Histrionics: the scientific study of history and its effects
In 1920, Thomas Edison, the famed inventor, created a machine referred to as “The Spirit Phone.” The invention, coming at the height of public debates about mediumship and mankind’s ability to speak to the dead, was a tongue-in-cheek answer to the age old problem of contacting the dearly departed.
in 1925, a test was arranged with the medium Mina Crandon, the witch of Lime Street.
The contest began on June 3, 1925 at 9:00 PM in Crandon’s Boston home and lasted until the following morning. A large crowd gathered and cheered the participants on. Mina at her table crying and rapping into the void. Edison at his spirit phone, cranking and shouting.
Finally, at 10:30 AM on June 4th, the spirit phone burst into flames. The blaze was quickly contained, but the machine was rendered damaged beyond repair.
Mina Crandon was declared the winner by a group of judges assembled by the Scientific American.
Crandon had contacted 15 spirits, and the spirit phone only reached 9. Lord, Lord.
Crandon was later revealed to be as fraudulent as Mr. Edison’s invention. After Edison death, it was determined that the lightbulb was also an act of trickery, though one that people still pretend is real.
Neither Mrs. Crandon or Mr. Edison could be reached by spirit phone for comment.