Memento mori – man in white, 1885

*** I found this memento mori photo on eBay (whilst actually looking for shoes, the algorithms clearly knowing what I like) and it’s still for sale at the current time.  This poor chap was only 34 when he died in Paris in 1885. The seller has helpfully included a photo of the back of the print, which tells us that the deceased was one Alfred Jules Montel – I’ve had a quick google but can’t find any further details, not helped by the fact that there were clearly a lot of Montels in the area around that time. It’s...

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Dapper Missouri gentleman, postmortem

*** This rather unusual memento mori carte de visite is, I think, from the Frecker collection. It’s rather odd in that the gentleman in the image appears to have been laid out on a damask curtain! The positioning is odd enough that I would usually have suspected the subject was actually alive, but the ‘set’ of his face suggests otherwise.  On the upside, the card itself is unusually helpful, giving us both the date and location. Perhaps they just liked fancy patterns in Missouri back then? VIOLET  Click here to return to The Skull Illusion index page CLICK HERE...

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Memento Mori – Josefina Vilaseca, 1952

I‘ve had to use Google translate for this post because I couldn’t find enough info in English, so please do excuse any mistakes. And if anyone has more info, let me know and I’ll edit. This is taken directly from an article on and I’ve had to edit for clarity – the original (in Spanish) can be found here.  A DEATH THAT GOES AROUND THE WORLD It was the evening of December 28, feast of the Holy Innocents, in 1952. The coffin with the mortal remains of the now-servant of God Josefina Vilaseca Alsina arrived at the cemetery...

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Mrs Day and her seven children

Having managed to find the folder on my computer desktop that holds copies of the old Skull Illusion posts (a harder job than it sounds because my desktop currently has 551 icons on it – yes I am ridiculously disorganised), I figured it makes sense to repost some of them here, as many people won’t have seen either the text or the images before.  This one has always stuck in my mind, for fairly obvious reasons. *** Originally posted Nov 2013 Despite having run The Skull Illusion for several years now and seen hundreds, if not thousands, of corpses in...

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Memento mori – young girl with family

The problem I have with restarting the Skull again is that the original archive holds so many photos that I might end up repeating them without realising. They’re often very similar, making it difficult to figure out whether they seem familiar because I’ve actually published them before, or just because the way that memento mori images are posed means they do tend to look alike. Oh well, at least they’ll see the light of day again one way or another. I have no background information whatsoever on this photo – it appears on several Russian websites, but neither the...

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