It only takes a moment for us to decide if something is terrifying or not. We really don’t even have a second to make the decision, and often find ourselves terrified by the things we see, hear, watch, and talk about. For certain photographs, they have the ability to send instant chills down your spine as soon as you see the picture. At first, when viewing a horrifying photograph, you might not even become that scared when viewing the picture. But once you find out the story and origin of when, where, and why the photograph was taken, you can become twice as terrified as you were in the beginning.
Art has been around as long as man has, but the same can’t be said about the camera. This new development is only recent to the past couple of centuries, so we haven’t always been able to capture everything within seconds like we do today. But just as long as pictures have been taken, terrifying pictures have emerged. Sometimes It’s not necessarily the photograph itself that is scary, rather, what exactly the picture was able to take. There are terrifying objects out in the world that we may have gone our lives without seeing, but with the use of the internet and cameras, we’re able to see terrifying images with the blink of an eye!
Let us know what you think about the terrifying pictures and if the story behind it made it more spine-chilling! Here are 15 terrifying photographs and the horror stories behind them:
15. The Walking Dead In Indonesia
The photograph above could almost pass as a scene out of The Walking Dead. The woman in the dress appears to be dead-looking, much like any zombie you’d see in a movie. That is because she is, indeed, very dead. Her family decided to dig up her grave and bring her among the living for the annual Day of the Dead festival in Indonesia. It is common practice there to bring back the bodies of deceased loved ones, dress them up, present them with gifts, and let them walk among the living once again. Now, we are not trying to shame anyone’s mourning practices or cultural life, but to us, this practice can be rather terrifying. It’s creepy enough how Americans mourn by embalming and burying the dead, but going back to dig them up is definitely a horror movie plot to us. Although the celebration is meant to be a beautiful and traditional way to mourn, we think we’ll stick to our current traditions.
14. Two People Jumping From A Burning Building
The photograph above looks as though it was taken straight from a movie. Unfortunately, this is a very real photograph of two victims falling from a broken fire escape just as they were about to be rescued. They were in a burning building in Boston, and the firefighters had already arrived on scene. They were using a lift to reach up to the trapped victims, only to have the lift knocked into the fire escape, causing it to break and the victims to fall. The woman who was falling first was a 19-year-old, her goddaughter right above her. Unfortunately, the woman suffered fatal injuries and later died in a hospital. The young girl luckily survived, the girl below her breaking her fall. The photograph is absolutely tragic and sparked landlords everywhere to ensure their fire escapes would not break if the situation were to happen again.
13. A Tree Overtaken By Spiders
When you first look at the tree above, you definitely notice something’s off. It’s not bright green and leafy, rather, gray and overgrown with what looks like spider webs. Unfortunately, that is exactly why this particular tree is not very tree like at all. This photograph was taken in Pakistan in an area that saw the devastating effects of flooding. In an effort to flee the flood and avoid the water, the spiders have moved to the trees, where they take over the branches with their webbed home. It’s actually quite devastating to the area, as you can’t really grow produce if the spiders decide to take over. Being around an area with an especially high number of spiders is also truly heart stopping. If most of us saw this tree, we’d run the other way and never look back.
12. A Wealthy Man Stealing From The Poor And Hungry
When looking at the photograph above, you can almost assume the horror story behind the photo. The young boy crawling on the ground is clearly very malnourished, probably begging for food from the well-dressed man walking away from him. The reality of the situation is actually much more horrifying. The photographer of this image is Tom Stoddart, a photojournalist. He stated that the man walking away in the photograph is actually a well-fed Sudan man who stole the food he’s carrying from the boy in 1998, when there was famine in the area. A photograph like this can be infuriating for several reasons. Obviously, we want to just take the food from the man and give it to the child, but does the man have children at home that he needs to feed? What will the hungry boy do for food for the next day? Unfortunately, the solution to this photograph isn’t simply giving the food back, and that is the true horror.
