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Buguet spirit image
(mouseover to view photographer's
mark on back)

Eugene Rochas Papers, APS
Regardless, numerous other spirit photographers practiced during this time including a Frenchman, Edouard Isidore Buguet, who entered the trade in 1874 in London. Although he began his trade in England, he was influenced by the Spiritualists in France who allied themselves with the doctrine of mesmerism and were the first to link it to spiritualism. Mesmerism was a pseudoscience and system of healing which according to its doctrine avowed that the body exerted a "magnetic force" that could not only be transferred from one body to another, but also transmitted through a conductive medium. Spiritualists aligned themselves with mesmerism because certain patients displayed features of what would later be called a mediumistic trance while being "healed" by mesmerism.

Buguet was the first to link this doctrine to spirit photography. He routinely had himself and occasionally his camera mesmerized before attempting spirit photographs. Buguet was soon arrested in 1875 for fraud and subsequently made a full confession. But even though he made a full confession and was tried, his victims swore that they recognized their loved ones in the photographs even after they were presented with the dummy heads that the police had seized from Buguet's studio. It was also discovered that a spirit, supposedly 12 years dead, which appeared in one of the photographs was actually a man very much alive and well and unaware that he was used as a "spirit" in one of Buguet's photographs.

Buguet image of female spirit
posed with a photograph

Eugene Rochas Papers, APS
Nevertheless, Spiritualists insisted that his photographs were genuine and that he had made the confession under pressure or in the interest of gaining leniency. Spiritualists did admit though, that Buguet may have used trickery when his powers were not at their fullest potential, an excuse used often in cases where mediums were accused of fraud. Buguet withdrew his confession after the trial and never tried to reestablish himself as a spirit photographer.