When it comes to the macabre, the Victorians were miles ahead of us. When a loved one died families wanted to remember the deceased in any way they could. And what better way than in a photo?! Check out these Victorian photos of the dead often posed with their relatives (and we thought some of the selfies around today were scary!)

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Victorian photos of the dead were not uncommon. With people living much shorter lives people were far more willing to accept the death as just part of everyday life. So much so, that when a loved one passed away, they thought nothing of posing the corpse in a lifelike position so as to have a lasting memento of their relative. Hence this little girl has been posed surrounded by her dolls…

Dead girl with dolls

 

Sometimes, the living brother of sister is pictured with their sibling, the dead child often posed to look as if asleep…

dead child on couch with sibling

 

The inclusion of flowers can indicate that the subject of the photo is deceased. And some photographs were hand-tinted to add to the illusion of life…

dead child on chair hand tinted photo

 

Victorian families were often large and, sadly, many children experienced the death of a baby sibling. They could be called upon to pose with the infant…

dead baby on chair with siblings

 

The dead child was sometimes arranged to look as though sitting upright in his or her chair…

girl with dead sister on chair

 

Some claim that the Victorians used contraptions to pose the dead in a standing position, however others claim this stand was used with living people as it was so difficult to remain still for the time necessary for a photo to be taken. Regardless, a stand can be seen behind this girl with her parents and she does look suspiciously otherworldly with her drawn-in eyes…
dead standing girl posed with parents drawn on eyes

 

Alive or dead? Here’s the stand in action…

stand for posing dead body

 

And here’s another suspiciously deathly looking toddler at the end of a line of children.

dead old lady in chair

 

It wasn’t just the young who were immortalised in photographs. Here’s an old lady posed to look asleep…

old lady

 

It’s clear to see which of this group  has died, despite some of the family members looking remarkably jovial…

family with dead girl lying on floor

 

Finally, sometimes it’s man’s (or woman’s) best friend who just has to be immortalised…

girls with dead dog on floor