The mystery of Louis Le Prince, father of cinematography
Louis Le Prince created the first working technology used to capture motion, though Thomas Edison and the Lumiere brothers were assumed to have invented it first.
Before he could showcase his creation though, Le Prince totally vanished. He was last known to be boarding a train to Paris, on 16 September 1890, after visiting his brother in Dijon, but never arrived at his destination and was not seen again. The last person to see him was his brother, at Dijon station, and an extensive search found no trace.
Edison could have been involved, not least because Le Prince was about to patent his technology. This would have contradicted Edison’s claims to have invented the world’s first motion picture camera, and since Le Prince had the evidence, we can’t discount this theory. Le Prince’s son took Edison to court to prove it was his father who first invented the technology but lost the case. Two years later Le Prince Junior was found dead.
It’s thought Le Prince took his own life because his work was not being recognised. Backing this up is a photograph of a man who drowned in the River Seine, who bears a strong likeness to him.
Others think his brother got rid of him because of their mother’s will, or that he disappeared to start a new life with another man. It’s possible Le Prince never boarded the train to Paris, but as for eloping with a male lover, there was zero evidence he was gay, so it’s unlikely this was the case.