People In The 1800s Did THIS With Dead Bodies

by Giovanna Boldrini
Giovanna was born in Rome, Italy and currently resides in South Salem, New York. In her free time, she likes to cook with her children and grandchildren.
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    Most of us wouldn’t even consider bringing a camera to a funeral, but most of us aren’t Victorians.

    The Victorian Era was full of strange customs, etiquettes, and traditions, and their manner of grieving the dearly departed was no exception. In this dark era, photographing the dead was as common as bringing flowers to a funeral. In fact, when a family member died, the first step was not to seek out a coroner or a mortician, because there were more pressing matters to attend to.

    First things first, they called a photographer.


    The guy on the right has already met his maker. A Victorian photographer deliberately posed this photo to ensure that it would resemble a pose that the twins might’ve struck while they were still both alive…Before you judge the Victorians, remember: Photography and camera equipment was very expensive – as expensive as our pricey modern day funerals. Many families couldn’t pay photographers to take pictures of their kids and relatives that frequently.

    Thus, death was often the occasion that prompted paying for a pricey photographer…

    But that’s not the ONLY type of creepy Victorian photography trick we know about!

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    One of these siblings is not like the others.

    Because one of these siblings has passed away. You may think the little girl on the left is just blinking, but sadly, that’s not the case. How is she standing? Read on to find out.

    No funeral flower arrangements…no casket…just a posed picture of a deceased loved one, as if she’s still alive.

    Yes, the hairs on the back of your neck SHOULD be standing!!

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    This boy is also dead, but that's not what he's here to demonstrate. We've established that Victorian people photographed their dead for posterity before holding any sort of funeral services for their loved ones, but what's interesting about this photo is the detail near his foot.

    That’s evidence of the young man’s stand. Read on to see how Victorian’s posed their dead relatives…

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    Ah, the grotesque and delicate art of posing dead bodies to make them seem almost...ALIVE.

    Victorian guides to building stands for the dead have been found in how-to manuals for construction, leading historians to believe that Victorian Post-Mortem photography was a widely accepted tradition. You won’t find this in a modern day funeral home!

    Could this possibly get any WEIRDER?

    Why, yes!

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    Which sister in this photograph still breathes mortal air?

    I bet it took you at least a moment to decide. Without a casket and a massive spread of fragrant funeral flowers it’s sort of hard to tell who’s passed into the world beyond the living, am I right? The secret lies in their eyes…

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    THEY WERE PAINTED ON OVER THE ORIGINAL EYES. Those aren't contact lenses, folks.

    Whoops! Sorry if this (once) lovely lady gave you a scare. I also forgot to mention that Victorian Post-Mortem photographs were taken, sometimes, regardless of the manner of death.

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    Sitting-stands were also an option if you wished to have your deceased loved-one in a more casual pose.

    Believe it or not, we’re doing weirder things today. One woman in New Orleans, Louisiana violated just about every taboo in the book when it comes to dead bodies roughly one year ago today….at her VERY OWN FUNERAL, no less.

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    Here's a photo of Miriam "Mae-Mae" Burbank, just sitting at a table in a living room setting holding a menthol and her favorite beer. The only strange thing about the scene? She's 100% dead.

    Burbank’s two daughters said Burbank was “full of life” and they wanted her funeral to reflect her life.

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    She Keeps Asking, ‘Did You Hear A Click?’ I Can’t Stop Laughing At This!