Edouard Isidore Buguet,

 Edouard Isidore Buguet.    France

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 Edouard Isidore Buguet


1875 photograph titled Fluidic Effect.



Eduard Isidore Buguet
Auto-portrait of the photographer with the Spirit of a lady, c. 1875

Buguet produced between 1873 and 1875 Spirit photographs, mainly in his studio at the, Boulevard Montmatre in Paris, but also during a stay in June 1874 in London.   Among others the scientist William Crookes went to Buguet and received his portrait surrounded by a Spirit form.

In April 1875 Buguet was arrested for fraud and later sentenced, with his own confession, to imprisonment for a year and a fine of 500 francs. He stated that the Spirit photographs were frauds, simply produced by double exposure. Either he dressed up his assistants to play the part of the ghost (after he learned form the sitters what they were expected to see on the plate) or he used a doll for this purpose. This figure was seized by the police in his studio.

In spite of the disclosures a lot of his clients remained convinced that Buguet had produced genuine Spirit portraits. They believed that he was the victim of an organized conspiracy and forced to make a false confession. Anyway, after the trial (Buguet escaped for some time to Belgium) the photographer started to make "photographies anti-spirite". He now arranged openly photographs showing Spirit forms or phenomena like telekinesis for the amusement of the public.


Photograph by Edouard Isidore Buguet are Monsieur Leymarie & Monsieur C; the Spirit extra is said to be an Edouard Poiret. 1874.

I do not know if this one is genuine BUT NOTICE the Spirit and the drapery are interwoven with the portraits of the live figures. NOTICE the ectoplasmic structure on the left is partly behind the left figure's head YET it is clearly over the front of the figure on the right.

In 1875 a French court saw fit to bring to trail the editor of Revue Spirite, which published all about Buguet and the photographic work he was doing. The court sentenced both Buguet and Leymarie to a year in prison for fraud. On a raid of Buguets premises, It was said that their were two shrouded dummies on it was said to represent a child, the other an adult. Also produced at the trail were 299 photographs of different peoples heads which were mounted on stiff carding.

It is said that after Buguet was shown the evidence he confessed. BUT later that year in Brussels at a Spiritual conference he enlarged on his statement in court that the dummies shown were used only by his employees when he was not there. Pointing out that most of his Spirit photographs were genuine, in fact two thirds was mentioned.

During his trail there were many people who testified on Buguet's behalf,  ex-professor of history, musician, Colonel of Artillery, photographic expert, merchant,  optician, journalist, and other people of prominence.

Also mentioned by William Stainton Moses at the time, [a Medium, and an Anglican Christian Minister, considered this image was one of the most important Spirit photographs ever made], "that the prosecution bore traces of clerical origin, and the judge was strongly biased, that Buguet was obviously a genuine Medium, who had no doubt been bribed or terrorized to make a spurious confession, and to fabricate a box full of trick apparatus for exhibition at the trial."

"Une photographie spirite," Revue Spirite , Journal D'Etudes Psychologiques, June 1874, p. 165.

Fred Gettings, Ghosts in Photographs, The Extraordinary Story of Spirit Photography (New York: Harmony Books, 1978) p. 37


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