What exactly is spirit photography?
According to some, it is a spirit that appears only in a photograph. Over the years many different spirits have been captured on film, but whether they are real or not is a completely different question.
The first record of spirit photography was with William H. Mumler in the 1860′s. He took a self portrait and later discovered a second figure when he was the only one standing for the picture. As it turned out, he actually had made a double exposure. Still, he became a medium, and began taking photos and retouching them with images of long lost loves and relatives. His scam was revealed when he began using well known members of Boston society as spirits, but these people weren’t yet dead. Mumler’s most famous photograph is that of Mary Todd Lincoln, with the phantom figure of her husband, Abraham clearly seen.
Wisegeek.com explains it as such:
In its broadest sense, spirit photography refers to any type of photograph that appears to have captured supernatural phenomena. Examples may include photographs of ghosts, fairies, aura, or images created by thought. Photographs of cryptids, animals with no definitive proof of their existence, are not considered spirit photography. While many examples of spirit photography through the years have been debunked as fakes, others remain unexplained.
During the Victorian era, when photography was just in its infancy and used as an artform, spirit photography was quite popular. Driven by people who were spiritual in nature, and wished to contact loved ones who passed on. This was especially true for the many bereaved during the American Civil War.
While many spirit photographs are of a shadowy figure, many display strange lights or orbs. Often, many of these photographs can be explained, but a good number go unexplained.
Another kind of spirit photograph is the psychic photograph, that creates an image as imagined by the photographer. This type of photography is called nensha in Japanese, and the most famous examples were created in Japan in the early 20th century under the study of professor Tomokichi Fukurai.
Still today there are many out there who claim the have had visitations through the lens of a camera, and the age of digital has not stopped this from slowing down. No, in fact, it’s sped up the number of people who claim that they have seen, or rather captured some sort of ghostly apparition through their telephoto lens.