People during the Victorian era had a much closer relationship with death than most of us would ever want today. This was the reality of living during a time when most cures were worse than the diseases. Because of the relative fragility of life at this point, Victorians developed their own elaborate social rituals to cope with death.
By today”s standards, many of these traditions seem bizarre or downright non-sensical, but they”re understandable at their core. However, the glaring exception to that was the practice of death photography among the upper and middle classes of the time.
We”ve brought you coverage on this bizarre tradition before. Recently, though, we”ve come across a whole new stash of creepy Victorian postmortem photos. I didn”t think it was possible, but they”re actually freakier than these. Check them out below.
1. When it came to death photography, most families wanted it to look like the person in the photo was still alive.
2. But sometimes the photos were taken with the bodies already in their coffins.
3. Those specializing in death photography at the time developed an array of methods to hold bodies upright and keep the eyes open.
4. An American family poses with their deceased loved one.
5. Sitting in his favorite chair.
6. The flowers are a nice touch.
7. Gazing upon his wife”s face one last time.
8. An Undertakers business showing off their skills. According to the card, the man in the center had been dead for two years.
9. Quite the elaborate funeral setup.
10. Taken 4 days after her death yet she looks very much alive.
11. Looks like she”s just resting her eyes…
12. They don”t look too happy to be posing with their older brother.
13. It”s the eyes that give it away.
15. There is something unnaturally haunting about her eyes.
It”s very easy to be freaked out by this kind of photography. These pictures acknowledge death in a way that would make most people today extremely uncomfortable, because we”ve divorced death from life in our modern society.
But for those alive during the Victorian era, death was very much a part of living. They chose to acknowledge that fact and embrace it with morbid rituals like this one. You have to wonder if they didn”t have a good point with that…