Maw

The annals of “Spirit Photography” are full of archival images that might have spooked late 19th- or early 20th-century viewers but look positively corny in the cold cynical light of the present day. This photo is not one of them. Although the unknown photographer appears to have relied on the old double exposure trick, the image is unique for at least two reasons. First, it is the only such example I can recall in which the apparition is nude.  Second, and more to the point, the form is savagely twisted and has a distinctly disturbing countenance. Is it the ghost of a slaughtered native woman come to eat the soul of this wellborn Nebraskan, or just a yawning and corpulent nude model?