Robert Boursnell

Robert Boursnell


     British spirit-photographer, who obtained psychic markings on his plates as early as 1851, but being accused by his partner of spoiling the plates, he stopped taking photographs himself until forty years later. A repetition of the same annoyance occurred. W. T. Stead discovered that the markings were psychic and prevailed upon Boursnell to sit for spirit photographs. He was strikingly successful and in 1903 the spiritualists of London presented him with a signed testimonial and a purse of gold as a mark of their high esteem. A hundred chosen spirit photographs were put on exhibition in the rooms of the Psychological Society at Portman Square.

Like every other spirit-photographer, he also was accused of fraud. Admiral Moore writes in Glimpses of the Next State that he was given a complete proof of a fraudulent production to the London Spiritualist Alliance. Duplicates, triplicates and quadruplicates of Boursnell's spirit pictures were numerous. A tracing could be made from one form in one photograph to the form in another, and not the slightest difference in detail could be discovered. Nevertheless, Admiral Moore believes that he had genuine powers and also that he was an excellent clairvoyant. Proof of this was repeatedly furnished when Boursnell described spirit forms before he made an exposure, the extra on the plate completely tallying with his description. Eighty-nine negatives taken by Boursnell in conjunction with Mr. S. W. Woolley between 1897-1907 are preserved at the British College of Psychic Science.

Source (with minor modifications): An Encyclopaedia of Psychic Science by Nandor Fodor (1934).



Some parts of this page The International Survivalist Society 2004