It's always interesting to find how things we've taken for granted were understood upon their inception. Over the course of this blog, I've included video of Truman Capote, Isaac Asimov, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Arthur Conan Doyle and others who were speaking from the other side. Today, this would seem rather commonplace, but how were the first cases of such a post-mortem lectures received? Well, the Paris Review is here to tell us.
It includes an unfortunately grainy recording of Robert Browning on an Edison Talking machine from less than a year before his death in 1889.
A year later, on the first anniversary of his death, the cylinder was played. According to the London Times report on the event:
"Today was the anniversary or Robert Browning's death...in singular commemoration of it, an event unique in the history of science and of strange sympathetic significance took place at the Edison house. The voice of the dead man was heard speaking. This is the first time that Robert Browning's or any other voice has been heard from beyond the grave."
The first, but far from the last. Of course voice recording soon picked up. Although, the Edison talking doll couldn't have helped matters much. What follows is the real recording of the Edison Talking Doll and holy shit is it horrifying.