Murder in Miniature
The Raree Show
If one couldn’t make it to the murder scene in person, the next best thing was viewing a model at a fair or from a street entertainer. The customer paid the fee, put his eye to a hole in the side of a wooden box, and was able to view a recreation of the crime scene in miniature. The luridly painted backdrops (complete with the victim weltering in his/her gore) could be changed while the operator recited the story of the crime, which might also include the murderer’s hanging. At night, the scenes were dramatically lit with candles. For some reason, nineteenth century newspapers sometimes called these exhibitions, “camera obscura.” These exhibitions remained popular until the invention of the mechanical peep show.
I reckon this was the same thing as slowing down to gander at a traffic accident, such as we do today. Gruesome habit, I think.
Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's cold outside.