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The above photograph is known as the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, Norfolk,
England, taken by a professional photographer a Captain Provand, who was on an
assignment for the next edition of the Country Life Magazine U.K. in September
1936. His assistant, Indre Shira, saw the lady coming down the stairs but
Captain Provand didn't, but he took the photograph anyway, and was very surprised at the
outcome. This photograph was given to the magazines experts to examine and those
at Kodak and could not come to any conclusion as to why or how the image came to
be there on the print. Another one for the scientist to ponder on.
The above photograph is know by many as the Greenwich Ghost. In 1966 it was taken
in Queen’s House, Greenwich, London by Reverend R.W. Hardy. He took it as a
reminder of this imposing staircase he did not see anything at the time of
taking the shot. On developing the film it clearly shows a shrouded
figure, bent over and climbing the stairs. As is usual in these circumstances, the photo and original negative were
examined thoroughly by experts at Kodak. They could not explain the figure and
were certain the photograph was not
The development of the modern scientific community soon had something to work on
with the coming of modern Spiritualism in the 1800's. They turn their attention
to the pioneers who at first welcomed them with open arms as they thought the
scientists had open minds. The Spiritualists of the time soon found out most had
blinkers on and would not remove them. They had fixed ideas and nothing would
change their minds.
As most people find out for themselves the mysterious Spiritual and Psychic
Phenomena does not stick to hard and fast rules that are imposed on the
scientific people. The photographers of the past and many times in this present
age think the scientist will take notice of evidential proof of the Spirit
photograph, only to find out the scientists blanket cover all the Spirit
photographs as fakes and Spirit Phenomena as fraud and all Spiritualists
corrupt. It is easier for them that way as it does not go against their
upbringing in their pigeon holed, blinkered religions.
The photograph was taken by a Mrs. Mabel Chimney in
1969 and the extra is the deceased
mother who is sitting in the back seat of the car behind her husband. The couple
had just finished photographing the grave of Mrs Chimney to use up the film
before taking it to the Chemist to have it developed, she took a picture of her
husband sitting in the car by himself. On picking up the photographs from the
shop she saw the Spirit Extra seated on the back seat and recognized it as her
mother, surprised at this Mrs Chimney had it examined by the photographers at a
national newspaper who declared it genuine and not tampered with in any way.
They sent it off to a photographic expert at Kodak for analysis. Who could not
put up any explanation, only to say it had not been tampered with in any way,
neither in their opinion had the photograph been double exposed.
In 1891, and published in 1895, an experimental Spirit photograph was taken by Sybell Corbett, who was staying in the Combermere Abbey, Cheshire, England. with
her sister. Setting the camera up in the large library she noted the time in her
left the camera on open exposure for one hour. The room was kept free of any visitors
for that period of time. When the developed plate was seen, it revealed a faint
image of a man sitting on one of the chairs. The photograph was shown to one of
the relatives of the owners of the house, and they confirmed the apparition was
Lord Combermere, who had been accidentally killed five days before, was being
buried in the churchyard up the road on that very day.
A photograph taken by Ada Emma Deane with what is said to be a
thought imposed Spirit form. Who imposed the image is unclear, remembering the
Spirit World do all the hard work !
In 1910, Tomokichi Fukurai, an assistant professor of psychology at Tokyo
University and a firm believer in the supernatural, took a woman named Ikuko
Nagao under his wing. Unlike his previous failed experimentation with
clairvoyant Chizuko Mifune earlier that year, Fukurai was determined to prove
his claims as true and decided to work with Nagao's skill, a talent he labeled
nensha (Spirit photography). Unfortunately, Nagao's efforts were also labelled
as fraudulent; distraught by the claims, she developed a fever which ultimately
led to her death. However, Fukurai was undeterred, and in 1911, Fukurai worked
with other nensha practitioners but found little success.
In 1913, Fukurai took on a subject that would advance his claims further, a
woman named Sadako Takahashi. Takahashi, who claimed to have developed both
clairvoyance and nensha through breathing and mental exercises, met Fukurai and
soon was able to breathe life into his sagging studies. She was able to convince
enough skeptics that later that year Fukurai published a book called Tōshi to
Nensha, later translated and published throughout the world as Clairvoyance and
Thoughtography. Fukurai would later work with another nensha practitioner,
Koichi Mita, who was said to create a thoughtograph of the dark side of the
In the end, however, Fukurai's theories never gained widespread popularity, and
in 1919, he resigned his post at the university to continue his research. Before
his death in 1952, Fukurai founded the Fukurai Institute of Psychology, an
organization that studies the paranormal and still survives to this day.
