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1920 __ Spirit communication with the dead
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
Comment : In the 1920s, Thomas Alva Edison, inventor of the electric light, the motion picture camera, and phonograph, was busily at work in his laboratory building a machine to achieve spirit communication with the dead. His assistant, Dr Miller Hutchinson, wrote, “Edison and I are convinced that in the fields of psychic research will yet be discovered facts that will prove of greater significance to the thinking of the human race than all the inventions we have ever made in the field of electricity.” Unfortunately, Edison died before he could complete his invention. Yet, as he lay dying, he remarked to his physician, "It is very beautiful over there." Edison was a scientist, very factual, and as a scientist would never have reported "It is very beautiful over there," unless he believed it to be true. (Mark H. Macy, World ITC)One of the common urban legend that has become a "Fact" to most people in the world of paranormal research is that Thomas Edison was working on some type of device that would allow communication with the dead. This legend was started by an interview with Mr. Edison that appeared in the October 30, 1920 issue of Science magazine. This quote became the basis of the current claims of many different types of ways to have two way communication with the dead. However the most important fact behind this interview has been lost or ignored by those who are using it to add credibility to their otherwise nonsensical devices. In a later interview Mr. Edison made a statement as he was being interviewed by another publication that he could not believe that the story had been printed and that he was not describing anything that he was working on or ever would. He stated that it was more of a comical statement than a statement about his research. The curators of the Thomas Edison National Historic Site have stated: "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. " They have told us at Rocky Mountain Paranormal that this is the most requested document that they do not have and has never existed. (Rocky Mountain Paranormal Research Society)There has been much speculation and rumor that Edison did work on some sort of telephone that would reach the “dead”, but no plans of such a machine have ever been found. A blueprint of a purported Edison device did surface in New York in the early 1940s; however, the blueprint was not felt to be authentic. A machine was constructed from the blueprints, but it did not work. (Lisa F. Butler, “There Is No Death and There Are No Dead”, AA-EVP Publishing, 2003, p.6)Thomas Edison almost perfected a device to talk with dead people.Shortly before he died the great inventor Thomas Edison was perfecting a machine that would allow him to talk to the dead. Edison never lived to see his machine completed. But today scientists and researchers are digging through the great man’s musty files and diaries seeking his long lost diagrams. Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, the phonograph and mmore than 1,000 other devices, was 73 before he told the world of lifelong interet in spiritualism. He was obsessed with reaching the dead [...]. By 1920 Edison was busy at work on his spirit machine. He planned to contact the dead, but his clear, logical brain told him it had to be done scientifically. Edison had no time for mediums, table tipping and floating trumpets. « Certain methods now in use are so crude, so childish, so unscientific, it’s amazing how so many rational people can take any stock in them », he said. Edison thought ha was close to perfecting an efficient spirit machine when his death interrupted his work. But since then parapsychologists, using tape recorders, say they have picked up his voice from the other side, helping them prove the theory of spirit communication. In fact, until Edison’s diagrams are rediscovered, the tape recorder will remain the best way to capture spirit voices, says parapsychologists. The potential of the tape recorder was discovered in 1959, when Friedrich Juergenson, a Swede, accidentally captured what parapsychologists believe are spirit voices while he was trying to record bird songs. The most widely known scientist attracted to these experiments is Dr. Konstantin Raudive, a psychologist, who has documented taped messages from spirit voices. Using either Edison’s device or tape recorders, many scientists believe contacting the dead on regular basis will become a reality within the next few years. (Cliff Linedecker, “ Thomas Edison almost perfected a device to talk with dead people”, Weekly World News, June 9, 1981, Vol. 2, Vol. 35, p. 20)
Original excerpt : « If our personality survives, then it is strictly logical or scientific to assume that it retains memory, intellect, other faculties, and knowledge that we acquire on this Earth. Therefore, if personality exists after what we call death, it is reasonable to conclude that those who leave the Earth would like to communicate with those they have left here. I am inclined to believe that our personality hereafter will be able to affect matter. If this reasoning be correct, then, 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, Interview to the American magazine "Scientific American", October 30, 1920)
Source : Edison, Thomas Alva (1920), “The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison”, Edited by Dagobert David Runes, Philosophical Library, 1948, p. 234.
Source : Edison, Thomas Alva (1920), “Mémoires et Observations : The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison”, Translated by Max Roth, Flammarion, 1949.
Urls : http://www.worlditc.org/a_02_macy_itc_history.htm (last visited ) http://www.rockymountainparanormal.com/edison.html (last visited ) http://www.gaylegorman.com/TouchingEvilWeb/touchingEvil.html (last visited )

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