Sunday, May 3, 2009

15 Famous Freaky Ghost Pictures

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Picture above: Rev. Ralph Hardy, a retired clergyman from White Rock, British Columbia, took this now-famous photograph in 1966. He intended merely to photograph the elegant spiral staircase in the Queen's House section of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. Upon development, however, the photo revealed a shrouded figure climbing the stairs, seeming to hold the railing with both hands. Experts, including some from Kodak, who examined the original negative concluded that it had not been tampered with. It's been said that unexplained figures have been seen on occasion in the vicinity of the staircase, and unexplained footsteps have also been heard.


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Picture above: Visiting the grave of her mother in 1959, Mrs. Mabel Chinnery took a photo of her husband waiting alone in the car. When the film was developed, the two were so surprised to see the figure in the backseat was her mother.

For over 100 years Spiritualists and others in the field of psychic research have tried scientifically to prove that people have souls that live on after death. Spiritualists have often used spirit photography as proof of survival-after-death. Photography itself dates back to the 1840's and has progressed from daguerreotypes to the highly evolved photography that we know today. Amazingly, spirit photography which first appeared in the mid-nineteenth century also continues to evolve and is alive and well in this twenty-first century.

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Spirit photography began with one man, a Boston engraver named William H. Mumler, who discovered ghostly images of individuals on a photograph he had taken of a colleague in 1862. Mumler, who had been casually experimenting with his camera at the time, claimed to have had little or no interest in spiritualism. The news of Mumler's discovery quickly spread around the world and shortly after Mumler started a business as a medium/photographer claiming he could call up deceased celebrities, strangers and family and friends of well-paying clients. He charged ten dollars per photograph at a time when an average portrait cost merely pennies. Mumler's portrait sittings were like any other, a person would sit for their own picture expecting their deceased friend or relative, a spirit "extra," to appear not in the studio but in the negative and prints.

Beyond the Grave: A Brief History of Spirit Photography
by Anne Harney and Leigh McCuen.

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During 30+ years of collecting we have often found that a sub-collection will just appear without our being aware that it was happening. This is the origin (really appropriate when you think about it) of our collection of spirit photography. We acquired an original edition of Brewster's book on the Stereograph and read his instructions for making a spirit photograph. We then realized that we already had a stereo card that gave him credit as well as more than 30 other stereos of "spirits".

We had read about Mumler and were delighted to acquire some of his carte-de-visites. We then picked up additional carte-de-visites and cabinet cards here and there and a few books on the subject.


Jack and Beverly's Spirit Photographs


Approaching photography and photographer literally as a "medium," this exhibition considers how historical and present-day practitioners utilize and reference intrinsic mechanics of light-sensitive media to achieve spiritual allusions and illusions. The title of the show is a nod to the early-twentieth century painter Wassily Kandinsky's landmark book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911), which heralded artists as the leaders of a new spiritualist age. Many of the makers represented here are from New England or have ties to Boston, an area that gave rise to spirit photography itself as well as one of the most notable mediums in Spiritualism's history.


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