20 Creepy Photos That Will Give You the Chills
The tragic stories behind these creepy photos are enough to give you nightmares.
A quiet country home?
What looks like a lovely country home in upstate New York is actually one of 42 buildings that made up the Trudeau Sanitorium for people with tuberculosis (before the advent of current antibiotic treatment). Located in the Adirondack Mountains, this was America’s first such sanitorium. If you look carefully at the photo taken in 1948, you can see a white-clad nurse ascending the front steps to care for her patients.
Creating a model of a murder victim
Between 1972 and 1978, John Wayne Gacy, Jr. murdered at least 33 men in Cook County, Illinois. In 1980, forensic artists were recruited to reconstruct the facial features of nine unidentified victims so that photos could be released by the media in an attempt to identify them. Gacy was known as the “Killer Clown.”
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This 1928 image of Lon Chaney as a super-creepy clown (a still from the silent film, Laugh, Clown, Laugh), may be another reason people are afraid of clowns.
The ghostly figures shown in this mural in the Karl-Lehr-Strasse tunnel in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, depict the 21 young people who died in a stampede in 2010 at Loveparade, a German dance music festival. Five hundred others were injured in the devastating tragedy.
Death’s relentless pursuit
Death is one of life’s realities, and yet the notion of death remains mysterious, if not terrifying. One reason may be the way that burial grounds tend to become crowded—a constant reminder that death is always in pursuit. Such is the case with this eastern portion of North London’s Highgate Cemetery, resting place to close to 200,000 people since 1839, where the gravestones appear to be collapsing in on themselves.
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The sleeping dead
Another haunting image from London’s Highgate Cemetery is of this statue of a sleeping angel. The reposing was erected, no doubt, with the intention of bringing solace to mourners, yet it so vividly conjures the image of death that it may haunt you in your dreams.
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Church spire struck by lightning
An ordinary church spire, and an ordinary act of nature. Yet the image of the damage a bolt of lightning caused to a stone church spire in Denny, Scotland, looks extraordinarily eerie.
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San Francisco Earthquake
The San Francisco Earthquake of 1906 was another “natural” event that wrought devastating destruction to the lives and plans of the unsuspecting humans in its path. These Victorian homes on Howard Street near 17th Avenue were among the 28,000 homes destroyed in the disaster. It’s estimated that approximately 3,000 lives were lost in total.
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The remains of a fire
As a result of a wildfire in Mati, Greece in 2018, more than 80 people were either killed by the flames or drowned while trying to flee into the nearby sea. Local fisherman and private boat owners were able to save many more, but the sight of a burnt soccer ball is a haunting reminder of the devastation left behind.
A lonely crime scene
Between 1947 and 1949, a divorcee by the name of Martha Beck and her boyfriend, Raymond Fernandez, went on a killing spree, murdering as many as 20 women whom they’d met via newspaper personal ads. After the so-called “Lonely Hearts Killers” were apprehended for the murder of Delphine Downing and her two-year-old daughter, Rainell, the investigation took police to this basement in Queens, New York, where the body of another of the victims, Janet Fay, was unearthed from beneath the floor.
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A different George Washington, a different fate
The George Washington whose gravestone is pictured here was not the first president, but the first prisoner executed via electric chair in Texas. On the night of February 8, 1924, Texas executed a total of 28 convicts using its brand new electric chair.
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This haunting image of convicted capital murderer, Karla Faye Tucker, illustrates why the public was divided over Texas’s decision to execute her on February 3, 1998. After Tucker confessed to murdering two people during a robbery, she made a public conversion to Christianity and captivated many in the American public with her charm and her claims of having reformed. Her execution (via lethal injection) was the first of a woman in Texas since 1863.
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A legacy of torture
Pictured at the Olvidados Palace in Granada, Spain, these gallows were used to torture prisoners during the Spanish Inquisition.
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Tsunami ghost ship
Ghost ships are haunting by nature, particularly when no one can really say what happened to the disappeared crew. But this ghost ship is haunting for a different reason. It was inadvertently launched into the sea as a result of a tsunami off the coast of Japan in 2011 (along with about 5 million tons of debris). Because it was a threat to maritime traffic and a potential threat to the environment, the U.S. Coast Guard sunk the ghost ship in 2012. Pictured here is the plume of smoke that remains.
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Remains of a pirate shipwreck
Lots of creepy things can be found at the bottom of the ocean. This is one of them: a bell once belonging to a pirate ship (the “Whydah Gally”) discovered in the murky waters of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The doomed Romanov family
In the wee hours of July 17, 1918, Russia’s entire royal family, as well as several of their servants, was murdered, bringing a swift and violent end to a 300-year-old imperial dynasty. The family had been imprisoned by the Bolsheviks since February of 1917. Prior to that, the patriarch of the family, Tsar Nicholas II, had made some ill-advised decisions, including leading the country into World War I in 1914, the same year that this photo was taken.
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On this table, an autopsy has just been performed, and another one will soon begin. It’s hard to imagine a colder, more clinical view of the end of life.
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The deadly flu pandemic of 1918
While a dynasty fell in Russia, the deadly influenza pandemic was killing somewhere between 50 and 100 million people worldwide, including an estimately 50,000 Canadians. Pictured here is a Red Cross truck moving the sick in October 1918.
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It’s hard to believe a photo taken in broad daylight could be so creepy, but the Baltray shipwreck manages to send a shiver down the spine. The Irish Trader ran aground off the coast of Ireland in a massive storm back in 1974, and its skeletal remains serve as a warning to ships to this day.
If these creepy photos weren’t enough to give you goosebumps, be sure to read the haunting tales of Canada’s most famous shipwrecks.