What If It Was Possible To Hear The Voices Of The Dead?Note that hearing the voices of the deceased seems to be simply ridiculous yet in 1870, the famous American inventor, Thomas Edison, started work on a machine that would allow the dead to communicate with the living. Edison called this the necrophone, an adaptation of the phonograph that would allow the voices of the dead to be heard. A little disturbing, isn’t it?
You've read that Thomas Edison (1847-1931), the Man of 1,000 Inventions, the inventor of the phonograph, the electric chair, the incandescent lamp, and the alkaline battery also created a machine that would permit communication with the dead: the necrophone.
The necrophone, a fascinating invention
Thomas Edison never finished this project and we have almost ignored this period of his life until Philippe Baudouin, a historian for France Inter, unearthed an unbelievable text from Edison’s memoires.
Edison’s memoires weren’t revealed until 1948, 17 years after his death, in a last chapter named The Kingdom of the After Life, in a book of autobiographical texts and ensembles of notes. In order to protect his reputation, Edison’s loved ones kept this aspect of his life a secret…
At the end of his life, Edison was fascinated by death and the survival of the soul. It was at this time that the idea of the necrophone came to him.
The soul’s survival: Edison’s theory
Edison thinks that every living being is composed of “units of life” and that these units escape after the person has passed away. For Edison, these little entities are dispersed in the earth, conserving the memories of the deceased person. He was convinced that his machine would be capable of making these entities audible.
As Philippe Baudouin says:
“For him, the soul is an invisible body that has a materiality through very small substances. He calls them the unit of life, and they gather in a swarm. So, he was persuaded that, once death had done its job, the memory would disperse during a short lapse of time into little metaphysical units that a machine could receive, amplify, and carry sound.”
Science and spiritualism at the height of the 19th century
Definition of Spiritualism: A doctorate founded on existence, manifestations, and lessons from spirits, most often spirits of those who have passed. (An incarnate human is employed as a medium between the human world and the spiritual world in meetings called spiritual séances.)
The spiritual doctrine experienced a large growth of followers and an important popularity in the second half of the 19th century. It was notably popular among the intellects or scholars.
Like a lot of people of his time, Edison has grown up in a family circle disposed to spiritualism, it was nothing but normal. By the end of the 19th century, a lot of scientists saw psychic research and science as a perfect match!
As another example, Victor Hugo confessed to communicating with his deceased daughter, Léopoldine, declaring “those who mourn us aren’t absent, they are invisible.”
The photographer, Édouard Buguet, even offered his clients a picture with the spirit of a loved one.
Edison would even go so far as affirming that science should explore the question of life after death…
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Where are the researchers now?
The researchers that one could call “instrumental trans-communication” (that means the technique that allows voices on the other side to be heard through a tape recorder or an outside microphone hasn’t stopped with Edison!)
- 1959: Friedrich Jürgenson, a painter and opera singer, likes listening to the birds in the Swedish countryside. One day when he was ironing, he heard “a noise as vibrant as a storm” and perceived a “trumpet solo,” a man’s voice spoke to him of the nigh birds. He threw himself into a study of electronic voices. If they were neither radio interferences nor extra-terrestrial messages, they could be those of the dead… Intrigued, he reproduced the sounds and captured other voices, even that of his mother’s!
- 1960s: Konstantïns Raudive, a Latvian author and psychologist, decided to conduct his own experiments on the subject using many techniques like tape recorders like to open or closed microphones, recording radio signals set between two stations or stray sounds captured on a telephone wire. In 1968, Raudive published a book “The Inaudible Becomes Audible” after having analyzing 72,000 recordings, convinced that the voices were those of the dead. He declared “there’s no doubt that we have established communication with the other world.”
- 2003: Alexander MacRae, a Scottish parapsychologist, proceeded with recordings in a Californian laboratory. The laboratory was acoustically isolated and protected by electromagnetic radiations, and he declared that he had recorded numerous paranormal voices. His conclusions have been published in the Journal of the Society for Psychical Research (2005).
Today, researchers continue to shed light on this strange phenomenon… If you are fascinated and want to know more, read about dreaming of dead people.