Society for the Study of Supernormal Pictures
The Society for the Study of Supernormal Pictures (SSSP) was a short-lived psychical organization that formed in 1918 to investigate claims of spirit photography. It was established as a rival to the Society for Psychical Research.
Members of the SSSP such as Arthur Conan Doyle and honorary secretary Fred Barlow stated that the photographs of the Cottingley Fairies were genuine. In May, 1920 the organization reported that they had obtained evidence for paranormally produced photographs under test conditions. This opinion was rejected by other psychical researchers and in 1923 the organization dissolved.
Barlow was originally supportive of spirit photography but later reversed his opinion. In 1933 he co-authored a paper in the Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research that cast doubt on the subject and demonstrated fraudulent methods that William Hope and other photographers had utilized.
Barlow's collection of spirit photographs was given to Eric Dingwall who annotated them for the British Library. In 1960, he commented that the collection was evidence of "human stupidity, credulity and superstition".
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- Fred Barlow; W. Rampling-Rose. (1933). Report of an Investigation into Spirit Photography. Proceedings of the Society for Psychical Research 41: 121-138.
- Martyn Jolly. (2006). Faces of the Living Dead: The Belief in Spirit Photography. Miegunyah Press. ISBN 978-0977282739