There was a time when drones were reserved for use by the President of the United States and Hollywood blockbuster supervillains– though those two titles have actually become one and the same- today drones are being used by regular Joes all over the world. Drones (or Unmanned Aircraft Systems, to use the government’s preferred terminology), combine aviation and photography to create a unique hobby that can be enjoyed by children, adults, and perverts alike, although most of the pictures and videos that drones turn up are pretty unimpressive. When you purchase a drone, you fantasize about flying over your neighbor’s backyard to catch them in the middle of burying a body, but in reality, you mainly end up with a couple of pictures of them hanging out their laundry or feeding their dog.
On occasion, however, certain drone captains have reported witnessing more than they bargained for via the camera on their Unmanned Aircraft System. Most of said drone captains have been kind (if that’s the right word) enough to upload their particularly frightening footage to the internet for all of us to gawk at and discuss and generally make ourselves feel uneasy about. We also have hundreds of thousands of scream-inducing backyard snaps inadvertently captured by Google Earth’s perpetually busy drones to further our paranoia.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at 15 creepy and disturbing drone photographs captured in backyards, so pour yourself a drink, sit down, and, for the sake of your sanity, lock your back door.
15 Private Jet
Very few people are wealthy enough to have a private jet, but even fewer have a private jet in their backyard. That’s mainly because you’re legally not allowed to keep a commercial-size aircraft anywhere but an official airport, where those in air traffic control can tell you when it's safe to depart and keep track of your comings and going.
In this bird’s-eye picture, we see a private jet hidden in the bushes of the backyard of one presumably very well-off individual. With a jet in their backyard, whoever lives in the house shown in this picture is free to take off whenever and go wherever they please, no permission from air traffic control required. That means this plane could end up on a collision course with your next flight with neither aircraft being aware of the impending disaster until it’s too late.
14 The Morning After
House parties are lots of fun and a great way to save money while getting so drunk that you can’t stand up. Instead of spending upwards of $50 on alcohol, you get to drink all of your dad’s beer. Rather than listening to questionable quality techno, you get to choose your favorite songs from your friend’s Spotify playlist. Yes, a house party is a great way to spend a night, but it’s very rarely a great way to spend a morning.
When piloting their Unmanned Aircraft System through their neighborhood, one drone enthusiast happened to come upon this sorrowful scene. Here, we see three very hungover high school students as they lie in the baking sun, surrounded by the empty cans of the night before (and a poorly blurred out Nike backpack) with countless hours of cleaning and puking ahead of them.
This picture was taken by a drone that was set up by two Wellington parents after their son began complaining about a man approaching his window with a torch on a nightly basis. Although his parents initially brushed off the stories as recurring, albeit bizarre, dreams, they began to suspect something was amiss when they noticed footprints in the snow underneath their son’s bedroom window. The morning after setting up their surveillance system, they found this picture of a man lurking in their backyard, shining a torch and wandering around with no obvious aim or purpose. After reporting the picture to the police, the couple discovered that the man caught on camera was a teenage male who had been arrested in the past for searching through people’s backyards for discarded cigarette butts. But even knowing the true, non-perverted intentions of the perpetrator doesn’t make this picture any less irksome.
The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has captivated both natives of Scotland and the nation’s tourists for decades and proving the existence of the beast has been the lifework of more than a few cryptozoologists. Several scientific expeditions have been funded in an attempt to find the creature in the loch from which it takes its name, but none have proven fruitful. Almost 100 years since it was first reported, it may be time to expand the search for the Loch Ness Monster beyond Loch Ness and into other parts of the world… Such as this guy’s backyard.
In this picture, we see a presumably live-size model of the Loch Ness Monster - or maybe just a generic sea monster - sitting in the backyard of a vine-covered house in America. Imagine the first time this guy’s wife looked out the window to see this behemoth staring back at her!
People are free to do whatever they want in their backyard. Or, more accurately, people are free to do whatever they want in their backyard within reason. When you start abusing the land you have been trusted to care for, the authorities have to become involved, as one resident of East Sussex found out the hard way in 2014.
62-year-old David Baxter was taken to court by his local council after a picture shot by a Google Earth drone proved him to be in violation of the “untidy land” law. The picture, which you can see above, shows an overgrown junkyard filled with broken ladders, shattered pieces of plastic, and wooden pallets strewn across it. Baxter was ultimately fined £200 - about $266 - despite insisting that the mess was merely the result of him “landscaping”.
10 Black-eyed Girl
Do you believe in ghosts? Are you at least willing to acknowledge that there are some things out there that science just can’t explain? If not, you’re going to have a hard time coming up with an explanation for this image, which was captured in the forest that makes up the backyard of residents of Cannock Chase in England.
In this picture, we see a young girl who looks to fit the description of Reddit’s infamous black-eyed children standing in a part of the forest so densely populated with trees that it’s virtually inaccessible to man (unless he’s piloting a drone, of course). To make the image all the more unnerving, Cannock Chase has long been said to be haunted by the ghost of Christine Darby, a seven-year-old girl who was murdered and dumped in the forest by one Raymond Leslie Morris in 1967.
9 Tokes For Tots
The daycare industry is one of the few industries that is going from strength to strength in an age where human beings are being forced out of jobs by less expensive robot alternatives. In order to convince their employers that they are an essential component of the team, people are working longer hours than ever before, which means babysitters are making more money than ever before. Still, this constant flow of cash didn’t stop the owners of one West Haven daycare center from turning to drug dealing in an attempt to supplement their income.
