Prince Among Skeptics
In December 1925, parapsychologist Walter Franklin Prince wrote an article for Scientific American denouncing spirit photography. He contacted mediums such as William Hope, W.M. Keeler, and other well-known spirit photographers. Most refused to let Prince sit for a session, staving off Prince’s attempts to observe their spirit photography processes. In response to their rejection, Prince quipped, “Their spirits are selectively bashful.” Prince observed how photography existed for twenty years before the first spirit images appeared. But after Mumler’s portrait sessions accidentally produced spirits along with the subject in the 1860s, “the accidents rapidly spread.” Prince called out the change in spirit photograph from a full-body spirit leaning against their living one to the contemporary version, where the spirits appear as a “face only, fading out at the edges in a moony fashion.” Prince’s article had more scathing accusations lobbed at spirit photographers.