Halloween Haunting Photos by William Hope

In the memory of Halloween, take a look at the spooky photographs of paranormal investigator William Hope (1863–1933), who used multiple exposure techniques to render the appearance of ghostly apparitions. Although his deception was publicly exposed in 1922, he continued to dabble in the dark arts.by guardian.co.uk

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1: A photograph of a group gathered at a seance. The information accompanying the spirit album states that the table is levitating – in reality the image of a ghostly arm has been superimposed over the table stand through double exposure.

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2: Two faces appear around a man and two women – one, an elderly person, and the other that of a younger woman shrouded in a cloak.

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3: Two of Hope’s friends are seen with a figure – the couple’s deceased son – at the wheel. Hope had suggested a photo opportunity for the ‘chance’ of obtaining a spirit impression.

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4: A young woman’s face appears as if floating above the sitters, draped in a cloak. Hope may have already held her photograph in his studio, or he may have asked the couple to supply photographs of deceased relatives under the pretence of using the image to contact the spirit world.

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5: Two faces – that of a man and a girl – appear, surrounded in ‘mist’, above the group. Hope founded the spiritualist society known as the Crewe Circle and his work surged in popularity after the first world war, when many bereaved people were desperate to find evidence of loved ones living beyond the grave.

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6: A man’s blurred face appears next to the sitter, surrounded in an ethereal-looking ‘mist’. The signature in the upper right hand corner belongs to the sitter.

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7: A male face appears on its side above the sitter’s head.

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8: A photograph of Welsh mediums and brothers Joe and Will Thomas. The Thomas family claimed that the image superimposed over the sitters was the only photograph of their deceased grandmother in existence. Hope, however, would have used an existing photograph of a woman to create the illusion.

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9: 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.

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10: The face of a young woman appears over the woman on the right. The reverse of the photograph reads: ‘Why is the child always pushing to the front?’ and ‘Do we get messages from the higher spirits?’ – Perhaps questions the women wanted answering. One of the sitters, at Hope’s request, has signed the plate for authentication.

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11: A man’s face appears in a haze of drapery on the right of the photograph. Thomas, a medium from Wales, did not recognize the superimposed image. Thomas has signed the bottom of the photograph, ‘Sincerely Yours Will Thomas’ – perhaps this indicates a friendship with Hope.

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12: A woman’s face – draped in a transparent cloak – appears over the group.


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