Sunday, February 17, 2013
Family Portraits With Their Dead Loved Ones?
---------- In doing research for another story about funerals in the home, I ran across a somewhat disturbing practice from the 1800's. Around the end of the Civil War, after cameras were invented, it became a normal thing to get a family photograph with your dead loved one. In this photo, the young woman in the middle is actually dead. Her eyes are shut, so they painted eyes on her eye lids. If you look at her feet you can make out the contraption, called a Dead Clamp, that is holding her up. I think you have to remember there were probably no other pics of these people but at their deaths and the family no doubt held the pictures dearly, but for us today, it is just disturbing. Here are a few other pics I found. This picture is particularly disturbing because the eyes are painted on this little baby boy. Obviously the parents are shattered, but I think it would be hard for many people today to do something like this. Death was looked at differently back then and people dealt with it in very unusual ways. HERE IS A LIST OF WEB SITES WHERE SOME OF THESE PICTURES CAME FROM. I Googled funeral practices of the 1800's and some of these pictures came up. http://www.funeralplan.com/west/vtour_pop?id=5932 http://www.essortment.com/death-superstition-rural-south-37073.html I found this practice to be the most disturbing. Mothers would sit shrouded as they held their dead infant. There is not a lot of exlanation, at least that I can find so far, for this practice, but I am still looking. I have two articles coming about Funeral Practices from the 1800's and also the Rules for Widows.