• Belfast Between The Wars

“SPIRIT PHOTOGRAPHY”: CLAIM TO HAVING PHOTOGRAPHED THE DEAD, STRANGE BELFAST EXPERIMENT

Northern Whig, Wednesday 18th August 1926


“I am perfectly satisfied that we have succeeded in taking photographs of those who have passed out of the body or who are what is commonly called dead.”


This remarkable statement was made to a “Northern Whig” reporter yesterday by Mr. John McDermaid, president of the Ulster Christian Spiritualist Association.


The photographs on which the astonishing claim is based were taken recently by Mr. Hugh Robinson as part of his investigation of Spiritualism in the Association’s Hall, 63, Victoria Street, Belfast, and by the side of the grave of Mr. McDermaid’s mother in the City Cemetery.


Two of the prints were offered to the “Northern Whig” for publication, but were not suitable for reproduction. On the one of the graveside scene are three cloud-like effects, and on that showing the interior of the hall two similar effects.


Referring to the first print Mr. McDermaid said:- “I can clearly identify my mother, and besides her is my little baby sister. There is also a vision of my father, Mr. Frank McDermaid, who passed out of the body 22 years ago. I can recognise their features with certainty. The other form on the print is a ‘spirit cloud,’ which comes as a spirit is beginning to manifest. If the exposure had been made a few moments later, it is possible that the spirit form would have more completely developed and a more distinct impression would have been obtained. The three forms appear on the sky just above the heads of the people standing by the grave, and there must have been something there or nothing would have appeared on the photograph.”


Mr. Edwin Graham, secretary of the Association, referring to the second print, declared:- “ I am able to identify my brother, Thomas Graham, who passed out of the body 44 years ago. I recognise the hair, eyes, and beard, and I have no doubt that it is him.”


Mr. McDermaid added that the taking of the photographs was simply an experiment and he was much gratified that it had been successful. He regarded the results as furnishing additional proof of Spiritualism, and stated that he is prepared to allow any genuine investigator to see the photographs to make prints from the negatives.