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Mistress of Darkness
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! I've been away from the forum for a few years but still doing the home haunt thing.

Back in 2006 (2007?), I bought a first-generation Gemmy witch. The one that talks, stirs the misting cauldron and her hips sway. Of any prop I have ever owned (and the list is long), she's always been my favorite. Anyhow, about 3 years ago her head stopped moving and my dad (a master electrician), took apart her neck and "hacked" it and got it working just in time for the yard haunt. But by the end of the night she had stopped talking and her hips no longer swayed even though her mouth moved and her eyes lit up. We boxed her up, I kissed her on her little green cheek and we tucked her into the attic. Subsequent yard haunts were just never the same.

Fast forward to this year and as we were getting things ready, I just couldn't help but think of her. The more props, etc., we removed from the attic, the closer I could get to her box. I finally decided to open it and bring her down to the livingroom and see if the old girl had any life left in her. Plugged her in and the eyes lit up and the mouth moved but there was no sound and she wouldn't stir the cauldron. Even though I didn't expect that little Halloween fairies had snuck in one night and repaired her for me, it was still very disheartening. I finally told my husband, "I can't stand it, let's "gut" her". Worse case scenario, she becomes a static prop forever. In came the bag of tools and an hour later she was stripped naked and in several pieces on the floor.

For those of you with Gemmy props, you probably know they have a HORRIBLE reputation for being cheaply made, a short lifespan and absolutely no warranty/customer service from Gemmy. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with how things looked once we got her apart. Turns out, there are a bunch of colored wires inside the chest cavity that are soldered together and capped with a little rubber piece that sorta looks like tape. When we pulled the tape off of each wire, we could see that a couple of them were no longer soldered together. Just pinching the white and green one back together brought the the speaker back to life!!! I was sooooo excited. But then the audio would get stuck after just a few words and she'd start "clicking". In the upper chest area (almost right under the neck), more wiring. We popped the caps off of those and started pinching them and HOLY CRAP!!!! she jumped to life! She started talking and moving and doing her thing! (Albeit, lying down and without a head. lol) We gently pressed the wires together and covered them in electrical tape and very carefully put her back together, dressed her, hooked up the cauldron, filled it with water, and plugged her in once again. It was magical. She's behaving just as she did the first day I brought her home.

Maybe I'm nuts for seeming nostalgic about a single Halloween prop, I dunno. I just know that today was like Christmas for me. Hubby asked if I wanted to use her in the haunt and I have to admit, I'm apprehensive. But if I just box her back up to "preserve" her, no one will get to experience her creepy beauty. So in the spirit of resurrection ... she will be center stage this year. :)
 

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Funeral Crasher
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Great story! I guess you never know what you can fix until you try.

I'm glad your witch got her "second wind".
 

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I have that same feeling about my "broken" witch. I miss her. We still set her up, but she doesn't do anything. Somehow, somewhere we lost one of the ac adapters that makes her work. Someone here on this forum offered me a replacement, but after several reminders she never did follow through. Glad you got her going again! Congrats! Oh... do you think you could give me the output of the two adapters? That way I just may be able to jury rig something if I know what voltage I need and what voltage I already have. If she's packed away, I understand. Keep me in mind next Halloween!
 

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Oh jeez, I have one of these things too. Also broken. She'd spin part way, seem to get stuck, and that was that. Maybe we do need to look at the wiring, but if memory serves we started digging around in there to see what the problem was, and it was a real PITA that wasn't ever meant to be worked on. (I'll skip the long grumble about the days of yore when things were meant to last...)


The other haunters here got ahold of one, missing a few parts but she still swayed back and forth. They wrapped her up in a straight jacket and let her go - that was a pretty great use of a busted prop.
 

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I am very glad I came across this post. I have a Gemmy Cauldron Witch that I bought on CL for my nieces and it needed a little TLC. It would work fine the first five or six time I pressed the button after a long rest ,then after that would say a few words than chirp and flicker the eyes and stop then would repeat every time after that. I took the bottom off to inspect and nothing seemed out of sorts there. So now that I read this I plan to strip her down tonite and inspect all the connections inside the chest cavity. Fingers crossed.
 

