Below are the images shown in the last meeting on Mesmerism and Spiritualism that were not part of the previous spirit photography post.
For those interested in the history of spirit photography there are two books in Fisher Library which are excellent sources of information in this phenomena. The images and captions below a taken from Chéroux
- Martyn Jolly’s book, Faces of the Living Dead: The belief in Spirit Photography, R.133.92 12
- Clément Chéroux, ed., The perfect medium : photography and the occult, Catalogue of an exhibition held at Maison européenne de la photographie, Paris, Nov. 3, 2004-Feb. 6, 2005 and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, N.Y., Sept. 26-Dec. 31, 2005. R. 133.92 11
- click here for a review of this exhibition by the New York Times, including a video of images
- Click on images for a larger version
William H. Mumler, United States, two pages from an album of 112 cartes de visite and cabinet cards 1870-75. Eight albumen silver prints 10 x 6 cm approx (each) 28 x 20.3 cm (album page). The College of Psychic Studies, London.
Top Right Right: ‘’Mary Todd Lincoln with the spirit of her husband, President Abraham Lincoln’ 1870-75Abraham Lincoln died in 1865. She was known for her interest in Spiritualism and is said to have held seances at the White House. She visited Mumler’s studio under the assumed name Mrs Lindall and obtained a spirit portrait of her late husband. This carte de visite was widely reprinted and circulated.
Top Right Left: Master Herrod with the spirits of Europe, Africa and America. According to Mumler ‘Master Herrod’ ws a young medium whose trance in front of the camera called up the spirits of Europe, Africa and America. American spiritualism recognised the prominent place given to spirits in Native American and African cultures, and this image illustrates the kinship they felt toward their spiritual traditions.
John Beattie, UK, Spiritualist Séance, June 1872, two albumen silver prints 9 x 6 xm approx each, American Philosophical Society Library, Philidelphia. Beattie, a professional photographer and spiritualist, organised his own seances as controlled experiments. The phenomena shown in his images, which are very different from Hudson’s are usually abstract light forms. These two photographs show Beattie (seated on the left) Mr Butland (the medium) in the middle and two witnesses. Dr Thompson and Mr Thommy on the right.
Paul Nadar and Albert De Rochas, France, 1896, Astral body through trickery. Portrait of Albert de Rochas.
Nadar and Rochas demonstrate how it was possible to obtain an ‘astral body through trickery.’
Adrien Majewski, France, 1898-99
Effluvia from a hand resting on a photographic plate
A magnetiser and well-known healer, Majewski made several series of experiments in 1898 and 1899 to record the magnetic fluid – contemporary accounts mention its rare powers – on a sensitised plate. The photographs were mostly obtained by the process called humid, in which the sensitised plate was immersed in a hydro-quinone bath the side covered with gelatin facing downward. The hand was resting on the glass side of the plate or was held a few centimeters away. The pose generally lasted 20 mins.