The Magic Lantern Society  

New Light on Old Media  

Welcome to Issue 22 of New Light on Old Media


And we start this issue with the news that Queen guitarist Brian May and co-author Denis Pellerine have just released their much anticiated fourth book of images from their stereocard collection. Crinoline - Fashion's Most Magnificent Disaster comes complete with a viewer.  You can discover more about the contents of the book and Brian May's own introduction to stereoscopy at
Queen Online and/or order a copy of the book here.

If you would like more information on how to join the Magic Lantern Society see below. This month you will also find a link to recent past issues of the American Society's free online Gazette.

Mervyn Heard, Editor

Tunnel Vision


British illusionist Derren Brown's much anticipated 21st century take on that old fairground attraction the ghost train receives its official opening at Thorpe Park in Surrey on May 6th. According to the advance press release it promises a combination of old Pepper's Ghost technology and up to the minute digital effects. Follow this link for a teasing trailer and advance booking details.

Game of Shadows


Here's a new kind of board game (without a board) The Lumo Amuzo Larklamp Magic Lantern Game System has been devised by Montreal based artist P D Warne. Its not quite available yet - promised this Spring sometime -  but you can sign up for a copy right now and be one of the first to own game one : Snyxtrap .  However, before you do, you might like to take a look at the video of Snyxtrap being played and try and work out what the .... is going on. For the artist's CV go here.


Virtual Reality for Virtually Nothing


3D Virtual Reality headsets are the new go-to gadget.  There are various versions based on the simple Victorian premise of the stereoscope. Indeed I have to ask myself, why it took so long to come up with it.  Basically you just slot your iPhone sideways into a specially designed holder and view two movie images which appear side by side.  Of course you will need the most fashionable headset. There's the Oculus Rift  which will set you back about £400. The Samsung Gear which is a lot cheaper at £80. Immerse Virtual Reality - a bargain at around £30.  Or you could invest in the  Google Cardboard, (shown above) which will cost you about £3 for the required cardboard , scissors and string. 


 More About the

Magic Lantern Society

If you have an interest in research or performance involving the magic lantern or other forms of vintage visual media  you might want to consider joining The Magic Lantern Society. We publish a regular quarterly printed journal and meet on a regular basis in the UK and other parts of Europe.
For further information and back issues of this e-letter go to  

You will find our sister organisation The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada here:

Stop Press from the US

2015 issues of the American Magic Lantern Gazette are now available in full color.
Free access for everyone.
Just follow this link. 


Leonardo di Flippio

  The Flippist is a company who create bespoke hand-drawn flip books.  Just before the last round of Oscars they produced a version anticipating Leonardo di Caprio's win as best actor for The Revenant. You can view this masterpiece of flick-technology here.
The original artwork was later sold on ebay for $186 with the proceeds going to the actor's international conservation charity.  However, copies of this item are still available from the Flippist website for around $22.  With all monies benefitting the same charity.


The Secret Life of the Magic Lantern



In the late 19th and early 20th centuries mainly American masonic and fraternal societies made widespread use of the lantern in their initiation ceremonies. Much of this material appears regularly on e-bay. Most of it pretty weird.  This new book As Above So Below by Lynne Adele and collector Bruce Lee Webb offers a fascinating look at the bizarre artefacts associated with such societies. There is a whole chapter on the Magic Lantern's use and another on the fabulous DeMoulin Bros. & Co. who produced a variety of spoof items for the non-too-serious lodge-frequenter, including a goat on wheels. More on the book and how to obtain a copy here.


Happy Easter


You're probably familiar with this image. After all it's been around since the 1890s.
The question is - is it a duck or is it a rabbit?  Second question - do you care?
Well apparently many people do. In fact, according to various national newspapers in recent months this image has created something of 'a social media storm'.  (Yes, well - it doesn't take much)  
First used by the psychologist Joseph Jastrow in 1899 to measure of the subject's creative abilities, now  21st century psychologists have added to this research by concluding that the viewer is more likely to see a duck in the Spring and a rabbit in October. Or is it the other way round? 
Anyway, if you want to catch up on the revolutionary new thinking you might care to visit the Independent website or the
Daily Mail (Australia) website, where you will also find useful images of a real duck and a real rabbit, just in case you're not familiar with either. 




New Light on Old Media Issue 22, April 2016
Copyright © 2016 The Magic Lantern Society, All rights reserved.

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