Ghost in the Stereoscope"
Kindly suggested by Sir
short history of the phenomenon of the ghost in 19th.
a book on Ghost photography
Ghosts in photography are both, an intriguing
subject and a natural phenomenon. Obviously, ghosts
in photographs do exist
and the field is much wider as illustrated in
the "ghost effect"
image above. Ghost were a normal occurrence in
early 19th. Century photographs due
to long exposure times.
Elements in a photographical composition that
were moving during these long exposures became
only partly visible, or not visible at all. For
this reason, we see many early street scenes,
completely desolated. Where are all those people?
People who left the camera's viewing field before
the end of a long exposure were only partly registered
on the light sensitive emulsion, due to this they
appeared only as transparent
The image on the right shows a detail of "Alexandrië
- Place des Consuls", an early view by Félix
Two "ghost carriages"
are slightly visible. One is more faint than the
other, we see twice the same carriage in one image
exposed during different time intervals.
- Place des Consuls
Woman with Daisies and Spirit
The ghostly appearance of partly exposed details
in a composition was soon recognized and exploited
to produce "proof"
of the existence of ghosts in the real world among
The new medium of photography became misused by
spiritists to prove the existence of ghosts.
The subject of the supernatural was very popular
in the 19th. Century and many 'charlatan
mediums' used this effect to convince their easy
manipulated believers of the existence of life
after death. For many people, the appearance
of a ghost in a photograph was the ultimate proof
of their existence. Of course, the photographers
in the 19th. Century already new better.
A lot of "real"
ghost photographs were produced in the 19th.
Century to prove the supernatural forces of popular
mediums. A good selection of suchlike views can
be seen on the web site of the
American Museum of photography.
There you can visit the online exhibition "Do
These images are know as spirit photographs and
caused a lot of controversy, even until today
because some people just like to believe the impossible.
The Sixth-plate tintype on the left, "Woman
with Daisies and Spirit"* is published
here with the kind permission of the
American Museum of photography.
Click on the image to view a larger version on
the original "Do
you believe?" web pages.
was obvious that inventive minds in the 19th.
Century exploited this technique to produce popular
series of collectable ghost images for home entertainment
in the stereoscope. Especially stereoscopic ghost
photographs are a most thankful subject to exploit
this long exposure technique. In the latter, the
3-dimensinal scene is showing a transparent ghost
situated in a realistic decor when viewed true
a stereoscope or stereoviewer.
A wonderful series of suchlike images is titled:
"THE GHOST IN THE STEREOSCOPE"
(kindly suggested by Sir
David Brewster) Brewster.
Brewster improved the handheld stereoscope. His
type of stereoscope is known as the Brewster
type stereo viewer.
On this page you will find one example of an accidental
natural ghost images, typical for early 19th.
Century images but mainly Brewster type trickery
views. Further, as suggested above, you can visit
the spirit photographs mentioned to be REAL for
easy believers on "Do
The main reason for this page is showing the collectable
ghost images that were made just for fun and amusement
in the popular stereoscope, an optical 3-D viewer
or, the "television" of the 19th.
Century, since stereo images, no matter what subject,
were extremely popular and widespread in the Victorian
The Ghost in the Stereoscope..
The unmasking and a
The image on the
right depict "Une
Photographie Spirite" on the cover of
Le Journal Illustré,
Dimanche 27 Juin 1875
(d' Après une épreuve démonstrative de Pierre
Petit - Dessin de Henri Meyer)
The article explains the unmasking of Spirit
Photographers and a spirit photograph
demonstration by Pierre Petit.
Ghosts are a very popular
theme, not only in photography!
here with page
1/10 to read about "the ghost in the animated
projected image before the invention of cinema"
Une Photographie Spirite
(*) " 'Woman with Daisies and Spirit' Copyright ©
The American Photography Museum,
Inc. All Rights Reserved."