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Typically, he would take a glass photographic plate that held the image of the dead person in life and simply place it over a new glass plate meant to hold the image of the customer. When the photo was then developed the two images would be fused together into a composite and voila, ghost photo. On many occasions Mumler did not have access to an actual photo of the deceased, and so he got creative, using other figures that were blurred just enough that the client could believe that it was the presence of the lost loved one, easy enough to do with a bereaved, gullible person who is willing to do anything to see them again.[...]
Mumler might have been able to keep this going for many more years if he had been a little more careful. He started producing ever more outlandish ghost photographs, including even one of the dead president Abraham Lincoln photobombing a picture of his wife Mary Todd Lincoln.