Somebody call Ghostbusters, STAT.
Long before the Paranormal Activity movies gave audiences their fair share of supernatural entertainment by supplying plenty of fuel for scary movie marathons everywhere, there was the vintage photography trend known as spirit photography to appease society's fascination with capturing "ghosts" on camera. And as these creepy vintage photos of spirit photography illustrate, the eerie movement provides a haunting look into the past.
According to History, spirit photography began in the 1860s. At that time, the United States was mourning the death of over 600,000 lives lost in the Civil War, and the country had an appetite to connect with those souls that had passed over. Spiritual seances became increasingly common during that time, and thus the manipulated photographic art form of spirit photography also found its place.
The grandfather of spirit photography, William Mumler, used various camera trickery – such as double exposure and superimposing camera negatives – to render translucent ghost-like apparitions on the prints, according to The Atlantic. But what's even more macabre is that sometimes the faces that were superimposed onto these ghostly photographs belonged to people who were truly among the dead.