During the American Civil War photography was still in its infancy.
The men who photo-documented it would forever be assured a place in photography history.
Men like Mathew Brady, Alexander Gardner, Timothy O’Sullivan, James Gibson, George Barnard, James Gardner and William Pywell, covered all of the war’s struggles and camp life.
There was one photographer however, Weldon Wall, whose works during the war between the states were all destroyed just after the war in 1866.
He sometimes shared his photos of dead bodies during the war with amorphous beings rising from them.
His peers thought it was trickery and blasted him for re-touching the images which they suspected he was going to sell to their grieving relatives. Actually, it was much worse than that.
Wall, a loner, didn’t have an assistant, so it took him even longer to process the images, feeding the rumors. His wagon was always well away from the others and he never associated with them, despite numerous invitations.
These intrepid men with their traveling labs recorded the bloody fields of Antietam to Gettysburg. Their daguerreotypes, unlike Wall’s, were destined to be viewed for generations.
Wall, a physic vampire, never attempted to sell his collection. Each of the photos represented stolen souls. They were caught at just the right time escaping the bodies. His work was more diabolical than anyone could have guessed.
He kept the photos locked up in a steamer chest. His plan was to capture as many souls as possible before the carnage was over in order to make a deal with the devil. He wanted immortality, something a physic vampire could only achieve by making a deal with the Great Deceiver.
After the Union victory, Wall went back to his hometown of New York with his collection of over 3,000 photos. He kept them in the bedroom of his rented apartment. The moans of the trapped souls were a lullaby to his ears.
He waited patiently for the devil to contact him after performing the rituals required to summon him. He repeated the ritual every day. The soul’s groans would also help attract the Dark Lord.
The night finally came when the devil appeared in Wall’s apartment.
At first, the devil was amused at Wall’s sheer audacity and listened to his proposal. By the time he was done speaking the devil had heard enough. The fool really thought he could dictate terms to him!
Wall had opened the steamer trunk and was standing beside it expectantly as he waited for a response.
The crude fire brigade did their best to save the apartment building but it was engulfed in such intense flames they could only retreat and stand back and watch.
The next day the newspaper had a short story on the front page about the mysterious fire and speculated that a photographer might have accidently started it when developing a photo.
As It Stands, the devil will always get his due.