They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but in the case of these photos, it’s more like 1,000 screams. These disturbing photos will creep you out and have you double-checking all your doors are locked before bed. Taken throughout the years, these photos capture moments and places that will send shivers down your spine.
Some of these photos are eerie, while others have a more sinister backstory that will keep you up late at night. What they all have in common is how disturbing they are. Be warned; while all of these images are horrifying in one way or the other, it’s often the tales behind the photos that will shock you. So prepare yourself to be scared silly by some of the creepiest images you will ever see as you read about the tales behind these 15 disturbing photos.
15 Disturbing Photos That Will Scare You Silly
1. The Amityville Horror
The Amityville horror is more associated with the horror film series these days, but it has a much darker past in real life. In 1974, Ronald DeFeo Jr. shot and killed six members of his family in a house in Amityville in the United States. The house was left abandoned for almost a year before the Lutz family moved in. They lasted 28 days before fleeing, claiming the house was possessed. Paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren were brought in to investigate the haunting and captured the photo above.
An infrared camera was set up during the night and took the picture of what appeared to be a demon child peering out of a bedroom. Many believed the young child in the creepy photo was John Defeo, one of the murdered kids. Skeptics claimed it was actually Paul Bartz, another investigator who happened to poke his head out at the right time. Neither theory has ever been proven. Either way, this ghostly figure is one of the most disturbing images on this list.
2. The Pioneers of Defense
This disturbing photograph looks like it’s captured a nightmare army ready for the apocalypse. It was in fact just a picture of the Young Pioneers, the Soviet Union’s version of the Boy Scouts. Taken in 1937 by Russian photographer Viktor Bulla, the boys and girls are wearing gas masks while performing a military drill. It has nothing to do with a nuclear attack or enemy invasion. While not as scary as you might have thought, this image isn’t for the faint-hearted.
3. Just a Woman on a Roof at Night
This oddly terrifying photo was taken by Reddit user @ewilliam while walking home late one night. It shows what appears to be a woman standing on top of a house staring out into the night. This image went viral on social media a few years back. Now while this photo could certainly be fake, it’s still a frightening image. There is no way you want to run into this person on a nightly stroll.
4. Collection of Shrunken Maori Heads
This oddly terrifying photo was of Major General Horatio Gordon Robley. It was taken in front of a wall of shrunken Maori heads. Now you might think old mate Robbey was responsible for these heads, but that was not the case.
For centuries the Maori people of New Zealand had been tattooing their bodies, particularly their faces. These traditional tattoos were very important, so when someone with these designs passed away, their head was preserved as a show of respect. This was known as Mokomokai. The heads were chopped off and all the insides (brain, eyes, tongue, etc) removed. They were then boiled, left to dry in the sun, and finally treated with oil. They were then kept as trophies by the family.
Robley, a soldier in the British army who was a keen illustrator, was fascinated by the custom. So much so that he wrote an essay on the process of Mokomokai. He also managed to smuggle 30-40 shrunken heads out of the country with him, forming his private collection. Thankfully these heads are now back in New Zealand and property of the Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand).
5. The Exorcism Of Anneliese Michel
The story of Anneliese Michel was one of heartbreak and fear. The German teenager suffered a seizure at the age of 16 that led to her falling into a deep depression. By the time she was 20, Michel was starting to hear voices in her head, became intolerant of Christian symbols, and suicidal. Her parents believed she was possessed and wanted the Catholic church to perform an exorcism. They declined, encouraging Michel’s parents to keep her on medication prescribed by her doctors. But her condition got worse, with Michel becoming aggressive, growling, drinking her own urine, and eating insects.
Eventually the church relented and priest Arnold Renz was sent to perform an exorcism on Michel. In total, Michel suffered through 67 exorcisms over the course of ten months before her body gave out. The cause of death was dehydration and starvation, with Michel being semi-starved during the period the exorcisms were carried out. She was just 23.
There have been many films based on this case, including The Exorcism of Emily Rose, while you can find audio recordings of the exorcisms online if you want to scare yourself shitless.
See more about - 20 Terrifying Torture Devices That Will Give You the Creeps
6. Late Night Caller
Imagine waking up to find someone on your porch staring into your doorbell? That’s exactly what this image captured. Reddit user @FatNDepressed awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of his phone. Checking his messages, he found a notification from his smart home app. It read, “Your doorbell detected a visitor” and was accompanied by the image above. Someone was standing on the porch looking directly into the camera. This would be enough for me to call the police. A stranger hanging around your house in the dark is not what you want to wake up to.
7. Spontaneous Human Combustion
The image on the left might not be that disturbing, but the one on the right will chill you to the bone. That was the aftermath of Florida woman Mary Reeser who was said to have died due to spontaneous human combustion. This is when the human body seemingly catches fire for no reason. All that was left of Reeser was part of her left foot and her skull. Local authorities were baffled so the FBI was brought in. They deduced that Reeser had died due to the wick effect, where the clothing of the victim soaks up body fat and burns like a candle. This did not explain why the fire was contained to such a small area or how it started.
