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Thomas Edison's Spirit Communication Device


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#1 Jeff Belanger

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 09:46 AM

Dear Ghostvillagers,

Thomas Edison was a believer. There can be no doubt. In his speeches, journals, and writing he referenced on multiple occasions a machine he was building to try and communicate with the dead. In a 1920 essay, Edison wrote: "Now what I propose to do is furnish psychic investigators with an apparatus which will give a scientific aspect to their work. This apparatus, let me explain, is in the nature of a valve, so to speak. That is to say, the slightest conceivable effort is made to exert many times its initial power for indicative purposes. It is similar to a modern power house, where man, with his relatively puny one-eighth horse-power, turns a valve which starts a 50,000-horse-power steam turbine. My apparatus is along those lines, in that the slightest effort which it intercepts will be magnified many times so as to give us whatever form of record we desire for the purpose of investigation. Beyond that I don’t care to say anything further regarding its nature. I have been working out the details for some time; indeed, a collaborator in this work died only the other day. In that he knew exactly what I am after in this work, I believe he ought to be the first to use it if he is able to do so."

Some would say Edison was swindled by Spiritualists in the latter part of his life. Not so. Edison was a true scientist and ruled out no possibilities his entire career as an inventor. On November 29, 1875, when Edison was just 28 years old he called a press conference because he thought he discovered a "new force," described as an "etheric force" based on a mysterious force theorized by German chemist Baron Karl von Reichenbach (1788 – 1869). Reichenbach claimed he discovered a force that could explain supernatural phenomena – he named this force "Od," "Odyle," or "Odic" after the Norse God Odin. Edison read Reichenbach's work and was curious. He looked for it and even thought he discovered it in 1875, but later realized what he witnessed in an experiment was a natural arc of electricity. This month we're going to explore the supernatural side of Thomas Edison and look more closely at his notes on his spirit communication machine.

Our board of the month is sponsored by The Ghost World Conference. Don't miss the paranormal event of the year July 20-22, 2007 in Gettysburg!

Supernaturally yours,

-Jeff Belanger
Ghostvillage.com
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#2 BellaRose

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Posted 15 June 2007 - 03:19 PM

Greetings, :)
While doing some research recently,
I came across this quote and found it relevent to the monthly discussion... :whee:
BEST!
~BeeRose

"If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume it retains memory, intellect, other faculties and knowledge we acquire on Earth.
Therefore...if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something."

~Thomas Alva Edison :owl:

Edited by BellaRose, 15 June 2007 - 03:20 PM.


#3 Alleycat

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Posted 16 June 2007 - 09:29 AM

Greetings, :)
While doing some research recently,
I came across this quote and found it relevent to the monthly discussion... :clap:
BEST!
~BeeRose

"If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume it retains memory, intellect, other faculties and knowledge we acquire on Earth.
Therefore...if we can evolve an instrument so delicate as to be affected by our personality as it survives in the next life, such an instrument, when made available, ought to record something."

~Thomas Alva Edison :owl:



Does anyone know what happened to the device he was working on??

#4 Grim Undertakings

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Posted 18 June 2007 - 10:19 AM

I own it!.....MUWAHAAAAAAA (wrings hands together)....I'm just kidding, I have no idea what happened to it. :Spaz:

#5 Oniix

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 10:07 AM

He was going to create one, but did he actually make prototypes and experimental models?

#6 Ghost_hunter_1954

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 02:24 PM

Some entertaining info from SDParanormal at

http://www.sdparanor...page/265918.htm

The "Psycho-Phone depicted here is basically a modified inscription machine/phongraph.

The really interesting thing is how an urban legend can perpetuate across time. There is an urban legend that American inventor Thomas Edison was the first EVP researcher. In the 1920s, he told a reporter with Scientific American that he was working on a machine that could contact the dead, and the story was printed in many newspapers. A few years later, Edison announced that he had been making a joke at the reporter's expense, and that he had not been working on such a device. Though Edison did not attempt to create such a device, others have attempted to do so.

So let's chase this down exactly.

