Flying Books PDF Print E-mail
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  • (2) books
  • (2) book shelves
  • (1) ceiling fan
  • (1) extension cord
  • (1) plug assembly
  • (1) spool of heavy fishing line or thread
  • (1) can of spray paint
  • (1) switch

Before assembling the ceiling fan, drill a small hole about an inch from the outer most end of each fan blade. This will be used for threading the line the books will be hanging from. After all the holes are drilled, assemble the fan per the instructions in the box, and then attach the AC plug assembly. This is done by taking the white and black leads from the fan motor, and attaching them to the prong connections inside the plug housing. If the plug you bought has a ground prong, attach the green wire from the ceiling fan to it, otherwise skip this step. There may be a separate wire coming out of the fan to control the light or to have an on/off switch controlled motor. If one of these wires is present, ignore it, and tuck it up inside out of the way of any moving parts. Now you are ready for painting. Paint the fan black or a color to closely match the color of the ceiling it will be attached to. It is best if the fan is in a dark place with a dark background do as not to let the outline or motion of the fan be seen. Now either attach the fan to the ceiling with the mounting brackets provided, or attach it to a temporary mounting device such as the wood beam shown here which was later added between some of the roof members. It is important that the fan be level to the ground, otherwise the weight of the books may be too much to turn the fan. Most fans have a shield that goes around the mounting bracket to give it a finished look, this portion is not necessary, and may actually hinder then performance if used on an unlevel surface.

Now that the fan is in place, attach the books to the fan blades using fishing line or some strong black thread. There can be two or four books in your arrangement, but it must be balanced or the fan may not be strong enough to turn the fan if it is not exactly level. Loop the fishing line through the hole in the end of the fan blade, and then tie it to itself. Then wrap the other end through the spine of the book, and in between the center pages. Then pull the line up or down to adjust the height of the book. It needs to be low enough that people can see it, and won't look up at the ceiling fan when trying to view them. But also high enough that when the fan reaches full speed won't hit a wall or a person when centrifugal force kicks in. Once the desired height has been found, tie off the line to the opposite side off where it comes out of the book. (Note: it is a good idea to use brightly colored books so they will show up in the dark environment of your haunt.) Then repeat this step for the other book(s) until you have an even number of books one across from the other.

If the books look to be weighing down the fan blades too much, remove some of the pages in the book to lighten it up. Hopefully you are using some books that will not matter if they are destroyed, since removing pages tends to do that to a book. Once they appear to be light enough, attach a power cord to the fan plug that you installed, and plug the other end of the cord into a switch, either an in-line switch or power strip. Now turn on the fan and watch it spin the books around. If they seem to lag and the fan turns but then hangs up waiting for the books to catch up with the motion, the books are too heavy. If the fan runs fine, and the books move towards the center and the line winds around itself, the books are too light. It should look about like the picture above, and fly out at about a 15 degree angle or so from the vertical.

Now for the setup. There must be a table or bookshelf nearby for the books to rest on while in the off position. Also, there should be enough slack that the fan can gain a little speed before the line is pulled tight, and the books fly from their resting places. Once all these location are established, turn on the fan and see if it can pull them off of the shelves/desks. If so, congratulations you have flying books. If not, you will have to play with either making the books lighter, placing them closer to the edge so they are ready to fall off, or propping them up on one side so they are at a better angle for the fan motor to pull them off. Once this is achieved, you are done, and you have the perfect poltergeist play toy.

Options for this effect include: a black light for an eerie glow (make sure the lines don't glow too) or another fan for a wind effect.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 13:46