News Article

News Article

19th-Century GIFs Just Might Induce Nightmares

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In our fast-paced internet society, we consume media at a voracious pace, taking in hundreds of photos, videos and stories every single day.  It's no surprise that Tumblr has become a popular blogging tool in recent years, readers and writers trading in long-winded blog posts for easy to digest images.  A daily poke around my Tumblr feed brings all sorts of cool imagery into my day, and one thing that there's no shortage of on there is GIFs - sound-less moving images that last a split-second, and can be watched over and over again.  From exploding heads to cute cats, GIFs are the bread and butter of Tumblr, but you might be surprised to learn that they've been around a lot longer than the internet has... a whole lot longer.

As we spotted over on The Huffington Post, GIF-style imagery dates back all the way to the 19th-century, in the days long before the internet was even a distant possibility.  Much the same way flip books predated movies, devices like Phenakistoscopes predate the modern day GIF by over 100 years, circular discs that were spun around to turn static images into moving images.

A man by the name of RIchard Balzer has dedicated years of his life to discovering and showcasing these early works of art, teaming up with an animator to turn them into internet GIFs.  The reason we mention this here on FEARnet is because many of these primitive GIFs are surprisingly quite frightening, their imagery ripped straight out of horror flicks.  In one, a man decapitates the Devil with an axe, while in another a woman opens her door to find a demonic beast waiting for her.

Check out a few of the creepiest ones below, and see more over on Balzer's Tumblr blog.

beheading GIF

19th century GIF

19th century GIF

Devil GIF

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