Their Souls are Frozen

Sinehouse Archive

Pictured here is a replica of a device made in the summer of 1860 by Dr. Wolfous Sinehouse. Dr. Sinehouse had, some years earlier, begun an experiment in communal living on a four hundred-acre farm situated approximately five miles south of Chillicothe Ohio. Two hundred eleven men, women, and children, lived there in what was to become a highly controversial utopian society. Unique among separatist communities, Sinehouse Farm welcomed all races and nationalities into their flock. To better bathe in the glow of their creator’s majesty the members kept clean-shaven heads and never wore hats of any kind. This tonsured community, however, embraced modern technology and Dr. Sinehouse had a willing base for his experiments. 
Superseding the Daguerreotype process that utilized copper plates, Dr. Sinehouse created a new medium that not only captured images of his followers but reportedly allowed them to be projected as well. Described by Sinehouse as a “Mirror with a memory,” this device apparently used pressurized double glass plates treated with silver iodide in an electrical field to reveal the subject. This process was meant to momentarily freeze the soul of the participant in silver iodide and archive the humanity of his flock. 
Dr. Sinehouse died unexpectedly in 1862 during an influenza epidemic and with him died his photographic process. The device you see here was recreated from accounts described in one of the survivor’s journals.