The Fascinating History of Ghost Photography (8 Photos)

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Spirit Photography Dates back to 1862.  A man named William Mumler who was quite creative with new (and evolving) photographic processes made international news when he began sharing images like the one above of a Mrs. Tinkham and her recently deceased daughter.  He claimed that if people came to his studio, he could capture their deceased loved ones.  He was later accused and convicted of fraud, which set up the next few decades of skepticism about all Spirit Photography.  This would soon change...

 

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The first potentially authentic ghost photo was taken in 1891 by a young woman named Sybell Corbet while she was visiting the library at the Combermere Abbey in Cheshire, England.  You'll notice the faint outline of a man sitting in the chair in the foreground.  Lord Combermere had died a few days earlier in a riding accident and this photo was taken during his funeral when the entire staff was out of the home.  It's enough to make you wonder...

 

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In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Seance became popular as a method of connecting with those who had passed to the other side.  Paranormal investigators at the time began describing a kind of "ectoplasm" that would appear during seances that would show that a specific person had made connection with the other side.  This early 1900 photo is about as creepy as they come!

 

In 1905, a carpenter named William Hope captured the above image with his new camera.  Though a carpenter by trade, this ghostly image convinced him that he had a special window in to the afterlife, so upon showing that he could capture other Spirits, he moved to London to share his skill with others.  The photo below is another example of his work...

 

This amazing photo by William Hope caught the attention of the entire world as it apparently showed a mourning mother and father's recently-deceased daughter hovering above them.  What set Hope's work apart from others that were deemed hoaxes is that the apparitions all appeared pale, sickly, and in mourning.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even went to Mr. Hope's aide by penning letters in defense of his photography as no hoax!

Here is another of Hope's photos showing an apparition holding up a table.  While this one stretches the imagination a bit more, Hope was steadfast in his conviction that these photos were authentic.  

 

This photo brought Spirit Photography in to the mainstream, however, when the photographers from Country Life magazine captured this ghostly image on the staircase of Raychem Hall in Norfolk, England in the late 1930s.  After some research, they concluded that it must be the specter of the Lady Dorothy Walpole who had died in the house nearly 200 years before.  Henceforth, this image and the ghost it captures became known as The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall.