Skip to main content

Remembering William Mumler: The Pioneer of Ghost Photography



Most of us have seen photographs allegedly depicting ghostly apparitions, yet few of us are familiar with the name William H. Mumler. It was Mumler who is credited with the invention, and subsequent popularity, of spirit photography. While Mumler might not be a household name, you have perhaps encountered some of his work- such as the above picture which famously shows the "ghost" of Abraham Lincoln standing behind his widowed wife, Mary Todd Lincoln.

While Mumler's photographs have long been proven to be hoaxes, there is a certain ethereal beauty about his work. Unfortunately, his hoaxer reputation overshadowed his abilities as a photographer and has robbed him of the worldwide fame he enjoyed in the years following the Civil War, when he capitalized on the large number of Americans who had lost relatives in the conflict.



Mumler was a silversmith in Boston when he stumbled upon the process for creating spirit photographs. Despite having a minimal knowledge of the art, he quickly became one of the world's most famous photographers, sought out by politicians, captains of industry and the upper crust of society. In 1869, Mumler was brought before the court on charges of fraud (P.T. Barnum famously testified against him), but Mumler was acquitted. Nonetheless, the bad publicity ruined Mumler's business and he died penniless fifteen years later.



Today, there is a renewed interest in Mumler's work, even though there is nothing supernatural about it. Mumler may not have been the first person to photograph a genuine spirit, but he was the first to say he did, and for that reason there has been a resurgence in collecting and cataloging his work.



Popular posts from this blog

The Incest Capital of the World?

At the far eastern edge of Kentucky, nestled in Appalachia, resides Letcher County. In spite of its isolation and poverty (approximately 30% of the county's population lives below the poverty line), Letcher County has managed to grow at an impressive rate, from a population of just 9,172 in 1900 to a present-day population of nearly 25,000. However, even if Letcher County tripled or quadrupled its present population, there's still a pretty good chance that virtually all of the county's inhabitants would be related to each other-- thanks to one particularly fertile family whose astounding rate of reproduction can put even the friskiest rabbit to shame.

Around the year 1900, Letcher County was the home of a man by the name of Jason L. Webb, who made national headlines for having the one of the largest families in the world. According to newspaper reports of the era, Jason had 19 children, 175 grandchildren, and 100 great-grandchildren. Perhaps even more impressive was his b…

Black Eyed Children Finally Explained!

Last month, we received an email from a reader in Michigan, in response to our article debunking the "black eyed children" phenomenon, which links these so-called "paranormal" entities to recreational drug use.  The reader, whom we will call Onizuka in order to protect his identity, claims that not only is he familiar with BEKs- but that he was one.  "Onizuka" agreed to speak with JOTB via Yahoo instant messenger.  Ironically, this conversation took place on 4/20, a date which is embraced by those who are part of the drug culture.


JOTB:Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.  In one of your previous emails, you stated that you were a "black eyed kid".  What did you mean by that?

Onizuka:  Last November I was driving late at night at turned on the radio and came across an episode of Coast to Coast AM and the topic of the show was black eyed children.  It convinced me to do some research on the topic, and that's how I found your article.  A…

Jesus Campos Disappears; Las Vegas Mystery Deepens

Yesterday we delved into the mystery surrounding the Las Vegas shooting and the unanswered questions surrounding Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos, such as his peculiar GoFundMe page and the fact that his home is being protected by a private armed security guard. Independent investigative journalists have revealed that the company protecting Campos-- identified as "On Scene Investigation & Security, Inc."-- is a Las Vegas-based company whose business license expired in January of 2017.

Also adding fuel to the conspiracy theories was the report by investigative journalist Laura Loomer claiming that Campos' name has been "scrubbed" from the casino's employee database.

It was also reported earlier this week that gunman Stephen Paddock's Reno home was broken into.

But things have just taken a new bizarre twist. Gateway Pundit just announced that Jesus Campos is missing.

Campos was scheduled to appear on Sean Hannity's show on Fox News but, a…