“It was a dark and stormy night.” “Daddy, something’s moving under my bed,” “Be afraid, be very afraid.” Story-line warnings of imminent danger are meant to send chills up our spines. They may be fiction, but as horror-master Stephen King has observed, “We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.” Unlike the worlds created in books and film, these photographs are all too real, capturing the brutal, unspeakable reality of human existence : Horrifying creatures, gruesome suicides, grisly crime scenes, decomposed corpses… It’s all here. Be forewarned: this gallery will scare you even in broad daylight. These images and back stories are not for the faint of heart. If you make it to the end, test the mettle of your friends and family by forwarding them the list.
Anneliese Michel never wanted to be famous. The shy 16-year old was just like any other German teenager in 1973. But when she had an epileptic seizure, her life took a terrible turn. Michel’s family thought the seizure was the sign of demon possession. They employed Catholic priests to perform an exorcism on the poor girl. The exorcisms wound up killing her. If this story sounds familiar, that’s because it has been the subject of many movies, most recently The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
Not Kermit the Frog
Frogs are no joke. They are often the subject of urban legends. In Loveland, Ohio, residents swear that a Frog-Man has lurked in the town since the 1970s. For a long time, the stories stopped, until 2016 when a group of friends were playing Pokémon Go. Sam Jacobs claims to have seen the creature and described what happened next: “Then the thing stood up and walked on its hind legs. I realize this sounds crazy, but I swear on my grandmother’s grave this is the truth. The frog stood about 4 feet tall.” Jacobs snapped a few pictures of the Frog-Man in case no one believed him.
There are no shortage of chilling images from the Columbine High School Massacre which took place on April 20, 1999, near Denver, Colorado. Few pictures are more. chilling than this one. The class photo shows happy, smiling students. The group of boys horsing around by pretend-aiming at the camera? None other than Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, the members of the so-called “Trench Coat Mafia,” who later murdered 12 of their schoolmates along with a teacher before killing themselves.
Mandy the Doll
This isn’t just your ordinary creepy doll. Mandy the Doll exists in the Quesnel & District Museum in Canada, where she has resided since 1991. The doll came into being in 1900. And its donor had a strange tale to tell. The owner claimed she sometimes heard a baby crying in the middle of the night, but when she searched for the source, Mandy the Doll was the only thing she could find. The doll has strange powers, too. Visitors to the museum complain that their cell phone batteries drain when they linger too long near her resting place. Others have witnessed Mandy winking at them. Some believe she can move between display cases without being noticed.
Afraid of spiders? You’re not alone. A fear of spiders is called arachnophobia. As this photo demonstrates, spiders are not always harmless. Large spiders can take out a lizard or kill you with multiple bites. If this photo scares you, be sure never to watch the 1990 Kevin Bacon movie, Tremors.
Why Walter Yeo Invented Plastic Surgery
Walter Yeo was the first man to ever undergo plastic surgery. Walter sustained terrifying facial injuries including the loss of his upper and lower eyelids while manning the guns aboard HMS Warspite during the Battle of Jutland in 1916. Surgeon Sir Harold Gillies used a type of skin grafting technique called ‘tubed pedicle’ to treat Mr. Yeo.
There’s just something about dolls that don’t age well. Like clowns, they always seem creepy. This doll is even more gruesome than most. Although she was originally an ordinary plaything, she eventually got stored in the attic. When the family opened the attic 11 years later, the doll had shrunken down to this pathetic, mummy-like state.
This poor creature is just a common black bear but looks like something much more sinister because of its lack of fur. In fact, the hairless bear almost resembles the legendary creature “chupacabra,” an evil, blood-lusting animal rumored to exist in Latin America, where it is said to attack goats and dogs.
Blanche Monnier was a French woman who was locked in a shuttered room for 25 years. The poor girl was forced to live in a filthy, padlocked room filled with rats, bugs and human excrement. No one even knew she existed until May 23, 1901, when an anonymous person sent a letter to the Paris Attorney General saying that a woman was being held captive in a house at “21 rue de la Visitation,” in a wealthy neighborhood of Poitiers, France. The woman eventually died in a psychiatric ward. Her terrifying story formed the basis for the horror movie What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Friendly Neighborhood Cougar
Even cat lovers would be alarmed to discover a baby cougar hanging out in their kitchen. That’s what happened to a Chilean family, who woke up one morning to find this cougar making itself some breakfast. Fortunately, Amalin Haddad recovered from his initial shock in time to take this picture. The cougar did not attack the family or their pet dog, and simply left the home.
