History influencing Pop Culture and strange archival discoverires.

Sometimes popular culture and history collide in unexpected ways.

Take for example, horsemaning.  This is an internet fad inspired by planking.  For those not in the know, planking is the act of laying face down with hands along the side of the body while being photographed.

Several individuals planking on stairs. Photo courtesy of http://www.planking.me/

The planking craze has swept the internet by storm, and individuals have been photographed in a host of humorous or dangerous situations.

So what comes next after planking?  According to popular website Buzzfeed, fad followers should look backwards for the next big thing.  Sick of planking?  How about horsemaning!  In this new {old} fad two participants are involved in depicting false decapitation without the aid of photographic editing tools.

Historic horsemaning. Photo courtesy of http://www.buzzfeed.com

Modern horsemaning. Photo courtesy of http://www.buzzfeed.com

Several OHS curators started talking about the article as well as the historical basis for the “fad.”  While neither our AV or Digital curator could recall an example of horsemaning in the Ohio Historical Society’s collection, they did find this little gem:

Headless man photograph taken by W. Runicles, c. 1880. From the collections of the Ohio Historical Society

This photograph, while not horsemaning, does depict a headless man.  AV Curator, Lisa Wood, suspects that the man is actually the photographer, W. Runicles.  The photograph was likely created by taking two separate images of the seated man, holding a plate.  Taking the two negative images, one head was cut out and placed over the plate while the original head was painted over.  Once the new “Photoshopped” negative was developed, voila!  You have a decapitated man.  Runicles likely created the image as a show of skill and advertisement for his studio.

E. Higgins
History Curator

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One Response to History influencing Pop Culture and strange archival discoverires.

  1. Peggy says:

    Really. How odd — and a waste of time, in my humble opinion. Perhaps someone could explore how this type of thing could help our small Ohio societies and museums draw more people, especially young people, as visitors and volunteers. That’s the only relevance I can see — at least for me. If this is what people find entertaining, maybe we can find a way to use it. Seeing it as an historical trend, not so much. And, Brad, please don’t take this personally — I really enjoy your blogs, and it must be tough to come up with new and different subjects weekly — just like museums coming up with new and different attractions, huh?

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