Back in the 19th century, there was no Photoshop to trick people with fake images. But that didn't stop William Hope, a crook who pretended to be a medium, just like all the other crooks who pretend to be mediums.
In the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, however, people were new to photography. By itself, it was a magical thing, to the point in which some didn't want their photos to be taken, fearing their souls would be stolen by the camera.
Hope and his friends - other clever scammers who adopted the name of the Crewe Circle - took advantage of this general ignorance of how technology worked. They learned that by double-exposing their plates, they could fake spirits into photographs of living people.
The results were spooky. Even knowing they are fake, I look at them and feel the chills. Imagine how it was back then. Even very smart people like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle bought into it. When Hope was exposed as a scam artist by the Society for Psychical Research, the writer defended him. Conan Doyle didn't apply his famous scientific reasoning to spiritualism, of which he was a follower after the sudden deaths of his brother, his two brothers-in-law and his two nephews.
Like Conan Doyle, many people in pain want to believe, which is why the so-called mediums still swindle their clients out of thousands of dollars. [Bored Panda]