The “St. Louis Globe Democrat,” August 3, 1876:
The small shop at the southwest corner of Ninth and Penn streets is occupied by a German watchmaker. It has in his possession the photograph of a young lady who formerly resided on North Ninth street, this city. The most wonderful and mysterious history is told concerning the picture.
The young lady, about nineteen years of age, was in excellent health, rosy-cheeked, dark-eyed, and in the best of spirits, about five months ago. She resolved to have her photograph taken, and went to a Reading gallery. In the course of a few days she got the pictures and took them home. What is said to have followed was told to an Eagle reporter by the watchmaker this morning.
She took her photographs home and showed one of them to a member of the family. The mother examined the picture awhile, and then said in German, "Why, this picture has a death's head on it.” She pointed to the tie worn about the lady's throat, and what looked like a skull was distinctly seen on the picture, and it excited some curiosity. No attention was paid to this, and a few days afterward one of her photographs was looked at again, and to their great astonishment they discovered that the figure, or what greatly resembled it, of another skull had appeared just above it. This was also pointed out to the young lady, and she became deathly pale and took to her bed. She slowly sank, and in two months after she had her pictures taken she was a corpse.
The reporter asked to see the photograph. It was shown. It represented a stout, healthy, fresh and prepossessing young lady. When she had her picture taken she wore a rose at her throat. This flower was so shaded that its picture really represents a skull. Below can be traced with a magnifying glass the outlines of another strange-looking face. It Is a strange freak at best, and must be seen to be properly understood and realized. It is stated that the young lady died from fright.
The moral is clear: if you happen to notice a skull lurking in someone’s photograph, it is, to say the least, tactless to point it out.