Just like today, people in the 1800s enjoyed scaring the shit out of themselves for entertainment. Instead of high budget horror movies with over the top gore, they had Phantasmagoria shows. These theatrical precursors to horror films used a device called a Magic Lantern to project and manipulate images that people at the time found terrifying. This was done in a controlled theater environment with all sorts of other bizarre (and probably illegal today) physical and psychological stimulus.

In this short documentary, Magic Lantern historian Mervyn Heard takes us through a history of this attraction, and gets into why we’ve always enjoyed getting terrified.