11. John Lennon’s Glasses
The photograph above isn’t the scariest picture you’ll see on the list, but it’s definitely frightening enough to make us wonder what the story behind them is. The glasses appear to be dirty, possibly having some sort of sticky substance on them. The reality of the photograph is that this particular pair is the pair that John Lennon was wearing when he was shot. A photograph like this gives us a lot of insight into the actual crime scene. Seeing the image of the splattered glasses gives us a little idea of just what John saw after experiencing the gunfire. It makes us question where he was shot and why the blood had this particular pattern on the glasses. Yoko Ono actually released the photograph, clearly not washing the blood off for a reason. What do you think about when you see a photograph like this? Is it terrifying to you, or nothing more than a historic relic?
10. A Town Forced To Wear Gas Masks
This photograph is truly one of the most terrifying on the list. Imagine walking down a street and rounding the corner only to see this amount of people staring at you! There isn’t much that could be considered quite as frightening. Who knows who could potentially be behind the mask, and why are they wearing masks in the first place? Fortunately, the people behind the mask are innocent and are only civilians living in Miyakejima, Japan. The island is filled with volcanoes that emit poisonous gasses, causing their residents to be forced into wearing these masks. For some time, the island was off limits. However, many residents and tourists still wished to frequent the island, so access was allowed. If you visit, you can see cars, schools, and other historic relics that have been damaged by the erupted volcanoes and hot lava. Would you wear a mask to visit this island?
9. The Old Way To Restrain Someone In An Asylum
Nowadays, hospitals have countless regulations and rules in order to keep people safe from harm and aide them in their recovery. Unfortunately, things haven’t always been this way. There was a time when we knew very little about the world around us, meaning we barely had any idea what to do or how to handle things in the medical field. Experimentations and using different methods are the only way we got to the successful level we are now, however, it’s truly terrifying to see a medical image like this out of historic context. This used to be the normal way to restrain a hysterical patient. Instead of keeping them strapped down in a bed or sedated like how we do today, whoever took the photograph felt the best way to keep this poor, mentally ill, young woman secure from hurting herself and others was to keep her tied up to a dirty wall.
8. The Final Embrace Of Two Men Who Had No Way Out
The tragic photograph above was taken just moments before these two engineers lost their lives. Moments before the picture was taken, four crew members were working on the wind turbine when a fire suddenly started. Before they knew it, they were engulfed in flames. Lucky for two of the crew members, they were able to escape, with the other two being trapped. They were just coworkers, but the two still hugged for some of their final moments. One of the two seen in the photograph above had decided to try to live one last time and jumped to his death, the other hoping for rescue before it was too late, but unfortunately succumbed to the fire. In their final moments, the two had to decide if they wanted to die by falling or by burning, a truly tragic scenario that hopefully none of us will ever have to make.
7. A Starving Child
The photograph above is a tragic one taken by photographer Kevin Carter, infamous for this particular picture. The image is of a starving child trying to make their way to the food distribution, only to be so close to death that a vulture decides to stalk the child. The photographer received massive backlash for the picture, critics stating that he should have helped the child instead of take a picture. However, the photograph helps us give a glimpse into a world most of us are fortunate enough to never have to experience. Without photographs like this, we might not work as hard and give as much to other countries that are less fortunate than us. However, Kevin still was able to chase the vulture away after the photograph was taken but was unable to help the child out of fear of catching diseases should he touch the girl. The fate of the girl remains unknown, but Carter committed suicide just a few months after winning the Pulitzer Prize for the photograph, claiming the pressures of money and what he has seen throughout his life was too much for him to handle any longer.
6. Stabbed In The Back
The photograph above is rather hard to look at. If you can stomach gore, it’s still challenging to look at the photograph without feeling the woman’s pain and suffering with such a large knife lodged into her back. The story behind the photograph is that the woman was mugged, and without knowing she was harmed, went home. It was only there that she discovered she had a massive knife lodged into her back and went to the emergency room. She was in such shock after being mugged that she didn’t feel the pain of the stabbing. Fortunately, she was able to realize what happened to her quick enough that she could make it to the emergency room and survive. Getting stabbed sounds pretty terrifying, but getting stabbed and not knowing it is unimaginable! Fortunately, this woman didn’t have to experience any more pain than she already did.
