Alexander Graham Bell

AbellAlexander Graham Bell

Educator, Linguist, Inventor, Scientist

B: March 3, 1847 – Scotland

D: August 2, 1922 – Canada

Alexander Graham Bell is mostly known for the invention of the telephone. Though this gained him fame and considerable wealth, it was not from the efforts of his passion. There are some urban legend stories regarding Bell personally experiencing “disembodied voices” from his invention but, the limited research for this article found nothing verifiable. These stories likely originate from early voice transmissions often being difficult to discern and understand.

Alexander’s passion was helping and teaching the deaf community. This was the family business and in spite his other ventures, Alexander always considered himself to be a teacher of the deaf. He was mostly home schooled by his mother who was deaf and also an accomplished musician. She had significant influence on his life by inspiring his curiosity.

At the age of 12, while playing at a grain mill, Alexander conceived his first invention in a faster method to remove wheat husks.

At age 16 he took a position teaching elocution (speaking in a manner that allowed the deaf to more easily read lips) and music at an academy in Scotland. After one term, he returned to the family business to help teach his father’s methods of “lip reading” to the deaf community. After several more years alternating between teaching on his own and helping his father, the family moved to Boston, Massachusetts in 1871.

In 1872 Alexander, now in his mid-20s, ventured out on his own tutoring deaf children in Boston. Gardiner Hubbard, the father of one of his students had been seeking to improve telegraph technology. Alexander, shared his ideas with Gardiner. Intrigued by Alexander’s ideas, Gardiner convinced another student’s father to help finance development of the technology. As Alexander worked on telegraph improvements, he became distracted by the idea of transmitting voice by wire. Gardiner hired Thomas Watson in an effort to help focus Alexander on the telegraph. Thomas also became distracted with the idea of voice transmission. In March of 1876, legend suggests Alexander was speaking to Thomas when, due to circumstance and without direct intent, Thomas heard Alexander’s voice from the wired device.

The Bell Telephone Company came into existence in 1877. Alexander assigned others to run the company and continued his efforts to develop his ideas and to work with the deaf community. Alexander is credited with involvement in the invention of many things including the iron lung, metal detector, the audiometer (for testing hearing), and Thomas Edison’s phonograph.


Alexander Graham Bell. (2014). The website. Retrieved Nov 29, 2014, from

Rob Hillstrom

Rob Hillstrom

Director / Chair Science at TEPI
Paranormal: Somewhat cliché but, my experiences began at a young age though I don’t recall making the “paranormal” association until the age of 9 when my grandmother died and returned for a visit. Through the years, I have given many phenomena more attention; from subtle dream images to apparent physical contact from “unseen” sources. I have been involved in independent research/study and investigation for about 30 years and began using some equipment about 20 years ago. I have been working with the Colorado based TEPI team since 2010. As a science oriented investigator, I am a bit of a contradiction. I believe the experience more so than the evidence. Simply because there can be many plausible explanations for most evidence. The experience on the other hand, can sometimes be very complex and difficult to explain easily. Professional: I have a Master of Science degree that essentially qualifies me to manage a multi-discipline team in their efforts to accomplish technical activities. (If I say more the MIB might show up.) My engineering background is primarily electronics but includes mechanical, astrophysics, and some aspects of thermal, optical, and audio. Previous careers were medical including paramedics and medical device technology (design, manufacturing, and training medical staff). I also dabbled heavily in photography before the wide spread use of digital imaging. Ideological: I was raised Presbyterian but allowed to find my own path. I studied Zen for a short time and explored many other faiths. In my late teens I attended a seminar on the subject of Quantum Physics and how it relates to our mind and consciousness; this was the turning point in my belief system. I did not become a scientific skeptic, I simply began to view nearly everything differently. I removed definitions I had learned and replaced them with relationships to my personal experiences and observations. Things once clearly defined as paranormal now had a plausible spin to them. Personal: In my spare time I write dark music, dark poetry, and horror/science fiction stories.
Rob Hillstrom

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