William Hope’s Eerie Spirit Photography

These haunting photos are a product of early trick photography.

These photos, taken throughout the early 1920s, are the work of controversial UK medium, William Hope, who claimed to be able to communicate with the dead through photography.

Hope used double exposure techniques to help create the appearance of ghosts and spiritual entities in photos. Even after he was exposed as a fraud, he continued to have support from his followers and believers.

2. An elderly couple with a young female spirit.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

3. The clergyman and the spirit of his long-deceased father.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

Backstory:

“The clergyman and his wife had attended a seance at which a voice was heard, claiming to be their stillborn daughter - whom the ‘spirit people’ had named Rose. The voice asked them to sit for a psychic photograph, telling them she would try to appear in it.

‘Rose’ is not clearly apparent in the image. The image of the man was identified as the long-deceased father of the clergyman. Hope may have asked the clergyman to bring a photograph of his father, under the pretense of using the image to contact the spirit world.”

4. A “spirit” holds up a levitating table during a séance.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

5. Welsh mediums’ Joe and Will Thomas and their grandmother’s spirit.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

6. The spirit of the woman’s husband appears as she mourns his death.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

Backstory:

“A woman mourns for her husband in a Chapel of Rest, standing by his body which is wrapped in sheets and laden with flowers. The woman’s son stands beside her.

The image of a man’s face has been superimposed over the original photograph. The spirit album notes that the family were Roman Catholics and believed in life after death.”

7. Three elderly people surrounded by two spirits.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

8. A man surrounded by “signs” of spirits.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

9. Two spirits appear in the mist above the group.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

10. Man with a spirit face appearing in the mist.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

11. A woman’s face appears above the heads of the women, surrounded in an ethereal-looking ‘mist’.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

12. Woman with two boys and a female spirit.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

13. Couple with a spirit of husband’s deceased sister.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

14. Man with the spirit of his deceased second wife.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

15. Mrs Bentley and the spirit of her deceased sister.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

Backstory:

“A photograph of Mrs Bentley, once the President of the British Spiritualists Lyceum Union, taken by Wylie, about 1920.

A superimposed image - that of Mrs Bentley’s deceased sister’s face - appears at the lower right of the photograph.”

16. Couple pose with the spirit of their deceased son in the car.

Photo by William Hope / Via Flickr: nationalmediamuseum

Backstory:

“Two of William Hope’s friends lean on their motor car whilst a figure - the couple’s deceased son - is revealed at the wheel. Hope had suggested a photo opportunity for the ‘chance’ of obtaining a spirit impression.”

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