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From French phantasmagorie, from Ancient Greek φάντασμα (phántasma, ghost) + possibly either ἀγορά (agorá, assembly, gathering) + the suffix -ia or ἀγορεύω (agoreúō, to speak publicly).



phantasmagoria (plural phantasmagorias)

  1. A popular 18th- and 19th-century form of theatre entertainment whereby ghostly apparitions are formed; a magic lantern.
  2. A series of events involving rapid changes in light intensity and colour.
  3. A dreamlike state where real and imagined elements are blurred together.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      this mental phantasmagoria
    • 1874, Marcus Clarke, For the Term of His Natural Life Chapter V
      It is impossible to convey, in words, any idea of the hideous phantasmagoria of shifting limbs and faces which moved through the evil-smelling twilight of this terrible prison-house. Callot might have drawn it, Dante might have suggested it, but a minute attempt to describe its horrors would but disgust. There are depths in humanity which one cannot explore, as there are mephitic caverns into which one dare not penetrate.

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