It's been almost a year since I started Veinity Fair—a webcomic about the bizarre and gruesome parts of Victorian life with a dash of dark humor. During that time, I've drawn over 40 comics (you can check out the first 20 comics in my first Bored Panda article), started a Patreon mini-series on Victorian slang, and met many wonderful people who also love to discuss history and unusual trivia.

Enjoy the new set of comics and follow me on Veinity Fair's social media for the upcoming Halloween-themed comics, resources, and a great community!

More info: Instagram | Facebook | twitter.com | veinityfair.com | patreon.com

#1

Dr. Fahrney’s Teething Syrup

Dr. Fahrney’s Teething Syrup

Dr. Fahrney’s Teething Syrup was one of the "miraculous" Victorian products that promised to cure everything from teething pain through the common cold to cholera and dysentery. Advertised as medicine for babies, this concoction included alcohol, morphine, and chloroform.

Report

That Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

Quick, and keeps them quiet. For a very loooooong time

View more comments
#2

Post-Mortem Photography

Post-Mortem Photography

The Victorians are known for their obsession with death and elaborate mourning practices, something that was undoubtedly influenced by the high mortality rate of the times. The invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 allowed them to explore mortality and grief through a new medium—post-mortem photography. Families would have their pictures taken with dead relatives lying peacefully in a bed or, more unusually, posed in a life-like manner on a chair. Some resources even claim that special metal constructions could be used to make the corpses 'stand" for the photo, however, this is more likely just a myth fueled by misinterpreted 19th-century pictures. While post-mortem photography might seem morbid today, it's worth remembering that these photos were often the only images that people had of their loved ones: first photographs were costly, not easily available, and required long exposure time.

Report

glowworm2
Community Member
1 month ago

I was wondering why his brother was so well behaved!

Oof Me
Community Member
1 month ago

The last panel had me go ...............................

Load More Replies...
Caffeinated Hedgehog
Community Member
1 month ago

What if they eventually buried him and then realized he's not actually dead... they just forgot that they gave him a strong dose of Dr. Fahrney’s Teething Syrup.

F. H.
Community Member
1 month ago

The metal constructions did exist, though. They were for the living! Those were menacing looking things standing behind you during the long exposure. You could rest the back of your head against it or prop your elbows on them without any support being seen in the picture.

Ms.GB
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm absolutely fascinated by Victorian memento-mori photos, this was clever.

Eunice Probert
Community Member
1 month ago

I have a momento mori photograph, of a young woman dressed in black, and holding her dead baby. I cherish that photo.

F. H.
Community Member
1 month ago

I have one too, but it's a classic wake picture. An old woman lying in bed, hands folded with a rosary tied around them. Potted plants are arranged around her and pictures of saints are placed on the bedsheets. She's a relative, but even my grandmother didn't recognise her. Recently I found her in a different picture, alive in a family photo.

Load More Replies...
BusLady
Community Member
1 month ago

And they would paint fake eyes on the portrait so it would look like their eyes were open.

Rose Brien Harrington
Community Member
1 month ago

I think my grandmother's family had some photos of the dead like that, I'm sure I remember her mentioning it. It would have been the only photograph they ever had of someone, never having had any taken while they were alive. Awful sad situation.

Zoe Troxler
Community Member
1 month ago

dang

Miomirko Buhtlić
Community Member
1 month ago

Saw it in "The Others". Creepy stuff.

EM J
Community Member
1 month ago

So postmortem pictures were cheaper than having one taken when living?

Hilliary Smith
Community Member
1 month ago

I doubt it; more like people didn't want to spend the money until something really bad slapped them across the face.

Load More Replies...
Hannah M
Community Member
1 month ago

Mum* 😂

True Blue
Community Member
1 month ago

Well no in America and some other places they spell it Mom

Load More Replies...
PanSloth
Community Member
1 month ago

oof

Sent From The Slytherin House
Community Member
1 month ago

This comment is hidden. Click here to view.

Oofff this is a crazy post isn't it! im so glad i found youuuu, bestiiiie

Load More Replies...
Why?
Community Member
1 month ago

The kid just can't seem to focus!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#3

Playing Funeral

Playing Funeral

While it might seem morbid today, children playing funeral were not a rare sight in the Victorian era. It was a reflection of the times—high mortality rate meant that children often witnessed death in their families, not only of grandparents and parents but also siblings. Special doll sets containing small coffins and mourning fabrics were sometimes given to girls, who would then practice dressing the doll, laying it in the coffin, and performing other tasks connected with a funeral, like attending the mourners.

