Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spirited Photos

This photograph of a 'spirit' was taken by the aptly-named medium William Hope (1863-1933). Around 1905 he became interested in spirit photography after he decided some stuff on the photograph of a friend was actually a ghost! Not the first conclusion most people would reach. By 1922 Hope had moved to London and become a professional medium. Hah! Then the Society for Psychical Research sent one Harry Price to investigate. Price collected evidence that Hope was substituting glass plates bearing ghostly images in order to produce his spirit photographs. Huh. Go figure. Price published his findings exposing Hope as a fraud. But the believers still believed, including (sigh) Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. So being exposed as a total charlatan didn't even slow the man down until he died. And no one's seen hide nor ectoplasm of him since. Hope you enjoyed this 'snapshot' (ha!) of a spirit photographer. Where have all the good careers gone?

Since Houdini was a famous exposer of medium fraud, this would be a fun read:
Final séance : the strange friendship between Houdini and Conan Doyle

Source: National Media Museum

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