Among the phenomena alleged by physical mediumship was the production of "spirit" paintings, especially portraits of deceased loved ones produced by "spirit guides" (supposed go-betweens in the Other World). Such artworks could be rendered by the medium's supposedly spirit-guided hand, or produced, possibly in stages, as séance "materializations."
Magicians often duplicated the effects in stage exposés of mediumistic deceptions. The 1911 poster illustrated here heralds P.T. Selbit's "demonstration of anti-spiritualism," featuring a painting that "visibly grows before the eyes of the spectators." Selbit (real name Percy Thomas Tibles— "Selbit" spelled backward) is best known for creating the famous illusion of "sawing a woman in half." His spirit paintings trick copied the allegedly genuine feat of two Chicago mediums, the Bangs sisters. For the secrets of such phenomena, see Joe Nickell, "Spirit Painting" ( "Part 1: The Campbell Brothers" and "Part 2: The Bangs Sisters"), in the March and June 2000 issues of Skeptical Briefs.