SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY…Can Ghosts Appear in Photographs?

Ghosts, Paranormal, Science, Unexplained
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by Anna Olvera

Spirit photography has always been a topic of controversy. The earliest case of spirit photography ever recorded was back in 1861, when Boston jewelry engraver William H. Mumler accidentally stumbled upon it. He took a self portrait in which after developing the photographic plate, the image of a woman suddenly appeared. According to Mumler, the image was that of his deceased cousin, who had passed away 12 years before.

He publicly stated that he was alone at the time the picture was taken and he also had experienced cold spots and trembling in his arms. With the popularity of spiritualism and mediumship on the rise, he became an instant “celebrity” and moved to New York City where he established himself as full time “spirit photographer” and raised his prices to $10.00 (the equivalent of around about $150-200 dollars in today’s money) since he had famous clients such as Mary Todd Lincoln, among others.

spirit photo

Many skeptics tried to prove the pictures were nothing but a hoax, but many failed to sustain this claim without any exact evidence. City officials charged him with fraud at one point, but many experts came to his defense, and the charges were dropped. By the late 1860’s/1870’s, spirit photography had been widely known and became a phenomenon to be taken seriously. Today, of course, spirit photography as been widely debunked as a hoax, but the photos still remain as fascinating artifacts.


Famous cases include that of the “Cottingley Fairies” (that even fooled Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), which turned out to be fake. “The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall and the “Queens House Ghosts,” among others. These photographs are among the most noted and older ones to date. But now, if you simply type in the term “Spirit Photography” in Google, you can find thousands upon thousands of pictures claiming to be the real deal. 

ghost-woods-3 ectoplasm





Professionals in the field state there are many ways to fake a picture. From simply a person passing by and moving out of frame quickly, to professionally doing it (especially nowadays) with so many computer programs, CGI and even apps. Ruthless people, like so called “mediums” usually set to fool others by double exposing the film; in the old days, a person simply dressed in a white gown would do the trick.


 As much as I would love to find a flick regarding spirit photography, there’s really not a lot of films out there. One noted film is 2008 Shutter starring Joshua Jackson and Rachael Taylor. It tells the story of newlywed couple Ben and Jen, who after an incident on the road, they discover ghostly images in their photographs. Another film who has references to vintage ectoplasm pictures is A Haunting in Connecticut After a family is force to relocate due to their son’s illness, they begin to experience supernatural disturbances. Based on the real life case of the Snedeker family, and by famous paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.


Overall, we will never know if so many images that claim to be legit are 100% truthful. Still, anyone out there who owns any type of device with a shutter button, is bound to capture a ghostly image on any given day. I speak from personal experience and here’s a little extra for you guys. Believe it or not, I’ve always been into the paranormal since as early as I can remember. I’ve kept this story to myself since a few years back (and still not many people know it). Since I was a little girl, I’ve had some sort of ghost/entity (I called it a “friend) follow me everywhere I go and that happens to show up in my pictures occasionally. To make a long story short, in 2011 I submitted 2 of the most recent pictures I had taken to a reputable website to be examined and if you want to find it the conclusion, please feel free to follow the link below.


I would love to hear your opinion on this matter, so if you have a creepy ghostly photo of your own, or you simply wanna chat, feel free to follow me on my social media pages. In the meantime remember.. Sweet Screams!!

Anna Olvera on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Raging_Rain

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Screaming-for-Horror-1547805215472062/

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