Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wednesday Weird: Louis Le Prince Disappearance

I know I've done strange bodies discovered before, but I think this is the first time I've done a missing person.

Today I'm blogging about Louis Le Prince. Le Prince was a 19th century french inventor who specialized in cameras. In fact, he was so good at it, that he actually created the true first moving picture.

That's actually a huge deal, when you think about it. So why haven't you heard about him before?

Because he vanished. From a train.

In 1890, Le Prince was traveling to America for new patents and to show off his newest invention. In Dijon, France, he checked his baggage, boarded a train bound for Paris and retired to his cabin.

That was the last time anyone saw him.

No one saw anything suspicious. His cabin was quiet and the windows were closed. But when the train reached Paris, not only was Le Prince gone, but his baggage (stored in a different compartment) as well. Both the train and the railroad were searched but Le Prince (and his luggage) were never found.

There are a couple of theories. Some people think his disappearance was a complicated suicide. But he was in the middle of a trip to show off his newest work and was both excited and proud.

Some people think his family ordered him to vanish due to money troubles.

There's also a theory that Le Prince's brother murdered him since he was the last one to see him (before he boarded the train).

BUT. One of the most popular theories is related to who Le Prince was in competition with.

Some super asshole named Thomas Edison.

I'm one of history's biggest dicks

If you don't know much about Thomas Edison, I suggest you do some research. The man was a complete dick, who frequently stole patents from other inventors, terrorized Tesla and electrocuted an elephant to death (you can find video footage of that if you'd like.)

Le Prince was in heavy competition with Edison. Edison blocked Le Prince's patents. Le Prince retaliated by forcing American camera designs to leak before they could secure European patents for them.

Le Prince's disappearance paved the way for Edison, who wasted no time in claiming all the credit for discovering motion pictures.

Quite a few investigators actually noticed this lucky convenience for Edison, but there was no proof to connect Edison to Le Prince's disappearance. And even if Edison was responsible, that still doesn't answer the question of how does a man vanish from a train?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Maybe someone should've checked the larger pieces of luggage?
Odd his own bags would vanish, although if that last theory is true, that probably removed a lot of evidence of his camera design.

Maria Zannini said...

Given Edison's jealousy with rivals it wouldn't have surprised me, but to my knowledge he never attempted bodily harm.

In whatever case, Edison benefited again.

Matthew MacNish said...

I would NOT put it above Edison to murder, or even murder for hire.

Christine Danek said...

Ohh interesting. I love stuff like this. *brain starts turning and eyes glaze over*
I like Alex's idea of checking the larger baggage.

Anne Gallagher said...

Hmmmm...I'm stumped. But it would make a great story. Like how Elvis is still alive in Vegas as an impersonator. Maybe LePrince changed his name to Kodak.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Ooh, interesting!

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