Connecticut authorities managed to confirm the existence of a marijuana farm in the backyard of the daycare center in question using this drone picture, which shows 600 potted marijuana plants, some of which were found to be ten feet tall when authorities arrived to seize them.
8 Horsing Around
As long as you’re not breaking any laws, you don’t owe anyone an explanation for the things that you do in the privacy of your own backyard. That being said, we demand to know the backstory of this picture. Why is this person sitting in his backyard wearing a horse mask? Why is he eating a banana? Why is there an empty seat? Is he expecting another horse mask-wearing person to join him? Why are his knees blurred out? Was this whole scene arranged in advance just to screw with the guy operating the drone? Lastly, what’s the deal with the plastic flamingos in the background? Everything about this picture is absolutely bonkers and, to be honest, we love it. If you ever see a half-man half-horse roaming the streets, shake his hand and give him a banana on our behalf.
7 Doll Collection
Everybody has a hobby. Some people like playing sports, some people like watching movies, some people like collecting action figures. People who do the last of those three things have to put up with a lot of negative attention from people who don’t understand their hobby and believe it to be childish or creepy. Most of the time, that negative attention is completely unwarranted, but whoever owns the doll collection shown in this picture has nobody to blame for any abuse they receive but themselves.
In this picture, taken in the backyard of one particularly creepy homeowner, we see dozens of broken and beheaded dolls mushed into the ground, some rising up from it as if they are escaping from their grave. Not to sound overdramatic, but this is the kind of place the government should be destroying with drones.
6 Drowning Pool
At first glance, this picture doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy. It’s just another house with a pool for us all to wish we lived in. However, the owners of this property, which was captured here by Google Earth’s drone, do not live an enviable existence.
Renise Young and her husband lived in this house with their son and two daughters and had an idyllic existence until the fall of 2016. In early November of that year, Young’s two daughters, Patricia and Taya, drowned in the family pool. This photograph displays the pool in which the two girls met their ends and was actually taken before their deaths. It’s unnerving, to say the least, to look at this image after the fact and see the pool looking so peaceful and imagine the happiness of the young family playing in its water, blissfully unaware of the tragedies the future has in store.
5 In Bruins
Everybody loves sports, but some people are a little more enthusiastic about it than others. Take the Boston-based dad of the young woman who tweeted this photo, for example.
In 2013, a Twitter user by the name of Kerri Tee was browsing Google Earth when she stumbled upon this picture the site’s drone had taken of her father’s rather sizeable backyard. In one corner of the land, you can see the logo of Boston’s premier hockey team, the Boston Bruins. According to Tee, her father mows the logo into his lawn each and every week to ensure all pilots, skydivers, and bombers who happen to be passing overhead are aware of his Bruins obsession. His level of dedication to the team is a little creepy, but that doesn’t make it any less adorable!
A quick tip for any aspiring architects who may be reading this article when they’re supposed to be studying: whenever you design a building or a series of buildings, make sure you give some thought to how the finished product is going to look from above before you allow the actual construction to get started. Had the architect who designed the houses shown in this picture taken the time to do that, they could have saved themselves a lot of controversy.
In this image, we are granted a bird's-eye view of four rather sizeable, and no doubt expensive, houses. While the buildings are probably absolutely gorgeous from ground level, when seen from above, their positioning, combined with the spacing of their backyards, gives them the appearance of one gigantic swastika.
3 Back From The Dead
At first glance, there isn’t anything particularly creepy about this picture. Nor is there at second glance, or even at a third glance. To understand what makes this picture so undeniably eerie, you have to put yourself in the shoes of Denise Underhill, an American woman who moved to the United Kingdom prior to her mother’s death in 2015.
One night, when missing her mother, Denise decided to use Google Earth to transport herself from her new home in the UK to her late mother’s former residence in Florida. Much to her surprise, she discovered that Google’s drone had captured her mother tending to her yard just a couple of months before she passed away. “I was absolutely astounded,” said Underhill when asked about her reaction to seeing her dead mother alive again. “I think someone wanted me to see this”.
2 Kidnapped: Jaycee Lee Dugard
On the 20th of June, 1991, 11-year-old Jaycee Lee Dugard, a resident of Antioch, California, was on her way home from school when she was kidnapped by one Phillip Garrido. Garrido would keep Dugard as a prisoner and slave for almost 20 years before law enforcement officials finally managed to track her down in 2009. Garrido and his wife pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexual assault and were sentenced to 431 years to life imprisonment and 36 years to life imprisonment respectively.
This picture, captured by a drone and uploaded onto Google Maps before Jaycee’s 2009 rescue, shows Garrido’s home and backyard, where he kept the young woman hidden in a series of tents and sheds during the two decades he held her captive. Antioch law enforcement has since been criticized for not noticing the odd layout of Garrido’s backyard earlier, especially considering the fact they had at one stage interviewed him about Dugard's disappearance and even searched his house (they neglected to inspect his garden).
1 No Trespassing
Drones are a bit of a legal gray area. While you really shouldn't’ be using your Unmanned Aircraft System to spy on your neighbors, you can’t help it if you happen to spot something of interest in their backyard while flying over it on your way to photograph a public area. Should drones be outlawed in order to protect the privacy of the people who live next to drone hobbyists? The argument rages on with no clear answer, but at least we know what side of the debate this guy is on.
This picture shows a gun-toting homeowner who is tired of being pestered by his neighbor’s drone. Not willing to stand for it any longer, he points a gun at the aircraft and prepares to fire. Given the fact that we’re looking at this picture, we can assume the drone made it back home safely, but this was likely the last time its pilot ever flew it over such hostile territory.