The Redacted Chapter From The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison
Many of the visitors to this site have read the article I wrote on Thomas Edison a few years ago. To this day, it remains the most popular article on this site.
In case you are not familiar, there was a book published posthumously by Dagobert D. Runes that combined various diary entries, interviews, and articles penned by, or written in concert with, Thomas Edison. The first, and original publication consisted of eight full chapters, with the last chapter named as VIII: The Realms Beyond. This chapter was strictly dedicated to Edison’s view of the soul and the afterlife. It is well documented that Edison was an active spiritualist until he met his last wife, Mina (her father was a Methodist Bishop), and was seeking to develop a device to communicate with the beyond. There are some who seek to discredit this by saying the interviews he gave regarding his spirituality were a grand joke, but that is circumspect at best since there is no evidence to back up that speculation.
There is, however, ample evidence given by Edison as to his spiritual inklings. He demonstrated a device to a room full of scientists in 1920 that he had built to contact the beyond – it was basically a motion sensor. This was also well documented in Modern Mechanix magazine, so for those who say that Edison was nor pursuing spiritual devices, the evidence is stacked against you. He also wrote on the subject frequently.
Regardless of what you believe about Edison and his spiritual studies, his surviving family was mortified when The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison was first published in 1948. They demanded that the unshipped copies be destroyed and that shipped books be recalled because of Chapter VIII. There was a subsequent version of the book published the same year with over 70 fewer pages that struck Chapters VII (entitled VII: For a Better World; it consisted of Edison’s views on the economy and the gold standard) and VIII entirely from the book.
I have both versions of the book in my possession. Now that Edison’s spiritual infatuation is seeing some new press due to a recent publication, I have scanned the lost chapter on spiritualism from the Edison book for you to read as it is not currently available anywhere on the internet.
If you can find the original, I recommend buying it. Make sure you buy the version with 247 pages – that is the only version that contains Chapter VIII.
Download the PDF of Chapter VIII: The Realms Beyond, originally published in:
The Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison
Editor: Dagobert D. Runes. Published by the Philosophical Library, NY, NY. 1948