Spirit Photography, A Creepy Controversy

Dating back to as early as the 19th century, spirit photography was a compelling way to capture evidence of the paranormal. Though it started what seemed to be a supernatural movement, unfortunately, a lot of these accounts and photos turned out to be fraudulent. The good news is that a large and vast majority of ghostly photos are not fake as they help to back up spirit existence. But to this day, it can still be hard to distinguish, thanks to its complicated history…

Brief History

It was first used by Boston engraver and amateur photographer, William H. Mumler in the 1860’s as he discovered this method by accident after spotting a female entity in one (of many) experimental photo that he took of himself. He then learned that it was double exposure and took advantage of the upcoming demand and peeked interest in Spiritualism, working as a medium. He would deceive the grieving by adding negatives of deceased loved ones into the photo with them, kind of having two layers to one photo. Though, some believed that his photos were genuinely authentic and no one could debunk them. But when he began to use pictures of living Boston residents for these photos, claiming them as spirits, his fraudulence was discovered.

Another example of someone utilizing this method later on is a man named William Hope (1863-1933). He was unaware that his spirit photos were being manipulated by physical researcher, Harry Prince who stated that his pictures were indeed fraudulent as well by tampering with Hope’s photographic plates, embedding a hidden logo within plates that Prince gave to him. Hope produced many spirit photos afterwards but this logo was never shown in these, proving that Hope switched out prepared materials containing fake spirit photos for the materials provided.

In 1911, spirit photography went mainstream with a book called Photographing the Invisible by James Coates, covering a great number of spirit photography accounts and was later revised with added content and is still one of the most complex books of this topic from its time.

Other Examples Spirit Photography:

The Residual Impact of Today:

Of course these aren’t the only ones to fake spirit photography as there were many others, giving modern photographic evidence a bad reputation. Some people immediately deem them as fake and disregard possible, valid evidence from many paranormal investigators. Maybe this is how it will always be… One thing is for sure: I, myself, have caught evidence, close relatives have photographed things unexplained, part of the reason why I will always remain a believer of the parnormal and the otherworldy…

Have you caught photographic evidence? I’d love to know! And if you enjoyed this week’s post, consider becoming a monthly subscriber of Paranormal Ally down below! Or follow this blog to never miss a post full of history and haunts!

Disclaimer: The information above is a combination of prior knowledge and research. No works were plagiarized, only referenced as a source of information. While anyone is welcome to comment, I attempt to make this a positive and friendly community where we can share our experiences. Any derogatory or negative comment(s) will be deleted. As always, reader discretion is advised.

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