“If there were an individual in the world who was, for his scientific education, more contrary to Spiritualism, it would have been I. I who then made of the thesis that every force is a property of matter, and the soul an emanation of the brain, my life’s most tenacious occupation, I who for years had derided and ridiculed the spirits of tables…and of chairs..! ”
In 1857, in France, the first book is published that, analyzing ‘abnormal’ or ‘paranormal’ phenomena, establishes the bases for what will become a complete and widespread philosophical doctrine, Spiritualism.
At the root of this doctrine is the possibility, through the intercession of persons with particular gifts, of communication between the living and the spirits of the dead.
In its first years, despite strong opposition from academic and ecclesiastical circles, or because of it, Spiritualism attracts millions of followers.
Spiritualism is based on the premise that spirits are nothing other than the disincarnated souls of people. The only difference between human beings and spirits is the presence, or not, of the vessel, the body. When the spirit leaves the body it continues to live, even as the body disappears.
The doctrine of Spiritualism therefore does not admit angels or demons, only spirits of greater or lesser evolution. Among these latter are the larvae, minor but highly infective entities that can be communicated, as are viruses. These are not the spirits of the departed but ‘unfinished’ creatures of a lower order that feed on the vital energy of the victims and influence not only their psychological states but even their actions.
From these theories was born the idea of telling a story about how entities of this kind, be they real or presumed, could influence people’s psychology or actions, manifesting as apparently normal negative states or even, in the case of high levels of ‘infection’, causing the commission of brutal criminal acts.
And it is here that Cesare Lombroso, the celebrated criminologist, comes into the story. Lombroso, in fact, dedicated with great fervor the last part of his life to the study of hypnotic and spiritualistic phenomena, publishing a treatise on the subject shortly before his death in 1909.
An academic, a scientist, that puts in question his life’s work to dedicate himself to the study of the paranormal?
With this film we intend to use the past to “innovate”, or better, rediscover that atmosphere typical of the romantic literature of the 1800s and, consequently, those particularly gothic forms of cinema that characterized the works of such internationally famous Italian auteurs as Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and Pupi Avati.