Louis Kaplan


On his book The Strange Case of William Mumler, Spirit Photographer

Cover Interview of February 26, 2009

Editor’s note

Originally, this interview ran on the Rorotoko cover page under the headline

“Deconstructing the ghosts in the photographic machine.”

We highlighted two quotes.

On the first page:

“When asked whether he would be consulting with former Presidents, Obama answered that he would seek out only those who are still living.  The implication being that there are not going to be any seances in his White House as was the case with the Reagans and the Clintons.  However, if Obama would like to style himself as a true Lincolnian in his presidency, he ought to think again.  Mary Todd was known to have Spiritualist seances in the White House and these would lead to her association with our photographic hero, William Mumler.”

On the second:

“Mumler’s story must be viewed as part of the larger crisis of faith that so characterized the second half of the nineteenth century and that still engages us at the beginning of the twenty-first.”