…while most readers are familiar with the media-savvy ghost hunting concerns that emerged during the boom in the early 1980s, and to a lesser extent the mid 1970s, very few people realize that ghost hunting as a profession has its roots in the early 20th century.

“These photographs, advertisements, schematics, and other materials are essential to understanding the early history of ghost hunting, which not many people know was centered in Michigan,” said project director Amanda Hughenckiz of the HPL. “Most people think of ghost hunting pre-1970 as nonsense with nets, and we aim to debunk that.”

Key items from the collection include photographs of an early horse-drawn neutron spirit-catching beam from 1904, a picture of a ghost hunt at a spiritualist going wrong that resulted in 3 poltergiests being captured and frozen in ice (a method that ghost hunters did not learn was ineffective at preventing further hauntings until 1947).

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