*Note: In January, 2005 this section of our site was expanded and rearranged. If an image is not in an expected place, please try one of the other pages from the list at the bottom of the page.
-How to make a fake spirit photograph

We discussed on the first page of this section the instructions for making "ghost" or "spirit" photographs in Brewster's 1856 book on stereography. Other books give such instruction in a spirit of fun or as a service to expose fake spiritualist.

Whether you classify all spirit photographs as fake or are a true believer you must admit that some, such as the examples on this page, celebrate their falseness.

On the right is an illustration from the book Photographic Amusements. This book of instruction covers a wide range of" "fun" photographic subjects. Several editions of this book were published from 1896 until at least the 1930s.

Below is a small booklet titled Trick Photography by Walter F. Eagleson. It appears to be self published in Winterset, Ohio in 1902. Creating a ghost is one of the tricks in the chapter on double exposure.

Photographic Amusements
Trick Photography trick ghost

While the two books mentioned above suggest creating"ghosts" by the usual method of multiple exposure the illustration on the right deals with techniques that are much more sophisticated. It comes from a book called Spook Crooks! Exploring the Secrets of the Prophet-eers Who Conduct Our Wickedest Industry by Julien J. Proskauer published in 1932. Mr. Proskauer was a magician who wrote to expose the charlatans who use spiritualism to prey on the gullible.

Below is a 1907 postcard that talks about Mater's sore throat and goes on the talk about the photograph made by Julian of Harold in bed. There is an expression of regret that the counterpane was moved between the exposures. Perhaps Julian read one of the books above.

julian ghost

Spook Crooks

*Note: In October 2007 this section of our site was expanded and rearranged. If an image is not in an expected place, please try one of the other pages from the list below.

Spirit Photographs: How our collection started/Brewster & Mumler
Spirit Photographs: A Tintype Spirit Photograph *added 10/07
Spirit Photographs: Carte-de-visite spirit photographs
Spirit Photographs: Carte-de-visite of a spirit drawing *added 1/08
Spirit Photographs: Cabinet card spirit photographs
Spirit Photographs: Post card spirit photographs
Spirit Photographs: Post cards of unknown mediums
Spirit Photographs: Doyle and the Spirits *added 10/07
Spirit Photographs: How to make a fake spirit photograph < You are Here
Spirit Photography: Bibliography & Links

Related interests of the Victorian Era and early 20th century in our collection:
Memento Mori - Remembering the departed: post mortem and memorial photography in the 19th and early 20th century
Mesmerism - "Flint the Mesmerist"
Phrenology - The study of human personality from the shape of the head

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Contact us at studio@brightbytes.com

**NOTE** All items on the Collection of Collections web site are in our private collection and are NOT for sale. From time to time duplicate items from our collection will be offered for sale in the Do You Remember This? shop on the GoAntiques cyber mall. Visit the Do You Remember This? inventory page for photographica and toaster related collectibles.

Please feel free to write us if you want to chat or share information about areas we collect but we will NOT give appraisals.

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Updated on 10/2007