Personal ponderings from a natural night-owl!

Since December of 2006, this historical photo of a man sitting on a horse has been sparking speculation and interest.

Dead Horse

The photo was one several historical pictures included in a 2007 calendar issued by The Sheboygan Press. Theories about the story behind the photo have poured in from places as diverse as Norway, Scotland and Brazil. The BBC, AP, CNN, and other major media outlets ran stories on the photo. The following link seems to have a pretty good explanation for the image. So the mystery is solved, right?

Not so fast. THIS site has a DIFFERENT theory. It’s a remarkable example of the depth of research that some have put into figuring out the story behind this picture.

So, what’s the point?

How many pictures do you have at home, in a printed or digital format? And each picture has at least one story behind it. After all, it was taken for a reason. And you probably figure that there’s no point in writing down the story behind the picture because YOU know what the picture shows, what it means. After all, it’s OBVIOUS, right? I think you see where I’m going here.

In junior high, we did a sociological anthropology experiment where we were asked to describe how people far in the future might describe a toilet seat if it were unearthed in an archaeological dig. We came up with all sorts of hilarious theories – the most memorable being a religious ceremonial object, since most houses have them.

The point is that in just a few short centuries or decades, things we take as commonplace today will be completely exotic, their uses perhaps even undecipherable. This is even more true now than it was when I was in junior high. My kids don’t have a clue what purpose a typewriter, rotary dial phone, or walkman served. The only place they’ll see one is in a museum (or my mom’s storage unit – she’s got EVERYTHING in there).

Your pictures are precious, but your memories and stories are priceless. I’m sure neither the man on the dead horse nor the photographer taking the picture could have imagined the impact that image would have on people over 100 years later. And perhaps the story behind the photo is mundane, but wouldn’t you still like to know what the heck was going on? So please, for the sake of future generations, go ahead and write down the stories behind your photos!

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