William H. Mumler began cultivating a name for himself as a spirit photographer in the Victorian Era after he was able to capture the ghost of his long-dead cousin in a self-portrait. Mumler and his healer-medium wife would eventually move to New York City, where the father of spirit photography made a living by providing a weird sense of closure to those who lost loved ones in the Civil War.
Many skeptics attempted to discover the key to Mumler's trickery, as manipulating images was in its infancy. The idea of spirit photography was both highly popular and widely believed to be a hoax. It wasn't until well after a court trial in 1869 (which left Mumler's reputation in tatters) that the world finally learned the process which allowed him to capture the dearly departed on film.
Mumler Photographed Mary Todd Lincoln With Abe's Ghost
Photographer James Wallace Black Watched Mumler Develop His Picture, Which Featured His Dead Father
The Photographic Section Of The American Institute Of NYC Created A Sting Operation Against Mumler
Mumler Was Charged With Fraud In 1869 But Found Not Guilty
Photographers Who Tried To Mimic Him Used Two Negatives
Mumler's Process Likely Involved A Previously Used Glass Plate In Front Of A Clean One