In 1878 Charles Bennett, a gentleman, discovered a new gelatin dry plate emulsion, which allowed for photos to be exposed almost instantaneously. So how did he show off his amazing new technology? By blowing up a mule, naturally.

The experiment ran thusly: A mule was strapped with dynamite, which was connected to a detonator. The very same switch that controled the detonator was connected to the camera, so as to trigger an exposure during, or slightly after, the poor animal's head was a-sploded. And verily! An 1881 issue of Scientific American recounts the horrifying event with bizarre earnestness, excerpted in the gallery:

[Stereoviews via Things Magazine via Metafilter]