Might As Well Jump
This photographer inadvertently took a photograph of a suicide. At first glance, this picture seems to be focusing on a handful of people on a bridge. But look closer, and you can see that someone has just jumped from the bridge to their death. It seems the photographer had been attracted to the folks on the bridge, wondering what they were looking at. Unfortunately, he caught the final moments of the tortured soul’s life.
Watch out, this photo may be triggering. Poor Raymond Robinson had a rough time of it after being electrocuted in a childhood electrical accident. Robinson tried to hide his disfigurement, only venturing outside at night so no one would notice his mangled face. People called him mean names like “Charlie No-Face” or “the Green Man.” Parents even used Robinson as a cautionary tale for their children, telling them if they went outside at night, he might get them. But Raymond was no urban legend, and those who took the time to engage with him, reported that he was a good and kindly man.
A Letter From Jack
Here’s a frightening letter from one of history’s most infamous killers, Jack the Ripper:
“Mr. Lusk, Sir, I send you half the Kidney I took from one woman and preserved it for you. The other piece I fried and ate. It was very nice. I may send you the bloody knife that took it out if you only wait a while longer.
Signed, Catch me when you can Mister Lusk.”
There seemed to be no end to the punishment that Nazi collaborators received from their countrymen after the war. Once identified as traitors, the local community would punish them in the most public way possible. Members of the French resistance were often tasked with giving out punishment. This shamed woman is being taunted as her head is shaved.
Sleeping With the Enemy
This photo shows women who slept with Nazis being carted through the streets of Cherbourg, France. Their heads are shaven as a mark of their treason. They look frightened and ashamed by their deeds. Many women were bribed to sleep with Nazis with gifts of perfume and the like, but many others were put in situations that threatened their lives if they did not cooperate. A sad, disturbing state of affairs for everyone involved.
Joseph ‘The Cannibal’ Metheny
Joseph “The Cannibal” Metheny claims he served his victims as meals at his food stand.
Hannibal Lecter helped sell three films and several novels, but he’s not just a work of fiction. Joseph Metheny was a real serial killer who murdered at least eight people, starting in 1976. Metheny lured women to his apartment late at night, where he would chop up their bodies, freeze them, and later eat them as meat. Metheny even served the meat of his victims at an open-pit beef stand. This gruesome man proves that modern cannibalism is not just an invention of author Thomas Harris.
This unfortunate photograph is of a dead child. He resembles a lifeless doll. In the Victorian Age, many people documented their loved ones after their death with photographs and paintings. As seen here, photographers often posed the corpse in positions that mirrored their lives. The eyelids of this boy were even painted with pupils, to suggest that his eyes were actually open.
Budd Dwyer killed himself on live television. He was the Pennsylvania Treasurer in the 1980s. He was accused of taking a bribe from an accounting firm that had withheld excessive amounts of federal income tax from state workers. Dwyer maintained he was innocent. After his trial and a day before sentencing, he called a press conference and said, “Please, please leave the room if this will…if this will affect you.” He then shot himself. Years later it was revealed that the person who testified about the bribe had lied and that Dwyer was innocent.
A Sheep By Any Other Name
Sheep are usually known for their cuddly wool and docile nature. But something about this two-legged sheep creature just scares the bejeezus out of people. These animals can move incredibly fast in their human, two-legged stance. Even the wolves run and hide when the two-legged sheep are out and about.
This photo was taken while a military frigate was being dismantled for scrap. Dock foreman John had boarded the vessel to take pictures of the work. After he forwarded the photos to his boss, the boss immediately wanted to know: “Who is the guy with the axe at the edge of the camera flash?” John hadn’t seen the man when he took the picture. The police conducted a search for the axe-wielding man, but came up empty-handed. There was just one way off the ship, but nobody ever found the axe-man.
