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Photographs from a séance with Eva Carrière (1913)

- October 31, 2013 in Boston Public Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, eva carrière, fraud, harry price, hoax, Images, Images-20th, Images-People, Images-Photography, Internet Archive, occult, seance, spirit photography, spiritualism, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

This remarkable series of photographs are from a book entitled Phenomena of Materialisation by German physician and psychic researcher Baron von Schrenck-Notzing. The book focuses on a series of séances that Schrenck-Notzing witnessed between the years 1909 and 1913 involving the French medium Eva Carrière, or Eva C. Born Marthe Béraud, Carrière changed her name in 1909 to begin her career afresh after a series of seances she held in 1905 were exposed as a fraud. Her psychic performances as Eva C gained the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, who believed she was genuine, and also Harry Houdini, who was not so convinced. Another researcher who became interested in her case was Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. A series of tests he devised between the years 1909 and 1913 convinced him that Eva C was the real deal and in 1913 he published his Phenomena of Materialisation detailing the sessions and the reasons for his belief. It has been noted that these sessions with Schrenck-Notzing verged on the pornographic. Carrière’s assistant (and reported lover) Juliette Bisson would, during the course of the séance sittings with Schrenck-Notzing, introduce her finger into Carrière’s vagina to ensure […]

The Spirit Photographs of William Hope

- August 8, 2011 in harry price, Images, non-article, spirit photography, william hope


These photographs of ‘spirits’ are taken from an album of photographs unearthed in a Lancashire second-hand and antiquarian bookshop by one of the Museum’s curators. They were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope (1863-1933). Born in 1863 in Crewe, Hope started his working life as a carpenter. In about 1905 he became interested in spirit photography after capturing the supposed image of a ghost while photographing a friend. He went on to found the Crewe Circle – a group of six spirit photographers led by Hope. When Archbishop Thomas Colley joined the group they began to publicise their work. Following World War I support for the Crewe Circle grew as the grieving relatives of those lost to the war sought a means of contacting their loved ones. By 1922 Hope had moved to London where he became a professional medium. The work of the Crew Circle was investigated on various occasions. The most famous of these took place in 1922, when the Society for Psychical Research sent Harry Price to investigate the group. Price collected evidence that Hope was substituting glass plates bearing ghostly images in order to produce his spirit photographs. Later the same year Price published his findings, exposing Hope as a fraudster. However, many of Hope’s most ardent supporters spoke out on his behalf, the most famous being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure. He died in London on 7 March 1933.

(Text and photos from the National Media Museum entry at Flickr)







Operation Doorstep

The Spirit Photographs of William Hope

The Maps of Piri Reis

Dr Julius Neubronner's Miniature Pigeon Camera

Art in Art

Huexotzinco Codex


Sessions for the Blind at Sunderland Museum