Jump to content




Welcome to Unexplained Mysteries! Please sign in or create an account to start posting and to access a host of extra features.


* * * * * 2 votes

The Disappearance of Louis Le Prince

unsolved missing true crime

  • Please log in to reply
31 replies to this topic

#1    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 06 June 2012 - 01:25 AM

Relatively unknown today, Louis Le Prince is the inventor officially recognized as the first person to record motion images on film, giving birth to today's motion picture industry.

Background
Born in Metz, France on August 28th, 1841 he was an inventor with a background in photography and chemistry. In 1881 Louis moved to America and began experimenting with moving picture machines. His breakthrough came on October 14th, 1888 when he managed to record a moving piece of film. Lasting only 2.11 seconds, the scene captures Adolphe Le Prince (Louis’ son), Sarah Robinson Whitley (Louis’ mother-in-law), Joseph Whitley and Harriet Hartley walking around in a garden. By today’s standards it sounds like nothing exciting, but back then, who had seen such a thing before? Nobody. Several years before either Thomas Edison or the Lumière brothers, Le Prince had been granted patents on both a 16-lens device and a single-lens type.

Disappearance
On September 16, 1890 Louis Le Prince disappeared never to be seen again. Le Prince had promised he would rejoin his friends in Paris for a return journey to England. However he failed to arrive at the appointed time and was never seen again by his family or friends. The last sighting of him was onboard a train leaving the Dijon platform. No luggage nor corpse was found in the Dijon-Paris express nor along the railway. Though both French police and Scotland Yard carried out an exhaustive search for his body and luggage, neither was ever found and the case remains unsolved today. Le Prince was officially declared dead in 1897.

There are 4 main theories about what could have happened to Louis Le Prince:

1. Suicide
Le Prince's brother's grandson told film historian Georges Potonniée that Le Prince wanted to commit suicide because he was on the verge of bankruptcy. He had already arranged his suicide and he managed for his own body and belongings never to be found. However, Potonniée noted that Le Prince's business was profitable and that he was proud of his inventions, and thus had no reason to commit suicide.

2. Assassinated for his creation
Christopher Rawlence pursues the assassination theory, along with other theories, and discusses the Le Prince family's suspicions of Edison over patents (the Equity 6928) in his 1990 book and documentary The Missing Reel. At the time that he vanished, Le Prince was about to patent his 1889 projector in the UK and then leave Europe for his scheduled New York official exhibition. His widow assumed foul play though no concrete evidence has ever emerged and Rawlence prefers the suicide theory. In 1898, Le Prince's elder son Adolphe, who had assisted his father in many of his experiments, was called as a witness for the American Mutoscope Company in their litigation with Edison [Equity 6928]. By citing Le Prince's achievements Mutuscope hoped to annul Edison's subsequent claims to have invented the moving picture camera. Le Prince's widow Lizzie and Adolphe hoped that this would gain recognition for Le Prince's achievement but when the case went against Mutoscope their hopes were dashed. Two years later Adolphe Le Prince was found dead while out duck shooting on Fire Island near New York.

3. Disappearance ordoned by the family
In 1966, Jacques Deslandes proposed a theory in Histoire comparée du cinéma, claiming that Le Prince voluntarily disappeared due to financial reasons (already shown to be false) and "familial conveniences". Journalist Léo Sauvage backed up that assertion, quoting a note shown to him by Pierre Gras, director of the Dijon municipal library, in 1977, that claimed Le Prince died in Chicago in 1898, having moved there at the family's request because he was homosexual. However there is no evidence to suggest that Le Prince was gay.

4. His brother killed him
In 1967, Jean Mitry proposed, in Histoire du cinéma, that Le Prince was killed. Mitry notes that if Le Prince truly wanted to disappear, he could have done so at any time prior to that. Thus, most likely he never even boarded the train in Dijon. He also questions that if the brother, who was confirmed to be the last person to see Le Prince alive, knew Le Prince was suicidal, why didn't he try to stop him, and why didn't he report this to the police before it was too late?

A New Lead ?
A photograph of a drowning victim from 1890 resembling Le Prince was discovered in 2003 during research in the Paris police archives. Sadly no more information about the picture is available right now, but some people believe this is solid proof that Le Prince was murdered.


