Reality is often stranger than fiction. The truth of how creepy and scary the world is can become even more terrifying than anything you would ever find in a horror movie. We don’t recommend reading this list at night, because it could truly give you nightmares.
43. Running Out of Air
In 1973, two men were in a small submarine 1,575ft deep in the ocean. Suddenly, there was a malfunction, and water began flooding in, causing the sub to sink. They only had enough oxygen left to survive for 3 days. It took so long for the rescue team to find them that they only had about an hour left to survive.
42. The Banned Trailer
When the movie trailer of The Exorcist was shown to the public in theaters, it was so scary that people very literally ran out of the room. Many people began vomiting. They decided to ban that version of the trailer, because they didn’t think anyone would go see the movie. The video is available to watch on YouTube. The nausea is probably due to the fact that it has a lot of flashing lights of demonic faces, with very creepy music playing in the background. Flashing images can trigger epileptic seizures or migraines, which is probably why it made some people physically sick. Even for someone without those medical conditions, it’s absolutely terrifying to watch in the dark.
41. It’s Not Just Allergy Season
Everyone has tiny mites living on their eyelashes.
40. It Rubs The Lotion on the Skin
Remember the creepy serial killer called Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs? Well, he is based on a real-life murderer named Gary Heidnik. In the 1980’s, he lured prostitutes into the basement of his home in Philadelphia and kept them chained together in an underground pit. He would play loud heavy metal music while torturing, raping, and murdering women, until he was finally caught. He went to jail and was executed in 1999.
39. Pink Elephants
Hallucinations come in many different forms. For some people who are beginning to go blind, they see very realistic, absurd things that are not actually there. This is called “Charles Bonnet Syndrome.” A woman named Bee was diagnosed with the eye condition called glaucoma. Her life was very normal, only a trip to a grocery store triggered her hallucinations. The shelves would begin to drip, and turn into thick mud. She could pull an item off the shelf, but this hallucination of mud was too thick to put anything back on the shelf once she picked it up. These hallucinations can become so vivid that people can see animals or entire landscapes that do not actually exist.
38. Twin Brother Where Art Though?
In 2015, a young woman began to have headaches. They discovered that she had a brain tumor, and when the doctors removed it, they were shocked to see that it was a lump resembling skin that contained bone, teeth, and hair. There was even one growing inside of a man’s stomach. It weighed a whopping 14 pounds and resembled a lump of flesh with teeth and hair that had grown 2-3 feet long. The explanation for these occurrences is parasitic twins: a process where two fertilized embryos begin development in the uterus, but one embryo develops faster, at the expense of the other. The slower embryo ceases development and is sometimes partially or even completely consumed by its twin. The cells then become dependent on the bodily function of the complete fetus.
37. A Warrior’s Blood
In ancient Rome, some people believed that if they drank fresh, warm blood from a fallen Gladiator, they would absorb their power. They also believed that drinking blood cured epilepsy.
36. Memento Mori
In Victorian England, middle class people could not afford to hire artists to paint portraits of their families. So, when photography became popular, people decided to get family photos done. However, if someone died, and the family didn’t have a chance to get the photo done yet, they would prop up the dead body and take the family photo anyway.
35. I Pray the Lord My Soul to Take
During the filming of the 1982 horror movie Poltergeist, many people were injured, and some even died. Nearly everyone who was connected to the making of the film suffered such horrible fates that some believe the movie is cursed.
34. The Boogie Men
In Uganda, children are kidnapped and used as child sacrifices by witch doctors. They pay off local police to be sure that they’ll never get caught.
33. More than a Nightmare
In the 1970’s and 80’s, over 100 healthy people suddenly died in their sleep. Their families couldn’t explain it. Wes Craven was inspired by this idea, and it helped him to create Nightmare on Elm Street, where the villain finds and kills people in their dreams.
32. Off With Your Head!
The Guillotine was a machine used for executions, and it would chop people’s heads off. Witnesses reported the eyes moving on the heads moments before death. A modern-day experiment on rats confirmed that brains are still thinking several seconds after a head is removed from a body.
31. Love Lost
While many people take medications to cope with feelings of despair, certain types of antidepressants have been known to eliminate someone’s ability to feel love and compassion. Relationships have been ruined because these pills made their partner fall out of love with them.
30. Fatty Facials
Queen Elizabeth I had smallpox when she was a child, which left her face full of deep pock scars that resembled little craters. As a public figure, she tried just about anything to make her skin look smooth and beautiful. One of the things she did was having servants collect human body fat from people who had been executed. She took the liquified fat and smeared it all over her face, to help fill in the craters. She also did this with eggs, when fat wasn’t available.
