Joe and Will Thomas

c. 1920 in England
William Hope

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Joe and Will Thomas and their grandmother's 'spirit' A photograph of Welsh mediums and brothers Joe and Will Thomas, taken by William Hope (1863-1933) in about 1920
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

A photograph of Welsh mediums and brothers Joe and Will Thomas with their grandmother's 'spirit' , taken by William Hope in about 1920.

The Thomas family claimed that the image superimposed over the sitters was the only photograph of their deceased grandmother in existence. Hope, however, would have used an existing photograph of a woman to create the illusion. William Hope's spirit album photographs use double and triple exposure techniques to render the appearance of ghostly apparitions around the sitter.

Hope's work gained momentum in the aftermath of World War One, a time when many bereaved people were desperate to find evidence of loved ones living beyond the grave. Although his deception was publicly exposed by a private investigator, Harry Price (1881-1948), in 1922, Hope continued to practice.


Object Number:
  • visual and verbal communication
The National Media Museum, Bradford

Cite this page


We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.

Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero

Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data


Download catalogue entry as json

View manifest in IIIF viewer

Add to Animal Crossing Art Generator

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.