She steps away from the scuffed metal eye piece of the coin-operated tourist binoculars with a confused look on her face.
“I have to admit, this isn’t what I imagined when you said you were going to use our money to haunt downtown.”
Another member of his grant board steps in behind her, peering into the glasses.
“How did you do this, again?”, he asks, aiming the lenses toward the downtown skyline.
The artist takes a deep breath, readying his tech speech. “We took old maps and historical records, matched them against modern survey data, and built up a digital 3-D ghost world inside of a computer. Then, using augmented reality software, we overlay the past as a holographic projection through the glasses.”
“I see smoke.” Says the man at the glasses. “Where’s that coming from?”
“Dial’s set to the 1870s. The Yellow Fever. Probably burning bodies, maybe a riot. Key events are built into the program. Set it to the 1860s and you can watch the Battle of Memphis, if you wanted.”
“How exactly is any of this haunting?” Questions another board member.
“There’s nothing more haunting than the past, it’s the stuff ghosts are made of.”
Everything described in this story is technologically possible right now. We can use augmented reality to create an invisible world around that is filled with ghosts from the past. And with everything that Memphis has been through, you could stare through those glasses for days and still not see it all.