Term generally used for a shifting series of imaginary or
fantastic images as seen in a dream or fevered imagination.
The term appears to have been derived from a magic lantern
entertainment presented in 1802 by the Frenchman M. Philipstal.
Variants of the term have been used to describe the appearance
of phantoms, as in the collection of stories by Jean Baptiste
Eyries, Fantasmagoriana, or Collection of the Histories of
Apparitions, Spectres, Ghosts, etc. (1812). This was the volume that
Lord Byron read aloud to Percy Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
(later Mary Shelley), Claire Clairmont, and J. W. Polidori on
the night of June 16, 1816, which, along with the consumption
of opium, stimulated their imaginations after Byron suggested
that each should write a ghost story. The game culminated in
Mary Shelleys Frankenstein, first published in 1818.
Eyries, Jean Baptiste. Fantasmagoriana, or Collection of the Histories
of Apparitions, Spectres, Ghosts, etc. Paris F. Schoell, 1812.