29. Wonders of the Human Body
In Philadelphia, The Mutter Museum is filled with fascinating and disgusting bits of human anatomy that have been preserved. Mutations, tumors, and medical anomalies are on full display. Just don’t go if you have a weak stomach.
28. A Boy’s Best Friend
In 1906, a boy named Robert Eugene Otto, or “Gene” owned a strange-looking doll of a boy, who he named Robert. The doll was never sold in stores. It is said to have once been part of a store display, and he was dressed like a clown. Gene would talk about Robert as if he was real, and any time something went wrong, be blamed it on the doll. At first people brushed it off as childhood imagination, but everyone thought it was strange that Gene kept the doll around his entire life. When Gene died in the 1970’s, the doll was donated to a museum. People claim that Robert is the cause of multiple accidents, deaths, and other events of bad luck following a visit to the doll. There was a movie made based on this real-life event. People send Robert letters, asking for forgiveness, or for hexes upon others.
27. Wow, Those Look Real!
Back in the 1960’s, the skeletons in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland were real. At the time, they thought that fake skeletons didn’t look scary enough. So they contacted the UCLA medical department, and bought loads of skeletons that were usually used in anatomy classrooms. As time went on, fake skeletons looked more convincing. Disney claims that they gave the real skeletons proper burials, but many speculate that there could be at least a couple real ones left over on the ride.
26. Bite Me
In ancient times, there was a process of making a “mellified man,” which was essentially making human candy. In order to do this, an elderly person volunteer themselves to the process of being binge bathed in honey every day, and given only honey to eat. They reached the point where that’s all that was left in their digestive system. Then, when they died, they would be covered in honey for 100 years. Their body would snap easily in half, and be eaten as rock candy. Eating this candy was a type of medicine, which was said to heal broken bones.
25. That Could Have Been Bad…
In January of 2017, a 100-foot asteroid nicknamed AG13 passed by Earth. It was approximately the same distance as the moon, and just missed hitting our planet. Scientists only saw that it was coming roughly 24 hours before it would have hit Earth. The public did not know about it until it was over. This asteroid would not mean the planet would be destroyed, but it would injure and kill people. So, if there was a massive asteroid ready to hit our planet, we wouldn’t know until it happens.
In coastal towns, people can expect that there will be floods every few years. By 2030, the number of people whose lives are damaged by floods will triple, because of the rising tides caused by climate change.
23. Greenhouse Gas
In 2016, scientists measured that our air has the most carbon dioxide than has ever been recorded in human history, and it’s only going to get worse.
22. Til Death Do Us Part
Dr. Carl Tanzler had fallen in love with a woman named Elena, who was one of his patients. When she died, he snuck into her tomb and brought her corpse home. He kept her in the house for 7 years straight as the body rotted away, and he propped her up like a mannequin. He was only caught when someone saw him dancing with the corpse in front of an open window.
21. Watch Your Back
There are roughly 50 serial killers in the United States who still haven’t been caught yet
20. Frozen in Time
Madame Tussaud’s wax museum is famous around the world for frighteningly life-like figures of celebrities. What most people don’t know is that Madame Tussaud got her start by rushing over to grab severed heads from the guillotine during the French Revolution. She used these heads to practice her waxing process. There is also a section of the museum in London called “the chamber of horrors” that recreates gruesome murder scenes that you probably never wanted to see in real life.
19. Do I Know You?
After a stroke or some sort of brain trauma, some people can develop “prosopagnosia,” also known as “facial agnosia.” It is when someone loses the ability to recognize faces. Even if it’s your best friend, you would no longer be able to distinguish a face from anything else. Many people suffering from prosopagnosia won’t even recognize themselves when looking in a mirror.
18. Big Brother is Watching
In London, there are CCTV cameras almost everywhere in the city. In 2015, there was a total of 422,000 cameras. The idea behind this is that the police want to capture anyone who is committing a crime. At the same time, privacy is virtually non-existent for anyone living in London.
17. Deadly Sins
In the Catholic religion, Purgatory is a place where souls go when they need to suffer for the sins they committed while they were still alive. They can be prayed out of purgatory by the living, or they must suffer through horrible punishments if they don’t want to go to Hell. In Rome, there is a very small museum that claims to have documentation of hauntings from people whose souls are stuck in Purgatory. One of the items on display is a handprint that left a burn mark in the pages of a Bible, supposedly belonging to a monk who was stuck in Purgatory.
16. Haunted Plague Island
Poveglia, Italy is considered to be the most haunted island in the world. Thousands of people dying of the plague lived there. So many bodies are buried, that 50% of the soil is made of human bones. Later on, Napoleon used the island to hide weapons. Then, it was used as the site of a mental hospital. Today, the island is strictly off-limits to the public.
