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The Disappearance of Louis Le Prince

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#16    Paracelse

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 03:44 PM

The note might be a hoax and knowing Edison's background I do think he ordered the kill.  The author of the note may not had any other means to let the world know

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#17    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 11:31 PM

View PostParacelse, on 09 June 2012 - 03:44 PM, said:

The note might be a hoax and knowing Edison's background I do think he ordered the kill.  The author of the note may not had any other means to let the world know

Well the entire story seems to be hoax, not only the note found in the notebook.

But you believe Edison was involved in Le Prince's death ?? Interesting. :yes:


#18    Paracelse

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 05:46 PM

Edison mistreated all those who presented better patents than his, the way he destroyed Tesla's work tends to prove he wasn't the hero good boy attaboy presented in history books.  OK so maybe I tend to be a conspiracy theorist on occasion but I've noticed that when enough circumstantial evidences are presnted there should be a case.   Didn't Edison attempted to still Marconi's recording ideas?

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#19    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 06:22 PM

You are right, it's very well documented that most of the inventions attributed to Edison were nothing more than improvements of other people's ideas, basically that he stole people's ideas. The timing of Le Prince's death is intriguing, and it's logical to think that he might have been killed for his creation.

To me the key is still Le Prince's brother and his claim that Louis boarded the train. Was he telling the truth ?


#20    regi

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:08 PM

Edison wasn't the only competition. I think there were others who could have shared the same motive, including Edison's assistant.

Re: the brother, if he was lying, there could be only one logical reason for that, and it wasn't to cover a suicide.
I simply wouldn't believe that. I think that someone might cover a suicide to save a person's reputation, or to spare feelings within the family but that's after the fact, not before.
I think it's a ridiculous notion to consider, and that's while setting aside the fact that the explanation for suicide was bogus, so it's very bothersome that the brother's grandson would allegedly tell the film maker such a story.


#21    Memphisbelle

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 12:05 AM

As the great, great granddaughter of Leprince (through his son Joseph), here are my two cents worth:
Louis and Albert (his brother) were very close. The suggestion of fratricide is ludicrous.

Louis was very excited about showing his new invention off at the Jumel Mansion in New York (this is supported by his letters to Lizzie in our family archives). He was also promised his share of a sizable inheritance by Albert (his purpose for going to Dijon). He was also a devoted family man. Suicide? Not likely.

His wife and family adored him. They never would have ordered his disappearance.

The Wizard of Menlo Park had better things to do than to order an assassination.

My theory: The photograph of the drowned man does indeed look VERY much like Leprince. His luggage was never found. I think he missed his friends at the station and in traveling to his residence, was intercepted by thieves, robbed and thrown into the Seine. I would be interested in the location of the Seine in relation to the train station.

The other mystery, of course is Adolph's death. This is where there may be an interesting twist.

Adolph left one morning to go pheasant hunting at Point O'Woods. He was found later with a gunshot to his head. Adolph had two brothers, Joseph (my great grandfather) and Fernand. About a year after Adolph died, Fernand chased the night watchmen from the beach at Point O'Woods ranting about "spirits being abroad". One of our family mysteries was "What ever happened to Fernand?" Last year, I found out that Fernand was committed to Middleton Homeopathic Hospital for the Insane and spent the rest of his days there.

My theory: Fernand accompanied Aldoph on the hunting expedition and accidently shot him. The family may have tried to cover this up due to the possible insuing scandal and to prevent Fernand from being put on trial for murder, but Fernand's guilt may have caused him to go insane. Again, pure conjecture and the stuff novels are made of.

In any case; fratricide-NO, murder for hire-NO, suicide-NO, disapperance ordered by the family-NO.


#22    regi

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 03:29 PM

Hi, Memphisbelle.
I think your suggestion that LePrince was a victim of thieves is certainly plausible, but the information is that LePrince failed to arrive at the station, not the friends, and surely, it was determined whether the train arrived early or the friends arrived late, which are the only two circumstances that I can think of in which LePrince might have decided to continue on alone.
I doubt that the drowned man was LePrince, primarily because it appears that positive identification was possible, yet wasn't.

Since so little is known about the circumstances of Adolph's death, I'd say it appears that it was either accidental or suicide.


