Doing researching on haunted places has led us to many fascinating and unusual avenues, such as Castle Frankenstein and the most notorious haunted house in
Being a photographer I love pictures especially vintage photographs and the history of the early days of photography. We enjoy finding unusual books about the paranormal and learning about its legends from its early forms to modern day hauntings. One book I came across the blended both of the passions was "The Perfect Medium Photography and the Occult" by Cheroux, Fischer, Apraxine, Canguilhem, and Schmit, published by Yale University Press. Written in 2004, this large book discuses a topic that is virtually obscure and has been taken for granted.
The book has three parts, Photographs of Spirits, Photographs of Fluids, and Photographs of Mediums. The book begins with the early days of Spiritualism in the Victorian era and the spirit photographs that came about during that time. Photographers like William Mumler gave rise to spirit photography and in
The second part, Photographs of Fluids, chronicles photography's use in providing evidence of the invisible world like the aura of a human hand or the life force of a freshly plucked leaf. The universal fluid was a theory developed by German doctor Franz Anton Mesmer, who suggested that every living thing has a universal fluid, a magnetic field that governs the body and its surroundings. The photographs of the "fluids" are both strange and fascinating. I found myself staring at them for long periods of time trying to make sense of them all.
The final part of the book, Photographs of Mediums, shows mediums at work levitating, levitating tables, producing ghosts at will, vomiting ectoplasm and other various phenomenons. The photographs in their time may have been used as a tool for debunking. They are a treasure trove of various occult images, along with a well researched narrative and historical context for the contents..
The only complaints I can really come up with that the book is a bit pricey at $45. I also wish they would have included modern ghost hunting photographs. I think this is an important part in the larger scope of photography and the occult. The book appeals to anyone with an interest in ghosts, photography and history, I find myself referencing it often and find it highly recommendable.