| Elderly man with 'spirit', 1920
Credit:National Museum of Photography, Film & Television/Science & Society Picture Library
A photograph of an elderly man, taken by William Hope (1863-1933) on 5 April, 1920.
A face appears over the man's image on the left of the photograph, covered in a cloak. Although indistinct, the man apparently identified the 'spirit' as an ex-work colleague who had died thirty two years earlier.
William Hope's (1863-1933) spirit album photographs use double and even triple exposure techniques to render the appearance of ghostly apparitions around the sitter. Hope founded the spiritualist society known as the Crewe Circle.
Hope's work gained momentum in the aftermath of World War One, a time when many bereaved people were desperate to find evidence of loved ones living beyond the grave. Although Hope's deception was publicly exposed by a private investigator, Harry Price (1881-1948), in 1922, Hope continued to practice.
Spirit photography began with William Howard Mumler (1832-1884) in 1861. This album, made in the 1920s, represents the tail-end of the phenomenon.
In Collection of: National Museum of Photography Film & Television
Appears in: Diagnosing character
Images as evidence