-Bibliography and Links on Spirit Photography
 
-Some of the Books on spirit photography in our collection:

We have a selection of books about spirit photography but the one we prize most is The Case for Spirit Photography by Arthur Conan Doyle. It has crossover interests to us since we collect Sherlock Holmes material and this 1925 defense of spirit photography by his author is fascinating. After the death of his son, Doyle became a true believer in spiritualism. Another of our treasures is Doyle's book The Coming of the Fairies in which he champions the cause of two young girls who produced what purported to be fairy photographs.

On the right below is another classic book on spirit photography is Photographing the Invisible by James Coates published in 1911.

doyle spirit photogrpahy
Doyle Fairies
Coates Invisable
  • The Stereoscope - Its History, Theory, and Construction by Sir David Brewster, 1856, John Murray, Albemarle Street, London
    This classic of photography describes the ease with which photographs can be made with "ghostly" figures. Our copy is an original edition but the book was reprinted by Morgan & Morgan, Inc. in 1971.
  • The Busy Life Beyond Death by John Lobb, 1908, John Lobb, London
    Lobb was a Primitive Methodist lay minister and published the journal, "Christian Age".This book of conversation with "the dead" is illustrated with photographs by Robert Boursnell. The book is bound in light blue cloth with a beautiful embossed silver illustration of "The Spirit of Lily Materialized."
  • Photographing the Invisible by James Coates, 1911, Advanced Thought Publishing Co., Chicago Illinois
    This is the book of a true believer. To quote from the introduction, the answer to the question "What is spirit photography?" is "...it is impossible to doubt that such photographs have been honestly produced."
  • The Case for Spirit Photography by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1925, George H. Doran Company, New York
    Doyle was very much a true believer in spiritualism and accepted "proof" that seems unlikely to have convinced the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
  • The Coming of the Fairies by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1922 George H. Doran Company, New York
    These photographs, produced by two girls, are so obviously made with cutout "fairies" that Doyle's lifelong belief in them defies belief.
  • Hours with the Ghosts by Henry Ridgely Evans, 1897, Laird & See, Publisher, Chicago
    This is a skeptical look at the world of spiritualism at the end of the 19th century. In the chapter on sprit photography he describes a session with a photographer who demonstrates techniques to make "spirit photographs" that look more convincing that those he has seen from "real" spirit photographers. He also discusses "thought photographs".
  • Photographic Amusements by William E. Woodbury, Ninth Edition, 1922, American Photographic Publishing Co., Boston
    In Hours with the Ghosts, Evans sites this book as an excellent source for information on creating spirit photographs. This delightful book was published in multiple editions from 1896 until at least the 1930s.
  • On the Threshold of the Unseen by Sir William F. Barrett, F.R.S., Third Edition, 1919, E.P. Dutton & Company, New York
    This writer discusses spirit photography in the chapter called On Certain More Disputable Phenomena of Spiritualism and even calls it "the debatable subject of alleged 'spirit photography' but does not dismiss the possibility out of hand.
  • Photographing the Spirit World by Cyril Permutt, 1988 The Aquarian Press, Wellingbourough, England
    This is a 1988 edition of a book first published in 1983 as Beyond the Spectrum. The book takes a very respectful look at what the author call "overwhelming evidence of supernormal photography". This book is especially interesting to us because several of our photographs and post cards are used as illustrations in the book. This was the source of much of the information on our site.
  • The World of Ted Serios "Thoughtographic" Studies of an Extraordinary Mind by Jule Eisenbud, M.D., 1967, William Morrow & Company Inc., New York
    This book features a 20th century practitioner of "thoughtography" very much like Mrs. Deane earlier in that century.
  • A Magician Among the Spirits by Harry Houdini, A facsimile of a ©1924, Harper & Brothers, New York and London, reprinted by Time Life Books for the Collector's Library of the Unknown
    Harry Houdini dedicated himself to unmasking charlatans in spiritualism that pitted him against his friend Arthur Conan Doyle.
  • The Table-Rappers by Ronald Pearsall 1972, Michael Joseph, London
  • Ghosts in Photography by Fred Gettings, 1978, Harmony Books, New York
  • Northlight - The Journal of the Photographic Historical Society of America, Vol. 5 No. 2 Summer 1978 and Vol. 5 No. 3 Fall 1979 - Two part article The Spirits of Mumler by John Dobran
  • Spook Crooks! Exploring the Secrets of the Prophet-eers Who Conduct Our Wickedest Industry by Julien J. Proskauer 1932, A. L. Burt Company, New York and Chicago
    Proskauer was a professional magician who set out to expose fraud in spiritualism, including spirit photography.
  • The Camera Fiend by E. Hornung, 1911, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York
    A novel for young people about a ruthless doctor who attempts to photograph the spirit leaving the body at the instant of death with a unique stereo camera.
  • The Haunting of L. by Howard Norman, 2002, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York
    A novel set in Nova Scotia in the 1920s deals with a purported spirit photographer. It draws quotes from an actual book, Chronicle of the Photographs of Spiritual Beings, 1882 by Georgianna Houghton.
  • The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult by Clement Cheroux, Andreas Fischer and Pierre Apraxine, Denis Canguilhem, Sophie Schmit, 2004, Yale University Press, New Haven and London
    This stunning book is the catalogue for the exhibition of the same name at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from September 27 to December 31, 2005.
  • Telegrams From the Dead is a video tape of a 1994 episode of The American Experience series by WGBH Educational Foundation shown on PBS. It chronicles the rise of Spiritualism as a 19th century religion. We were consultants and provided the props and the photographic reenactment for the segment on William Mumler photographing Mary Todd Lincoln.
  • The Veil Lifted - Modern Developments of Spirit Photography: a paper by J. Traill Taylor. Letter by the Rev. H.R. Haweis, Addresses by James Robertson, and Miscellania by Andrew Glendinning, Whittaker & Co., London 1894 has been added to our collection.
  • The Strange Case of William Mumler Spirit Photographer by Louis Kaplan, University of Minnesota Press, 2008 includes a reproduction of our Mumler photograph of Capt. Montgomery.
-Links to web pages on spirit photography

These links to external sties on spirit photography will open in a new window. Click on the "close box" to return to this page. Some of these sites are skeptical and some are believers. These sites are outside of our control and may disappear at any time.


*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 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
Spirit Photography: Bibliography & Links < You are Here

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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**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 11/2008