Real Ghost Pictures or Early Trick Photography? You Decide.

Our Unique Collection of Weird Edwardian Spirit Photographs

These images were printed from a series of glass photographic plates that were recently found and now are being discussed within spiritualism. You can click the ghostly images for larger prints from these photographic glass plates. Please share your thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Real Ghost Pictures and Spirit PicturesMy friend Violet Kipling has written the commentary below that was used for a lecture. She is not suggesting that all of them are real ghost pictures but some may make you stop and think. I have only included what I think are the best 12 Ghost Pictures we have on file and the ones that I feel appear to be the most real. The Spiritualist commentary makes a number of assumptions and in particular that in these early days of photography it was much harder to use photographic camera tricks or special effects.

The argument says that glass plates could not be tampered with and the miraculous appearance of the spirit person’s signatures gives weight to the fact that these are real ghosts pictures. Having written a column in Fate and Fortune magazine now for many years and studied the thousands of ways that cameras can produce apparently real ghost pictures I am not convinced by these pictures.  Some of the ways I feel trickery has been used is by scratching directly on to the silver photographic chemicals on the class – this would create the ‘ectoplasm’ we see in some images. It would also account for the alleged signatures from the spirit people including that of the dead  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who was a famous advocate of Spiritualism.

Real Ghost Pictures can also be faked up by rubbing away an area of the glass plate and then putting the plates on top of one another. This would account for the strange mists and with faces in them. You will note also that many of the ‘real ghosts’ have different lighting to the main pictures which suggests to me that the images were taken at different times.

A Spiritualist’s Commentary

Violet KiplingThe slides we are going to look at today are taken from a collection of some 500 original glass slides which a Spiritualist Minister, Mr Alan Millichamp, holds in trust.  The ones we are looking at today are all those where the spirit extras have been positively identified and are not “just somebody who appeared on the print”.

Whilst the original slides have been copied to use in our modern projectors, you will be able to see from the quality of the photographs on the slides, just how very old some of them are.  Many were taken in the early days of photography when it was necessary to sit for five minutes because the camera lens was left open for this period of time in order for the image to be imprinted on the photograph plate.  It was vital that the sitters did not move during this period of time and it can be seen on one or two of the slides where the sitters did actually move  –  perhaps they sneezed?? It was not unknown for sitters’ heads to be placed between unobtrusive wooden clamps which would hold them still without too much undue distress to the sitter.

When Spiritualism came to England there were many forms of psychic phenomena manifesting and with the advent of cameras spirit extras were only too happy to use all available energy to impress their images upon the photographic plate as a message to their loved one of their continuing existence.

It was found that some people had the appropriate energies for the world of spirit to use them as photographic mediums and it was possible to actually book a Photographic Sitting and know that the chances of a friend, or loved one, appearing on the photograph were very high indeed.

Psychic Photography is a phenomenon which requires a physical medium for its production.  In physical mediumship everyone is able to witness the phenomena produced and in the case of spirit photography, we can all, even today, witness the phenomena produced by these mediums.

Even though it was known that it was possible for a spirit extra to be found upon the photograph at a Photographic Sitting it was still very necessary to preclude all possibility of fraud and people used to take their own photographic plates to the medium, and after signing it, they would place it in the camera and remove it once the photograph had been taken, in order to prevent the medium from ever actually touching the plate.

There were many circles set up in which to develop photographic mediumship and one of the most well known is probably the circle in Crewe in which the medium William Hope sat and he was responsible for the production of many of the photographs we are going to look at today.

Ectoplasm Head Materialises?

ectoplasm spirit head materialisesThis an example of a William Hope photograph and the spirit extra is a relative to the sitter.

William Hope was the medium referred to who had a circle in Crewe and he became famous for the spirit extras which appeared when he took the photographs, or was in the room.

A lot of psychic photographs can be identified as to their origin by the style as it were and the majority of William Hope’s photographs showed the spirit extra with an ectoplasmic surround.

Ghost Picture of Murderer

Ghost Picture of MurdererThis picture was taken in Brazil.  Whilst the photographer taking this photograph, which was a time exposures where the sitters had to sit for quite a while, was not a Spiritualist he actually saw, through his camera lens, the lady who has transposed herself onto this photograph.

Two weeks after the photograph was taken the man confessed to the spirit extra’s murder.  (Be sure your sins will find you out!)

Real Spirit Faces?

Real Spirit FacesThis is the old Middlesbrough Church and the photograph was taken at a Good Friday Rally.

The principal chemist from Stanton Stavely Ironworks, a non Spiritualist, took the photographs and developed the plates himself.

Can you see where the two at the front have moved  –  again, it is a time exposure.

Graveyard Spirit of Dead Baby

Baby Graveyard SpiritThis grave is in Middleham Cemetery in Manchester.  A gentleman who had lost his wife went into a Spiritualist Church and asked to see a medium.

A private sitting was arranged and all the medium could get for him was “go and photograph the grave”.

He did so and this is the result.  The medium was not aware, of course, that his wife and baby had died.  The sitter did not in fact know his wife was pregnant.

Photo of Spirit Ectoplasm Face

Spirit Ectoplasm FaceAnother William Hope photograph.  The sitter is Mrs Dawson whose husband, Harold, used to be the President of the Spiritualists’ National Union.

The spirit extra on the photograph is a relative.

This photograph is part of the history of the SNU and it is vital that this, and others like it, are not lost.

physical-mediumship-photographPhysical Mediumship Photograph

Another circle photograph.

How many faces?

