William Mumler Spirit Photographer or Hoax?
We at GhoSt Augustine like to discuss topics of all kinds to do with the spirit world.
William H. Mumler (1832–1884) was an American spirit photographer who worked in New York and Boston. His first spirit photograph was a self-portrait which developed to apparently show his deceased cousin. Mumler then left his job as a jeweller, instead opting to work as a full time photographer, taking advantage of the large number of people who had lost relatives in the American Civil War. Perhaps his two most famous works are the photograph of Mary Todd Lincoln with the ghost of her husband Abraham Lincoln, and his photo of Master Herrod, a medium, with three spirit guides.
After being accused of various activities, he was taken to court for fraud, with noted showman P. T. Barnum testifying against him. Though found not guilty, his career was over, and he died in poverty. Today, Mumler’s photos are considered to be fakes
Ghost of Abraham Lincoln
One of Mumler’s most famous photographs apparently shows Mary Todd Lincoln with the “ghost” of her husband, Abraham Lincoln.Paranormal researcher Melvyn Willin, in his book Ghosts Caught on Film, claims that the photo was taken around 1869, and that Mumler did not know that his sitter was Lincoln, instead believing her to be a ‘Mrs Tundall’. Willin goes on to say that Mumler did not discover who she was until after the photo was developed.The College of Psychic Studies, referencing notes belonging to William Stainton Moses (who has appeared in photographs by other spirit photographers), claim that the photo was taken in the early 1870s, Lincoln had assumed the name of ‘Mrs. Lindall’ and that Lincoln had to be encouraged by Mumler’s wife (a medium) to identify her husband on the photo.Though the image has been dismissed as being accidental double exposure,it has been widely circulated.
Other photographs by Mumler included pictures showing various spirits (including relatives, fiancés, actresses and spirit guides) with living sitters.Other well known sitters include Moses A. Dow (editor of The Waverley Magazine) whose photograph apparently showed the spirit of his assistant Mabel Warren, and Fannie Conant, a well known medium from Boston, apparently photographed with the ghost of her brother Chas.