Did Thomas Edison invent a ghost machine? Thomas Edison is perhaps one of the most prolific inventors that have ever lived. Regardless of how you view the man, either for his countless contributions to science or as nothing more than a shrewd businessman who took others inventions for his own, he left a lasting mark on everyday living. One only needs to look at a simple light globe, even modern LED’s and compact fluorescent globes to see his legacy remains in how some of them are inserted into the socket with the Edison screw. But the light globe was just one of his many inventions. But there was one invention that he was working on that you may not have heard of. Thomas Edison was inventing a ghost machine.
Say what? Was this just a precursor to the Ghost Busters? I’m afraid not, and probably in part because this happened decades before one of the coolest movies of the 1980’s ever hit the screen. So would you like to know what Thomas Edison’s ghost machine was? Was it a device that created ghosts, or one that made them materialize? Or was it something that could catch the dead? Well, it was a weird device, and it was used for communication purposes.
Even though a lot of people seem to mistakenly think that Edison invented the phone, this little invention may have trumped the Scottish communication device for one simple reason. The Thomas Edison ghost machine would allow people to communicate with the spirits of loved ones. In reality it isn’t all that dreadful an idea, and there would be a lot of people that you could talk to, because there are lots of deceased people.
So this was Thomas Edison’s great new invention that you may never have heard of before. He revealed his plans for the device in October of 1920. The idea was to use his presumably phone styled device to make contact with the spirit world. Such an idea was incredibly popular at the time due to the massive loss of life during the First World War, and people were hopeful to make contact with the loved lost ones. Obviously, such an invention from such a prolific inventor garnered lots of attention. So what happened to it?
You’re probably wondering where this fabled device is? There doesn’t appear to e any sign of such a machine, and if there was one it would probably solve a lot of mysteries. Not only that, but why would anyone use Ouija boards, conduct seances or use spiritual mediums? Clearly something is amiss.
The answer is simple. He never made one. Although he proclaimed his intention to invent such a device, as far as anyone knows it never came to fruition. Some people even went to great lengths to see if the machine was ever built or could be built. It was claimed that at a 1941 séance, ten years after his death, Edison told them that his plans were with three of his assistants, and it was then built, but failed to work. According to legend, a second séance was held and Edison offered suggestions for it to be improved, but again the machine failed.
This has lead some people to suggest that Thomas Edison’s ghost machine was nothing more than a joke or publicity stunt. The is what the curators of the Thomas Edison National Historic Site believe to be true. However, the fact that the man himself never clarified the situation only adds to the speculation. But then again, perhaps he is still working on it in the afterlife in hope of contacting the living…