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Interesting sounding movie. Haven't seen it, but it's nice that the writer(s) apparently did their homework rather than relying on stereotypes and popular images of what spirit communication might be like.

Quick question, though: Is it ever proved that Karloff's wife really is trying to communicate with him? I had a thought while reading the summary: If it really was her, I imagine she never would have expected Karloff to go to the lengths he did to try and bring her back/communicate at length with her. Perhaps there's a reason why not everyone gets communications from their deceased loved ones: some might act like Karloff did, and go mad trying to connect with the spirit world, where it might be better that they explore and discover on their own. Perhaps certain people might be harmed more than helped with such communication, if such a thing is to be believed. I have read some accounts where people were purposely refused contact from the spirit world (in the nicest way possible), and later told that if they had been talked to, they never would have learned about themselves or about the spirit world through their own efforts in finding truth.

I had an event similar to that myself, where I expected to sense, see, or detect something mystical, and when nothing of the sort happened, I had one of those "Dark night of the soul" events. While it was a very painful time in my life, emotionally, I did eventually end up growing in ways I couldn't have otherwise. Thus, maybe the spirit world might, at times, use a form of tough love: you don't contact your loved ones because it allows them the chance to question their own beliefs and grow, no matter how painful that might be. Perhaps that might have been best for Karloff's character.

"Quick question, though: Is it ever proved that Karloff's wife really is trying to communicate with him?"

We hear her voice come through at the climax, so either it was her, or we have to assume some kind of elaborate deception on the part of evil spirits, the devil, or Karloff's unconscious. I think we are meant to believe she is trying to communicate.

Actually, your question suggests a more effective ending: Karloff could have heard his wife's voice telling him that what he's done is wrong, that he has cost the lives of other people and is endangering his own daughter—and Karloff, realizing this is true and feeling remorse, might have ended the experiment in a violent fashion, causing his death.

Interesting and informative post! "Undertakings," lol.

Yes, Spiritualism in the West was ultimately caught between the Old School of Christianity and the false New School of atheism. Once the fad had run its course, no one wanted it to be true (or wanted what was really true about it to be true).

I really enjoyed reading this, I have been reading a lot on this lately as I have had some...let's just say interesting things happening lately. Been reading Roberta Grimes' book The Fun of Staying in Touch. She discusses how those that have passed on are staying in contact with us, and how we can too. It's really very cool. is her site for info. Great post again, reading it a second time!!

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