Report

Why?
Community Member
1 month ago

Mom puts the fun in funeral.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#4

Freud And Cocaine

Freud And Cocaine

Sigmund Freud, best known as the father of psychoanalysis, spent a large portion of his life promoting cocaine as a miracle cure for almost everything. Not only did he prescribe cocaine to his patients, but also used it himself on a regular basis. Some scholars believe this has largely influenced his theories on the human psyche and treatments which are considered pseudoscientific today.

Report

Scagsy
Community Member
1 month ago

I had a friend like that

View More Replies...
View more comments
#5

Flying Wombs

Flying Wombs

The advent of the steam-powered locomotive allowed people to travel farther and faster than ever before and quickly became popular with the public. However, the freedom which came with this form of transport was also seen as a moral and physical threat, especially to women. Some believed that "vulnerable" women's bodies wouldn't handle the high-speed (80 km/h or 50 mph) travels, resulting in faintings, madness, or… uteruses falling out. Therefore women were sometimes discouraged from traveling.

Report

Why?
Community Member
1 month ago

So they got a womb with a view.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#6

Everlasting Pill

Everlasting Pill

The everlasting pill, also known as a perpetual pill, was a popular 19th-century medicine that was supposed to bring balance to the body's humors by inducing purging. The pills were made of metallic antimony, a highly poisonous substance that causes health effects similar to arsenic poisoning. Why was it called an "everlasting" pill? An antimony pill would pass through the gastric system practically intact, so people would retrieve it, clean it, and put away for later use. Antimony was also a valuable metal at the time, so it was quite common to keep it the family and hand it down from generation to generation.

Report

That Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

big NOPE

View More Replies...
View more comments
#7

Princess Sisi

Princess Sisi

Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837 – 1898), more commonly known as Sisi, was famous for her extraordinary beauty, lavish hair, and fashion sense. To live up to her own standards, she practiced elaborate beauty routines with the use of a variety of products. Some of these products contained surprisingly weird ingredients…

Report

A Dumbo Octopus
Community Member
1 month ago

Well if it works it works I guess...

View More Replies...
View more comments
#8

Cure-Alls

Cure-Alls

"Clyster, bleed, purge, repeat" could be a motto for many doctors throughout the ages who believed that bad blood, humor imbalance, or miasma were causing all illnesses known to humanity. Such treatments were used as universal cure-alls since ancient times up to the late nineteenth century.

Report

That Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

Poll: Would you let your doctor put leeches on your skin if they said you needed to?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#9

Got The Morbs!

Got The Morbs!

Got the morbs (Soc., 1880) Temporary melancholia. Abstract noun coined from adjective morbid.

Report

Catlady6000
Community Member
1 month ago

Gonna start using this one

View more comments
#10

Feather Hats

Feather Hats

Fashionistas of the late Victorian and Edwardian eras were obsessed with hats. Particularly with feather hats, adorned with bird feathers, heads, wings, and even whole animals. The demand for birds was so high that the millinery industry decimated dozens of species and even drove one of them – the passenger pigeon – into extinction. The last passenger pigeon died in captivity in 1914. As taxidermy was a popular Victorian pastime, it is said that not only birds, but also other animals such as squirrels, mice, and even cats fell victim to the over-the-top hat fashion. In 1883, The New York Times published an article on French fashion stating that "The demand for kittens' heads has become so important that cat breeding has become a regular business." To be fair, it seems to be exaggerated as there isn't much evidence of cats being popular hat accessories.

Report

glowworm2
Community Member
1 month ago

That bird looks so judgmental!

View More Replies...
View more comments
#11

Mark Twain

Mark Twain

Apparently, Mark Twain really didn't like Jane Austen. Here are a few things he wrote about her.

Report

Mateusz Hoppe
Community Member
1 month ago

This one is deffo my favourite xD

View more comments
#12

Scheele’s Green

Scheele’s Green

Scheele’s Green, also known as copper arsenite, was the name of a green coloring that was used in everything from wallpaper through dresses to toys and candies. Thanks to the unique, vibrant look it quickly became a very fashionable color. As you can imagine, the arsenic-loaded dye was very dangerous to people’s health, especially if digested or breathed in. The latter could occur as a result of, e.g., molding wallpaper which would release arsine gas.