Daniela Liverani faced a horrible situation after being injured in a motorcycle accident. She noticed what she believed to be a blood clot, but it turned out to be so much worse. When the clot moved, she realized something else was amiss. Daniela was actually being inhabited by a giant, three-inch leech!, which she believes crawled up through her nose (*shudders*) during a backpacking trip in Southeast Asia. Daniela, a brave soul, named her leech, Mr. Curly.
Weird Things Always Live in Japan
Japan is often associated with weird legends, horrors and quirky events. There have been rumors in Japan about giants living in the cold waters of the Antarctic. These humanoid forms, known as Ningen, are thought to be nothing more than an urban legend. But crew members of several government whale research ships claim to have seen gigantic Ningens, all white in colour, like albinos and large as dinosaurs. They are said to have legs, arms and five-fingered hands. Their faces, however, may only have eyes and a mouth. Are these albino bigfoots, or something more sinister?
Seven-month-old Mya Whittington seemed to be very sick. She was in agony, but doctors couldn’t figure out why. When Mya was hospitalized, doctors were shocked when a two-inch feather poked out of her neck. At first they thought she merely had a serious staph infection in her lymph nodes But when they went to drain the nodes, nothing came out. Several hours later, Mya’s patients noticed that a string seemed to be protruding from their daughter’s face. The doctor then pulled out another two-inch feather.
This is one of the most disturbing photographs you will ever see. It shows two teenagers leading a young boy through a shopping mall. We now know that the young boy was James Bulger. His body was discovered two days later, after he was mutilated and tortured to death by the teen boys. The murder of James Bulger shocked all of Britain, and much of the rest of the world, because the boys seemed to have no motive other than pure degeneracy.
Warning: people afraid of rats should look away. A “Rat King” is a phenomenon that occurs when several rats essentially become stuck together in a giant clump. As you can see, they usually don’t survive long. They get held together with a combination of feces, filth, ice, blood and dirt. The rats in such a nest can actually crawl together, terrifying everyone in their wake.
War Really Is Hell
This photograph started a huge controversy, with many arguing it should not have been published. It shows the body of an Iraqi soldier who has been burned to death. The soldier is barely recognizable as being human. Photographer Kenneth Jarecke wanted the photo to be shown as an example of the reality of war, but many news outlets refused to show it. The picture was taken just before the end of the 1991 Gulf War. Jarecke described the context of the photograph, saying the Iraqi soldier “was fighting to save his life to the very end, till he was completely burned up. He was trying to get out of that truck.”
Ms. Lonely Hearts inspired many movies and stories, including films by Alfred Hitchcock. Ms. Lonelyhearts was a serial killer in the 1950s. It was the alter ego of Harvey Murray Glatman, who lured his victims to their deaths by promising them lucrative careers in modeling. He killed them, taking photos while he did it. This is a picture of Shirley Ann Bridgeford, who was one of his victims.
Never Drink the Kool-Aid
One of the most shocking events of the ’70s occurred on Nov. 18, 1978, in Guyana, South America. The Jonestown massacre happened after religious leader Jim Jones demanded his 1,000 cult members commit a “revolutionary suicide” together. Some 200 children also drank the poisoned punch, leading to their deaths. What happened in “Jonestown” still stands as the largest mass suicide in recorded history.
Blood Splatter Break-In
Two teenage boys got the shock of their lives when they broke into an abandoned Virginia home, intending to commit petty theft. What they found is shown in this picture: blood all over the walls. Something very sinister happened here. The boys took a photo and hightailed it out. Police are still baffled about what went on in the boys’ neighbor’s home.
Birds are inherently frightening, with their sharp claws, beady eyes and strong beaks. (At least Alfred Hitchcock thought they were!) This photo purports to show a kid being stolen away by a big bird, but is it a fake?
Wax On, Wax Off
This creepy photo shows the aftermath of a fire at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum on Marylebone Road in London. The museum was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1925. The inferno melted away many of the faces and limbs of Tussaud’s true-to-life wax models. Some 10,000 people are said to have gathered in the neighborhood to watch the wax palace burn.
