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Psychic Photography
By The Hierophant's Apprentice    
November 2009

Japanese psychologist Tomobichi Fukurai coined the term “Thoughtography” to describe the psychic project­ion of images directly onto film. Apart from the mediums that Fukurai described in his 1913 book Clairvoyance and Thoughtography, perhaps the most famous exponent of this facility was Ted Serios (1918–2006), who was studied at length in the 1960s by Denver psychoanalyst Jule Eisenbud. But this aspect of an accomplished medium’s psychic repertoire had several precedents in the séance rooms of the late 19th century and, in turn, had its roots in the thriving trade in ‘spirit photo­graphy’ that appeared almost before Frederick Scoff Archer had had time to sigh with satisfaction at inventing the wet-plate process.

The presumption of those who took photographs of spirits was, and is, that the camera (whether using photosensitive plates, film or digital technology) is able to see what the eye cannot – the ethereal or astral presence of the departed. Whereas the assumption behind thoughtography is that people, who ma y be gifted in the art or who may be able to learn it, can transfer images in their minds directly to film; true adepts don’t need a camera for this, only a light-sensitive medium. Even Serios, who preferred to work with a Polaroid camera, reportedly did this on occasion.

Thoughtographers as we think of them now were not much concerned with dead people in their work, but the exploitation of the camera by spiritualists almost inevitably meant that some para­normal images of the departed were created directly onto film by mediums. In 1916, William Hope of Crewe, for instance, generated a picture for Sir William Crookes of Lady Crookes as she had looked 10 years previously, and Crookes said that this image was like none in any photograph known to him. (Cynics, naturally, note that the knight was 81 at the time; and they would rather that Hope had produced an accurate picture of, say, one of the Crookes’s grandchildren as they would appear 10, or even five, years hence, since no one could then wonder whether Hope had gone poking about for material in long-forgotten family albums.)

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You can sketch images with the mind of places and things that you see in two forms that i know of one is the use of the hands to describe what it is that you see the other is more of a general look but those come in many differences and levels

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