In a Scientific American interview, Thomas Edison was quizzed on his views regarding contacting the dead. Edison said that it might be "possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence or sphere who wish to get in touch with us in this existence or sphere, this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity to express themselves than the tilting tables and raps and Ouija boards and mediums and the other crude methods now purported to be the only means of communication." There is no indication that Edison designed or tried to construct such a device. From the National Park Service web site for the Edison National Historic Site:


Did Edison make a machine that could talk to the dead?

This seems to be another tall tale that Edison pulled on a reporter. In 1920 Edison told the reporter, B.F. Forbes, that he was working on a machine that could make contact with the spirits of the dead. Newspapers all over the world picked up this story. After a few years, Edison admitted that he had made the whole thing up. Today at Edison National Historic Site, we take care of over five million pages of documents. None of them mention such an experiment.

From Troy Taylor:
The Spiritualist faith had begun its revival shortly after World War I and in 1920, communication with the spirits became an obsession for one of the greatest scientists of all time, Thomas Alva Edison. Edison was a self-taught genius who believed that he could build anything if he had the right components to do it. Edison was an agnostic all of his life, never disputing the teachings of organized religion, but never embracing them either. He believed that somewhere in the universe was a great intelligence but he doubted that it had any interest in man. He claimed that when a person died, the body decayed, but the intelligence that it possessed lived on. He though the so-called "spirit world" was simply a limbo where disembodied intelligence waited to move on.

He took these beliefs one step further by announcing that he intended to device a means of communication with the spirit world. In October of 1920, an article appeared in American Magazine entitled "Edison Working to Communicate with the Next World". This was one of the many magazines who were trying to confirm that Edison was indeed attempting to communicate with the dead.

"I don't claim that our personalities pass onto another existence," Edison later told Scientific American. "I don't claim anything, because I don't know anything.... for that matter, no human being knows. But I do claim that it is possible to construct an apparatus which will be so delicate that if there are personalities in another existence who wish to get in touch with us... this apparatus will at least give them a better opportunity."

The news of Edison's coming invention made front page news around the world. The story was not treated skeptically either as some of the day's greatest scientists were then interested in piercing the mysteries of the unknown.

Edison began corresponding with the British scientist Sir William Crooke, who had developed the vacuum tube that Edison adapted into a light bulb. Crooke was deeply involved in paranormal research, especially in Spirit Photography. Crooke's collection of photographs that allegedly showed spirits of the dead prompted Edison to believe that if ghosts could be shown on film, then his device might actually work.

According to his journals and papers, Edison began working on the apparatus. The famous magician, Joseph Dunniger, claimed that he had been shown a prototype of the machine, but few others say they ever saw it. Edison reportedly continued working on the machine until his death in October 1931. At the precise moment of his death, clocks all over his house and workshop reportedly stopped working.

After his death, the plans for the apparatus could not be located. Many have searched extensively for the components, the prototype or even the plans to the machine but have never found them.

There is another story however.....
In 1941, ten years after Edison's death, the great inventor reportedly made contact at a seance that was held in New York. The spirit reportedly said that the plans for the machine were with three of his assistants. According to the story, the machine was finally built but it did not work.

Edison came through at another seance and suggested a few changes to the device. One of the members of the seance circle was J. Gilbert Wright, the inventor of putty. He claimed to have made the changes and then contacted the spirit of inventor Charles Steinmetz, who suggested further improvements. Wright reportedly continued to work on the machine until his death in 1959.... when the apparatus vanished.

Did Edison's machine actually exist or did the invention never go beyond the dreams of the great inventor? In the years that have followed Edison's death, neither the machine nor the plans to build it, have ever been found.... making his "Machine to Communicate with the Dead" one of the greatest mysteries of Edison's complex and interesting life.

