Monday, October 31, 2011


WARNING... If you are faint at heart and don't like deceased people please do not open this post. It is not gross by any means no blood or guts or anything like that. This is just a different kind of post for me.

If you are still here I thought this would be a rather interesting post for Halloween. One day while I was at work my partner was surfing the web and came upon Victorian Era images. He went on to explain and show me pictures he found. I found it quite interesting that many photos were taking with at least one deceased person in the photo. I guess I never really thought about it before why people had there eyes closed. I just figured they blinked with the flash. Ummmm nope they were dead. From what I've read if you didn't come from a family with money or the mortician was not very proficient at his job the picture would be taken with the deceased person lying or sitting with their eyes closed.

As the mortician got better he then would sew the eye lids so that the eyes were open making it look as if they were not dead.

Sometimes it would be hard to tell which one was deceased.

As time went on a metal stand (almost like a doll stand) would be used for the deceased to make them stand and pose with their family. I don't know about you, but I don't like dead bodies first of all. Second of all I don't want a dead person's arm draped over me.

These last two freak me out... they look like real breathing people.

After this post you are going to think I'm just a little twisted, but things like this fascinate me. I promise I'll be back soon with one of my "normal" posts. Until then Happy Halloween everyone.
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Carmen and the Primcats said...

Creepy! I'm glad this tradition didn't stick around!

Happy Halloween to you too!

Carmen and the Primcats

Deppen homestead 1862 said...

I find them interestingly creepy~ we have a few in our family photos~ they freak my sister OUT!!giggles~
Happy Halloween~

Tina said...

Well, I collect victorian images and old tin types and this blew me away. I never knew this. I'm going to go through my stash and see if I can see any dead folk. I'm so creeped out right now.
good post :{

Rachel said...

That is so creepy! I had no idea they used to do that!!
Happy Halloween!

Penny said...

I used to think it was weird to see photos of dead people (especially children) in their coffins until I read this!!!!!
All I can ask is..... "WHY???"
Happy Halloween!!!

lilraggedyangie said...

Happy Haunting my friend , I too find this creepy , strange but interesting! Do I want one taken UMMM heck no but it is history and very different its a good thing some prim traditions didnt last through the ages !lol hugs lilraggedyangie

TheCrankyCrow said...

Well, well, well....a girl after my own twisted heart! ;o) I have always found these old cabinet photos intriguing....and have to admit I have a few memento mori's in my collection. The "portfolio" you put together is particularly impressive.....but even that last one disturbs me a wee bit....That one - and the third one down with the ghost-like mother figure in the chair behind the dead boy....Perfect Halloween post Miss Mary!! Happy Spook Night! Smiles & Halloween Hugs ~ Robin

~Jess said...

I remember this in the movie "The Others" with Nicole Kidman....freaked me out!

Happy Halloween!

BumbleBeeLane said...

They did this because it was the only reminder of the past loved one often family lived far away and they would send out the photo's to relatives as a memento.They are interesting I don't collect them but as a seller have sold quit a few.Happy Halloween!~Amy

BumbleBeeLane said...

Oh to creepy I went back and looked and the clegg is my grandfathers name and I have those same morning black lace fingerless gloves packed away.Spooky..

earlene said...

You gave me goosebumps!!! I had no idea this happened either.
How did you find out?
Happy Halloween

Casey said...

Back then, they didn't have scads of photos of family members in an album or shoebox or stored in cyberspace. I would think if they hadn't a recent photo....and they probably didn''t....they would make sure to take one so that the loved one could be remembered as they were before they died. I remember coming across a photo of my grandfather, whom I don't remember, lying in his coffin in the parlor. But that's a wee bit different than a photo pretending he was alive! Glad times have changed.

A Primitive Homestead said...

This is strange. But interesting to know the history. I will look more closly when finding old photos at flea markets next time. I prefer photos of my loved ones alive. I recently purchased a photo of a baby dressed in a gown. Sweet little bare feet peeking out. I will look close at in after your post. Blessings!

Shakerwood said...

There's a lesson here somewhere. Take lots of pictures of your loved ones while they can still pose for you on their own! I would have thought you were twisted only if you posted this on any other day!

Valerie said...

Eeek! That was a very interesting post, thanks for sharing. :) I have to say though, the taking pictures with the deceased part didn't bother me nearly as much as taking pictures with deceased and CHILDREN in it did. The little baby with her eyes closed - well that just breakes my heart. :(

Pam at Antique or Not said...

Wow, that's really creepy, but interesting at the same time. Thanks so much for sharing.


frontporchprims said...

I think it would be creepy to be the one sitting next to the dead person. You know it took a while to take picture back then and they could have been sitting there forever. AHHH. Interesting. -Steph-

Jackie said...

I don't think you are a little twisted. My DH is in the funeral business and I sent this link to him. They enjoyed it at work and discussed the tradition. I think it is very interesting.
We both also are involved in 1800 living history and have learned alot about past tradition.
My Mother had always told me the story about how my Grandmother was laid out in the parlor at home. The Amish still honor some of the past ways. Thank you for the post.

Mary said...

My sis collects photo's of people in old fashioned swimwear. I found her a daguereotype on ebay of some children posed in swimwear with a lighthouse backdrop. When it arrived I realized one of the kids deceased. Bizarre! I don't think sis realizes and I'm not tellin.