Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Nerd History: The Chronovisor

I recently finished the excellent Bottled Demon by Matthew Rossi, a collection of the weird, the historical, the occult, the "what ifs," etc. I could probably write about a lot of what he touched upon, but I do want to touch upon one of the first stories he tells, about Father Pellegrino Ernetti and a machine he created called the "Chronovisor." This "chronovisor" would allow the viewer to look into the past by tapping into the events still floating in the air through space. You might have read Orson Scott Card's Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus, and it's kind of like that.

Ernetti apparently pulled together a dream team of scientists following a situation where, upon working on a music project, one of the scientists attested to hearing his dead father's voice. This got the priest to thinking - what happens to what humans do after they do it? The Chronovisor was then created to help tap into those things and see what really happened.

Ernetti said that they watched the life of Jesus, the crucifixion and all, that they watched an ancient play, all sorts of things. The discovery was hidden because of its power, and Ernetti was afraid of the technology falling into the wrong hands. The play in particular was Thyestes, a lost play by Quintus Ennius - Ernetti claimed to have transcribed the play as he watched it (although scholars have since said that what was transcribed had to have been too short).

The photo above from the newspaper article is allegedly a photo taken by Ernetti of Christ as he was on the cross. It later was found to match a woodcut from a museum, and Ernetti pretty much kept to himself following that discovery, dying in the mid-1990s. According to an anonymous note that was allegedly from a family member, Ernetti confessed to making the whole thing up on his death bed, but this has never been confirmed.

The Chronovisor is almost certainly a myth, made doubly sad because you'd assume a Vatican priest would not make such an out-there claim. Still, it would be awfully nice to be able to look back into the past and take a closer look at some of the more fanciful stories that have persisted through the ages.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, intriguing and fascinating.. I love these weird story about crazy personalities!