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 midcentury,
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
Barlow, Fred. ‘‘Report on an Investigation into SpiritPhotography.’’
Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research
Dingwall, E. J. ‘‘The Need for Responsibility in Psychology.’’
In A Skeptic’s Handbook of Parapsychology. Edited by Paul Kurtz.
N.p., 1985.