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Flying Witches


Glenda and Flying witchesFlying WitchesThe flying witches
A pair of evil witches flying around "Glenda the good witch" tied to a stake - and on fire
This prop involved several related items. First was the pole on which Glenda was tied - and which the witches circled. Secondly, I needed a means of making Glenda look like she was "on fire". The "fire pots" I found commercially were too small; and anything I picked needed to stand up to rain and other inclement weather. What I decided on was a Chauvet flame projector (which is NOT weatherproof) - so I also ended up building a miniature "mausoleum" to house the projector, a fog machine, and some other effects.

Construction of this prop involved a 8' 4x4 post mounted upright (I used two 8' 2x4s mounted in a Tee to the bottom of the 4x4 to keep it upright) with a 4" pulley wheel mounted on top. Attached to the pulley was an 8' aluminum U-channel (from Home Depot - for showers). To attach the U-channel, I drilled two holes in the pulley wheel, with 2" machine bolts mounted from below (and locked in place with lock washers). I then placed about 1" high plastic spacers over the exposed bolt (to hold the U-channel high enough above the head of the lag screw that it didn't rub). The U-channel was then bolted onto the screws, giving me a 8' wide propeller-like assembly on top of the post.

I ran a 2 1/2" lag screw down through the pulley wheel into the 4x4 (you'll have to do this BEFORE you attach the U-channel on top). I then mounted two 4" angle irons to the top back side of the 4x4 - which I used to mount my electric motor.

I mounted a small pulley wheel mounted onto the motor shaft (size of the pulley wheel will depend on the speed of your motor, and how fast you want your witches to fly around). My motor is a 13 RPM high-torque motor. An automotive belt from the local hardware store links the two pulleys. Once you get the motor lined up, drill holes in the angle irons to attach the motor.

One extra step I took, I bought 2' long threaded rods from the hardware store and mounted one to each end of the U-channel, bolted with a lock washer and lock-nut so the rod is flush with one side of the U-channel, and the rod extends perpendicular to the U-channel and away from the direction of rotation of the assembly. These extensions served as guides; the witches "bodies" were hung directly from the ends of the U-channel. To keep them flying straight (and keep them from spinning in circles as they moved) the tail end of each witches' broom was wired to the extended end of the threaded rod. This kept them "flying straight" as they circled Glenda.

The mausoleum isn't much more than a 2'x3' box I built from scrap lumber. I mounted doors to the front with hinges (one screwed shut, the other openable). The back side was left open and placed so that it had a clear patch to project the "animated flames" on Glenda - the tied up witch.

 I attached sheets of Styrofoam to the top and front (above the door) to give it a more stone-like texture, then spray painted the assembly grey on the outside, and black inside. A small gargoyle and a raven (with blinking red eyes) on top and a foam chain across the front completed the effect. Placed inside on the ground is a fog machine on a timer - aimed out the open door. Also a red light on a ground stake sits inside providing some "eery" light from within.

The "Blaze" light projector I mounted to the roof of the mausoleum via a bolt screwed through the top (under the gargoyle) and through the mounting arm that comes with the Blaze unit. The effect was excellent, the animated flames lit up Glenda as the two evil witches circled her all night!

See the witches in motion!

Flying witches video #1

Flying witches video #2