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I am very glad I came across this post. I have a Gemmy Cauldron Witch that I bought on CL for my nieces and it needed a little TLC. It would work fine the first five or six time I pressed the button after a long rest ,then after that would say a few words than chirp and flicker the eyes and stop then would repeat every time after that. I took the bottom off to inspect and nothing seemed out of sorts there. So now that I read this I plan to strip her down tonite and inspect all the connections inside the chest cavity. Fingers crossed.
I have a similar problem, but it appears that she works well when "rested"...in other words, once she goes through her speech and motions, if she sits a while before being activated, she works fine. But if she is started too soon after going through a sequence, she only goes so far into it, then dies. Allow her sit a few minutes and she'll go through the entire speech and motion.
 

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I have a similar problem, but it appears that she works well when "rested"...in other words, once she goes through her speech and motions, if she sits a while before being activated, she works fine. But if she is started too soon after going through a sequence, she only goes so far into it, then dies. Allow her sit a few minutes and she'll go through the entire speech and motion.
Yes that is the same exact problem I am facing. I guess I tried to describe it in a round about way. Going to try a brand new power transformer pack first to see if the problem lies there and then go from there.
 

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Update: Problem seems to be solved. I swapped out the old power adapter with a brand new one of the same exact specs and it worked flawlessly through about 25 consecutive cycles. The adapter that it came with was old and worn . Glad I checked that first before ripping her apart. I am very pleased as this was bought to give to my nieces and nephew for their house.
 
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I have fixed a lot of cheap electronics, and most of the time, if the mechanical part is OK, then it's just like you guys described - it's not getting power. Here's a quick list of trouble-shooting suggestions.

Does not turn on? May need power:
- Make sure batteries didn't leak. If they did, use an emery board to scrape off the white powder and corrosion. Get the battery connections shiny again where they touch the batteries.
- Adapter may be going bad (remember, they ship the cheapest stuff possible!) Look at adapter to see if you have another one with the same specs, and swap it out. Make sure to match the output exactly! (9V, 500ma, etc.) If you don't have one, it's easy to order new adapters from either Amazon or an electronics supply company like Jameco. Also, a new one will likely be better quality than what originally came with the prop.
- Sometimes wires pull loose in something that moves a lot. Take off outside decorations, look at all connections (like you guys did above). Ideally solder them back together, or at least twist several times and cover with black electrical tape.

Doesn't move, but lights up/makes noise?
- Try powering it up and giving the moving section a nudge. Does it move now? Try WD-40 on the sections that move. There could be dust in there that gummed it up. I just did this to a prop I thought had died - now it's fine.

There was one decoration we ordered (a body wrapped in spiderwebs, hanging upside down, that shook) that was D.O.A. I took it apart and realized that it was so cheaply made that one of the wires from the battery compartment had broken during shipping. I soldered in a new wire and it fixed it. However, the prop was disappointing because it didn't move very well...but at least it worked.
 

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It's amazing how much the power transformer had to do w continued operation of the animatronic. I would have never thought to check that and would have wasted hours tearing her down unnecessarily thumbing through connections if not for this thread. I also broke down the cauldron and cleaned any grit and cobwebs inside since the previous owner had her store outdoors in a shed and then gave her dress a once over with a lint roller and she looks pretty damn good for when I hand her over to the kids to enjoy at her new home.
 

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Update: Problem seems to be solved. I swapped out the old power adapter with a brand new one of the same exact specs and it worked flawlessly through about 25 consecutive cycles. The adapter that it came with was old and worn . Glad I checked that first before ripping her apart. I am very pleased as this was bought to give to my nieces and nephew for their house.
JD - Great! t I was thinking - or hoping - it might be the transformer but never got so far as to replace it. Where did you get the transformer? I looked online but didn't find the correct specs.
Glad to hear she's her old witchy self again.
 

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Update: Problem seems to be solved. I swapped out the old power adapter with a brand new one of the same exact specs and it worked flawlessly through about 25 consecutive cycles. The adapter that it came with was old and worn . Glad I checked that first before ripping her apart. I am very pleased as this was bought to give to my nieces and nephew for their house.
JD - Great! t I was thinking - or hoping - it might be the transformer but never got so far as to replace it. Where did you get the transformer? I looked online but didn't find the correct specs.
Glad to hear she's her old witchy self again.
I by them from Amazon. The adapters from eBay are mostly really cheap Chinese junk. Amazon ones give you a better selection of at least a little bit better quality ones.
 

