Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Bringing Out the Dead

Pictured is an assortment of spirit photography related books to accompany the previous post. Spirit photography was part of a greater movement known as "spiritualism." The spiritualists believed in "God," but they also believed that spirits in the afterlife can communicate with the living through mediums, seances, and a variety of other methods. Spiritualism thrived from the 1840's to the 1920's. One method of communication was said to be spirit slate writing. Spirit slate writing occurs when a medium gathers people in a seance, and they provide spirits with chalk and a piece of slate. It was alleged that the spirit could directly communicate by writing upon the board. Another method is spirit rapping. This occurs when a medium gathers people in a seance, and spirits supposedly communicate with the gatherers by knocking on the table. They ask the spirit questions, and one knock might me "no" and two might mean "yes" for example. The Fox Sisters of New York were a famous group of mediums who would hold seances, and "spirit rapping" would supposedly occur. It was later revealed that the Fox Sisters were cracking their knuckles to make the rapping sound. The other book pictured is by Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle was a major proponent and defender of spirit photography, which continued to be popular despite Mumler's trial and all the hoop-la. He truly wanted to believe that spirit photography was legitimate, and he wrote the book pictured in order to defend it.

1 comment:

  1. Nice. I'm going to have to look up the Fox Sisters, that's a pretty good racket.