ARTS & CULTURE
01/31/2013 02:48 pm ET

Victorian Death Portraits: The Bizarre Tradition Of Post-Mortem Photography (PHOTOS)

Of all the shocking images available online, we were surprised to discover one of the strangest and most unsettling phenomena dates back to Victorian times.

Post-mortem photography thrived in the early days of the daguerrotype, when families who could not afford a painted portrait of a lost loved one could opt for a quicker and less expensive option. The images, or memento mori, helped families immortalize the dearly departed in a number of ways.

The poses of the deceased depend on the subject's age and the family's personal preference. For instance, younger children were often portrayed in a deep sleep in a crib or on a couch while adults were propped up as if alive or sometimes captured inside their coffins.

See a selection of the post-mortem portraits below and let us know whether you find the unusual portraits respectful, depressing or super creepy. Be warned, the photographs below are graphic and potentially disturbing.

Victorian Death Portraits

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