant, Le Rat Mort, Le loup blanc, L'Ane rouge, La vache enragée, Les rayons X..., etc.

Of course, the history of cabarets is interesting in his own rights. However, especially the Cabaret du Néant acquired an important place in the history of Visual Media and optical trikery. A variant of the optical stage technique "Pepper's Ghost" was performed there often.
In the latter we see a man or a women changing into a skeleton in front of our eyes, performed with the aid of, hidden, optical trickery.

Book reference: Phantasmagoria: The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern By Dr. Mervyn Heard
Includes a large amount of information on Pepper's Ghost technique

In the Café of the Cabaret du Néant, "Salle d' Intoxication", (room of Intoxication or Drinking) the tables were in the shape of coffins.

While entering the Cabaret du Néant, the following exclamation was heard by the visitors:

In the room of disintegration, see image below, the Pepper's Ghost shown is seen. A man is placing himself in a coffin and turning into a skeleton before disappearing in front of the public eyes.

Cabaret du Néant: Salle d' Intoxication

Cabaret du Néant: Optical arrangment

Here we see an optical arrangment on how the transformation of a person into a skeleton can be performed.

When the man in it's coffin is strongly illuminated, the spectators witness this scene simply by looking true the glassplate.

When this the light is diminished and instead the skeleton in his coffin becomes strongly illuminated, the spectators are witnessing a transformation of a person into a skeleton.

Due to the glasplate, the skeleton in his coffin is seen in exactly the same position of the man. In other words, a Pepper's Ghost effect

Cabaret du Néant: Caveau de Trépassés

Cabaret du Néant: Caveau, les Spectres gais

Cabaret du Néant: Caveau, Les Spectres tristes

Cabaret du Néant: Salle d' Intoxication

Cabaret du Néant: Lampadaire funéraire

Cabaret du Néant: moving shadow postcard

Cabaret de l' Enfer



Cabaret de l' Enfer

Cabaret de l' Enfer

Click here to see use of artificial ghost's at war scenes during the tumultuous days of the French Revolution

thomas wynants

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