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Victorian Spirit Photography

a vintage photo of a man

Victorian spirit photography is an art form emerging in the 19th century that straddled the line between the worlds of the living and dead. It emerged as a testament to the era’s fascination with the afterlife and the unknown. The rise of spiritualism in this era saw the rise of spirit photography. 


William H. Mumler is considered the pioneer of spirit photography when he accidentally stumbled across a developing technique that made it appear as if an eerie figure was standing beside him. It is not known whether this was intentional or not, but in either case, Mumler made history. Other photographers caught on to the trend and used techniques such as double exposures to create their own apparitions.


This style of spirit photography was a source of comfort to Americans, who were still in mourning after the Civil War. The Civil War left thousands of families with lost loved ones lost to the battles. Since most remains never were identified, these families were left with no closure. These pictures were able to bring healing to people who lost loved ones but never got to say goodbye. People were able to “see” themselves standing with their family members once again. In fact, one of the most famous examples is of Mary Todd Lincoln with her husband, Abraham Lincoln, standing behind her with his hands on her shoulders. This would be the last photo of Mrs. Lincoln while she was alive.


The world of spirit photography is a fascinating one. We here at Ghost Augustine have a new display of these in one of the more haunted rooms of our very own haunted house. You can see for yourself by booking a Para4ce Investigation, where you conduct a 2-hour paranormal investigation of our house. Or you can book an Everdark Express, where you can visit the house, along with the grounds of a derelict cemetery, the grounds of the Lighthouse, and more!

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