The magic lantern slide above depicts the "inverted pot-hole" underneath Butterfield's Boulder. Magic lantern shows became popular in Victorian era America. Slides, such as the one shown above, could be created from real photographs, popular prints, or even hand-painted by artisans. More detailed slides could include moving parts, or strips of similar images in a series meant to tell a story. Like a modern slide projector, a magic lantern would project the still images of the slides onto a wall or screen, often using the light of a kerosene lamp; later lanterns included options for electric light, and older lanterns could have been converted to use an electric light bulb. While most shows were for an audience of family and friends, professional magic lantern presenters made a business of putting on shows with more elaborate, and mechanical slides. It is unlikely such a presentation every took place in Windham, but it is certainly possible Windham residents of the last quarter of the nineteenth century ventured out of town to see such shows in larger towns such as Derry. Slides of scenes around Windham, including Butterfield's Boulder, may have been created by eager tourists looking to show their friends back home what they had seen, or by more serious naturalists looking to document natural curiosities. Below is a short video of magic lantern show performed in 2009.
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.