Anyone who has even the most basic education about the Victorian era knows that societal mores encouraged and expected serious repression of ones thoughts, words, dress and actions.
This was a time when women were discouraged from using puns or proverbs in conversation, proper mourning demanded wearing nothing but black for two years, women could not dance with one partner more than three times, spouses referred to and addressed each other as Mr. or Mrs.
They also raised the “language of flowers” to a fine art, gifting certain blooms to another based on their symbolic meaning, since actually telling someone in words, particularly of the opposite sex, that you wanted to get to know them better, was considered vulgar. Just saying such words as pregnant, legs, intercourse or body was considered highly improper and could make a young woman blush.
Is it any wonder that they dealt with their repressions through rather morbid interests and pursuits?
One of those morbid fascinations that the Victorians enjoyed was the new sensation of trick photography, with a special fondness for headless or decapitation photos.
Here is a small sampling of these vintage gems from the era of Victorian trick photography.