More about Le Prince: http://staticmass.ne...stin-le-prince/

Further reading: Among the Missing, by Jay Robert Nash ( 1978 )

Short documentary about Le Prince:




#2    Mentalcase

Mentalcase

    Space Cadet

  • Member
  • 5,369 posts
  • Joined:23 Aug 2001
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Chi-Town

  • Most Thugish Member of the Six Worst Men of the Apfelschnaps

Posted 06 June 2012 - 01:38 AM

Fascinating Jon! Good thread man!

http://ancientaliensdebunked.com/  <~Ancient Aliens DEBUNKED!
I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence ~Richard Feynman http://www.myspace.com/7leafclover

#3    schizoidwoman

schizoidwoman

    The roosting goose...

  • Member
  • 12,678 posts
  • Joined:03 Mar 2009
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Up a steep hill in Yorkshire

  • Much mischief is done by the misuse of mercury...

Posted 06 June 2012 - 08:27 AM

A fascinating story, one of my favourites!


#4    Antilles

Antilles

    NCC-1701

  • Member
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,274 posts
  • Joined:23 Jul 2011
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:2nd star from the left

Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:32 AM

I've never heard of him jon but sounds like he was deep sixed for his patent.


#5    regi

regi

    Government Agent

  • Member
  • 3,497 posts
  • Joined:28 May 2012
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Texas

Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:12 PM

Out of the four main theories, I think #2 is by far the most likely.
I think Le Prince was murdered, but that there could have been another motive.
I agree that the timing of his disappearance offers a plausible motive.


#6    Lcvec

Lcvec

    Alien Abducter

  • Closed
  • 4,551 posts
  • Joined:05 Nov 2009

Posted 06 June 2012 - 01:55 PM

I agree that the second theory is the most likely, specially after his son was found dead as well. As regi said, the idea fits the case but the motives could have been different, even owing money can be a good enough reason for people to make others disappear. I don't think he'd commit suicide though. Very interesting case, thanks for posting Jon.


#7    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 06 June 2012 - 02:33 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. :)

Was Edison responsible for Le Prince's death ??
A few years ago Alexis Bedford, a graduate student at the University of New York, was researching the history of motion pictures in the archives of the New York Library. He was turning over some papers on Thomas Edison's work with lighting methods when he stumbled across a leatherbound book. The book would turn out to be one of many notebooks in which Edison was fond of jotting down ideas and test data. Reading the book, he found a very interesting entry dated September 20, 1890 allegedly by Edison's own hand which read:

" Eric called me today from Dijon. It has been done. Prince is no more. This is good news but I flinched when he told me. Murder is not my thing. I'm an inventor and my inventions for moving images can now move forward."

Case closed ?  Difficult to say. Historian Robert E. Myre said that the notebook is authentic and that the entry was indeed written by Edison. However some people doubt that Edison, as brilliant as he was, would write about Le Prince's murder in his notebook when he was probably the more logical suspect even back then. The entire story is a little difficult to accept, and since the "discovery" was made ( 2006-2007 ) we don't have much evidences showing that it was really written by Edison. I'm trying to find more info about this.

More about the discovery of the notebook: http://www.sciencedi...369702108701603


#8    Lcvec

Lcvec

    Alien Abducter

  • Closed
  • 4,551 posts
  • Joined:05 Nov 2009

Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:04 PM

Interesting. I couldn't find much on Edison being involved, but the whole notebook thing could be fake. Here a guy points out a few "holes" in that theory http://www.eriksherm...one-phoney.html


#9    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:09 PM

 Lcvec, on 06 June 2012 - 05:04 PM, said:

Interesting. I couldn't find much on Edison being involved, but the whole notebook thing could be fake. Here a guy points out a few "holes" in that theory http://www.eriksherm...one-phoney.html

Amazing post dear LC, great job. :tu:

That's exactly why I decided not to include the notebook story in my opening post, I had serious doubts about it. Now it's clear to me that the story was probably a hoax. Now why would the author of the blog write a hoax about such an obscure case ?? I don't know, but seems like she created the story. Sad.


#10    Lcvec

Lcvec

    Alien Abducter

  • Closed
  • 4,551 posts
  • Joined:05 Nov 2009

Posted 06 June 2012 - 05:17 PM

 JonathanVonErich, on 06 June 2012 - 05:09 PM, said:

Amazing post dear LC, great job. :tu:

That's exactly why I decided not to include the notebook story in my opening post, I had serious doubts about it. Now it's clear to me that the story was probably a hoax. Now why would the author of the blog write a hoax about such an obscure case ?? I don't know, but seems like she created the story. Sad.

