Photo Fakes and Irresponsible Buffoonery August 9, 2012Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern , trackback
***Dedicated to Invisible who sent the first paragraph and wrote the second***
The camera never lies, a picture is worth a thousand words, the architecture of light and shadows: photography in short. Enjoy this little extract from an Arthur Conan Doyle biography.
During Conan Doyle’s last lecture in Nairobi…he showed a photograph taken of a ghost at a country house in Somerset and the ‘ghost’ turned out to be sitting in the audience. Arthur Spencer Palmer, a British dental surgeon working in Nairobi, was astonished to see a picture of himself covered in a gauze sheet flashed up on the screen as one of the ‘spirit photographs’. He immediately stood up and called out ‘I am that ghost!’ Lady Conan Doyle, sitting on the stage with her husband, could hardly conceal her fury at this undignified interruption, but Conan Doyle invited spencer Palmer on the platform. He explained precisely how, where and when it had been taken by his brother years earlier as a student prank, and since, in the picture, the dentist’s features were discernible under the sheet, Conan Doyle had little choice but to accept that it was a fake and promise to withdraw it. He would later complain bitterly about psychic research being hampered by such “irresponsible buffoonery” . (The Adventures of Arthur Conan Doyle: A Biography, Russell Miller)
Invisible herself remembers
I had a similar experience after writing about some boys who claimed that they had seen the Grim Reaper in an historic cemetery (which had other ghostly legends associated with it). The giant hooded entity had a scythe and told them to never come back. I later got a letter from a lady who said, ‘I think the Grim Reaper is my husband.’ He was a herpetologist at the local university. He always carried a stick with a hook device for catching snakes and wore a hooded anorak. He was a big, intimidating man although, his wife says, a complete marshmallow. And after she read him my account, he sheepishly confessed that he had been sick of kids drinking beer and leaving trash in the cemetery so he told them to clear off.
Other good photography stories involving the supernatural and cobblers? drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com
Beach should note that he is practically unreachable at the moment, because the internet provider is playing up – hence no photo: this was sent with carrier pigeon from the roof of Beach Mansion. Let’s hope that normal service resumes soon.