Spiritual Photography

When I watch shows like Ghosthunters, I’m struck by how enamored they are of their infrared cameras and digital recorders. Firenze has an interesting article on how the medium of photography was similarly, originally, receieved.

Paul Firenze Spirit photography: how early spiritualists tried to save religion by using science j=Skeptic v=11 n=2 y=2004 pp=70-78 r=20041214

An interesting review of how early spiritualists and scientists alike viewed the new technology of the camera to objectively capture the supernatural

77 [Alfred Russel Wallace’s] most important argument was “the fact that phantasms, whether visible or invisible to persons present, can be and have been photographed.” He rested his case for the truth of the apparitions by arguing that one cannot dispute “the test of objectivity afforded by the photographic camera in the hands of experts and physicists of the first rank, rendering any escape from the conclusion simply impossible.”

77 Nathaniel Hawthorne objected to these practices of capturing the supernatural: “if these phenomenon have not humbug at the bottom, so much the worse for us. What can they indicate in a spiritual way, except that the soul of man is descending to a lower point than it has ever before reached while incarnate? We are pursuing a downward course in the eternal march, and thus bring ourselves into the same range with beings whom death, in requital of their gross and evil lives, has degraded below humanity! To hold intercourse with spirits of this order is to stoop and grovel in some element more vile than earthly dust.

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