The Edison Birthplace Museum is located in Milan, Ohio, which is southeast of Sandusky. It is located east of Milan on Highway 113 and is open to the public.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

It is rather odd how the information that is archived gets misconscrued into something somewhat different. The only evidence of it even exisitng is from a dubious eyewitness account from Joseph Dunninger, a magician, who made the claims after Edison's death, most likely so they comments could not be verified. Even the story of Dunninger's claims are questionable, as he spent his life debunking mediums as frauds, for example, in conjunction with Scientific American magazine and the Universal Council for Psychic Research, Dunninger offered $10,000 to any medium who could reproduce by psychic or supernatural means any physical phenomena that he could not reproduce by natural means or explain in materialistic terms. Dunninger also offered $10,000 to anyone who, with the aid of "the spirit world", could disclose the translation to secret coded messages entrusted to him by Harry Houdini and Thomas Edison. In addition, another $10,000 was offered to anyone who could introduce him to a real ghost. Dunninger learned from his association with Houdini, and, like Houdini, the stipulations to the challenge and the test conditions were agreed upon by Dunninger and the challengers before the event, which was touted in newspapers and marketing materials to a great extent and a wonderful effect. As to be expected, Dunninger kept his money.

The whole affair is a hoax, and anyone climing to have the plans for his device, a device that there is no evidence for having ever existed, is trying to sell you something. I have checked at his lab museum in Menlo Park, and there is no mention of any of this work in any of the documents stored there either. I suspect what may have occured is an anomaly in inscribing a cylinder, an early EVP if you will, that may have spiked the legend further. This is apparently the case since the psycho Phone reported in the above link, is a modified cylinder inscriber/player.

Edited by Ghost_hunter_1954, 22 June 2007 - 02:26 PM.

“It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.”Michio Kaku

#7 Oniix

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 02:56 PM

Thanks for the reply, I didn't think he actually worked on something. It seemed a bit of a tall tale, again thanks for the info.

#8 Ghost_hunter_1954

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Posted 22 June 2007 - 03:15 PM

Thanks for the reply, I didn't think he actually worked on something. It seemed a bit of a tall tale, again thanks for the info.


Well he may have, but he left no documentation. I always find it fascinating when people claim to have built a device from Edison's Drawings. In those days, there were no transistors or integrated circuits and vacuum tubes were still in their infancy. A device similar to the Spriricom for example, could not have been built. Broadcast radio was in it's infancy as well, and the device would be the size of a large semi truck if it were even possible to build it. We have tested a variety of devices and have found none of them to work as advertised. I have made a public statement to the fact that if the users are getting successful communications, it is due to their ability to manipulate the box, instead of coming from some power the box purportedly has. Most of them are basically Gaussian Noise generators.
“It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is quantum theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that quantum theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.”Michio Kaku

#9 Dynastgriff

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Posted 24 June 2007 - 04:48 PM

My view is that based purely on the evidence that this is indeed legend. However given the tremendous number of researchers and believers in the spiritualist movement in the early days of electricity and radio, it is possible that one or more tried something. Unfortunately the papers and experiments of many were not preserved. A far more likely candidate is Tesla. but we may never know unless one of them contacts us. Edison was a joker and was very intolerant of "lesser" intellects so his joke was probably at the reporters expense.

#10 divineheresy

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 11:21 PM

edison was a satanist as well
you are a god live as if

#11 Vampchick21

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 08:46 AM

edison was a satanist as well


And that has what to do with the actual discussion regarding Mr. Edison's experimental device for spirit communication?

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#12 divineheresy

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 05:57 PM

edison was a satanist as well


And that has what to do with the actual discussion regarding Mr. Edison's experimental device for spirit communication?



topics on edison and maybe it affirms his motives :whee:
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#13 Vampchick21

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 06:20 PM

The topic is on Thomas Edision's supposed experiments with EVP/ITC. And more people than Satanists are interested in communicating with the dead.

Try to keep it properly on topic. Not everything has to do with Satanism.

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#14 divineheresy

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 07:13 PM

thomas edison is the topic the invention came from his mind and yes other people are interested in contacting the dead as well


just as well as other people may find it interesting to know edison was a satanist even if you dont

but edison just so happaned to belong to same society of satanist that franklin and washington belonged too


so ON TOPIC would be the fact that the reason Edison may have wanted to invent such a thing and possibly did (cause we really don't know do we?) is because of his interest in the occult particularly with the darker side of such things



so as you can plainly see i am on topic by being a little off topic.

thank you

Edited by divineheresy, 02 July 2007 - 07:14 PM.

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#15 Mulletdeuce

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 11:14 PM

its a good thing they already have ways for the banned to communicate

since edisons dead and all




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