The Signal (US, 2010; 18 min.)
Director: Chris Farrington
Against the backdrop of 19th-century wireless telegraph experimentation, a scientist must survive a confrontation with a distraught local who claims the mysterious technology keeps him from contacting his recently departed wife.
In 1899, William Bradfield, an electrical scientist and employee of the Marconi Company, struggles to send the first wireless telegraph message across the English Channel.
Events lead him to a séance being held by a local medium who can supposedly perform miracles. The medium tries to contact the departed wife of another attendee, Richard Teller. William. fed up with the popularity of the Spiritualist movement and their claims of successfully contacting spirits in the “ether,” tries to expose the medium but is ejected. The medium is shaken. Richard is distraught.
Later that night, Richard bursts into the telegraph station, armed with a revolver. Holding William and his assistant at gunpoint, Richard explains how the medium told him the wireless signals are disturbing the ether, making it impossible to contact the spirits residing there. Richard then demands William and his assistant shut the machines down properly so he can burn the station to the ground and then contact his wife. William refuses, and his assistant is shot.
Trying to save the station, William convinces Richard to hook himself to the machine. The outcome is so beyond William’s scope of understanding, he’s forced to question his nihilistic beliefs about the afterlife.