There are definitely two, maybe 3, or more

 Spirit Writing Photograph

spirit writingThis is a signed photograph of Cyril Hartley and the spirit extra was one of his relatives.

Spirit writing is usually done by a medium who is in trace in which messages are given by spirit while the medium’s hand writes the messages on its own accord.

Shown here is a different phenomena in that the spirit writing has miraculously appeared on the glass photographic plates.

Real Ghost Photography

This photograph was not taken with a film in a camera.  Someone held the plate in its lightproof paper in his or her hand during a circle and then it was developed and the result was?  –  J F Smedley.

Real Ghosts 24

This photograph brings into sharp focus the actual meaning of the words ‘overshadowing’.  This beautiful guide is just one of many such people who work with us within our circles and development groups.  The lady sitter was a medium and she did know the helper who showed herself and also the Indian guide.

Ghost writing 28

The writing on this photograph reads:  “Dear friends, we shall do our best to prove to your satisfaction that we are still able and eager to interest ourselves in your welfare and all that we ask is a fair and honest judgment.”  Needless to say, these aims of the spirit world continue to this day.

spirit pic 30

This photograph shows examples of psychic energy that is around when we have a sitting with a medium.

Spirit image 35

A little girl was asked by spirit helpers to hold out her hands.  She asked if she was to be given something and received a rose.

REAL GHOST PHOTOGRAPHS – commentary continued

It can be seen from the foregoing photographs how eager and willing the spirit people are to work with us;  to allow us to carry out experiments with them and they will continue to amaze us with the manner in which they continue to get across their message of eternal life and unconditional love.

It is now, therefore, incumbent upon each one of us to give them the opportunity to send us photographs of themselves, as they were when we knew them, or as they are now.  I really don’t mind.  A bouquet of flowers, a piece of writing, the spirit world standing on its head, as in the Armistice Parade photograph, would be a wonderful manifestation of their love and I know that we would all be overjoyed to receive such evidence from them.

Communication of any description, however, is two-way and it is up to us to meet the spirit world halfway and provide them with the instruments for producing such phenomena.  We must leave cameras in the circle or unopened film.  We must ask permission to take photographs in the circle, perhaps with infra-red film, which our pioneers did not have access to.  We must organise Psychic, or Spirit Sittings, and take photographs of each other in an effort to establish who are photographic mediums and one thing we must insist upon is that EVERY photograph is printed, even the so-called spoiled ones  –  they could be the interesting ones.

Do not let the Photographic Department of your local Pharmacy, consign Grandmother to the waste film bin;  she has taken too much time and effort to be with us and deserves every opportunity to be photographed in all her finery.  We may pay for much wasted paper but at least we won’t have lost something we will treasure throughout our earthly lives.

More Photos or Get the Book

Phantoms on Film

Amazing Real Ghost Pictures!

So now tell us YOUR opinion in the comments section. Are these Phantoms or Fakes?

More Ghost Pictures here: Click

8 comments… add one
  • kuna Nov 19, 2013, 9:22 am

    How can I learn to see ghosts?

  • carl anderson Aug 23, 2013, 8:15 am

    All these alleged ‘real ghost photographs’ are either photo shop, double or triple exposure pictures. Trust this artist! Yes, there are real ghost images in existence: for example, the this haunted house seen on television – a show narrated by spelling eludes me (Spock )actor the image was on film and new film made of a ghost. However it was not ghost but recording in basement happening in mid cold damp basement air. Also an old murder case ghost photo solved and when house was torn down and condo there now no floating image power lines outside house and iron nails of house or God allowed image to be seen.

  • David Campbell Jul 10, 2013, 2:53 pm

    Short “Real Ghost Pictures” video very interesting. As someone who works in a stately home, I am used to strange – and fun – happenings. I was impressed with the students, especially Christine, and I wish that more mediums would identify themselves when they come to our place. Of course, they only do that if something/someone attracts their attention or if they have a message for one of us. Among the mediums who have identified themselves were a mother and her 12 year old daughter. The girl was very good, and unintentionally funny when she said that having being scared of her gift since her birth, at 12 it was “now on MY terms!” She’ll be about 20 now, and it would be good to meet her again and find out how she’s getting on. I’m sure she and her mother would remember their visit to the place where the drum moved on TV and Gordon Smith did not like that particular room even in daylight! (No more clues!)

    All the best, and I will say that we are lucky at our place of work as we have NO evil, nasty or vindictive ghosts. Just ones who like having fun, “in the best possible taste” as Kenny used to say!

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Jul 10, 2013, 3:24 pm

      Not sure if you know this but Kenny Everett’s ex-wife – Lee Everett – was a well-known trance medium.

  • glory Aug 28, 2012, 1:03 am

    I have some pictures of myself from over the years in which ghostly lights appear around me. This has been happening since birth. In the one pic you can see my aura coming down over me – only me. Another picture shows me off to the side but there are lights where I am sitting and you can see a Indian if you look hard. He has an eagle on his shoulder. I’d be interested if you could look at them.

    • Craig Hamilton-Parker Aug 30, 2012, 5:39 pm

      I look at ghost pictures via my Fate and Fortune Column: There is a link to my page on the contact section of this website.

    • Susan Lucas Jan 14, 2013, 2:04 pm

      I am a firm believer in the spirit world. My boyfriend is a Native American, actually, Indians refer to him as a medicine man. He has taught me a lot about ghosts and spirits. This Indian as you referred to him, may be your spirit guide. Open your heart and mind to him and he will lead you on the right path.

  • charrie Aug 23, 2012, 12:55 pm

    The ghost picture is an big bad angel – and real!

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