SpooOOooky Art.

Illustration from Spectropia, or, surprising spectral illusions showing ghosts everywhere and of any colour by J. H. Brown (1864) (via Wikimedia).

The 1864 Spectropia used optical illusions to manifest ghosts in Victorian homes, and was designed to attack the quackery of Spiritualism. You can read and see more here.

“Hallowe’en morning” (John O. Winsch, 1914) (via Special Collections Department, Postcard Collection, Enoch Pratt Free Library).

Look, witches were into biofuel! :D Hyperallergic has a host of entertaining vintage Halloween Cards.

On the more serious side, today marks the opening of a new exhibition of Cornell University’s Witchcraft Collection:

Image from the Cornell University Witchcraft Collection (courtesy Cornell University Library).

You can read and see much more at Hyperallergic. It’s the largest witchcraft collection in North America, and will run through August of 2018.


  1. says

    This has reminded me of a spooky story from a few years back, that I actually wrote about on my blog. It did not happen on halloween, but it is halloween appropriate story:
    A few years back I was driving home from work in cold, dark weather. Suddenly I got spooked -- in front of my car appeared a humanoid figure and I drove right through it before I could react. My heart started beating because my first reaction was that I drove someone over. But there was no impact and in the back mirrors the street was empty.
    It took only a few moments before I could laugh with relief, because I figured it out. There were manholes on the street and the warmer humid air from them condensed into mist just above them. And the combination of my car lights, my position and just the right speed made it look for a fleeting moment like a convincing illusion of a human figure.
    I was a victim of pareidolia. Had I been religious and perhaps even near church or a graveyard, or some other sighificant place, I might think I have seen a Virgin Mary or some dire warning -- and I might interpret any subsequent happenings in that light.

  2. says

    Charly, had a similar thing happen, but dense fog, shadows, and light refraction at night made us think we were slamming into a cliff which just appeared in front of us at speed. We thought we were going to die. Scared the hell out of us.

  3. jazzlet says

    Charly, I had a woman in a trench coat appear right in front of the car just after we had had a break and swapped drivers on a long journey on a cool summer night, if I had still been been driving I would have slammed the breaks on sure I was about to hit someone. Agan had I been of a religious or supersitious bent I would have been convinced I had witnessed a supernatural phenomenom my brain’s interpretation of the wisps of mist was so convincing. The trench coated ‘ghosts’ are very common on ring roads round British cities where they go through the old water meadows so you often get low lying mist.

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