The late 19th century saw a rise in spiritualism in the United States  and the world. Indeed, even Mrs. Abraham Lincoln was convinced that  ghosts and spirits existed and this, in part, fueled others in similar  beliefs. Photography at the time was still rather unaccessible and  misunderstood by the ordinary citizen, their images usually taken by  photographers in studios. Enter the dishonest photographer to the  popular spiritual seance scene, and an opportunity for a past buck  appeared. These unscrupulous photographers would bring a person into  their “spiritual studio” and a “mock” seance was performed. Of course,  when the photo was taken, the victim paid the money and instructed to  come back the next day to see “what may have materialized.” What seems  almost comical today was believed by many as revealing of long lost  ancestors, or other ghosts that happened to be around them.  With a  simple dodge and burn technique coupled with the merging of another  portrait or two to the sitters original—and voila! an industry was born.  Today, these fake spirit photos are quite rare, and, if you can find  one, often sell for hundreds of dollars.

Source: Accidental Mysteries

The late 19th century saw a rise in spiritualism in the United States and the world. Indeed, even Mrs. Abraham Lincoln was convinced that ghosts and spirits existed and this, in part, fueled others in similar beliefs. Photography at the time was still rather unaccessible and misunderstood by the ordinary citizen, their images usually taken by photographers in studios. Enter the dishonest photographer to the popular spiritual seance scene, and an opportunity for a past buck appeared. These unscrupulous photographers would bring a person into their “spiritual studio” and a “mock” seance was performed. Of course, when the photo was taken, the victim paid the money and instructed to come back the next day to see “what may have materialized.” What seems almost comical today was believed by many as revealing of long lost ancestors, or other ghosts that happened to be around them. With a simple dodge and burn technique coupled with the merging of another portrait or two to the sitters original—and voila! an industry was born. Today, these fake spirit photos are quite rare, and, if you can find one, often sell for hundreds of dollars.

Source: Accidental Mysteries

39 notes
tags: Photography. Vintage. 19th Century. Nineteenth Century. 1800s. Black and White.

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