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Charon was the mythological boatman who ferried the souls of the recently departed across the river Styx to the afterlife. Artist Peter Hudson and a huge team of volunteers worked for six months to create an interactive version of Charon for Burning Man last year. The project took over 5,000 hours and 100 people to complete, including project management, documentation, fundraising, social media,  and administration.  Funding came from more than 350 Kickstarter donations and a grant from Burning Man.

The “stroboscopic zoetrope” sculpture featured 20 individually cast skeletons that appear to row toward the underworld.

Charon will be brought to life again for Escape From Wonderland in San Bernadino, Oct. 27. Check it out if you dare.

Stett Holbrook

Stett is a senior editor at MAKE with abiding interest in food and drink, bicycles, woodworking, and environmentally sound human enterprises. He is the father of two young makers.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

Contact Stett with tips and story ideas on:

*Sustainable/green design
*Young Makers
*Action sports



  1. David Rysdam says:

    I’d like to know more about that human-powered power train. Looked like some kind of reciprocating rope thing. Even after fixing the link html the site still doesn’t work (blocked by my firewall, which says it detected a virus.)

    1. peter hudson says:

      hi David. the drive has six sets of two drums (12 total) that each have a custom 800 ft/lb one way starter bearing inside them. there are four axles with three drums each that are connected to the main wheel hub via sprockets and chain. six ropes are wound over the first side and under the second side, when not driving the drum, the opposite puller must keep the rope under tension,so the other puller gets enough grip on the drum, or the rope will slip around the drum. only one six people are actually driving the wheel at any one time.
      here’s a picture of the drive:

  2. Old ai this is really crazy … kkkkk I traveled a lot more!
    Very Good!

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