Thanks! I guess some people just take all the attention they can get. It's an old case that sort of points towards murder depending on how you look at it. By conveniently placing a well known name as a possible suspect, she had the perfect recipe for a shocking story. It really does seem to be fake but I can't deny that at first it looked like a possible theory. It's sad indeed.


#11    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 08 June 2012 - 02:10 PM

So Le Prince allegedly took the Dijon-Paris Express around 14h30. His brother is the only known person who saw him board the train.

The Dijon-Paris Express was a popular ride, I'm sure somebody other than his brother would have seen Le Prince on the train and would have said something to the authorities. I think it's highly possible that the brother might have created the story, after all he's the only known person who saw Louis at the Train station on that day. If indeed somebody attacked or kidnapped or took Le Prince hostage on that train I'm sure somebody would have heard or seen something. The fact there's absolutely no witnesses is highly suspicious to me.

A lot of people believe Le Prince simply never boarded that train, and that he was abducted and/or killed elsewhere. Then why would his brother lie about this ?? Conspiracy ?? This case is mind-boggling.


#12    regi

regi

    Government Agent

  • Member
  • 3,497 posts
  • Joined:28 May 2012
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Texas

Posted 08 June 2012 - 03:37 PM

 JonathanVonErich, on 08 June 2012 - 02:10 PM, said:

So Le Prince allegedly took the Dijon-Paris Express around 14h30. His brother is the only known person who saw him board the train.

The Dijon-Paris Express was a popular ride, I'm sure somebody other than his brother would have seen Le Prince on the train and would have said something to the authorities. I think it's highly possible that the brother might have created the story, after all he's the only known person who saw Louis at the Train station on that day. If indeed somebody attacked or kidnapped or took Le Prince hostage on that train I'm sure somebody would have heard or seen something. The fact there's absolutely no witnesses is highly suspicious to me.

A lot of people believe Le Prince simply never boarded that train, and that he was abducted and/or killed elsewhere. Then why would his brother lie about this ?? Conspiracy ?? This case is mind-boggling.

This is a very intriguing aspect because there's no substantiating evidence that Le Prince boarded the train. We only know that it was his intention to board the train, and that the brother said he did.
I'd sure be nice to know more about the visit and about the brother.
I don't consider myself well read on the case and I'm not knowledgeable about Le Prince's family, but from what I have read, I don't recall anything about the brother until the disappearance.

Edited by regi, 08 June 2012 - 03:38 PM.


#13    Taun

Taun

    A dashing moose about town...

  • Member
  • 7,568 posts
  • Joined:19 May 2010
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Tornado Alley (Oklahoma)

Posted 08 June 2012 - 04:20 PM

Very interesting case.. thanks for posting it...

After reading this I'm leaning toward a fatal accident (drowning?), or voluntary disappearance for whatever reason (don't particularly accept the 'gay' theory as a reason for him to commit suicide)...

While I don't think Edison was too broken up about his disappearance/death, I don't really think he had anything to do with it...
If he was the type of guy to 'off' his rivals, Nicola Tesla would have died a whole lot sooner than he did...


#14    Paracelse

Paracelse

    Government Agent

  • Member
  • 4,074 posts
  • Joined:02 Mar 2008
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:France

Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:31 PM

Has anyone thought of looking up if Edison ( who was far from a saint [check Tesla/Edison relations]) had a relation named Eric?

Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither Benjamin Franklin
République No.6
It's time for a sixth republic.

#15    JonathanVonErich

JonathanVonErich

    Telekinetic

  • Banned
  • 7,519 posts
  • Joined:19 Jul 2009
  • Gender:Not Selected

Posted 09 June 2012 - 02:46 PM

 Paracelse, on 09 June 2012 - 02:31 PM, said:

Has anyone thought of looking up if Edison ( who was far from a saint [check Tesla/Edison relations]) had a relation named Eric?

Very good Question, Paracelse. :)

The story about the notebook is most likely a hoax, but I agree that we should look into that.

I have found a site listing the chronology of Edison's family and there's no Eric. http://edison.rutgers.edu/famchron.htm

Of course this "Eric", if he ever existed ( I doubt it since the story is most likely a hoax ), could have been somebody who worked for Edison, not necessarily a relative or family member. But there's absolutely nothing proving that Edison was once associated to a man named Eric. From the information found on the blog shared earlier by LC I think it's clear that the notebook story is a hoax.






Also tagged with unsolved, missing, true crime

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users