Medium F M Parkes,    England

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 F M Parkes Medium 


Photograph taken by F M Parkes  from the UK. Mrs Collins with the Spirit of her husbands Father, who was recognised by many friends and relations at the time.1875.

Parkes was one of the first Spirit Photographers in Britain, beginning his work in 1872, the same year as Frederick Hudson. His earliest images were made in partnership with the proprietor of a restaurant, who served as Medium. Following directions from the Spirits, Parkes required that photographic plates be placed in his control in the darkroom before they were inserted in the camera--so they could be "magnetised." If that aroused suspicions, Parkes tried to compensate by cutting a hole in his darkroom wall so that his patrons could witness the processing of the negative.
The vertical line running through this photograph is caused by a break in the glass negative. Perhaps this was intended as a visual distraction, or served as evidence of paranormal vibrations.

Mrs. Collins' husband was an amateur photographer, who wrote a letter to the spiritualist journal Human Nature in which he hedges a little on the accuracy of this spirit likeness of his father. Judging by appearances alone, the late Mr. Collins could have served as the model for the Edvard Munch painting The Scream.

A note on the back of this photograph makes reference to an article by M. A. Oxon in the journal Human Nature for April, 1875 (see text below). "M. A. Oxon" was the pseudonym of William Stainton Moses (1813-1892), an Anglican minister and teacher who was a noted English medium.

Cyril Permutt, Beyond the Spectrum, A Survey of Supernormal Photography (Cambridge: Patrick Stevens, Ltd., 1983). p. 18



Photograph by F.M.Parkes and his assistant Mr. Reeves
An ordinary person from the street with a Spirit form, 1872-75

F.M. Parkes was a self taught photographer who used his Mediumistic powers linking with the Spirit World to gain more knowledge of the art of photographing the Spirit extras. With the help of the Spirit World he started earning a living by this method in 1872 onwards. Seeing he needed someone to help him whist in an altered state, and with his shop work, he asked Mr. Reeves the owner of the dining rooms near to his shop in Kings Cross London. Most of his Spirit Extras were placed onto the photographic plates by the Spirit World when they both worked together.

When conditions were at their best they even produced fully formed Spirit Forms and very distinct faces of the loved ones of the sitters. This is what was happening with the other photographers of the day with the likes of Frederick Hudson and William Mumler.

Over the years the pair whilst they were testing out all their many ways of going about their craft had unusual images on their plates, like flashes of light, and cloudy images, or a white smearing on their photographic plates, some of the many times meaning different things to the sitters.

The Reverend William Stainton Moses was convinced Parkes photographs were genuine, because not only did he use his own place of work, but also many were taken when away from his photographic studios, and the plates were swapped without him knowing and the phenomena still happened.


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