15. Brain Food
Do you ever wonder what people did before the invention of cups and bowls? In ancient England, people used the tops of hollowed human skulls to drink and eat out of.
14. Alien Jell-O
In 1950s, a meteor fell from the sky near Philadelphia. Police officers checked out the scene, and reported finding purple ooze coming out of the space rock. Nothing bad happened, but it’s still very creepy, if it’s true. The news story inspired the horror movie The Blob.
13. It’s Getting Hot In Here
Scientists have claimed that because of global warming, the entire planet’s temperature is going to rise from 2 to 6 degrees Celsius by the year 2100. This guarantees that the polar ice caps will continue to melt.
In 1934, a mountain slide dumped heavy rocks into a lake near a town called Tafjord in Norway. This was a small, remote town that is only accessible by one road. This triggered a 203-foot tsunami. When it hit Tafjord, it killed 40 people and injuring 60. This real-life event inspired the horror movie called “The Wave,” where they claim the same sort of natural event could easily happen again.
11. The Macabre Nosebleed Cure
During the 1600’s to 1700’s, when people died on the battlefield, their bodies often just laid there until they rotted away. Their skulls would start to grow a moss called “usnea.” People believed that this moss contained the spiritual qualities of the fallen soldiers, so people would gather it up as medicine. Some people ground it up into a powder and snorted it to cure nosebleeds.
10. Massive Waves
Speaking of tsunamis, the biggest one on record was 1,720 feet tall, and traveled at 100 MPH. It hit Lituya Bay in Alaska in 1958. Scientific evidence shows that this area is likely to be hit with another tsunami eventually.
9. Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover
At Harvard University, there is a collection of books that were bound in human skin.
On an Indonesian island called Sulawesi, when a family member dies, they aren’t buried and given a normal funeral. They are mummified using formaldehyde and water, which means the body won’t putrefy and smell awful. They are kept around as part of the family. These corpses are even dressed up and given meals, almost like life-sized dolls. They are called “makula”, which means “a sick person.” The body is kept in the house for months or even years until they have a proper funeral.
7. Horrible Protein Smoothies
In the 1600’s, alchemists were practicing distillation. One of the things that some of them did was mash up brains and other organs from fallen soldiers and drink it, sort of a like a smoothie. Then, they left it to sit inside of horse manure for six months, until it became a liquid. Alchemists were always trying to figure out ways to live forever, so they probably thought this cannibalistic act might help them achieve eternal life.
6. What a Chatterbox
Just like dolls, ventriloquist dummies have become a theme in horror movies. R.L. Stine even created one of his most well-known villains a ventriloquist dummy named “Slappy.” If they creep you out, don’t go to the Ven Haven Museum in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. It’s filled with vintage and antique ventriloquist dummies. If you’re scared of dolls, this place is probably your worst nightmare.
5. Down to the Bone
In the Czech Republic, there is a church called The Seldec Ossuary that has decorations made entirely of human bones. This happened because there were too many people in the cemetery to bury everyone. The church leaders claimed that if their bones became part of the church, it only made them closer to God.
4. Goodbye, Sea Life
If you’re not scared of pollution and how it affects our environment, you should be. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the oceans than there are fish.
3. Life Flashing Before Your Eyes
On PlaneCrashInfo.com, you are able to listen to the voices of people in the last moments of their life right before they die in a plane crash.
2. Doomed for Disfigurement
Joseph Merrick had a disorder that disfigured his entire body. He was nicknamed “the elephant man” and put in a freak show. The scientific name for his condition is proteus syndrome, and people are still born with it today. Every individual person has a different form of the syndrome, and they do not all look exactly the same. The gene is not hereditary, so there is no telling when a child will be born with this, and there is no known way to prevent it from happening.
1. Who Are We Having For Dinner?
In the 1920’s, a writer named William Seabrook was obsessed with the idea of flesh-eating voodoo zombies. He wanted to try human flesh so badly, in fact, that he traveled to Western Africa, begging tribes to let him become a cannibal. They wouldn’t give him human flesh, so he had to return back to the United States. He smuggled a body out of a morgue instead. He was so excited to eat human meat, that he invited all of his friends over for a dinner party. Technically, what he was doing wasn’t illegal, so his friends had to just watch in horror.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to [email protected]. Thanks for your time!
Want to get paid to write articles for us? We also have a Loyal Contributor Program, where our beloved users can create content for Factinate in a Word Document format. If we publish your articles on www.factinate.com, we will happily pay you for your time and effort. Our Loyal Contributor program is a vehicle for infusing our readers’ passion into our content. Please reach out to us for more details, style guidelines, and compensation information at [email protected]. Thanks for your interest!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at [email protected]. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team