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A History of Ghosts on Film

Oh yeah, there have been plenty of ghosts on film, but the ones you know are special effects that tell a story about ghosts. Then there are the many people over the past 100+ years who have attempted to capture moving pictures of real ghosts. It started with the man who gets the most credit for developing motion pictures, Thomas Edison himself.

Edison invented the electric light bulb, the alkaline battery, and the phonograph. He was also one of the first filmmakers, and his Black Mariah camera transformed motion pictures. According to Edison family friend John Eggleston, the inventor’s parents were Spiritualists. Edison believed in telepathy. He tested the famous clairvoyant Bert Reese, who reportedly finished sentences Edison began in a building next door.

When he was 73, Edison told B.C. Forbes, who would create Forbes Magazine, his patents were entering a new dimension. In American Magazine’s October 1920 story, “Edison Working to Communicate with the Next World,” Edison said he believed energy is indestructible, like matter. He said he developed the cylinder recorder, a radio he claimed was sensitive enough to communicate with the past. He reiterated this claim in an Oct. 30, 1920 interview with The Scientific American. The legendary machine is now found at the Edison National Historic Site.

Read about Edison and those who followed him in their attempts to record evidence of  ghosts, and the gadgets they used, at Den of Geek.


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