This girl has been the subject of much debate. Is she dead or is she not?
What do you think?
Why, you might be asking, would you think she's dead, for heaven's sake!?
Back in the 1800's, though we would find the practice perfectly morbid today, families who lost loved ones routinely engaged in
This is Ebay's description of her:
"You are bidding on an ANTIQUE Possible Post Mortem, CABINET PHOTO depicting a Lovely Young Victorian Lady. TO ME, She Looks Dead. Please check out all my PICS, and see what you think. To me, she looks like she's propped up on this chair. Her left arm is very limply just hanging there. Her eyes are closed, her head hanging down. I don't know, to me it looks eerie. I don't think she's alive, but I COULD BE WRONG!! Photographer was Ph. W. Lenz, Dubuque, Iowa."
Guess how much she went for?
One hundred and forty seven dollars!
The following are opinions as to her macabre state.
"I believe she is dead for several reasons the seller did not include in her description", says Footmaven at the Grave Yard Rabbit's Association.
 The position of her legs. Women of the day did not sit with their knees that far apart. The right leg is turned at an awkward angle.
 Her dress is stuffed under her thigh. A lady would not sit for a photograph with her skirt stuffed under her. Photographs were expensive and the sitter as well as the photographer wanted them to be perfect. Women were represented in the most genteel pose possible. This is not a genteel pose.
 I also agree with the statement that the arms hanging down appear to be awkward. Very unladylike. The eyes look dark and sunken.
In response to Footmaven, other people said:
"I took a good look at this photograph and I also believe she is dead. Post mortem photographs are not unusual. They take many forms - lying in bed, lying on a couch, in a casket, or a previous picture placed in a scroll on a memorial card. I have not seen one of an adult propped up in a chair."
Sally J. said...
"Like you, Maven, I've never seen an adult post mortem photo where the subject is propped up in a chair. Casket or bed, yes. On the other hand, I've seen enough post mortem baby photos to last a lifetime. Is there anything more heartbreaking?
Her fingernails look black to me. Or is that just my imagination?"
"Totally creepy. Yep, I think she's a goner too! Not a very flattering either ;-) I don't think I've ever seen a post-mortem picture of an adult though I have of small children and infants. Gives me the weeby-jeebies just looking at her. If ya can't take a picture of me before I die, don't take one afterwards either!!!"
And Entrepreneur Chick's favorite-
Thomas MacEntee said...
"Deader'n a door nail as Scrooge once said. I also find that the arms appear a bit puffed.
Or could it just be that her corset is a wee bit tight and she has momentarily passed out?"
Now what do you guys think?
Dead? Alive? Corset faint?
I have a theory that no one has asserted yet.
What if she is merely changing poses and the photographer caught her in between?
Happens all the time!
This would explain the looking down. This would explain the awkward leg positioning. BUT, it would not explain the limp hand. It would not explain the slight edema of her arms.
Sooo, now I'm back to thinking she's dead.
While we will never be entirely certain of this girl's morbidity, what we can be certain about is a dying business.
That's so easy.
You're business is dead if:
There ain't no new sales!