William Hope and the CREWE Circle

The Crewe Circle was a group of spirit photographers based in Crewe, England and led by William Hope, paranormal investigator and pioneer of the “spirit photography”.

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He first noticed his talent for photographing spirits when he was taking photos with a friend. One of the photo’s that Hope had taken showed an extra person behind his friend. It was claimed that it was his friends dead sister.

At first, the group worked in secret, scared of being suspected of witchcraft, but when an Archbishop joined the group, they made their work public. By 1922 William Hope moved to London and established himself as a professional medium. It was at this time that The Society for Psychical Research (SPR) became interested in him and his photo’s.

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Over the years the spirit photographs taken by the members of the CREWE circle have come under detailed examination and have been dismissed as fraudulent by many. Harry Price, sent by the Society for Psychical Research, claimed that Hope messed with the photo plates, but many of Hope’s supporter didn’t believe him.  One of the biggest supporter of William Hope and The Crewe Circle was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who wrote The Case for Spirit Photography, in response to Price’s claims of fraud. Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure, until his death in 1933.

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Elle. xx