In the 1960s, Chicago resident Ted Serios became notorious for the production of
nensha on Polaroid film supposedly using only his psychic powers. His abilities
were endorsed by Jule Eisenbud, a Denver-based psychiatrist who wrote a book
lauding Serios' talents called The World of Ted Serios: "Thoughtographic"
studies of an extraordinary mind. Serios' images, which often appeared
surrounded by dark areas on the film, were often of typical postcard scenes.
Serios eventually was only able to produce his photographs while holding "the
gismo" to his forehead. This device has been described as "a small section of
tubing fitted with a piece of photo squeegee."
As Eisenbud's book readily admits, many of Serios' thoughtographs were produced
while Serios was drunk or drinking alcohol. According to Eisenbud, "Ted Serios
exhibits a behavior pathology with many character disorders. He does not abide
by the laws and customs of our society. He ignores social amenities and has been
arrested many times. His psychopathic and sociopathic personality manifests
itself in many other ways. He does not exhibit self-control and will blubber,
wail and bang his head on the floor when things are not going his way." (as
quoted in professional photographer Nile Root's own investigation into Serios.)
Most of Serios's feats were dismissed as a simple hoax by most educated people.
Eisenbud's faith in Serios was extreme, and even as late as the 1980s, Eisenbud
claimed that previously unidentified thoughtographs were images of Ganymede, a
moon of Jupiter. Pictures of Ganymede had only become available a year before
thanks to Voyager 2. "Unfortunately," wrote Eisenbud, "I couldn't get an
astronomer or optical scientist to agree."
In 1995, famed psychic Uri Geller began to perform nensha by using a 35mm camera
upon which the lens cap would be left on. He would then take pictures of his
forehead, and then have the pictures developed, to which Geller claimed that the
images had come directly from his mind.
Stage magician and skeptic James Randi immediately criticized the event,
claiming fraud on Geller's part (see below).
Root was present at the March 1966 session where Serios claimed to have created
thoughtographs and states that the small, handheld device Serios used was in
many ways a miniaturized daguerreotype maker, creating the pictures in this
manner. Furthermore, Root charges that Serios' wild manner and actions may have
been a deliberate attempt to hide prestidigitation to insert the object into the
"gizmo" which would then expose the film. Root has since then given extensive
details on how he believes the thoughtographs were created, as well as "digital
versions" of the same.
Randi, based on his studies of Eisenbud's work, makes similar claims about
Serios. A quote from Randi's website states:
"If Mr. Serios did not use a trick method, all the rules of physics,
particularly of optics, everything developed by science over the past several
centuries, must be rewritten to accommodate Eisenbud's opinion. No such
revisions have been found necessary."
As for the Geller incidents, Randi states that Geller is either performing a
similar act as Serios, or is using already-exposed film in the camera, a charge
Geller has consistently denied.
Photography where extra faces appear on developed film, go back as far as the
history of photography itself. Some have even claimed to photograph actual human
thought-forms. Photography of this sort almost inevitably provoked accusations of
fraud that were difficult to disprove. In 1910, Dr. Tomokichi Fukurai, a
professor of literature at the Imperial University of Tokyo, conducted a series
of experiments in thought-ography. The publication of his findings aroused such
hostility among Japanese scientists that he was forced to resign his position.
He then continued his work at a Buddhist university associated with a temple of
the esoteric Shingen sect of Buddhism on top of Mt. Koya. His works were
translated into English in 1931 in a book titled Spirit and Mysterious World.
Although it showed a carefully planned scientific investigation, even the
psychical researchers of the time were not ready to deal with this type of data,
embedded as it was in Buddhist philosophy.
It was not until the late 1950s that a claim for psychic photography was taken
seriously by researchers. The special gift for creating these photographs was
discovered in Ted Serios, a Chicago Bellhop who had little formal education. The
phenomena began when Serios allowed a friend to hypnotize him just to pass away
the time. Serios claimed to be able to describe the locations of buried
treasure. The friend then suggested that he concentrate on making photographs of
the locations when he pointed a camera at a blank wall and triggered the
shutter. They did not find buried treasure, but to their amazement, actual
images appeared on the Polaroid prints of things that were not visible in the
The phenomena came to the attention of members of the Illinois Society for
Psychic Research who eventually persuaded a Denver psychiatrist, Dr. Jule
Eisenbud, to observe one of Ted's demonstrations. After a long string of
failures, Serios managed to produce a striking success for Eisenbud, who,
although he had engaged in previous psychical exploration with the context of
psychoanalysis, was unprepared for phenomena of this sort. After a sleepless
night, he invited Serios to Denver for further study. Eisenbud spend two years
conducting well-controlled studies with Serios. He was quite aware of the
history of fraud and gullibility in research of this sort and claims that he
took every precaution to guard against it. He wrote a book, The World of Ted Serios,
published in 1966, contains the results obtained from his examinations.
