1863 - 1933

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How can an old-fashioned plate camera capture images of the so-called 'dead', or even the thought-images of people who are still alive?

The best known British photographic medium of the twentieth-century is probably William Hope, who worked in Crewe, England.

When conducting a photographic sitting, Mr Hope took several precautions to rule out any type of fraud.

He used a plate camera and his sitters provided their own new and sealed photographic plates, which they brought with them into the seance-room. They were then invited to examine the plate camera - a rather simple mechanism in which it would prove difficult to hide anything.

Investigators were required to sign or initial their newly-opened plates so that their signatures would appear on them.

Then they personally placed their own plates in the camera, and they also removed them after the picture had been taken; after this, they accompanied William Hope into his darkroom and stayed with him while he developed the plates, so that they could be certain that at no time could any substitution take place.

Through William Hope's mediumistic gift, hundreds of likenesses of his sitters' dead relatives and friends were obtained, a high percentage of which were subsequently verified as accurate likenesses by living family members. Even the images of animals were captured on film.

On occasion, pictures of people who were still alive (but who were quite a distance away from the seance-room) would appear on the plates; but the explanation for this may be contained in the opposite column - it would seem that Thought is the key to producing many or all of these paranormally-obtained images.

Interestingly enough, when the famous medium, Lilian Bailey, was starting her investigations into life after death, she sat with William and was desperately hoping to receive a picture of her recently-deceased mother, but she got a big surprise.

The image caught on the plate was a stranger to her (then), but it turned out to be her spirit guide, a First World War soldier called William Hedley Wootton, whose image appeared complete with a shaded area over his temple where an enemy bullet had killed him.

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Below is a twentieth-century spirit photograph taken with a plate camera by William Hope, and it shows a woman's face in the top right corner.
(The man seated in the middle of this group is a youthful
Maurice Barbanell, founder editor of Psychic News and of Two Worlds Magazine.)

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How Does
Spirit Photography Work?

It seems that the communicating spirit has a lot to do with achieving photographic success, together with the physical mediumistic power provided by the medium and the sitters.

It is now widely believed by many researchers that spirit images are 'impressed' on sensitive photographic plates by a sheer act of mental will, by a thought-process which makes each picture a kind of 'thought-o-gram' - and the spirit people affirm that thought-waves can travel faster than light: they say they are instantaneous.

Such subtle thought-processes at work might explain why many spirit extras sometimes appear as rather flat, simple representations of two-dimensional images.

In recent years, modern psychics have experimented with 'thought-o-grams' and have been able to prove that mentally-projected images can be captured on photo-sensitive material.