There’s already something inherently creepy about early photography, so when the subject is the violent old American West, the fear factor ticks up a few notches. A largely lawless, unexplored territory with a vibrant cast of criminals, the wild West carried unease in every breeze; capturing that aesthetic through the grainy view of late nineteenth-, early twentieth-century photos lends a whole new layer of creepiness to it.
Perhaps the creepiest photos from the old West are the ones that are hard to explain — the scary old photos made scarier by their total lack of context. This kind of disturbing photography, combined with the gruesome death photos popular at the time, makes for an unsettling collection that’s pretty hard to shake.
Creepiest Westworld Host Ever, Date Unknown
Accidental Decapitation Of Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum, 1901
Inuit Medicine Man, 1895
Early Photo Of A Ku Klux Klan Costume, 1869
I Don’t Think They’re Alive, 1870s
Dead Outlaw William “Brazen Bill” Brazelton Wearing A Mask, 1878
Post-Mortem Photograph, Late 1800s
Apache Spirit Dancers, 1887
Post-Mortem Photo Of “Flat Nose” George Curry, 1900
Mask And Skin Shoes Of Cattle Rustler “Big Nose” George Parrot
Outlaw Rube Burrow, 1890
Lynching In Ada, Oklahoma, 1909
Memento Mori Of The Dalton Gang, 1892