However, she was soon in the firing line, as accusations of fraud and charlatanism were levelled at her.
Almost straight away her spirit photos developed a signature look; floating disembodied heads would appear on or near her subjects. These heads apparently held a very close likeness to the subjects lost loved ones.
Controversy surrounding these photos developed swiftly, due to the fact Ada Deane would have to hold the photographic plates in order to 'pre-magnetise' them. Skeptics saw this is a means for her to perform some trickery and tamper with the undeveloped plates.
“Control of the experiments is … so unsatisfactory that at present it is impossible to arrive at any conclusions of value” - American Journal of The Society for Psychical Research vol 15 1921.
The Armistice Day Photos
During the two minutes silence to commemorate these dead, Ada Emma Deane would take her photo of the Cenotaph and, upon development, the ghostly faces of dozens of spirits were present. These faces were supposedly the faces of many of the soldiers who fell in battle, and soon newspapers would eagerly await the Armistice Day occasion... not just to honour the dead but to publish Deanes now world famous Armistice Day photos.
It was the 1924 Armistice Day photo that got the most attention. With newspapers anticipating the latest photo, many had bid for the rights to reproduce it on the front page. The Daily Sketch won the bid and duly published it on 13 November.
The Topical Press Agency stated that the 'spirit photos' were reproductions of the agencies photos of still living sportsmen.
Many called Ada Deane a fraud and charlatan who perpetrated ""a cruel fraud designed to deceive credulous people and bereaved relatives of the glorious dead." (The Daily Sketch).
Many defended Deane claiming that they failed to see the resemblance to the sportsmen or that the pictures were too blurry to make an accurate comparison. Deane herself stated that she would not have chosen to have used the faces of famous people if she was to fraudulantly produce the spirit photos.
Deane presented her self, her method and her photos for testing, but results were never conclusive. Although she was able to produce her spirit photos under semi-controlled environments, none could be stated as evidential of true spirit photography.
Deane continued to make a living as a spirit photographer, but her 1924 Armistice Day photo was the last one she took on the occasion.