5. Real Skin Gloves
The photograph above is the product of a disturbed and gruesome serial killer. They are the skin gloves that Ed Gein, notorious serial killer, crafted up himself. He was known for his brutal murder and attempt at creating art from his victims after their death. In addition to the gloves, he’s made a lampshade, belt out of nipples, and other disturbing pieces of clothing and furniture. But this particular pair of gloves is especially terrifying. We can barely stomach the sight, but knowing that the killer behind it was ok with looking at these pieces of dead skin for hours while he stitched the gloves is absolutely terrifying. What was his intention? Was he just going to wear them out to the grocery store on a cold day? If you saw this photograph without context, you might just think it’s some sort of Halloween or horror movie prop. Unfortunately, it’s the sick work of a sick man.
4. Budd Dwyer’s Last Photo Alive
This photograph is actually one of the least graphic of the actual scenario. The photograph was taken just moments before the man in the picture, Budd Dwyer, used the gun he is holding to commit suicide on live television. The actual video of his suicide does exist online and is pretty easy to access, but we decided to not share it here as it’s pretty NSFL (not safe for life). It’s hard to recover after watching a video like that, but this photograph is enough to send goosebumps through our entire body. The look on his face doesn’t even look that disturbed, but he was probably pretty far from a stable mindset when this photograph was taken. Budd committed suicide because he was being charged for taking bribes from a law firm. He maintained his innocence but still felt his only way out was to commit suicide on live television.
3. The Heart Of A Vampire
Everyone knows that if you have to kill a vampire, you have to stab them in the heart with a wooden stake. Well, that idea wasn’t just created when Buffy the Vampire Slayer first came out. Killing a vampire by a stake to the heart is a common method that has been believed to be the best way to kill a vampire since the beginning of the myth of vampires. The photograph above shows an actual heart from an alleged murdered vampire kept as a historic relic. The alleged vampire was Auguste Delagrange, known for murdering families and draining their blood. He was eventually hunted down by a Catholic priest who did kill him with a stake to the heart. Does this photograph provide enough evidence to you that vampires could potentially exist? Or do you think it’s just a story of two deranged lunatics?
2. Post-Mortem Photography Used To Be Popular
Post-mortem photography was the practice of taking photographs after a loved one died. It may seem a bit disturbing to us, but this was actually a pretty common practice when photography wasn’t as easily available and people wanted one last keepsake before they buried their loved one for eternity. This also meant, however, that photographs would be taken in any scenario possible, even when the deceased loved one was completely overtaken by syphilis. Today, syphilis is a common and easily treated disease. If you get the disease today, it’s unfortunate, but there’s a good chance you can still live a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case 100 years ago, and the disease had the ability to totally mutilate your face. However, the family who took this photograph still wished to have one last picture of their beloved member who happened to fall victim to the gruesome disease.
1. Signs Of Cannibalism Found In Buried Bones
Archaeology is an incredible practice and we’ve discovered some pretty amazing things throughout the year. The more we discover and learn about the past, the more we can learn about our current lives and the future of our societies. One of the downsides of being an archaeologist, however, is some of the more disturbing findings waiting to be uncovered. One of them is the photograph above, depicting the bones of humans. It’s definitely not uncommon to find buried bones; burying dead bodies is a common practice among countless cultures. But these bones are a bit different. The pattern in which they are buried and the way that they have decomposed over the years show clear signs of cannibalism. The location is known as Herxheim and is located in Germany. They came to the conclusion after discovering cut marks that coincide with a filet process on the bones, as well as the fact that body parts of the same person were discovered in different parts of the grave.