A woman wades into the water at sunset.
(Photo: Unknown/Meagan Abell)

Everyone loves a good mystery — especially a viral Internet mystery.

This one began a few weeks ago when Richmond-based photographer Meagan Abell happened upon a box of old, plastic-sleeved medium-format negatives in a thrift store.

Like any self-respecting photography buff, she was intrigued by the possibilities, so she didn't hesitate to bring them home for further inspection. It was a good thing she did, because when she finally got around to scanning them, she was blown away by what she'd found.

The pictures show two distinct women wearing '50s-style dresses and staring out from a sandy beach into a sunset-kissed ocean. In several of the scenes, the women wade into the water, soaking the hems of their dresses. None of the photos show a full view of the women's faces, adding to the mystery.

A woman wades into the water at sunset.
(Photo: Unknown/Meagan Abell)

Given the enigmatic beauty of the images, Abell was compelled to find out who these women were and who had photographed them. She put the scans of the negatives up on her social media accounts, paired with a call for help with the identification efforts.

"The only info I have is that the negatives were found in a thrift store on Hull Street in Richmond, Virginia," Abell writes. "They are medium-format, and judging by the style of dress, made in 1940-1950. The owner of the thrift store had no idea where they came from."

Update: Upon further investigation, Abell has learned that there is a good chance that the photos were taken by a professional photographer in the late 1950s near Venice Beach, California — most likely Dockweiler State Beach. Abell has also learned that the negatives are actually slide film transparencies.

A woman wades into the water at sunset.
(Photo: Unknown/Meagan Abell)

If you have any information about who might have captured or appeared in these photos, reach out to Abell on her Facebook page. You can help spread the word by sharing the photos on your social media accounts using the hashtag ‪#‎FindTheGirlsOnTheNegatives‬.

In the meantime, continue below to see a few more of these breathtaking images.

A woman wades into the water at sunset.
(Photo: Unknown/Meagan Abell)
A woman wades into the water at sunset.
(Photo: Unknown/Meagan Abell)
A woman wades into the water at sunset.
(Photo: Unknown/Meagan Abell)