The End of Mumler’s Reach into the Spirit World
Mumler’s reign as the medium photographer de rigueur would come crashing to an end in 1863. A doctor commissioned a spirit portrait at Mumler’s studio. When Mumler produced the final spirit portrait, his subject saw the ‘spirit’ of a man who was alive and well. The doctor went on a personal crusade to expose Mumler’s tricks. In 1869, Mumler faced lawsuits for fraud and larceny. Scientists and photographers explained how he was able to achieve the ghostly images using special effects. Despite the evidence presented by these technicians showing how Mumler could achieve his spectral photographs, he was acquitted. Nobody could prove definitely exactly how Mumler was able to create his photographs – and he wasn’t sharing his secret. Even so, being acquitted of criminal charges didn’t matter. His career as a spirit photographer was destroyed.