The study of the supernatural has long been a controversial field, and William Hope’s Victorian spirit photography is no exception to that rule. Recovered from a dusty second hand bookshop in the English countryside, Hope and his set of ‘spirit’ photos come with their very own backstory of intrigue and infamy.
It was pure accident that catapulted Hope into photographing the “undead”. While taking a photo of his friend in 1905, Hope convinced himself that he had captured the presence of a spirit by chance. Turning his back on his former life as a lowly carpenter, Hope formed the conspiratorial Crewe Circle, a group of six gifted spirit photographers led by Hope himself. Upon receiving the necessary ecclesiastical accreditation via the membership of Archbishop Thomas Colley, the circle went public. Together, the Crewe Circle printed photo after photo of people surrounded by the dead and circulated them to the masses.