Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us spend an unhealthy amount of time looking up things that we find grimly interesting. Lucky for us, there’s a whole website dedicated to absolutely anything and everything you can think of – the wonderful world of Wikipedia.
You may want to know how your favorite actor got their big break, who won what at the 2012 Olympics or something particularly obscure. Whatever your reason for browsing the free online encyclopedia, you never leave disappointed. If you want to expand your knowledge on something and get all of the grisly details, then there’s no better place to satisfy your curiosity…but be careful, you may get more than you bargained for.
From roller coasters that are designed to kill you to some of the most prolific murderers in history (with a side of alien sightings thrown in for good measure) we’ve compiled a list of the most spine-chilling Wikipedia pages that will keep you up at night. Go ahead, read on. That is, if you’re brave enough…
15. Cotard Delusion
Zombies are a part of a popular fantasy world, thanks to countless movies and more recently, hit show The Walking Dead. Scientifically speaking, there is no such thing as the ‘undead’ – they’re just a really terrifying thought that Hollywood cashes in on. However, if you’re unlucky enough to succumb to Cotard delusion, then you’ll believe that you are one. Also attractively known as ‘walking corpse syndrome’, the mental illness makes the afflicted convinced that they’re dead, do not exist at all or that they’re putrefying, losing their blood or internal organs. It’s a real horror show. The illness was discovered by neurologist Jules Cotard after one of his patients began denying the existence of her limbs and proclaiming she was eternally damned.
14. Waverly Hills Sanatorium
Take a brief look into the history of Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky and you will soon understand why it’s widely reported to be one of the most haunted places in the entire US. The sanatorium first opened its doors in 1920 as a tuberculosis hospital, initially treating around 50 patients. As the hospital expanded, it began taking in children too, increasing the amount of bed space. Before its closure in 1962, over 64,000 people were said to have died inside the building – including one nurse that hung herself in room 502. The building is said to be home to a plethora of ghosts, from a little boy called Timmy to a grim, unsettling presence named The Creeper.
13. The Death Of Elisa Lam
21-year-old Elisa Lam was found floating in the water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles in 2013. The Vancouver native was reported missing a few weeks prior, but it wasn’t until five days before her body was discovered that the case got national coverage. The police released a video of Lam hoping to jog the memory of anyone who may have seen her – and it was very unsettling. The now infamous footage shows the student inside an elevator, seemingly talking erratically to an unseen presence. The elevator itself appeared to be malfunctioning too, prompting people to surmise that something paranormal was afoot. Lam’s body was discovered less than a week later, after guests at the hotel began complaining about the water.
12. Dyatlov Pass Incident
In February of 1959, nine hikers mysteriously perished in the northern Ural Mountains in Russia. The group were all members of the Ural Polytechnical Institute, who had set up camp on the slopes of one of the mountains, Kholat Syakhi, when things went badly awry. When they were discovered, they had torn themselves out of the tents and gone into the sub-zero temperatures wearing no protective gear. The deaths were strange and unexplained. The government eventually ruled that an ‘unknown and compelling force’ was to blame. Theorists have bounded around many ideas about what happened that night, from an avalanche to infrasound-induced panic or even military involvement.
11. Albert Fish, Aka The Boogey Man
Hamilton Howard ‘Albert’ Fish had many names. The Boogey Man, The Gray Man, The Werewolf of Wysteria – the list goes on and on. Fish was an active cannibal and child abuser between the years 1924-1932, confessing to several murders and unapologetically telling police he had committed crimes in almost every state. The details of this case are too grisly to go into here, but it’s safe to say that this is as unsettling as it gets. Fish was eventually captured by police after the murder of 10 year old Grace Budd. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to death in the electric chair, which was carried out at Sing Sing on January 16th 1936. His last words were ‘I don’t even know why I’m here.’
10. Unit 731
During the Second Sino-Japanese War that lasted from 1935-1947, Unit 731 was used as a research base for the Imperial Japanese Army. They used the facility to house their extreme human experimentation projects – killing around a quarter of a million adults and children. It sounds like something out of Stranger Things, but based near the district of Harbin, it was officially known as the Epidemic Prevention and Water Purification Department of the Kwantung Army. The experiments ranged from frostbite testing, syphilis, germ warfare and even forced pregnancy. As the Japanese destroyed the majority of the evidence, we’ll never fully know the extent of the atrocities committed here.
9. Gertrude Baniszewski
Deemed by the judge as the ‘single worst crime ever perpetrated against an individual in the state’s history’, the murder of Sylvia Liken shook Indiana in 1965. The 16-year-old and her sister were taken in by single mother Gertrude Baniszewski when their parents weren’t able to care for them. Thin and cruel, Baniszewski subjected the girls to awful abuse, soon focusing solely on Sylvia. Along with her children and even some neighborhood kids, Baniszewski tortured and beat Sylvia, kept her naked and often without food. Eventually, the abuse became so bad that the teenager died of a brain hemorrhage. Her sister Jenny was later able to alert the police and told them everything, leading to the arrest and imprisonment of one of the most prolific child abusers of the century.
