21 Scary Pictures With Horrifying Backstories That Will Keep You Up At Night

You’re going to find many of the scary pictures below downright disturbing and unbelievable. Some were taken minutes before and after tragedies, and even on their deathbeds.

These famous pictures made their way into news headlines and buzzed around the internet for their disturbing nature.

What’s interesting about these creepy pictures is that once you see them they’ll stay with you forever. Much like stories, images add a very important component to storytelling that text just can’t. Why? Because of something very simple, speed.

According to research compiled by 3M, visuals are processed 60,000 times faster than text, which means you can paint a picture for your audience much faster with an actual picture.

From the shell-shocked soldier in the trenches of WWI to the final moments of Pennsylvania politician Budd Dwyer, these images will forever be etched in your brain.


1. Aerial view of Jonestown

An American religious organization under the leadership of Jim Jones, in northwestern Guyana. A total of 909 Americans died in Jonestown, all but two from apparent cyanide poisoning, in an event termed “revolutionary suicide”.

2. The woman in this photo is actually deceased. Her husband took it two days after she passed away. There’s no word on what her cause of death was.

Photographs (similar to the one above) of deceased loved ones were a normal part of American and European culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

You can check out more info about that here.

3. A little Polish girl who grew up in a concentration camp drawing a picture of “home.”

A child in a residence for disturbed children was asked to draw a picture of the home. It shows how the horrors of the concentration camp warped her mind.

4. This man is unable to get off the subway tracks in New York City with a train bearing down.

The New York Post’s controversial photo taken of 58-year-old Queens resident Ki Suk Han, seconds before being fatally struck by a train.

He was reportedly pushed onto the tracks at 12:30 p.m. by a panhandler.

5. A group of friends in Beirut, Lebanon, moments before a car bomb explosion, and then moments after.

6. 23-year-old Evelyn McHale’s body after leaping from the Empire State Building and landing on a United Nations limousine.

7. Shell-shocked soldier in the trenches of the First World War.

Shell shock is a reaction to the intensity of the bombardment and fighting that produces helplessness appearing variously as panic and fear.

8. Omayra Sanchez, a young victim of the Armero Tragedy in Colombia, 1985

A victim of a Colombian volcano disaster. Omayra Sanchez was trapped in water and concrete for three days. This photo was taken shortly before she died.

9. The aftermath of a car accident in 1945.

The result of traveling at a high rate of speed without wearing a seat belt.

10. Real Life Vampira

In 1882 and 1884, Madam Violet of Edinburgh was voted the scariest woman alive. She was a part of the notoriously dark vampire hive located in the U.K.

11. The body of John Torrington

In the 1840s, John Torrington and a crew of explorers attempted to find the fabled Northwest Passage that would allow for quicker travel between North America and Asia.

However, during the expedition, Torrington’s ship was damaged, and the crew was forced to trek back through Canada on foot.

No one made it back. Torrington’s body was buried along the way, perfectly preserved by the frigid temperatures.

12. Loana the Bloodthirster after her death in 1909.

The suspected witch was beaten to within an inch of her life by an angry mob before committing ritual suicide by consuming goblet after goblet of her own blood.

13. The remains of a victim of spontaneous human combustion.

“Spontaneous human combustion” refers to the death from a fire originating without an apparent external source of ignition; the fire is believed to start within the body of the victim.

14. Shadows of people vaporized when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

Permanent shadows, also called “Nuclear Shadows” were formed during the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The reason behind the formation of these permanent shadows is what’s known as“thermal radiation”.

15. Aftermath of the 1997 Heaven’s Gate in San Diego, California.

On March 26, 1997, police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed mass suic*de in order to reach what they believed was an alien spacecraft following Comet Hale–Bopp. All members were dressed in dark clothing and Nike sneakers.

16. The so-called “elephant’s foot” at the heart of the melted-down Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.

The “Elephant’s Foot” is a solid mass made of melted nuclear fuel mixed with lots and lots of concrete, sand, and core sealing material that the fuel had melted through.

It is located in a basement area under the original location of the core.

17. Chilling final moments of Pennsylvania politician Budd Dwyer before ending his life on live TV.

Dwyer was charged with agreeing to receive kickbacks worth $300,000 in return for using his office to steer the contract toward Computer Technology Associates, where it was discovered that state workers had overpaid federal taxes due to errors in state withholding.

January 22, 1987. On that day, Dwyer called a news conference in the Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg where he killed himself in front of the gathered reporters with a .357 Magnum revolver.

18. The Strange Case of Jeremy Bentham

19. The heart of accused vampire Auguste Delagrange. He was said to have killed at least 40 people in the early 1900s.

Auguste Delagrange was hunted down by a Roman Catholic priest, and a Voodoo Hougan during one of the worst outbreaks of vampirism in the United States.

Delagrange took refuge in an abandoned farmhouse on the outskirts of a small town in Louisiana. It was there that a stake was driven through his heart and his body destroyed.

20. A woman leaps from the top floor of the Genesee Hotel in 1942.

21. This photo taken by a diver in Australia accidentally captured the lifeless body of Tina Watson.

Husband Gabe Watson was convicted of the murder of his wife Tina, but walked free after the case was thrown out by a judge on the grounds that the prosecution had presented insufficient grounds for conviction.

If you liked this post, make sure to check out these terrifying two-sentence horror stories. What did you think of these unsettling scary photos?

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