The belief that the dead live on and can revisit the living as ghosts,

is a feature of most early cultures across the world. From ancient times human beings have believed that each individual person has a soul or spirit which continues to survive once that person has died. There is also a belief that the souls of those who have died must be ritually worshipped to prevent them becoming restless, angry or jealous of the living..

This fear is allied to animism, a common belief in primitive cultures that inanimate objects,

such as trees, and natural phenomena, such as wind and fire, also have spirits or essences.

It is believed that these spirits must be respected and appeased if human beings are to live peacefully within the natural world. This fundamental notion, which occurs universally, has been labelled 'Animism' and demonstrates an early fear of upsetting the natural order of life in death,

this idea is a concern that ancestors will come back as remnants to wreak havoc on those still living, because they are angry that they have been banished from life.

The afterlife, in this view, is seen as a place where the souls of the dead are condemned to survive in a bleak, dark, underworld where they may be lonely, starving and in pain..


To prevent these unfortunate souls from seeking revenge for their fate, sacrifices must be made and the spirits appeased by being given food and drink. Such rituals have an ancient history stretching back from centuries and still occur to this day, in the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival or in the Mexican Day of the Dead. Many religious practices are also designed to keep the dead from coming back and making trouble. Many funeral rites and burial customs, such as binding the corpse, have the specific intention of preventing the dead from escaping the grave. In addition, religious rituals such as exorcism, in which incense and bells are used, have the specific purpose of banishing ghosts, or spirits, from continuing to live on whether in a person or place.

Willaim Hope, ghost photographer (1863-1933)

Hope founded the spiritualist society known as the Crewe Circle. His work was popular after World War one, when many bereaved people were desperate to find loved ones beyond the grave. His deception of using multiple exposure techniques to render the ghosts was publicly exposted in 1922,

a woman mourns for her husband, a man's ghostly face swoops over the body.

A young woman's ghostly face appears as if floating above the sitters, draped in a cloak.

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