Report

qwerty
Community Member
1 month ago

It's also why Van Gogh chopped off his ear. His paint poisoned him and made him go mad.

View More Replies...
View more comments
#13

Unwrapping Parties

Unwrapping Parties

The Egyptomania that took over Europe in the 19th century caused a few disturbing trends in society. One of them were so-called unwrapping parties, during which people would observe or even take part in unwrapping ancient mummies, stealing the valuables they could find, or even dissect what was left of the body for "souvenirs" or magic-like medicine. Such parties were supposedly happening in London. While some scholars today question whether such parties really happened, we can be quite sure that at least one person — surgeon Thomas Pettigrew — was fond of such gatherings, turning them into bizarre shows.

Report

glowworm2
Community Member
1 month ago

We're not grave robbing, we're having an unwrapping party!

View More Replies...
View more comments
See Also on Bored Panda
#14

Taxidermy

Taxidermy

Many Victorians treated taxidermy as a regular pastime, appropriate for people of all ages. At first, stuffed animals appeared in the parlors as the evidence of the given homeowners' hunting skills, interest in natural history, or simply a part of a larger collection of unique items. While most of the specimen were prepared by hired specialists, taxidermy courses for the general public became quite popular as well. Then near the end of the 19th century, a new form of the hobby entered the scene; anthropomorphic taxidermy. In this style, the mounted animals were posed and dressed in a human-like fashion. The animals also "performed" various activities, for example, playing cards, dancing or getting married. Although the most famous taxidermists of the time were men (e.g. Walter Potter ), it is worth remembering that the hobby was enjoyed by many women, who were already used to dealing with dead animals in the kitchen or work.

Report

That Guy
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

...well, if you must °◜°

View more comments
#15

Arsenic Routine

Arsenic Routine

Many Victorians wanted to have a very pale complexion which was supposed to give them a more "aristocratic" look. Because of that, companies started to add arsenic to various cosmetics, including soaps, lotions, and powders. Arsenic was also advised to be ingested, either in the form of wafers (e.g. Dr. Rose’s Arsenic Complexion Wafers) or fluids (e.g. Fowler’s Solution). Interestingly, prolonged use of arsenic actually darkens the skin, which suggests that the producers might have skimped on the arsenic quantity in their products, thus making them a little bit less deadly.

Report

True Blue
Community Member
1 month ago

Don't forget how they had their whale bone corsets (and I think some women painted blue veins on their face I'm not sure though)

View more comments
#16

The Great Stink

The Great Stink

The summer of 1858 was exceptionally hot for Londoners—the temperatures averaged 34–36 °C (93–97 °F) in the shade, reaching even 48 °C (118 °F) in the sun. This unbearable weather was however overshadowed by something even more unbearable: the Great Stink. The source of this unbelievable stink was the Thames, which served as a sewer for all human, factory, and slaughterhouse waste in the area. As the London population doubled in the first half of the 19th century, so did the problems surrounding the river that served as the main source of "fresh" water. Apart from the offensive smells, Thames was also the source of cholera outbreaks and other diseases. The situation was dire and a prominent engineer called Joseph Bazalgette created plans for a new sewerage system. His plans weren't accepted by the government, which even suggested that cleaning up the river wasn't really their problem, even though they had to use scented handkerchiefs, tobacco, and curtains covered with chloride of lime to protect themselves from the putrid smells in the Palace of Westminster. When the Great Stink of 1858 knocked at the House of Commons' doors, there was no excuse to postpone dealing with it any longer. As the level of the river dropped because of the heatwave, "a huge pile of human waste was left piled up right next to Parliament." Benjamin Disraeli described it as a “Stygian pool, reeking with ineffable and intolerable horrors” and proposed a bill supporting the modernization of the sewer system based on the Bazalgette's plans.

Report

A Dumbo Octopus
Community Member
1 month ago

ooooohhh, THAT'S the great stink

View more comments
#17

Food Coloring

Food Coloring

In mid-19th-century England three things became quite common: the five o'clock tea, sugar consumption, and the use of food coloring. This mix could become quite deadly when an afternoon tea hostess would buy ready-made sugar cake decorations. Why? At the time the most vibrant and thus the most eye-pleasing food colors were achieved by adding some pretty dangerous stuff, e.g., copper sulfate for blue, copper arsenite for green, or mercury sulfide for red. Also, lead was added to achieve different shades depending on the formula. Many people got seriously sick and some even died because of the coloring in their sweets. In 1851 nearly 200 people were poisoned by colored lozenges, 17 of whom fatally. This and other fatal events finally led to the passing the Adulteration of Food and Drink Act of 1860, one of the first focused on food safety.

