In the late 19th and early 20th century, the Spiritualism movement was all the rage, and people sought out mediums to communicate with spirits.
One of the most famous mediums of the day was Marthe Beraud (also known as Eva C. and Eva Carrière). In this photo, taken in 1912, she demonstrates a “light manifestation” between her hands, and a strange materialization upon her head. She was debunked in 1922, much to the dismay of her supporter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (via)