8. Villisca Axe Murders
On June 10th of 1912, the Moore family were brutally axed to death in their home, along with two other guests. In southwestern Iowa, the town of Villisca had never seen anything like it. The family was well known and well liked, which made the investigation even more difficult as the police found it hard to establish a motive. Sarah Moore, her husband Josiah and their four children were all slain at some time in the evening, along with two visiting children who had been invited to spend the night, Ina Mae and Lena Gertrude Stillinger. While several suspects were identified, with one being tried twice, the case remains unsolved to this day.
7. Joyce Vincent
The strange case of Joyce Vincent rocked London, England in 2005. Vincent resigned from her job in 2001, after moving into a shelter that helped victims of domestic abuse. Around the same time, she began to isolate herself from those around her, cutting off friends and family. No one really knew why Joyce decided to do so, but it was speculated that she felt ashamed of her abuse, or didn’t want her abuser to trace her. With no one in her life, Joyce died alone in her bedsit flat with the TV on, remaining undiscovered for almost 3 years. Her bills were being automatically collected by direct debit, but only half of her rent was being paid. When rent arrears went past £2,000 debt collectors were sent in to repossess the property, which lead to the discovery. How one person can be so cut off from the world lead to worldwide speculation.
6. The Flatwoods Monster
In 1952, brothers Edward and Fred May and their friend Tommy Hyer, claimed to witness a bright light shoot across the sky at around 7.15pm on September 12th. It appeared to land on ground owned by a local farmer. After informing May’s mother, Kathleen, it was decided to go and investigate. Along with three other boys, the troop made their way to the crash site. The group discovered a giant ‘ball of fire’ and described a foul mist that burned their eyes and noses. A flashlight fell on a creature, which hurtled toward them before hissing and running in a different direction. Understandably, the group made a quick exit and reported their findings to the local Sheriff who found nothing but an awful smell, however another sighting of the ‘Flatwoods Monster’ had been reported a few days before this incident.
5. June And Jennifer Gibbons
Otherwise known as the ‘silent twins’, June and Jennifer Gibbons were born in 1953 as identical twins. Growing up in Wales in the United Kingdom, the pair were inseparable. At that time, they were the only black children in the community and often isolated from their peers. They developed their own particular type of language almost indistinguishable to anyone but them. Eventually, they stopped talking to anyone but each other and their younger sister, Rose. As they grew, they continued to baffle psychologists and soon started exhibiting criminal behavior, leading to their hospitalization. The most disturbing part of the case came in 1993, when the twins decided that one must die in order for the other to live a normal life. Jennifer was the ‘sacrifice’, dying suddenly at the age of 31. June went on to live a normal life.
4. Black Eyed Children
A supposed urban legend, the tales of black-eyed children first originated in the late 1990’s. Texas reporter Brian Bethel relayed two ‘encounters’ he had with these beings, in Abilene and Portland, Oregon. The children are apparently paranormal entities disguised as minors between the ages of 6 and 16. They are deathly pale with completely black eyes. Most commonly, they are seen hitchhiking, begging or randomly appearing on the steps of residential homes. While it may sound like a simple ghost story made up to send a shiver down your spine, the paranormal community invests a lot in these tales, believing the children to be vampires, ghosts or even aliens.
3. Benjaman Kyle
One of the strangest things to ever happen in Jacksonville Beach, California, 69-year-old man Benjaman Kyle simply turned up one day, with no recollection of where or who he was. He was discovered at the back of a Burger King by a dumpster, unconscious, naked and sunburned. Kyle couldn’t remember anything about his past history, and spent many years after his discovery relying on the good will of others as he had no social security number to gain employment. Despite an appearance on Dr. Phil and a petition started by We the People, Kyle didn’t discover his real identity until 2015, when he was able to reunite with family members. What exactly happened to Kyle, we’ll never know – but it could happen to you.
2. Locked In Syndrome
Did you think that being buried alive was your worst nightmare? Think again. Locked-in syndrome is one of the worst conditions that can ever befall you. The patient remains entirely aware and mentally functional, but can’t communicate or move due to the paralysis of the majority of voluntary muscles in the body – except for the eyes. Jean Dominique Bauby, editor of French Elle suffered a huge stroke in 1995 and he became a victim of the awful condition. Only able to blink his left eye, Bauby managed to dictate his memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly which was published two days before he died suddenly. The awful condition leaves you virtually a prisoner of your own body and can strike at any time.
1. The Euthanasia Coaster
What could better than riding a roller coaster with the promise of certain death? Created by Julijonas Urbonas in 2010, the Euthanasia Coaster was designed to take lives with ‘elegance and euphoria’. The aim of the deadly ride is to kill its passengers by prolonged cerebral hypoxia (that’s lack of oxygen to the brain for those of us that didn’t complete medical school). While it’s an incredibly morbid project for any student, the coaster caught media attention when it was shown as part of the Human+ display at the Science Gallery in Dublin, Ireland. The scariest part? It’s not so far-fetched that it couldn’t get made and used to purpose one day.
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