Mysterious equipment such as psychics listening trumpets, adorn the mantle piece, and are made to look “convincing” given the tidy laboratory context in which they are displayed.

This image particularly intrigues me. The image appears within the folder detailing the national laboratory of psychical research, and as a result is categorised alongside the more traditional laboratory setting images. The combination of archaic camera technology and mysterious listening devices set against the barley twist table, make for an unusual set of aesthetics and are suggest that we are on the brink of observing a peculiar investigation take place.


    I was particularly interested in the commentary that Harry price added to a photograph album, compiled by an American amateur psychic, Mrs Vance Thompson, who claimed to create psychic photographs (or “thoughtography”).

   The images themselves are rather ludicrous, mainly involving Mrs Vance Thompson and immediate friends. Fairly standard portrait photographs are enlarged, and areas within the hair that vaguely look like they have the shape of a face in them, are said to be psychic emergences. In most cases the “faces” are barely visible, and when they are visible, they look like the results of chance: the way the light falls, and the way the hair falls.

   However, Price clearly believes that the images are authentic, and creates commentaries that sounds like the words of a real expert, but which verge on the preposterous in conjunction with the actual images contained with the album. Examples include:

“ Ectoplasmic substance veils the face of the lady who posed, making the photo look out of focus. This phenomenon always appears when an extraneous subject manifests on film”

and

   “Mrs Vance Thomson's burial place in the Hollywood cemetery. This snapshot was taken by herself. To the extreme right (as you face the picture) near the base of the urns, a little to the right you will perceive peeping out from the palm leaves the small face of a strange creature looking like a gnome, He is smiling”.

telekinetoscope set up