The modern world as we know it was shaped by the minds of geniuses. But the same "outside the box" thinking that gave us our great innovations also gave them some truly ridiculous ideas.
Does that give us the right to mock some of history's greatest minds? Ah, who knows?
6Thomas Edison's Ghost Busting Machine
Thomas Edison is America's most beloved asshole inventor, famous for stealing other people's inventions, hiring thugs to physically intimidate his competition and heroically electrocuting an elephant to discredit the use of alternating current. Also, he invented the light bulb (which he stole) and the motion picture camera, which he only invented so he could film himself having sex with other men's wives .
"...and you'll just be in the closet the whole time we're boning, filming the shit out of it."
Naturally, the next step for Edison was paranormal extermination. During the early days of the 20th century, contacting the spirit world was all the rage and any jackass with a gypsy wig and/or monocle could make bundles of cash holding seances to bilk grieving families hoping to talk to a deceased loved one. And if there was one thing Edison loved, it was money.
After intentionally burning his finger to the point his fingerprint was erased, Edison noted the fingerprint grew back and triumphantly concluded that all human beings must be made of "immortal units" which cannot be destroyed, thus explaining the existence of ghosts. He set about creating a device that would trap these immortal units and allow them to be studied by the living.
"GET THE MICROSCOPE!"
Edison was incredibly secretive about the nature of his ghost hunting mechanism--not even a prototype was ever seen. Just about the only real detail anyone knows is that one of his assistants died while working on it, presumably because Edison wanted to test and see if it worked.
You'll have to watch Casper: Origins to learn more.