Worming Its Way In
Watch out, this evil creature is called the Filarial Worm, a parasite that can actually live in your eye. These worms are carried by mosquitos. They are able to travel into our lymphatic system and cause “River Blindness.” They can also trigger “Elephantiasis” where parts of the human body – legs, arms, abdomens, etc., swell to massive proportions. If nothing else, this photo may convince you of the value of bug spray.
If you believe the girl who took this photograph, it shows footprints in the snow, right outside her patio windows. The girl wrote “I was home alone last night while my parents were out of town, it snowed off and on for most of the day and night. I woke up the next morning and I was going to the kitchen to get breakfast when I noticed I wasn’t the only one here last night!”
No one knows if the photo and story are real or whether the teen girl was craving attention and made up a hoax.
Jodi Arias photographed this man, Travis Alexander, just a few minutes before she murdered her lover while he was in the shower. According to the coroner, the cause of death was from multiple stab wounds, a gunshot to the head, and a slit throat. Arias is now serving a life sentence in an Arizona prison for Alexander’s brutal murder.
Not Clowning Around
Clowns are nothing to joke about. Not this one, anyhow. The photograph captures one John Wayne Gacy of Cook County, Illinois. Gacy liked to dress up like a clown for children’s parties. He was also a serial killer who sexually assaulted and butchered dozens of young boys to death. His seven-year murder rampage ended with his arrest in 1978.
A Mystery Woman
This photo shows a woman who turned up on a 24/7 trail camera film feed, lurking in a dark forest and clearly spooking a nearby deer. She seems upset or unhinged, leading many to wonder if she is mentally ill. Or was she running away from a kidnapper?
This terrifying, two-faced doll should not be shown to any child. The object dates from the 1920s when the most popular doll figures of the era were of Jekyll and Hyde. But this creepy doll, with faces on both sides of its head, would surely scare the life out of some young children.
Twice the Bite
Florida has been the site of many macabre events. This giant two-headed alligator had many people scared to go near the water in Seminole Heights, Florida. What you see here is the result of a twin pregnancy where the gators failed to properly separate. Are the conjoined gators real? We’ll leave it up to you to decide.
Should putting a white Klan hood on your child count as child abuse? Todd Robertson took this photo at a KKK rally in northeast Georgia. The hooded kid approached a black state trooper and was grabbing at the trooper’s the shield when Robertson snapped his picture. Despite the trooper’s bemused expression, the photo is extremely troubling.
This horrifying pile of ash is a photo of the charred remains of Russian cosmonaut, Vladimir Komarov. Vladimir piloted a spacecraft named Soyuz 1 on a mission intended to celebrate the 50-year mark of the Communist Revolution. The U.S. is said to have intercepted radio transmissions in which Vladimir talks to ground control right before his craft crashes into the ground. Parachutes on the Soyuz 1 never deployed and the vehicle was destroyed on impact, with Komarov inside.
Stalker or Photobomb?
In the old days we may have called this person a stalker. Today we also refer to this phenomenon as a photobomb. Sadly, this photobomb shows someone walking by, watching kids and then picking out the one he believes he can kidnap with ease. And then, he did.
You’ll never see a picture more chilling than this one, which shows 14-year-old Regina Kay Walters. Regina was kidnapped by serial murderer Robert Ben Rhoades, also known as the Truck Stop Killer. He drove around the U.S. in an 18-wheeler equipped with a torture chamber in the back. He kidnapped and killed people. Regina was forced to act out her own death in an abandoned Illinois barn after Rhoades cut her hair and put her into a black dress. Then he tortured and murdered the poor girl.
The Mongolian Death Worm is a mythic creature that lives in the Gobi desert. There have been stories told of it for hundreds of years. The cryptid is described as a bright red worm that measures up to 10 feet in length and weighs over 1,000 lbs. It is said to have the ability to spit acid and kill via electric discharge. Anything it touches becomes corroded. A good pet, maybe?
The ocean is filled with many mysteries and a lot of shocking and weird things. For instance, this five-foot-long frilled shark, which lives so deep in the ocean most of us didn’t know it exists. This baby makes its habitat 5,000 feet below the surface.
