25 Creepy Photos That Will Give You the Chills
If a picture is, indeed, worth 1,000 words, then here are at least 25,000 of the most creepy and chilling words you'll ever experience.
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.”
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 stampeded in 2010 at Loveparade, a German dance music festival. Five hundred others were injured in the devastating tragedy.
If these creepy photos aren’t creepy enough for you, don’t miss these 10 spooky ouija board stories.
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.
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.
Church spire struck by lightning
An ordinary church spire. An ordinary act of nature. Yet the image of the damage a bolt of lightning caused to a stone church spire in Denny, Scotland, feels more spooky than ordinary.
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.
The remains of a fire
As a result of a wildfire in Mati, Greece this year, more than 86 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.
The doomed Lonely Hearts Killers
In this 1949 photo, the Lonely Hearts Killer, Martha Beck, meets with her attorney in an anteroom of the Bronx Supreme Court in New York. This was the same day that Beck admitted to abandoning her two children to the Salvation Army a year prior so that she could be with Fernandez. Beck and Fernandez were each convicted of capital murder, and both were put to death via electric chair in 1951.
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.
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.
A legacy of torture
Pictured at the Olvidados Palace in Granada, Spain, these gallows were used to torture prisoners during the Spanish Inquisition.
Don’t miss these surprising historical connections.
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.
Creepy photos aside, these mystery ghost ships defy explanation.
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.
Hedda Nussbaum, New York City
Those who lived in New York City during the late 1980s will remember the tragic tale of Lisa Steinberg, the six-year-old girl who was beaten to death in 1987 by her “adoptive” father, Joel Steinberg. Steinberg’s then-companion, Hedda Nussbaum, is pictured here with six-month-old Lisa shortly after the illegal adoption, and long before Nussbaum became a late 1980s face of domestic violence.
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.
Don’t miss these 10 urban legends that turned out to be true.
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 675,000 Americans. For context, the AIDS virus has claimed “only” 35 million in the last four decades. Pictured here is a Red Cross truck moving the sick in October 1918.
Karl Wallenda in a triumphant moment
Karl Wallenda, of the “Flying Wallenda” family of amazingly airborne circus performers, is pictured in a triumphant moment in 1978, just after he crossed the Tower Bridge in London by tightrope. Sadly, Karl died during a tightrope walk later that year in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the age of 73.
Find out the last words of history’s most famous people.
The Challenger explosion
On January 28, 1986, the tenth flight of Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart a mere 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members, including a school teacher, Christa McAuliffe, who’d been selected from more than 11,000 applicants to participate in the NASA Teacher in Space Project.
The ravages of smallpox
Almost two centuries after the English doctor, Edward Jenner, discovered what would become the vaccine that would eventually annihilate smallpox, on May 8, 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared the world free of this disease. Pictured here is one of the last people to have been infected with smallpox, a child in Bangladesh in 1975.
The ravages of polio
Another illness that no longer steals lives, thanks to vaccines, is polio. This 1955 photo of an emergency polio ward at Haynes Memorial Hospital in Boston, where patients whose illness had affected their respiratory systems were kept in “iron lungs,” depicts the days when polio was still rampant. Boston’s polio epidemic hit a high of 480 cases that summer.
On this table, an autopsy has just been performed, and another one will soon begin. (An autopsy is a postmortem examination to discover the cause of one’s death.) It’s hard to imagine a colder, more clinical view of the end of life.
Next, check out these creepy real events that actually happened on Halloween.