This time of year and especially at Christmas it is traditional for ghost stories to be told around a crackling fire. Apparently this isn’t just a Victorian invention although Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins and MR James were practised narrators of the tradition. Roger Clarke author of A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 years of Hunting of Proof reports that just before Christmas 1642 shepherds were said to have seen ghostly civil war soldiers battling in the skies. Of course today there are some wonderful tales, Susan Hill for example the author of A Woman in Black is a wonderful storyteller.
The growth of photography brought the advent of spirit photography – there were people who charged enormous fees, and used various tricks, to picture sitters with ghostly images of dead loved ones. William Mumler, for instance, who created a famous image of Mary Todd Lincoln with the ghostly hands of her dead husband, Abraham Lincoln resting on her shoulders.
Of course you can do anything in Photoshop these days !