The way in which Ted's mind ostensibly shaped the pictures was sometimes quite
remarkable. In one session, in front of several witnesses, Ted first tried to
reproduce images of the medieval town of Rothenburg. Then the experimenters
asked him to try to reproduce an image of the old Opera House in Central City,
Colorado. Serios agreed, and then asked the experimenters if they would like a
composite of both images. The results are extraordinary. The photograph shows a
striking resemblence to the livery stable across from the old Opera House.
However, instead of the brick masonry, the image shows a kind of embedded rock
characteristic of the buildings in the medieval town.
Livery Stable to the left and the thoughtograph
on the right
The photograph shown below is an enlargement of a Polaroid "thoughtograph" of
the Denver Hilton Hotel. Eisenbud held the camera, which as pointed at Serios'
forehead. Ted, at the time, was trying to produce an image of the Chicago Hilton
("I missed, damn it.") Eisenbud claimed that this image could only have been
made with a lens different from that of the Polaroid 100, from an angle well up
in the air, between the tree tops. This was suggested that the thoughtographs are
associated with out-of-body or travelling clairvoyant states.
Eisenbud's book is noted for detailed observation, but even more remarkable is
the penetrating study of this anomalous phenomena and the reaction to it of
scientists and educators. To Eisenbud, the photographic manifestations seemed to
follow a pattern pointing to the active operation of the animistic powers known
to ancient people:
As to building blocks for a theoretical structure that might bridge the gulf on
other fronts between the mental and physical,...I can't think of a better place
to begin than right where Ted is (and hopefully where others like him will be).
For in a study of images and imagery of this sort - and in phenomenon like
dreams, hallucinations, and apparitions, which prove not less remarkable and
even more familiar than Ted's image – we are confronted by various organized
entities with one leg in the world of reality and one leg in that extraordinary
world we ordinarily term appearance.
Adequate understanding of the Serios phenomena can only be obtained through
detailed study of the experimental reports. During the following years, studies
were also conducted by researchers at the Division of Parapsychology of the
University of Virginia Medical School. These researchers failed to detect any
signs of fraud in their cooperative subject, and they successfully obtained
numerous striking photographs. While they were calling for further study of this
puzzling phenomena, Serios' abilities began to fade and he has remained less
active for the past thirty years. However, as of this writing, in November 2000,
reports continue to come in of researchers who are obtaining some photographic
evidence with Serios.
Skeptics claim that Ted Serios was definitely exposed by Charlie Reynolds and
David Eisendrath, both amateur magicians and professional photographers. They
presented their account in a Popular Photography piece (October 1967) based on
one weekend with Serios and the psychiatrist Jule Eisenbud, whose book, The
World of Ted Serios, had sparked their ire.
However, the November 1967 issue of Popular Photography published Eisenbud's
I hereby state that if, before any competent jury of scientific investigators,
photographers and conjurers, any chosen by them can in any normal way or
combination of ways duplicate, under similar conditions, the range of phenomena
produced by Ted, I shall (1) abjure all further work with Ted, buy up and
publicly burn all available copies of The World of Ted Serios, take a
full-page ad in Popular Photography in order to be represented photographically
wearing a dunce cap, and spend my spare time for the rest of my life selling
door-to-door subscriptions to this amazing magazine. No time limit is
An article in Fate, August 1974, revealed that only one magician had responded
to this delectable invitation. The Amazing James Randi couldn't resist the bait,
but on learning of the conditions he backed out. According to Randi, one of the
conditions was that he perform in a state of alcoholic intoxication, as Serios
had typically done. As a non-drinker, Randi found this condition unacceptable.
Is this a hoax? To me is certainly looks like one that is
stage managed, so dramatic! Please take notice of the difference in the supposed
compare things in
this photograph to others on the
photograph pages. The alleged ectoplasm
that is shear has creases in it at the area of the
table leg like a curtain that has not been ironed, also the net curtaining
[alleged ectoplasm] has
too much neat straight edging to it.
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