Posts Tagged with: New York City

Harry Houdini was a Hungarian stunt performer known for his sensational escape acts. His most prominent tricks included escaping handcuffs,…   

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The General Grant National Memorial is the largest mausoleum in North America. Located in the Morningside Heights neighborhood of New…   

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Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters is a science fiction comedy film released in 1984 by Columbia Pictures. The movie follows three eccentric parapsychologists who start a ghost hunting business after losing their teaching jobs at Columbia University.

The concept for Ghostbusters was inspired by lead actor Dan Aykroyd’s personal fascination with the paranormal. He originally conceived a story where a group of “ghostmashers” traveled through space, time, and other dimensions to combat huge ghosts. Recognizing budgetary constraints with Aykroyd’s idea, Director Ivan Reitman gave the script a major overhaul and instead centered the plot in New York City.

Upon its release Ghostbusters received favorable reviews from critics and went on to become the highest grossing film of 1984. The movie spawned a franchise of related sequels, animated television series, toys, and other merchandise still popular today.

A William H. Mumler spirit photograph featuring Mrs. French and the spirit of her deceased son.

A William H. Mumler spirit photograph featuring Mrs. French and the spirit of her deceased son.

William H. Mumler is widely recognized as the first commerical spirit photographer.

According to his autobiography, in March of 1861 he was developing a self portrait and noticed a ghostly figure in the background. Upon closer inspection, he realized the spirit in the image was his cousin who had died 12 years earlier.

News of Mumler’s discovery spread quickly throughout the press and he was soon besieged by requests for similar photographs. Capitalizing on his newfound popularity, Mumler moved from Boston to New York City and opened up a spirit photography studio at 640 Broadway.

When visitors first arrived at his studio they were seated in a Chippendale chair and told to remain still until he had “summoned the spirits.” Although it often took several tries before a ghost image developed, customers always left “fully satisfied that the pictures were what they claimed to be—real photographs of real spirits.”

Not everyone believed Mumler’s pictures were authentic and in 1869 he was brought to trial for “fleecing the public.” Even though several samples of fraudulent spirit photos were presented as evidence, Mumler was acquitted when it could not be determined how his images were made.

The trial did little to harm Mumler’s reputation as he continued to make “a fortune out of the spirits” until his death in 1884. Shortly before dying he destroyed all remaining negatives, making any modern claims that his photos were “real” or “phony” purely speculative.

- Quotes taken from: The Strange Case of William Mumler, Spirit Photographer