Spirit Cartes de Visite
Spiritualism, Photography, Light, Magnetism, Charlatanry
Begins by presenting an extract from a Spiritual Magazine article that rebuts Punch's recent criticism of spirit photography. The extract ridicules Punch's dismissal of the possibility of photographing objects that are invisible to the eye, and points out that the '[photographic] plate is more sensitive than the eye', appealing to the 'evidences' of the 'magnetic or odic lights, which Baron Reichenbach photographed'. Punch denies that Reichenbach's work supports the possibility of photographing ghosts, and quotes a passage in which Reichenbach states that his researches support the existence of light emanating from magnets. Proceeds to note that the Spiritual Magazine has adopted the argument that, while photographs of séance 'sitters' are produced from 'rays of daylight', those of the ghosts depend on the 'odic light' emitted by the spectre which is 'too faint to affect the eye'. Notes that while 'spirits' insist on darkness in séances, they appear not to need darkness for being photographed. Wonders why spirits can do without darkness given that this is a reasonable condition for a ghost shining by odic light. Concludes that one solution to this apparent contradiction in the conditions for observing spirits is that 'their photography [...] is moonshine'.
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]