Aug 28, 2009

Photos of the "Living" Dead - Mental Floss

In this country, during this century, we seem to have a strange fixation on death. Oh, we have violent movies and television shows and books and comics and all that bunk. It's morbid, isn't it? That's nothing. Compared to the past two centuries, we have a firm grasp on reality if the photo above is any indication. Over at Mental Floss, they've posted "posed" photos from the 19th century, of people who had just recently died, often - as above - with other family members included. In the above picture, if you look closely you can see the stand just behind the girl. Also notice the awkward posing of the hands and how the pupils are painted over the closed eyes. [shudder]

They're called "post mortem" photos and they give me (and the blogger at Mental Floss) the creeps something awful:

It’s a sub-genre of the Victorian mourning portrait, in which photographers clamp and pose the dearly departed in such a way that they look fully awake — usually standing up, eyes either held open by some unknown mechanism (shudder) or with pupils painted over closed eyes, to very, very creepy effect. They’re too crazy and weird not to share with you guys, but I’ll do the nightmare-prone among you a favor and save the first image until after the jump. (There’s nothing lose-your-lunch gross about these — this ain’t, after all — they’re just deeply unsettling.)

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