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Spiritual fads come and go. No one quite knows why ectoplasm was exuded so grossly in the halcyon days of Spiritualism, anymore than anyone could explain why acid-washed jeans were ever considered fashionable. Spirit photography, especially images in which ghosts are revealed in all their naked glory, likewise crested in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Due to the prudish nature of the period, such images were often suppressed.

Even among those who had a vested interest in using such photography as proof of an afterlife, such erotic images were considered too taboo to reveal, for although they revealed an active afterlife, it was not a wholesome sort of afterlife. Indeed, in this era in which sexuality was feared, such images disturbed many who chanced upon them.

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There is a satisfyingly voyeuristic quality to such photos. Many of us, when we naturally disrobe to shower or water our houseplants, wonder if there are ghosts about, watching us. Therefore when we see a naked ghost there is often a sense of satisfaction that follows our startled screaming.
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Jeepers Creepers, where'd he get those peepers?

One theory holds that the images of naked 'ghosts' captured on film are not actual spirits, but projections of mental images. Given how often the thought of sex is entertained in a man's mind, it is no wonder that (should this theory be true) the mental images most often captured are of a sexually explicit nature.

In the photo to the left, the woman may well be an example of what is on the man's mind.

Another possibility, however, is that an old lover of the gentleman has manifested herself in his portrait, reminding him not to forget the beauty of her once alluring body.

Feminist parapsychologist and author Temperance Worth, in her treatise 'A Tomb of Her Own,' observed:

'Many girls, especially in less liberated eras, felt as though they were ghosts among men, for in many male dominated establishments they were often treated as though they were invisible.'

She goes on to postulate:

'The effect of such neglect often resulted in a restless spirit, so that when these girls at last found themselves emancipated from the mortal coil, and unbound by the girdles and brassieres that had kept their curves in check, the ability to indulge in acts of exhibitionist nudity without threat of societal rebuke was gaily acted upon, the once captive soul giving way to caprice.'

As insightful as some find Ms. Worth's theory to be, various modern authors have criticized Worth's 'negative' focus, for she implies that such ghosts are reacting against negative conditioning, rather than examining how such brazen acts are empowering for the ghosts.

Despite the attempts of some intellectuals to shift the focus from victim to champion, the most popular opinion leans towards a negative view of such ghosts.

When recent pollsters were asked: 'Why do you think ghosts flash the living,' the most common response was stunned silence, followed by 'What the f--k' and 'Get away from me.' But those who seriously weighed the matter most often responded that such ghosts suffered from low self-esteem. This shows us that those working to make society more tolerant of nudist ghosts still have much work ahead of them.

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Sometimes it is not a matter of spirits exercising naked freedom following death, but rather of old habits dying hard. Harlots and Burlesque performers are just as likely to strip in the afterlife as when they were in the flesh. Consequently, residences of ill repute are often the scenes of haunts.

Victorian society was often stifling in its sexual morality, and with the dictates of gender roles. Spirits are often supposed to be rebelling against such stringent ideals; indeed, as with the photograph on the right, to have openly mocked and subverted such traditions.

While we do not know the story behind this particular photo, it is notable that this ghost does not show her face, suggesting that the act of displaying her nudity is not a matter of self-expression, but an action directed towards the family and/or the viewer.

It was rare that such photos made it into the hands of the person's they portrayed. Such could usher in the end of a photographer's career, and therefore many such photos were forever lost to the flames of heating stoves.

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Note the pink blob in the upper left of this photo, evidence that hands soiled with ectoplasm encountered this photo!
In some cases, the owners of such photos have claimed that the ghostly images developed over time.
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Consider the photo above. According to Winchell Headley (pictured on the left), this photo of his sister Eunice, his dog Caramel and himself did not originally include the ghostly figure on the right, although both Winchell and presumably Caramel took note of the naked ghost at the time. Neither the photographer, Winchel Headley Sr. nor Eunice saw the phantom at the time. It was only after Eunice suffocated to death from a too tightly buttoned blouse that the figure began to manifest on the photo (although notably not on the original film). There is also a striking similarity between Eunice and the ghost herself, which has lead Mr. Headley to conclude that this image is of his sister.

Says Mr. Headley: "It is possible that a part of Eunice, the uninhibited part not visible on her countenance, made itself apparent that day as a phantom, seen only by my youthful eyes and those of my dog. I have also mused that time may not be as linear as we often experience it, and that on that day the ghost whom Eunice would eventually become showed itself as a vision of her eventual state. I hope such an explanation is true, and that in death my sister loosened the prudish constraints that had lead to her literal suffocation."

Hopefully you have found this collection of pornographic spirit photography to be illuminating. More images are awaiting verification, and shall at a later date be presented under the title 'Ghosts Gone Wild Two: Double Exposure.'

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