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Vintage ghost photos and the invention of spirit photography

Vintage spirit photograpy

Woman with two boys and a female spirit, c.1920

I don’t know what to make of these vintage ghost pictures. Spirit photography was ‘invented’ in the 1920s and made possible by the long exposure needed to take a photograph at that time.

It meant that if somebody walked into the photo briefly a ghostly shadow image was created. I’m assuming these photographs are fake spirit photos rather than photos of real ghosts, but honestly I have no information either way. Assuming they were created by the photographer, would this have been with the knowledge and consent of the people in the photo?  (I’m assuming yes), and if so what sort of comfort would this have given them about their departed relative?

I’m not sure I really understand the appeal, and I find them pretty creepy even though they’re fakes…

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Vintage ghost photo of Arthur conan doyle

The spirit of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, according to his widow Lady Conan Doyle. The photo was taken during a session with the English Reverand Tweedale, with the help of the photographic medium Mr. Hope. c. 1930

vintage ghost photos

Royal Bank Branch, Notre Dame Street, Montreal, QC, 1911

Vintage spirit photograpy

Mourning scene with ghostly face, 1920

1920s spirit photography

Couple with a spirit in their car, c.1920

 

Vintage seance photo

A séance showing a ghostly hand levitating the table, c.1920

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