#23    Memphisbelle

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:53 PM

Hello Regi,

Thank you for your observations. The reason I am still pursuing the drowned man theory is that the body was pulled from the Seine the day LePrince went missing. His family was not in France, nor in Europe for that matter, to identify the corpse. It wasn't apparent that he was missing for several weeks as Mr. Mason assumed that Leprince had gone ahead to America and the family assumed that he was delayed in returning to New York. The fact is, no one was looking at the possibility of suicide or even foul play at this point. Did Lizzie ever see the photograph? It's not mentioned in her memoirs although several other details of the investigation, which was done through correspondence for several weeks were. One of the horrific things that she had to contend with was that neither Scotland Yard nor the New York police would investigate the disapperance initially unless she accused him of a crime (desertion, for example).  I believe that Leprince DID arrive at the station. It's what happened after that that is the mystery.

Yes, the issue with Adolph is pure conjecture. I know that Fernand had been lucid enough to graduate from Columbia University shortly before Adolph's death. A letter he wrote to his fraternity in 1900 shows that his thought patterns were linear and direct.  His madness seems to have come on quite suddenly. The family was very close knit and although it is possible that his brother's death on top of the disappearance of his father, (and his mother's insistance that this was murder) would be enough to set off a psychotic episode, one wonders if there was something more. Again, dime store novel fodder. What I would love to get my hands on is Adolph's autopsy report.

I'll dig through Lizzie's memoirs and his letters to see if there is anything that I may have overlooked that might give further clues about the disappearance.

Again, I think that patent wars and sibling rivalry are a little too off base, and in reading his letters to his family, he appears to be too involved with his plans to show his invention and too concerned with the well being of his family to be suicidal.


#24    regi

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 02:16 PM

Well, at some point, identification was possible because they had the photo and if the drowned man was clothed, then they had that to offer towards identification, also.
It would add to my skepticism if the drowned man had no injuries associated with assault.

From where I sit, since the brother was the last known person to see or speak with LePrince, he must be considered until ruled out.


#25    Memphisbelle

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 02:43 AM

Hello Regi,

This is part of what I gleaned from Lizzie's memoirs and what was stated in a letter from Albert's daughter Marie to Leprince's daughter Marielle (Marie).

According to Marie's letter, "He spent with us three days. He looked quite well, and was so kind as to give us some lessons of English." She goes on to say, "Unfortunately, Papa was very busy these days and could not speak to him as much as he wished to do." Later, "He departed on Friday morning, 16th of September,intending to pass by Paris and embark in England. Since that, we had no letter and knew by Mr. John Whitley (Leprince's father-in-law) that he was neither in England nor in America; I see Papa is unquiet and sad, but I hope like you, my dear, you shall soon be together and happy".

Lizzie's memoirs go on to say: "On the day fixed for his leaving Dijon, his brother, a well known architect of that city, was called away and detained by a professional appointment, and to see him again my husband had to change his plan and leave by a later train.
All the family went to the station with him; he was in good spirits, and while waiting for the train laughingly showed his nieces the little trinkets he had purchased for his daughters as souvenirs of Paris.
In Paris, the Wilsons had made preparations for leaving France by the night boat for England, and continue their journey supposing the had been unexpectedly detained. "

So, you see that he did not arrive in Paris when his friends, the Wilsons, expected him. Because they had already bought tickets back to England for a specified voyage, they left without him. Everyone simply assumed that he was detained and would be along later. It was several weeks before anyone realized he was missing. It also appears that not only Albert, but his wife and young daughters accompanied him to the station.

Now, back to the photograph. As i stated before, not only does it bear a strong resemblance to him, it was taken of a man who was pulled out of the Seine the day Leprince arrived in Paris. I don't know what difference what he was wearing would have made. i know he wasn't carrying his driver's license in his wallet! Also, remember, no one was looking at foul play at this time. It was a missing person's report with the assumption that he was still alive.

Elsewhere in Lizzie's memoirs she states that when she examined the dossier of the search some six years after she reported him missing, the photograph of Leprince that was given Scotland Yard and the Paris "Bureau des Recherches Pour Familles" was a poor likeness and the account of his disappearance "meager". They had not, in fact, done much searching for him.  She further discovered the M. Dougan, who had charge of the case.was no longer employed with the Bureau and his whereabouts were unknown. She also came upon several other stumbling blocks that seemed to indicate that far from "making an exhaustive search", neither Scotland Yard, nor the Paris Bureau had much interest in pursuing this case.

