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George Albert Smith

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George Albert Smith
BornJanuary 4, 1864
London, England
DiedMay 17, 1959 (age 95)

G. A. Smith (1864-1959) was a stage hypnotist, psychic, magic lantern lecturer, astronomer, inventor, and one of the pioneers of British cinema, who is best known for his controversial work with Edmund Gurney at the Society for Psychical Research, his short films from 1897 to 1903, which pioneered film editing and close-ups, and his development of the first successful colour film process, Kinemacolor.


In the early 1880s Smith began to perform in small Brighton halls as a hypnotist. From 1882, Smith and his partner, Douglas Blackburn, performed a second sight act and feats of Muscle Reading. Smith would claim that genuine telepathy was practiced, though Blackburn would later admit that the act was a hoax. Representatives of the Society for Psychical Research did believe that Smith and Blackburn had a gift. Smith would become closely involved with the Society's activities, becoming the private secretary to its Secretary, Edmund Gurney. He held this post from 1883 to 1888. In 1887, Gurney carried out a number of 'hypnotic experiments' in Brighton, with Smith as the 'hypnotizer'. Smith would co-author the paper, Experiments in Thought Transference for the Society's journal.

Smith had left the SPR by 1892. By 1897, he acquired his first camera and would make thirty-one films that year. Smith knew and corresponded with Georges Méliès.[1]


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