In the 1860s, photographer William Mumler claimed that he could photograph ghosts. He’d take portraits of living people with faint images of the departed lurking behind them, or at times, comforting them, as with the photo he took of Mary Todd being comforted by the recently assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Some believed he could actually channel the dead. Others were skeptical and felt he was exploiting the grieving. His insistence that he actually brought back the dead eventually lead to a famous trial in 1869. Read about it in The Strange Case of William Mumler, Spirit Photographer, by Louis Kaplan. It’s a fascinating story.
Mumler’s case was an early example of investigative journalism intersecting with a criminal trial that, at its essence, set science against religion. The Strange Case of William Mumler, Spirit Photographer is the definitive resource for this unique and fascinating moment in American history and provides insights into today’s ghosts in the machine.
Nothing like a deep dive into paranormal photography to celebrate Halloween. Happy All Things Scary, from the FJP.