Edison vs. Tesla: The Spirit Phone

Edison-vs-Tesla-Spirit-Phone-main-2-postThomas Edison closely followed the alternative physics work of Albert Einstein and Max Planck, convincing him that there was an entire reality unseen by the human eye. This led to the last and least-known of all Edison’s inventions, the spirit phone. His former associate, now bitter rival, Nikola Tesla, was also developing at the same time a similar mysterious device.

Edison’s little-known near-death experience formed his theory that animate life forms don’t die, but rather change the nature of their composition. It is this foundational belief that drove him to proceed with the spirit phone.

Tesla monitored Edison’s paranormal work, with both men racing to create a device that picked up the frequencies of discarnate spirits, what today is called EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomenon).

Both men were way ahead of their time, delving into artificial intelligence and robotics.

tesla-edisonAlthough mystery and lore surround the details of the last decade of Edison’s life, many skeptics have denied the existence of the mysterious spirit phone. Bill Birnes, co-author with Joel Martin of Edison vs. Tesla: The Battle over Their Last Invention, researched both Edison’s and Tesla’s journals, as well as contemporary articles and interviews with the inventors to confirm that tests were actually done with this device. He also had the full cooperation of the Charles Edison fund affording him access to rare photos and graphics to support their text.

In the following, very compelling, two part radio interview, Bill Birnes discusses Edison and Tesla, their backgrounds, rivalry and their race against time and each other to produce a communication device with the dead.

In the first half, Birnes describes Edison as the “Bill Gates of his time” with wealth and influence to whatever he wanted. In 1930, he retired from inventing and concentrated on his other interests such as extraterrestrials and psychic phenomena, which was later edited out of his diaries by his family. He believed that the living could communicate with the dead by use of electrical patterns of the brain that Edison thought survived physical death, and which he called “life units.”

Nikola Tesla (who had proven Edison wrong about the usefulness of AC current) thought that the universe was composed of an infinite variety of sound and electromagnetic waves, and that if you could zero in on the right ones, you could hear the voices of the departed. His idea for a “spirit phone” would use this theory. Birnes also describes how Edison (who didn’t believe in psychics) actually used psychics to test his spirit device on a “dark and stormy night” in the fall of 1920. Unlike Edison, who went though countless sessions of trial and error, Birnes points out that Tesla’s ideas came to him fully formed. He adds that both men had ideas that were “a hundred years ahead of their time.”

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