Tar and Feather Victim
So now you know what it looks like to be tarred and feathered. This victim was stripped to the waist, then painted with pine tar by his assailants. Pine tar is sticky but doesn’t burn. The victim is then rolled in feathers and chased or dragged down the street by his persecutors. The overarching purpose of such a cruel punishment is to humiliate and shame the victim.
You are forgiven for thinking this might be a werewolf. Actually, this is a man named Zhang Hongming who has a very rare medical condition called congenital giant pigmented nevus. The troubling disease makes people look furry. Zhang lives in China where some have nicknamed him the Chimp. Another name for Zhang’s condition is “giant furred mole” disease.
The Tadpole Of Hook Island
An unusual event happened on December 12, 1964. The Le Serrec family was vacationing in a place called Hook Island in the Whitsunday Islands when a regular day at the lagoon turned sinister. The family spotted this enormous, black tadpole-like creature on the seafloor. It has never been established what this creature is and what it can do.
Ventriloquist dummies rank right up there with dolls and clowns as the scariest objects on earth. So many people are afraid of dummies that it is an actual phobia: automatonophobia, which refers to people who suffer from emotional upset, anxiety and stress while in the presence of marionettes. Some people with automatonophobia are also afraid of wax figures and animatronic people. Their glass eyes and ability to move trigger great fear.
Why on earth is this Santa Claus wearing a melted, scary mask while greeting children? Why are the people in this picture so calm? Nobody really knows.
This photograph may show a ghost or spirit. It was taken in 1959, while Mabel Chinnery was visiting her mother’s grave in a cemetery. She snapped a picture of her husband, who was waiting for her in the car. After the film was developed she realized that there was another person in the car. Sitting in the backseat, wearing glasses, was a small figure who was the spitting image of the mother Chinnery had just visited in the cemetery.
Demons may haunt this cave, so you are advised to not enter. These demonic carvings are terrifying and are a clear signal to STAY OUT. Some people believe that these figures are indeed men who were trapped by demons that lived in the cave. No one has really been brave enough to investigate.
A two-month old baby in China named Wu Zimao has a rare congenital disease. As you can see, she developed large, furry moles around her head, back, arms and legs. The baby needs continuous treatment or else she will develop skin cancer. The skin on her arm is so dry that it has thinned out, and she cannot produce sweat the same way that other people do. This creates a painful and dangerous situation for the poor child, who is prone to overheating very quickly.
What’s In the Attic?
This may look like an ordinary attic above a house. But the photo documents a freakish situation that still gives a young woman and her roommate goosebumps. While living at the house, weird things started to happen. Money and food would disappear; they would hear strange sounds in the night. When police investigated, they found that the woman’s former boyfriend had invaded the home as an act of revenge. He lived in the attic for at least two weeks, spying on the women.
In the Zengyōji temple in the city of Kanazawa, there is a mummified head of a three-faced demon. According to local legend, a priest found this mummy inside a temple storage chamber back in the early 18th century. No one knows where this head came from, or how it ended up in storage in Kanazawa. The head has two faces which overlap in the front, plus a third face on the back of the head. Strangely, the temple displays the head each year at the spring equinox.
Genesis of Evil
Abandoned hospitals seem inherently frightening and sinister, but this one is doubly bad. That’s because Adolf Hitler was once treated there back in November of 1916. The hospital, a decrepit old sanatorium in Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany, treated the future Fuhrer for a leg injury he got in World War I at the Battle of the Somme. The hospital looks to have never recovered.
This is nothing to joke about. This man has post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. He was a soldier who braved the September 1916 Battle of Courcelette during World War I. Many soldiers of that era suffered from what was then called “Shell Shock” after experiencing such horrors as chemical and biological weapons and mass killing.
A weird thing happened in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1951. Mary Reeser supposedly died of spontaneous combustion. It started when her landlord stopped by in order to deliver a telegram to Resser. The woman lived alone, and the landlord was shocked to find only a pile of ashes, a foot and part of a skull inside her door. There was no damage or burns to any other area of the home. People assume she spontaneously combusted.
Let’s Face It
Edward Mordrake had a most insane condition. He was a 19th-century English nobleman who happened to have an extra face on the back of his head. People said the second face was not able to speak or eat, but it could laugh and cry just like the comedy and tragedy mast. Eventually Edward begged doctors to remove his extra face, because he said it whispered things in his ear at night. No doctor could figure out how to erase the face without killing Edward, so he took his own life via poison at age 23.