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Mistress of Darkness
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I started this thread years ago and I'm back to say that my witch is DOA again. She powers up but just clicks instead of talks and her hips no longer sway. I'm so sad.

Does ANYONE still have their instruction sheet for her????
 

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Hi guys! I've been away from the forum for a few years but still doing the home haunt thing.

Back in 2006 (2007?), I bought a first-generation Gemmy witch. The one that talks, stirs the misting cauldron and her hips sway. Of any prop I have ever owned (and the list is long), she's always been my favorite. Anyhow, about 3 years ago her head stopped moving and my dad (a master electrician), took apart her neck and "hacked" it and got it working just in time for the yard haunt. But by the end of the night she had stopped talking and her hips no longer swayed even though her mouth moved and her eyes lit up. We boxed her up, I kissed her on her little green cheek and we tucked her into the attic. Subsequent yard haunts were just never the same.

Fast forward to this year and as we were getting things ready, I just couldn't help but think of her. The more props, etc., we removed from the attic, the closer I could get to her box. I finally decided to open it and bring her down to the livingroom and see if the old girl had any life left in her. Plugged her in and the eyes lit up and the mouth moved but there was no sound and she wouldn't stir the cauldron. Even though I didn't expect that little Halloween fairies had snuck in one night and repaired her for me, it was still very disheartening. I finally told my husband, "I can't stand it, let's "gut" her". Worse case scenario, she becomes a static prop forever. In came the bag of tools and an hour later she was stripped naked and in several pieces on the floor.

For those of you with Gemmy props, you probably know they have a HORRIBLE reputation for being cheaply made, a short lifespan and absolutely no warranty/customer service from Gemmy. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised with how things looked once we got her apart. Turns out, there are a bunch of colored wires inside the chest cavity that are soldered together and capped with a little rubber piece that sorta looks like tape. When we pulled the tape off of each wire, we could see that a couple of them were no longer soldered together. Just pinching the white and green one back together brought the the speaker back to life!!! I was sooooo excited. But then the audio would get stuck after just a few words and she'd start "clicking". In the upper chest area (almost right under the neck), more wiring. We popped the caps off of those and started pinching them and HOLY CRAP!!!! she jumped to life! She started talking and moving and doing her thing! (Albeit, lying down and without a head. lol) We gently pressed the wires together and covered them in electrical tape and very carefully put her back together, dressed her, hooked up the cauldron, filled it with water, and plugged her in once again. It was magical. She's behaving just as she did the first day I brought her home.

Maybe I'm nuts for seeming nostalgic about a single Halloween prop, I dunno. I just know that today was like Christmas for me. Hubby asked if I wanted to use her in the haunt and I have to admit, I'm apprehensive. But if I just box her back up to "preserve" her, no one will get to experience her creepy beauty. So in the spirit of resurrection ... she will be center stage this year. :)
I think you made the right choice, by displaying your favorite decoration.
You never know when something will happen, so this way you have many happy memories.
My heart has been broken by a thief who got in my home and took a box of Halloween decorations, most cheap and worth much. Unfortunately, they also got my collection of 3 Todd masters foam Pumpkin's, that I bought when I was pregnant with my son, so my 1st very import Halloween decoration, I had them roughly 25 years before they were stollen. My guess is by a jobless drunk in town, who pawned them for booze money, but I can't prove it.
Point is, I have been so mad at Halloween every year since, I haven't put out a display and rarely give out candy. That's super mad for me, as I love Halloween.
The drunk has been forced into a home by the state & his family, so he's gone.
The kids need a normal holiday, so I'm doing it big this year in my yard.
The house and fence gate will be locked to protect my stuff & I'll pass out candy over the fence ( covid safety compliant).
Once again creating good Halloween memories for me and hopefully some kids.
Build more & new good memories instead of holding on to the old ones, put your favorite decoration on display but protect the snot out of it!!!
 
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