Spirit photography was an important development within bereavement rituals of the early 1860s.

Spirit photographs are portraits that visually reunite the bereaved with the wispy reappearance of their loved ones. Some people perceived these photographs as evidence in support of core “spiritualist” beliefs. Spiritualists held that the soul persists after death and the potential exists for continued bonds and communication between the dead and the living.

Mediums, largely women, worked alongside spirit photographers to enable the “spiritual” reappearance of the deceased. My research shows women to have been integral participants in this development: I name a woman as the likely inventor of spirit photography.

Appealed to Women

The emergence of spirit photography in Boston was an exciting and highly publicized moment that continues to captivate people today.

Contemporary viewers sometimes see spirit photographs as amusing historical artifacts. Some Victorian viewers were also accustomed to

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