14 Hilariously Unconvincing "Ghost Photos" From The 19th And 20th Centuries

These hoaxes leave a little to be desired. The pictures are still pretty creepy, though.

1. Photos of séances from the 1930s are to go under the hammer at Swann Auction Galleries.

Swann Auction Galleries / Via catalogue.swanngalleries.com

2. Séances were popular after the First World War, a time when millions of families were grieving.

Swann Auction Galleries / Via catalogue.swanngalleries.com

3. These photos were taken by Scottish brothers Craig and George Falconer, a pair of con artists who regularly duped the public with ghosts made out of materials like cotton wool and paper.

Swann Auction Galleries / Via catalogue.swanngalleries.com

4. Spectators at the séances also took part in the photographic process: loading film, shooting pictures, processing prints.

Swann Auction Galleries / Via catalogue.swanngalleries.com

5. The brothers were arrested and convicted in 1931 in South Africa, when two plainclothes policemen posing as audience members exposed the pair as fraudsters.

Swann Auction Galleries / Via catalogue.swanngalleries.com

6. Lots of pictures of séances exist in other photo archives, spanning over a century, including this picture of a table apparently moving of its own accord in Paris around 1900.

General Photographic Agency / Getty

7. Spiritual medium Marthe Beraud is seen having an uncomfortable encounter with ectoplasm in 1910.

Hulton Archive / Getty

8. The ‘substance’ looks like it could be the face of a little girl.

Hulton Archive / Getty

9. It wasn’t just seances that were popular — the Victorians loved staging theatrical pictures of ‘ghosts’, like this one from the 1860s.

Hulton Archive / Getty

10. A man clings to a tree in terror when confronted with an apparition in 1865.

London Stereoscopic Company / Getty

11. Here he drops to his knees in shock.

London Stereoscopic Company / Getty

12. A spook hovers over a sleeping baby in a crib in the 1860s.

London Stereoscopic Company / Getty

13. A couple are ‘terrified’ by a ghost in the 1880s.

Hulton Archive / Getty

14. The ‘ghost’ of a woman appears to a girl at prayer by her bedside in 1865.

London Stereoscopic Company / Getty

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