Étienne-Gaspard Roberts's original "Fantasmagorie" was staged in an abandoned abbey the outskirts of Paris some time in the late 1790’s. Roberts – who went by the stage name Robertson, invented an improved version of the magic lantern called the “Fantoscope” along with many other optical inventions. Sound effects would accompany these performances including voices of spirits produced by Robertson and his assistants.

Through a combination of a darkened immersive atmosphere, artfully hidden cutting-edge projection technology and imaginative storytelling techniques - Robertson could conjure phantoms out of the afterlife to the delight of a horrified yet mesmerized audience.