In honour of Samhain fast approaching, here are some examples of the Victorian trend of spirit photography, in which people would pay a specialty photographer to take their portrait while "capturing" the image of their dead loved one who would supposedly visit them during the sitting.
It had been discovered that during the extremely long exposure duration of early cameras, an actor dressed as a spirit could enter the frame and be captured.
Photographers charged extremely high sums for these photos, and those posing in them were convinced that their real dead relatives were materializing in front of them.
|Frederick A. Hudson (England)Mr. Raby with the Spirits "Countess," "James Lombard," "Tommy," and the Spirit of Mr. Wootton's Mother. circa 1875|
|F. M. Parkes (England)|
"Mrs. Collins & Her Husband's Father, Recognized by Several."
|Edouard Isidore Buguet (France, b. 1840)|
Mons. Leymarie and Mons. C. with Spirit of Edouard Poiret
Leymarie was the editor of La Revue Spirite, which circulated this image. Buguet and Leymarie were both sentenced to prison for fraud in 1875.
|Phillips Bros. (Pontiac, Michigan)|
Man Reading with Female Spirit Behind
|William H. Mumler ( 1832-1884; active Boston & New York)|
Mrs. French of Boston with Spirit Son
Albumen print carte de visite, circa 1868