8. Truck Stop Killer’s Final Victim
This shocking image looks like it’s from some sort of 80s horror movie. It was the last known photo of Regina Kay Walters before she was murdered by Robert Ben Rhoades, the Truck Stop Killer. Rhoades was convicted of torturing and killing Walters in 1994 but was believed to have committed many more crimes, including torturing, raping, and killing more than 50 women over a 15-year period. He converted the back of his truck into a mobile torture chamber and would keep women in there for weeks before killing them and dumping their bodies.
14-year-old Walters and her boyfriend Ricky Lee Jones were hitching and picked up by Rhoades in Texas. After quickly killing Jones, Rhoades was believed to have kept Walters locked up for many months. Photos found at his home showed Walters with varying lengths of hair, with the above photo believed to have been taken prior to Rhoades murdering Walters.
9. Wind Turbine Disaster
This image was taken before the tragic deaths of two wind turbine workers. The two men, 19 and 21, were working on a wind turbine in the Netherlands when it caught on fire. Trapped at the top, the two were hopeful firefighters could control the blaze but they were too late. Both men were engulfed by the flames and died. This haunting photograph is the last image of the two, with the men seemingly hugging each other and comforting one another before the end.
10. The Human Dolls of Anatoly Moskvin
This creepy image is sure to give you the heebie-jeebies. It’s a photo of one of the many mummified corpses found in the home of Anatoly Moskvin in 2011. Made to look like a doll, the image of the corpse above is capable of giving anybody nightmares. A historian and linguist with a peculiar interest in cemeteries, death, and the occult, Moskvin was an interesting character. It turned out his macabre hobbies were more than just a passing interest.
After a spate of grave robberies, police discovered Moskvin was the culprit. Inside his home, they found 26 corpses that had been made up to look like dolls. Moskvin would dig the bodies up, mummify them, dress them, and apply makeup to their faces. While he said he had no sexual attraction to the dolls, he did admit to spending hours talking to them and treating them like his children.
Moskvin was found to be suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and has been incarcerated in a psychiatric hospital since his arrest.
See more about - 12 Things You Should Never Google
11. The Most Beautiful Suicide
This was the final photograph taken of Evelyn McHale. The 23-year-old bookkeeper jumped to her death from the Empire State Building in 1947. The snapshot of McHale was taken by photography student Robert Wiles four minutes after her death. The photo was soon splashed on the pages of newspapers and magazines worldwide, with Wiles becoming somewhat of a celebrity. It was called ‘the most beautiful suicide’ by Time magazine and is another disturbing photo sure to give you nightmares.
12. The Final Polaroid of Tara Calico
Tara Calico disappeared from her hometown of Belen, New Mexico in 1988. It was believed she was kidnapped while out for a bike ride. While disturbing in itself, the discovery of a polaroid photo of Calico a year later sent shockwaves through the community. The polaroid was found in the parking lot of a convenience store in Port St. Joe, Florida. It shows a young woman and a young boy tied up and gagged. The photo was aired on TV and Calico’s mother believed the woman in the photo was her missing daughter. The reasons being they both had a scar in a similar place and the presence of the book My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews, which was one of Calico’s favorites.
The police made different conclusions about the photo. Scotland Yard believed it to be Calico, while the Los Alamos National Laboratory said it was not. The FBI also analyzed the photo, with their results coming up inconclusive. The case remains open to this day, with a reward of $20,000 for anyone who can provide information on the exact whereabouts of Calico.
13. The Final Victim of Jack the Ripper
Mary Jane Kelly was the last woman murdered by the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. Unlike the other four victims, Kelly was killed in her room. She was viciously mutilated, as you can see from the image. It was believed it would have taken the Ripper several hours to carve up her body as he did. Parts of Kelly were strewn all over the room and the autopsy took two and a half hours to perform.
14. The Fourth Woman To Reach Everest
Hannelore Schmatz has the distinction of being just the fourth woman to reach the top of Mount Everest. She was also the first woman to die on the summit. The German embarked on the adventure with her husband and several other climbers. Both were experienced hikers who managed to make it to the top of Everest successfully. But on the trek down Schmatz began to feel fatigued. At 27,200 feet she collapsed to the ground and asked for water before passing away. Incredibly, her body was left on the mountain and could be seen by people attempting to climb Everest for many years. Eventually, her remains were destroyed by the conditions and blew over the edge and down Kangshung Face.
15. The Final Moments of Keith Sapsford
This disturbing image was captured moments before 14-year-old Keith Sapsford fell to his death from a plane. The young boy with a thirst for adventure ran away from home, intent on seeing the world. Unable to afford a ticket, he decided to sneak on board a plane headed for Japan. He stowed away in the wheelhouse of the plane, unaware it would open once the plane was in the air. This is exactly what happened, with Sapsford plunging 200 feet to his death.
It just so happened that at the same time as tragedy struck, plane spotter John Gilpin took the above snap. It was a horrifying image, and one can only imagine what was going through Sapsford’s mind as he fell.
See more about - 10 Creepy Scary Drawings and Paintings That Will Give You Nightmares