Report

Magpie
Community Member
1 month ago

Makes crushed beetles for a red dye sound good. It is cochineal also "natural carmine".

View More Replies...
View more comments
#18

Thomas Dent Mütter

Thomas Dent Mütter

Doctor Thomas Dent Mütter was an exceptional surgeon who pioneered many techniques that helped burn victims and people with extreme deformities, labeled by others as lost causes and "monsters" (it was a medical term at the time!). Mütter himself suffered from several illnesses throughout his life, which made him very sympathetic to patients' lot. He used to explain the procedures to patients and prepare them for surgeries both physically and mentally. He boasted to be one of the fasted surgeons in the U.S., an important feature in the pre-anesthesia times, and wrote a book on special techniques used during such surgeries. This didn’t prevent him from becoming the first surgeon to administer ether anesthesia in Philadelphia and adapt his methods over time according to the newest discoveries. Mütter was also a colorful figure known for extravagant style and expression, something that Europeans loved about him and many Americans… not so much. Today he's best known for an enormous collection of medical specimen and oddities you can visit in Philadelphia.

Report

Catlady6000
Community Member
1 month ago

"Monster" was a medical term into the 1950s. Saw it in an OB/GYN manual published in 1954. It was referring to children born with micro encephalitis

View More Replies...
View more comments
#19

Crape Veils

Crape Veils

Victorian mourning veils were popular accessories worn by grieving women. The veils could be as long as six feet and were traditionally made out of black crape, a scratchy fabric believed to be the most appropriate for mourning. Unfortunately, some of the black dyes (like logwood dye) used in the production were quite poisonous, causing a variety of ailments from light rashes to serious respiratory problems. Widows were especially affected by these dangers as the Victorian society expected them to wear crape veils for at least a year and a day during the so-called deep mourning stage.

Report

BusLady
Community Member
1 month ago

Mary is so done.

View more comments
#20

Victoria And Albert's Cruise

Victoria And Albert's Cruise

In the summer of 1858, Victoria and Albert took a leisurely cruise down the Thames, unprepared for the severity of the Great Stink. It is said that they lasted on board only a few minutes, despite bringing scented handkerchieves with them.

Report

A Dumbo Octopus
Community Member
1 month ago

what was the great stink, though?

View More Replies...
View more comments
#21

The Great Book Scare

The Great Book Scare

The Great Book Scare was a period between 1880 and 1920 when the general public was obsessed with the idea that library books were a major source of epidemics. Even though the evidence for this was small, especially compared to other potential disease sources, many in the U.S and the U.K. believed that library books could spread everything from tuberculosis to smallpox. The authorities and doctors alike started to come up with ideas on how to limit the risk such as treating books with vapors from heated carbolic acid crystals, using formaldehyde, and… just completely destructing books if they had come into contact with a sick person.

Report

Astrid Nineor
Community Member
1 month ago

*shrieks*

View More Replies...
View more comments
#22

Re-Animating Solar Tincture

Re-Animating Solar Tincture

"RESTORATION of LIFE in CASES of SUDDEN DEATH.—For this benevolent purpose, Dr. SIBLY’s RE-ANIMATING SOLAR TINCTURE, supersedes every art and invention. In all circumstances of suicide, or sudden death, whether by blows, fits, falls, suffocation, strangulation, drowning, apoplexy, thunder and lightning, assassination, duelling, &c., immediate recourse should be had to this medicine, which will not fail to restore life, provided the organs and juices are in a fit disposition for it, which they undoubtedly are much oftener than is imagined." This is how Dr. Sibly advertised his Solar Tincture in the 1790s and early 19th century. A miracle cure that could cheat Death himself! While buying such a remedy seems ridiculous, many people could have been inclined to do so given the high mortality rate of the times, popular fear of being buried alive, and Sibly's medical title (even though he had bought his degree). Another cure-all from Dr. Sibly's shelf was the Lunar Tincture. It was supposed to be the answer to all female problems, which according to Dr. Sibly were caused mainly by the lack of sex, too much sex, menstruation, lack of pregnancy, or menopause.

Report

BusLady
Community Member
1 month ago

Sounds like women just couldn't win.

View More Replies...
View more comments