Short article for Dirty Furniture magazine on the connections between necromancy and telephones, including the deep spiritual investment put by early inventors into their devices.
Early 19th century experimenters in electricity like Andrew Ure and Luigi Galvini had already ‘proven’ the connection between life-force and electricity by crudely animating corpses using current while telegraphy had shown electricity’s imperviousness to physical obstacles by the velocity at which messages were transmitted and so it was naturally assumed that electricity was a vital component of the ethereal milieu through which the afterlife might be contacted.
However, misogyny knows no bounds and quickly women were deemed too feeble and unreliable as clear channels to the afterlife. (This might also have something to do with the large-scale exposure of fraud and the discomfort men had with being spoken to with authority by a woman.) In the early 20th century, psychic researchers wanted to remove the medium from the equation and the coincidental invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell and Guglielmo Marconi’s wireless radio provided the perfect opportunity. Here suddenly were devices that could reach across space and time to connect the world in greater fidelity than the telegraph, and shortly, surely, the spirit world.