The North-American Civil War left more than 600 thousand dead people through all over the territory in 1865 -- victims of the combat and also of diseases like cholera and dysentery, which killed more than the trenches. At this desolate picture broken families, business and dreams, there were lots of people who search for consolation in spiritualist beliefs, which gained more adepts after the mediumistic manifestations documented by the Fox sisters twenty years ago. The possibility of connection with a dear person looked as a very concrete hope; there were thousands of histories about soldiers' manifestations, messages, letters and, despite the deep-rooted Protestantism of that country, lots pf people searched for those who could make these kind of connections between world of the living beings and beyond.
Willian H. Humler was highly indicated for making these connections. His speciality was photographs of spirits.
The young William discovered his passion for photography -- an amazing and expensive technology which was being developed in the middle of the 19th century. Working as a jeweler in Boston, he spent his time practicing amateur captures -- and, in one of these tests he discovered the double-exposition technique (when a photograph is taken over a already-taken film strip). With this, he made a self-portrait of himself with a phantom over his shoulders -- who he affirmed to be a dead cousin of him. Later, the image was used on his business card.
The rich families (or the reminiscences of them) asked frequently for the H. Humler services. The business sustained by the war discharges became a lucrative commerce and, soon, the jewelry was substituted by his photographic studio. At this place, one day, with no previous notices, he received the visit of a lady -- a widow known by her frequency at the spiritualist session of that time. Mary Ann Todd lost 3 children because of different diseases and his murdered husband. She was the Abraham Lincoln's wife.
The Humler's success after the event was beyond the expectations.
In 1869, accused of several illegal practices as invasion of residences, stealing of photographs and cheat, William H. Humler was taken to judgment and became the protagonist of a North-American famous juridical case. He was declared innocent -- but, from this day, his career declined and his last days were full of misery.
William Hope shared the name of his predecessor and the interest for spiritualist photographs -- but the place was the After-World-War-First England. And his scenery was also different: Hope had gained some reputation in his home town, Crewe, where he started as a carpenter.
Developing his activities, as the search for these kind of services began to grow because all of those who had lost friends and relatives during the war, he changed to London. There, he became a professional photographer and also a professional medium -- as in Crew his spiritualist group was investigated by the Physics' Searching Society. Among the accusations, it was reported that Hope used glass laminas with spectrum images in order the produce the "spiritualist effect" in the pictures.
The Society proved his allegations and, despite this, William Hope continued with his activities, finding support on eminent figures like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, an enthusiast of Hope's work. He died in London in the beginning of the 1930s, with a gorgeous financial health.