Barlow, Fred (d. 1964)

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Barlow, Fred (d. 1964)

Fred Barlow, photography expert for the Society for Psychical Research, became interested in the claims various people made of having taken photographs of spirit entities. He entered his study hopeful that photography might provide evidence of survival after death and for a while he emerged as a staunch defender of spirit photography. However, by mid-century, especially after his investigations of the work of spirit photographers George Moss and William Hope, he reversed his opinion. This change resulted from his own inability to produce any spirit photographs under test conditions (where the possibility of fraud was ruled out) and the discovery that every spirit photograph could consistently be traced to some existing photograph of which it was an exact copy. While he never discounted the possibility of genuine spirit photographs, his testimonies became an important force in killing the phenomenon.

Barlow died in 1964, and Eric J. Dingwall inherited his collection of photographs. Dingwall deposited them at the British Museum.


Barlow, Fred. "Report on an Investigation into Spirit-Photography." Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 41.

Dingwall, E. J. "The Need for Responsibility in Psychology." In A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Edited by Paul Kurtz. N.p., 1985.