10 Strange Behaviors of the Victorian Era

Did you know that it was fashionable during the Victorian era to wear hats adorned with taxidermized birds?

The Victorian era spanned from the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1837 until her death in 1901. While the era was marked by great social reforms and the Industrial Revolution, people also engaged in some bizarre practices.

Don’t believe it? Prepare to be shocked!

Walter Potter, a famous taxidermist of the time, created elaborate scenes from nursery rhymes using the bodies of animals. His most famous work, “The Kittens’ Wedding,” is particularly disturbing.

Men and women donned creepy face masks to refresh their skin.

Compared to the beauty industry today, Victorian face masks were terrifying. One mask made of rubber resembled something from a horror movie. The wearer would apply questionable salves to the inside, wear the mask overnight, and sweat profusely.

Victorian women consumed arsenic to keep their skin pale.

While tanning is popular today, Victorian women wanted to maintain a deathly pale complexion. They nibbled on chalk wafers laced with arsenic, which was highly toxic and addictive but resulted in a white complexion.

Families posed with their deceased loved ones for photographs.

Victorian families would dress their deceased loved ones in their finest clothes and take photographs with them. They claimed to want to remember their loved ones at their best, but it’s still creepy.

Grave robbing was common.

The medical field needed fresh corpses for research, so grave robbers would wait until after funerals and dig up fresh corpses. Doctors paid well for fresh corpses to advance their knowledge of anatomy.

Women wore entire birds on their hats!

Women in Europe and the USA wore hats with taxidermized birds perched on them. Tucking a feather into a hat wasn’t enough for fashionable Victorian women.

Due to the excessive demand, a conservationist estimated that up to 67 bird species were at risk of extinction because of this disturbing trend.

Victorian England – Mummy Unwrapping Parties

During Victorian times, individuals would not return from Egypt without a mummy to display. In fact, many hosted parties where they unwrapped the mummified remains for their guests to view.

Living Garden Gnomes

Affluent Victorians sometimes kept old men as pets within their gardens. These hermits were not allowed to groom themselves and were confined to living in the gardens’ nooks and crannies. They were rarely allowed to communicate with others.

Strange Christmas Cards

During the Victorian era, Christmas cards were invented. While some were similar to those of today, many were strange and creepy, featuring anthropomorphized insects or frogs. Some may find these cards amusing and send them to family and friends.

Exotic Animal Eating Clubs

Even Charles Darwin was a member of the Glutton Club, which ate anything exotic. The Ichthyophagous Club specialized in consuming the strangest sea creatures they could find. These hobbies and habits may seem bizarre and unacceptable today, but they were once socially acceptable in Victorian times.

It is difficult to comprehend these strange habits and hobbies, and one can only hope that they do not make a comeback.


1. What were some of the strange fashion trends during the Victorian Era?

One of the most peculiar fashion trends during the Victorian Era was the use of corsets to achieve a tiny waistline. Corsets were so tight that women had to rely on each other to lace them up. Another strange trend was the use of bustles, which were worn under skirts to create the illusion of a larger butt. Men also participated in odd fashion trends, such as wearing hats made out of beaver fur and sporting excessively long sideburns.

2. Did people really believe in spiritualism during the Victorian Era?

Yes, spiritualism was a popular belief during the Victorian Era. Many people believed in the ability to communicate with the dead and held séances to do so. Spiritualism was often associated with the women’s rights movement, as it was seen as a way for women to have power and influence in a male-dominated society. However, spiritualism was also heavily criticized and seen as a fraudulent practice by many.

3. What were some popular forms of entertainment during the Victorian Era?

One popular form of entertainment during the Victorian Era was attending the theater, where people could watch plays and musicals. Another popular activity was attending public executions, which were seen as a form of entertainment and a way to deter people from committing crimes. Additionally, people enjoyed participating in parlor games, such as charades and card games, which were often played at home with friends and family.

4. Why were post-mortem photographs taken during the Victorian Era?

Post-mortem photographs were taken during the Victorian Era as a way to remember loved ones who had passed away. The practice was particularly common among families who could not afford to have formal portraits taken while their loved one was alive. Post-mortem photographs were often posed to make the deceased look as if they were sleeping, and were sometimes even edited to make them appear more lifelike. This practice may seem strange to us today, but during the Victorian Era, death was a more common and accepted part of daily life.

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