Weird History 24 Eerie Examples of Victorian Ghost Photography  

Cristina Sanza
17.3k views 24 items Embed

In the early 1860s, an American photographer named William Mumler developed some self-portraits, and was shocked to see a ghostly female figure floating behind him. As he studied the photo, he realized that the figure was his cousin who had died twelve years earlier.

This is the story that he told the public; in reality, he was experimenting with a new photography technique called double exposure. It created the ghostly mirror-image effect, making it appear as though his cousin was hovering nearby. He used this technique to trick grieving families into buying his photos so they would have one last memento of their dead loved ones.

Other photographers followed his lead, but Mumler was eventually charged with fraud in 1869. PT Barnum testified against Mumler and said he had purchased several of the spirit photos to display in his humbug museum.

This list collects some of the most interesting examples of spirit photography by Mumler and other artists.

William Mumler And His Cousin, 1861


William Mumler And His Cousin,... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 24 Eerie Examples of Victorian Ghost Photography
Photo:  William H. Mumler/via algonquinredux.com

The Medium, Charles Foster, And A Spirit, 1884


The Medium, Charles Foster, An... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 24 Eerie Examples of Victorian Ghost Photography
Photo:  Emma Hardinge Britten/Wikimedia Commons

Henry Ridgely Evans, A Magician, And A Spirit, 1897


Henry Ridgely Evans, A Magicia... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 24 Eerie Examples of Victorian Ghost Photography
Photo:  Henry Ridgely Evans/Wikimedia Commons

The Medium, Mrs. Everitt, And Spiritualist, W.P. Adshead, Pose With A Spirit, 1882


The Medium, Mrs. Everitt, And ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 24 Eerie Examples of Victorian Ghost Photography
Photo:  Georgiana Houghton/Wikimedia Commons