Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.


Thursday, 18 June 2009

Flash Player


.

File:Chicago Union Station 1943.jpg




Strange to turn to old ghosts, watch ourselves dissolve
In their eyes. They were not here to help us,
Merely to drag us back against our will

Into a dim becalmed past, then forward into
Occluded presents which yet feel too bright




File:William Hope 001.png





Union Station waiting room, Chicago, 1943 (Library of Congress)

Man with the spirit of his second wife: photo by William Hope (1863-1933)

2 comments:

Lucy in the Sky said...

Some ghosts can be really scary, others, fortunately, just agitate the dust a little and then it goes back to rest.

Great post, creepy pictures. The second one, especially. Or should we just think the photographer was ahead of his time and was one of the first ones to use the tool commercialized later under the name of Photoshop?

TC said...

Lucy,

That lower photo is an example of 19th century "spirit photography". Its inventor, William H. Mumler, discovered the process accidentally by coming up with an interesting double exposure. Being a good American businessman, he then set up business as a "spirit medium", taking photos of people and then fiddling with them to get ghosts of loved ones into the picture. Creepy, definitely. Also fraudulent. (Though I suppose nobody's ever used such moralistic terminology about that highly revered "medium", photoshop.)

Here is one of Mumler's masterpieces:

The ghost of Abraham Lincoln