Parkes, F. M. (ca. 1872)
British Spiritualist who practiced spirit photography. In association
with a Mr. Reeves, the proprietor of a dining room,
he obtained recognized spirit extras in 1872 after three months
of experiments. That same year Frederick A. Hudson also obtained
the first such pictures in England. Without the presence
of Reeves or his own wife, Parkes could not get a full form and
clearly defined pictures, only white patches and cloudy appearances.
Parapsychology Sources of Information Center Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
In accordance with spirit directions, Parkes set it as a condition
to have the plates in his possession in the dark room prior
to their being placed in the camera for purposes of magnetization.
To avert suspicion he had an inspection hole cut in the
dark room through which the sitters could see the plate
through its entire process.
Sexton wrote enthusiastically of Parkes’s powers in the Christian
Spiritualist. William Stainton Moses gave the following interesting
description in Human Nature
‘‘A considerable number of the earlier pictures taken by
Messrs. Parkes and Reeves were allegorical. One of the earliest,
taken in April, 1872, shows Mr. Reeves’ father holding up a
cross above his head and displaying an open book on which is
written ‘‘Holy Bible.’’ Another shows a cloud of light covering
two-thirds of the pictures, and made up of the strangest medley
of heads and arms, and flashes of light, with a distinct cross in
the centre. Another, in which Mr. and Mrs. Everitt were the sitters,
taken June 8, 1872, is a symbolical picture of a very curious
nature. Mr. Everitt’s head is surrounded with a fillet on which
‘Truth’ is inscribed, while three pencils of light dart up from it.
There are at least two figures in the picture which blot out Mrs.
Everitt altogether.
‘‘In a later photograph, in which Mr. Burns is the sitter, is
a giant hand of which the thumb is half the length of the sitter’s
body. It is just as if a luminous hand had been projected or
flashed on the plate without any regard to focus. Another very
startling picture is one which shows on a dark background a
huge luminous crucifix. Then we have angels with orthodox
wings hovering over some sitters. One is a very striking model
the face of great beauty and of pure classical design. The figure
floats with extended arm over the sitter, and below it, almost
on the ground, appear nine faces, and, strangest of all, close by
the sitter’s head, a large eye, with beams of light proceeding
from it. The eye is larger than the head of the sitter, and the
whole picture presents a most curious appearance. Some show
mere faces; some heads; some, again, whole bodies floating in
the air; and some partially formed bodies projected on the
plate, apparently at haphazard.’’