Tintype photo-spell #1: for dispelling obstacles & gaining access
English, late 1800s
Accession No. 1983-1-en
12” x 11” x .5”
The Museum's collection includes several fine examples of the "photo-spells" made in the latter half of the 19th century by one of my ancestors in England. They were created using shadow castings of carefully arranged objects onto specially sensitized tin plates. The plates were then developed with powerful tinctures of hex-inducing substances infused into the alchemy of the darkroom chemistry. The spell-photographer would mutter incantations as the tintypes were developing, thus endowing the metal plate images with their spellbinding power.
These photo-spells were made to mix and match for the creation of specific spell-casting combinations. When any two of these plates were physically aligned with one another in one of the plate holders, a specific photo-spell would be released upon its intended target.
Each plate could be reused until its powers were exhausted, as indicated by the bluish green hues seen in some of these tintypes. This example has never been activated and is still perfectly functional., as is indicated by the clear earthy tone of the images.