An 1875 spirit photograph by F. M. Parkes featuring Mrs. Collings and the spirit of her husband’s father. The back of this photograph makes reference to an article by M. A. Oxon in the journal Human Nature for April, 1875, transcript below:
Mr. Collins, of Woolwich, favours me with the following letter:
7 Thomas Street, Woolwich, Feb. 4th, 1875.
Dear Sir. Your letter of the 2nd inst. received. With regard to sending you a letter that you may print in Human Nature relative to recognised spirit photographs, I must tell you that I occupy a peculiar position. Although I have sat to Mr. Parkes, and obtained good results, I have failed to recognise any of the spirits, though on magnetising the camera when personal friends or relations have sat (in point of fact lending my power for the time), one or two spirits have presented themselves that I could unmistakeably recognise. Notably one of my father-in-law, for which my mother-in-law sat, I magnetising the camera. My wife obtained a tolerably clear photograph of (it is supposed) my father, and although it certainly is very like, there are one or two discrepancies which do not justify my coming to a fixed conclusion on the point. With regard to the particular conditions under which these photos. were taken, I can give you no information, as I never had any idea that my evidence on the point would be of any value to you. Suffice it to say, that when I first sat, I had a very strong doubt as to the power of departed souls to affect a sensitised plate, and took every precaution I could think of, not only to prevent trickery, but, if possible, to suggest any other scientific cause as to their presence on the glass. Being a photographer en amateur myself, I could, and did, suggest tests, that were complied with, and which certainly convinced me that as far as I could see there was no attempt at delusion.
I must say that I consider spirit photography the most interesting and truthful manifestation we have yet been blessed with.
JAMES COLLINSSource: Stainton Moses [“M.A. Oxon”], “Researches in Spiritualism” By M. A. Oxon – Human Nature: A Monthly Journal of Zoistic Science, April 1875