I know it is tempting to believe Albert or Edison had something to do with the disappearance (this is why I am speculating the Adolphe/Fernand scenario). However, there is no basis for their involvement. Just because no one saw him get off the train at Paris does it make Albert a suspect as apparently there were many witnesses to see him get on the train at Dijon.


#26    Memphisbelle

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 02:59 AM

Since I do have access to Lizzie's memoirs, if anyone else has a question about the disappearance and Lizzie or Adolphe's attempts at resoving the disappearance, I would be happy to research it for you. I hope that the information I have provided so far has been of interest and value.


#27    regi

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 01:31 PM

Hi, Memphisbelle.

It appears that you have access to documents which contain information contrary to what's been reported for over a hundred years, and I have to question it.
The info has been that LePrince's brother accompanied him to the station- that the brother was the last known person to see and speak to LePrince, and that LePrince was expected to meet with friends at a certain time and place, but never arrived.
The question has been..."Why didn't LePrince arrive at the station?" It seems to me there should never have been a question if your info is accurate- that LePrince simply altered his plans. The impression has been that LePrince wasn't where he was expected to be WHEN he was expected to be there.
And let me back up; I would find it very odd that LePrince would alter his plans, seemingly at the last moment- because of what I stated above- he was expected by others, elsewhere.
Bottom line, considering the relationship of the letter writer to the brother, the info within the letter must be taken with a grain of salt.

Re: the drowned man, the clothing could have been used for identification- by size and style, and same for shoes, but I suggest that without the knowledge of whether or not the body was clothed.


#28    Memphisbelle

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Posted 29 June 2012 - 05:13 PM

Hello Regi

No. The information out there on the internet is only about 25 years old and most of it relates to Chris Rawlence's book, "The Missing Reel" that Chris began to write after he visited my family in 1986. The documents in my possession are from the persons who knew Leprince and were intimately acquainted with him, not persons writing internet articles and blogs from second hand sources. This is why it is so important to me that the right information gets out there.

Leprince was delayed because he needed to finalize having an inheritance signed over to him and his brother was dealing with professional matters and could not see him about this very legal, not to be taken casual matter until a few days after Leprince arrived. You don't just say, "Dear me, I have to leave now, someone is waiting for me in Paris, Hang the inheritance that I need to finance my invention." They also didn't have cell phones in those days to notify those who might be inconvienced by the delays.

The question isn't "Why didn't Leprince arrive at the station?", the question is "What happened to him on September 16, 1890?". I believe he did get off the train in Paris.

As I have stated before, the relationship between Albert and "Gus" was very close. This is borne up by documentation that is contemporary to the time of his disappearance and this makes this information relevant and NOT to be "taken with a grain of salt".

What the drowned man was or was not wearing at the time is irrelevant. Apparently, if there was a description of the body (and what it was wearing) it no longer exists today. Identification of a drownng victim (of which there were dozens per year) was accomplished by placing the corpse in a chilled room with a large window at one end. Passersby could view the deceased through this window to make an identification. Remember, at this time, no one was looking for a dead body. They assumed for weeks that he was delayed somewhere else. By the time foul play was suggested, the body was buried or cremated. The issue Lizzie had with the authorities in three countries was indifference to her husband's fate.


#29    regi

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 09:11 PM

I don't know of the circumstances surrounding the "drowned" man- or if he actually was was drowned- and I don't know why the photo was located in the police file without any documentation, but if he was drowned, and his body was pulled from the river on the same day that LePrince boarded the train, it's highly unlikely that the body was that of LePrince because depending on environmental conditions, it's at least about two days before a body will resurface.


#30    JonathanVonErich

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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:26 PM

View Postregi, on 30 June 2012 - 09:11 PM, said:

I don't know of the circumstances surrounding the "drowned" man- or if he actually was was drowned- and I don't know why the photo was located in the police file without any documentation, but if he was drowned, and his body was pulled from the river on the same day that LePrince boarded the train, it's highly unlikely that the body was that of LePrince because depending on environmental conditions, it's at least about two days before a body will resurface.

Very well said Regi, I agree. :tu:

I doubt that the "drowned" man on the picture is indeed Le Prince. Where is the evidence that it's him ?? There's none, therefore I'm highly skeptical about this possibility.






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