Post-mortem photography may seem very strange to us now; however, it was huge part of everyday culture in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Believe it or not, many families claimed that it even HELPED with their grieving process.
Post-mortem photography was more common than you would think in the nineteenth century when death usually occurred in the home and was a very normal occurrence. As photography was a new practice of the time, it is likely that many post-mortem portraits, especially those of young infants and children, were the only photos ever made of these people!
The earliest post-mortem photographs normally include only the face or the full body, but rarely include the coffin. Oddly enough, the subject was usually depicted to be in a VERY deep sleep or arranged to look lifelike - like they were still breathing! Children were usually photographed in their crib or a small bed, often times next to one of their favorite dolls or toys. It also was not uncommon that the mother would sit in on the child's photograph. As eerie as this is, she would actually hold her dead child for the length of time it took to get the picture. Eek!
Check out these ACTUAL post-mortem photos below if you're brave enough! Make sure to let us know which one YOU though was most creepy.
Kind of creepy that the girl on the right is holding the hand of her deceased sister!
A young girl and her dolls. Does the spirit live on through the dolls? I hope not!
"Lets get one last shot of that coffin before we close it."
Siblings and their dolls. This one is pretty eerie.
A husband looks on at his recently deceased wife.
They would often "prop" the deceased to look almost life-like. Besides the angle of his head and his eyes, this one almost had me fooled!
This guy almost doesn't look deceased at all!
Family portrait. This one is sad.
Small child. This was probably the only photograph ever taken of her.
Unfortunately, I think this woman waited a little too long to have her picture made.
Again with the dolls!
This boy looks so peaceful.
This one too! They look almost as if their sleeping or in some heavy trance.
Family portrait with the recently deceased younger sister "propped up" at the end.
I know I have the creeps after looking at all of these photos! Let us know which one you found to be the creepiest!
Images from: http://thanatos.net/preview