American Museum of Photography -- View Great Photographs

“Do You Believe?” Spirit Photographs from the American Museum of Photography

“Do You Believe?” Spirit Photographs from the American Museum of Photography



Frederick A. Hudson (England)

Mr. Raby with the Spirits “Countess,” “James Lombard,” “Tommy,” and the Spirit of Mr. Wootton’s Mother.

Albumen Print, 3.5 x 4 inches

circa 1875

Inscribed in ink on the verso:

Obtained by Messrs. Raby Wootton & Rutherford at Hudson’s Studio.

At a Seance at Mr. Wootton’s the spirits desired him to go to Hudson’s promising they would try to produce their likeness.

Mr. W. did so, accompanied by his friends. The gentlemen operated [i.e., took the photograph] themselves without allowing Hudson to take any part in the manipulations. The result was exactly as the spirits had told beforehand it would be. Mr. Raby sat and the spirits “Countess,” “James Lombard,” “Tommy,” and Mr. Wootton’s mother appeared when the plate was developed.

Frederick A. Hudson was England’s first spirit photographer. His earliest results were obtained in 1872. The editor of the British Journal of Photography investigated the following year, bringing his own plates and chemicals, and could not come up with an explanation. Dr. Alfred Russel Wallace, who shares credit with Charles Darwin for the discovery of evolution, was a client of Hudson and obtained two different photographs showing his deceased mother.

Hudson was occasionally caught in the act of faking his images, and was even found dressing up to play the role of the ghost. Nevertheless, he “became the best known British psychic photographer and was known for producing supernormal extras on his plates under the closest of scrutiny.” (Cyril Permutt, Beyond the Spectrum [Cambridge: Patrick Stephens, 1983], p. 17. )





Click For More Spirit Photography

Early Spirit Photography:

Click Logo for Museum’s Home Page

Science vs. Seance
The Mumler Mystery

Copyright © 2000 The American Photography Museum, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

American Museum of Photography and the logo are Service Marks of The American Photography Museum, Inc.