Yikes! One look at this picture will make your skin crawl. This man is not in a freak show. His name is Gary “Stretch” Turner of Great Britain. His skin is so loose he can pull and stretch it in all kinds of horrifying ways. The skin is the product of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a disorder that weakens skin and makes it at least twice as thin as normal.
Mass Suicide???? WRONG PHOTO DISPLAYS THIS SEGMENT ABOUT NAZI GERMANY. THIS PHOTO IS JONESTOWN.
Jim Jones presided over a cult suicide in 1978, but this one took place much earlier. Aware of the horrible atrocities being committed against women by the invading Russian Red Army at the end of World War II, these Austrian women preferred suicide to the unbearable pain they would have suffered at the hands of such monsters.
Another World War II picture, this one of a distraught woman from the Sudetenland after the Anschluss, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938. She can’t contain her grief as she is forced to salute the invading forces. The American National Archives captions this photo as follows: “The tragedy of this Sudeten woman, unable to conceal her misery as she dutifully salutes the triumphant Hitler, is the tragedy of the silent millions who have been ‘won over’ to Hitlerism by the ‘everlasting use’ of ruthless force.”
Sheila Walsh and her boyfriend were in San Francisco visiting the infamous Alcatraz prison when Sheila happened to take a picture of an empty visitation block window. Later, when she pulled up the picture on her iPhone, she saw this vision of a woman, who seems to be wearing 1930s or 1940s garb. Comparison shots in her video proved conclusively that the ghost-like image is not the reflection of Sheila or her companion.
This room may look normal, but it is definitely not. Tiny room 322 at Houston’s ZaZa hotel is one-third the size of the others available. The bed is held by chains, it has a brick wall, and no carpet. It is decorated with a portrait of Jay Comeaux, a Stanford Financial Group oil executive. Oh, and let’s not forget the numerous skulls that adorn this place. While guests are allowed to book room 322 , many believe it is linked to the secret Skull and Bones society. And that the room is used by the sinister society as a club dungeon.
Tyler Hadley asked his best friend to snap this photo while his parents, Blake and Mary-Jo Hadley were rotting in the bedroom down the hall. Tyler was hosting a party at their home in Port Lucie, Florida when the pic was taken. Hours earlier Tyler, high on drugs, had beaten mom and dad to death with a hammer so they wouldn’t call off the festivities. Tyler, his buddy Michael and 60 school acquaintances partied like it was July, 2011 (which it was) until Tyler decided to show Michael the bloodied bedroom. The party continued for a while until someone finally called the cops.
Many Native American legends refer to an enormous thunderbird that is bigger than a condor and capable of killing humans and animals. This picture shows a mockup of what the bird looked like. Its wingspan is believed to be 12 to 18 feet wide and it apparently lived among humans. Paging Jurassic Park!
Frogs are generally harmless creatures who can really help out a garden by eating bugs and other pests. However, not all frogs look like Kermit. The hairy Wolverine Frog, aka the ‘horror frog’ is closer to the X-Men hero than Miss Piggy’s beau. The Wolverine has retractable claws that are made of solid bone. When attacked, the frog’s claws pierce through its own skin, cracking toes in the process, as it seeks to defend itself. The claws will eventually retract with a new skin generating around affected the area.
Women in Nazi-occupied areas of Europe were often faced with an impossible choice: help the Nazis or die. Many of these women started relationships with the Nazis back in the early 1940s. Some women probably did fall in love, but the vast majority were forced into it. Despite the realities of war, many of these women were later punished for betraying their country. Some were even tarred and feathered, others had their heads shaved as a mark of their treachery.
The Worst Bug
Our world is filled with terrifyingly dangerous insects. The botfly could be the world’s most deadly bug ever. As this photograph aptly demonstrates, the botfly can destroy a human rather easily. It burrows into the skin, eats your insides, incubates more bugs and then sucks its way back out of the body, leaving a human wreck. Botfly commonly feed on livestock, but they won’t pass up a tasty human. If this doesn’t make your skin crawl, nothing will!