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Haunted Air: Anonymous Halloween photographs from c. 1875–1955
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Haunted Air: Anonymous Halloween photographs from c. 1875–1955

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4.51  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  23 reviews
The photographs in Haunted Air provide an extraordinary glimpse into the traditions of this macabre festival from ages past, and form an important document of photographic history. These are the pictures of the dead: family portraits, mementos of the treasured, now unrecognizable, and others. The roots of Halloween lie in the ancient pre-Christian Celtic festival of Samhai ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published October 28th 2010 by Random House UK
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4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  213 ratings  ·  23 reviews


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karen
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aaaahhrrrtt
OCTOBER! IS! SPOOKY!!!



ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS???



this book is the creepiest shit ever: wonderful and terrifying and absolutely essential if you want to have intensely vivid nightmares. it is KILLING ME!!!



every page of this book features a sepia-toned photograph of a child or adult dressed for halloween (one hopes) in a time before mass-produced plastic, or maybe these just come from some gated community of serial killers and this is how they celebrate the day - by FREAKING ME OUT!





every sing
...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: truthiness
Creepy, but also filled with charming little things.

 photo catbat_zpsfrare4ey.jpg
Kristoffer
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amazing amaz ...more
Claire
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
Okay. So. Some thoughts:

1) Lotta blackface. Holy cow. Also a lot of redface, but I think I wasn't as shocked at that because of how common it still is at white Greek life Halloween parties all across college campuses. Soooo, heads up. One photo had seven people in it and four out of the seven were in either blackface or redface, and two girls in blackface literally had the letters "MAID" sewed onto their dresses. Jesus.
2) Truly, a marvelous collection of vintage Halloween photos. People dresse
...more
Kurt
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Captivating and transporting, this collection of old Halloween pictures really takes me where I want to be; into a nether world full of intrigue, nostalgia, history, mystery, fright and humor. You can practically smell Autumn when looking through this.These are from the days before vacuu-formed or full-head, super detailed latex masks were mass marketed to folks around the country, so there's a handmade spirit and imagination that permeates the many images. There's makeup, bags and weird masks a ...more
Margaret Bessai
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you love images by Diane Arbus, or vintage Hallowe'en, you'll enjoy looking at this book. It features
anonymous, vintage Halloween photos, dating between 1875 and 1955 collected by Ossian Brown, a British musician and artist. Bonus: David Lynch wrote the book's introduction.
There is no context for these images, which piques my curiousity.
Great review on NPR blog:
https://www.npr.org/sections/pictures...
Josh
Oct 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Like wandering through some weird hinterland where it's always Autumn and Halloween is forever just around the corner.

Arthur Cravan
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Dude, who the hell is this Geoff Cox guy? At first, I was worried it would be some soft, wanna-be shit, something from the pen of Neil Gaiman, but besides a few strains of repetitiveness, his afterword was truly amazing. I click on his name on GR & get a bunch of technical books, engineering books, random shit - maybe he's just an unknown, a friend of the author, & the Geoff Cox listed is another generic man. Unless this guy did this 'Anna & the Juniper Dog' book - looks likely. Anyw ...more
Hank Stuever
Apr 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
I wasn't as charmed or intrigued by this collection of old photographs as I expected to be. And what's with the David Lynch intro, which is really only 100 words or so of childlike writing? The afterword essay by Geoff Cox also seems to heap more meaning on these photographs than they deserve. All in all a very shallow attempt at art/meaning/cultural excavation. I mean, hats off to the person (Ossian Brown) who found and collected all these old snapshots of kids and adults wearing Halloween cost ...more
Wesley
Nov 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Haunted and haunting. This set of black and white and sepia pictures from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th centuries is a collection of images of American children and adults dressed for Halloween.

The pictures are presented as is - one to a page - without any additional commentary. The costumes are quite often the stuff of nightmares and the collection could easily be the costume designer's notes for any number of modern horror or serial killer movies. The blank masks and homemade pap
...more
Rich Rosell
Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It might be wrong to say I "read" this, as out of 216 pages there are only about 5 with text. But this collection of anonymous Halloween photographs from c.1875–1955 is the stuff of nightmares.

The old photos - one per page - are creepy, disturbing and fascinating.

As a bonus treat David Lynch (he knows weird) writes an all-caps intro, so there's that.
Nancy
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love love love this book! I know, how can I say I've "read" a book when there's no text? But this truly is the most awesomely weird picture book ever. It is entirely comprised of vintage black and white photos of children dressed up for Halloween, and a more frightening bunch of kids would be hard to find! I may have to actually buy my own copy of this one.
Greta is Erikasbuddy
Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A creepy book of pictures taken of people in creepy Halloween costumes from 1875 - 1955.

Man!! Those people knew what scary was! And the black and white pictures sure help :)

A great book to be featured on your coffee table during the month of October.
PVLD Reads
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-nonfic
Not so much a book to read, since there's not much text, than a book to leisurely peruse on a dark quiet night. A compilation of vintage Halloween photographs dating back to the late 1800's up to the mid century, Haunted Air is suitably creepy with its black and white images of mostly home made costumes and masks. With an introduction by David Lynch, appropriately enough, Haunted Air's images will stay with with you for a long time.

Reviewed by Victor, Library Page.

Find it in the library, here.
Frederic
Nov 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: photography
A nice collection of uncommon photographs - some of them quite striking, but many repetitious and none with any information given - well printed in a book with the high production quality one expects from Jonathan Cape. Why only three stars? The text - what there is of it - is useless. Neither the one-page introduction by David Lynch nor the four-and-half-page afterword by Geoff Cox actually contributes anything to understanding the images, the collection, or anything else much beyond their own ...more
Angie
Jan 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
So I saw this book on Goodreads and just had to check it out. It looked super creepy and I was not disappointed. There is just something about these old photographs of people in homemade Halloween costumes that ups the creep factor to about 11. I have no idea what most of the costumes are nor do I want to know. The sepia color of the photos makes everything just a little bit more bizarre and demonic. If I saw any of these costumes at my door on Halloween I think I would lock the door and hide in ...more
Tori
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I can't say how much I loved this creepy little book. The pics were fantastic. I might have nightmares tonight and that's just fine with me. Best coffee table book ever based off of old pictures of Halloween costumes from 1875-1955.
Jessica
Oct 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Amazing!!! Creepy pictures that sometimes make you want to quickly turn the page to get away from the unnerved feeling they leave you with others make you stay on the page staring indefinitely at the image like it's a train wreck. Shudder inducing in a really great way!
Elaine Lamkin
Aug 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: halloween
Creepily beautiful images of Halloweens gone-by. This is a must-own by Halloween lovers.
Azza
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-glorious-art
This kinda scarred me for life. It was glorious.
Crippled_ships
Jun 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-library
o____O

*gasp*
Lesley Looper
Jun 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Intriguing, sometimes haunting pictures! Really interesting collection!
Julia
rated it it was amazing
Jul 24, 2014
Alohatiki
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Dec 18, 2012
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
rated it it was amazing
Apr 04, 2016
Middlethought
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Aug 05, 2017
Bob
rated it it was amazing
Oct 30, 2017
Mary Mattis
rated it it was amazing
Oct 08, 2017
Marco
rated it really liked it
Oct 02, 2013
Molly
rated it it was amazing
Feb 23, 2019
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Ossian Brown is an artist, musician, and composer who was a member of the music group Coil, and is a cofounding member of Cyclobe.