Thomas Edison’s Memoir Involving “Spirit Phone” Republished

Electronic voice phenomena and instrumental transcommunication are hot topics in the paranormal sphere, and for good reason. It’s one of those profound questions: Is there another side and, if so, can we communicate with it? It makes sense, then, that one of the world’s most famous inventors would give it a shot.

According to, a “nearly lost chapter” of Thomas Edison’s memoirs was republished in France last week in a book titled Le Royaume de l’Au-dela, or The Kingdom of the Afterlife. It focused on his attempts to create a “spirit phone,” a device that could be used to record communications with the deceased.

“Edison (1847-1931) detailed his efforts and they were published posthumously in 1948 as the final chapter of his ‘Diary and Sundry Observations.’ Strangely, though, his account of dabbling in what would today be considered the occult was expunged in subsequent English-language editions of the book.”

No one knows if the device was ever created, much less whether or not it worked. There were no schematics or anything tangible. Some even believe the whole idea was a joke on Edison’s part.

However, at the time, spiritualism was in full swing. These were the days of spirit photography and psychic mediums. Here’s an interesting quote from How Stuff Works:

“The inventor…spoke of his quest in several magazines and explained to The New York Times that his machine would measure what he described as the life units that scatter through the universe after death.”

It’s a compelling idea, talking to spirits. No doubt about that.


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.