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10 Disturbing Photos From the Past & the Stories Behind Them

The elites in photography say that a picture is worth a thousand words; however, when taken out of context, photos lose their value and become scary and creepy. Since the discovery of photography, many people from around the world have taken stunning and amazing pictures of exciting moments as well as weird and disturbing images. Some pictures hound and stay with for a lifetime. With increasing technology, you come across photographs that are so horrifying, bone-chilling, and hair raising that no matter how much you try they keep on lingering in your mind. In this article, we explore ten of the most disturbing photographs from the past that may haunt you for some time.

A Glimpse Into the Russian Famine

Photo from The Russian Famine

The images from the 1921 to 1922 famine in Russia devasted many people, claiming millions of lives. The photos from the effect of the starvation are disturbing. The hunger started in the spring of 1921 extending and combining natural causes deprived millions of Russian populations of food and water, leaving them to die of starvation and disease because of the weakened immune systems due to lack of nutrients in the body. Surprisingly to many, the famine was human-caused. For one, the civil war in Russia and Lenn policy of seizing the food from the peasant and poor people contributed heavily to the catastrophe.

The poor in the society was devastated with starvation and turned them into human cannibalism, murder, and underground human flesh/meat trade during the famine. The extent of human cannibalism during the period cannot be ascertained with surety; however, historians have verified some accounts that are very disturbing and horrifying to view. For instance, a picture of a couple suspected of human cannibalism found with children body parts as an indication that many people turned into man-eating cannibals to survive the human-made famine in Russia, 1921/22.[1]

The Most Beautiful Suicide

The Most Beautiful Suicide

The photo of Evelyn McHale, 23, was taken by photography student Robert Wiles is popularly described as the picture of “The Most Beautiful Suicide.” She scampered to death after she jumped from the Empire State Building in 1947 and Wiles took the photograph that is extraordinary, disturbing and the heart-wrenching scene of a suicide. Over seven decades later, the photo remains as the most famous picture of death ever taken in history. Despite the intensive investigation and research behind the end, little is known concerning the last days and life of the beautiful California native young woman.

The facts state that she came to New York City, purchased a ticket to the 86th-floor observation deck of the highest building in the city, and jumped. She landed 34th Street on a Limousine where the photo was taken. The picture gained fame, and the great artist Andy Warhol used the photo in a piece titled: “Suicide: Fallen Body.” It is one of the pictures that made an indelible mark on the world history.[2]

Woman With a Six-Inch Knife in Her Back

A Woman with A Six-Inch Knife in Her Back

The sight of a woman walking with a six-inch knife stabbed in the back of her neck is chilling. Well, this happened in Russia in 2009, when a mugging went bad for Julian Popova, 22 years old was stabbed and mugged on her way home from work. She was so devastated with the mugging that she walked back without realizing that she has a knife embedded in her neck, just a fracture of an inch from her spinal cord. The picture shows blood gushing from the wound as the surgeons’ stare in awe dismay.

Waiting to operate to extract the blades of the knife from her neck. Because of the shock, her body went into shock, reducing blood flow into her cells, explaining why she could not feel the pain. She walked for about 40 minutes home that is when she realized something was wrong, based on the reaction of her parents; the ambulance arrived within 15 minutes meaning she spends one hour before being seen with the doctors. Fortunate enough for Julian, she made a full recovery because no significant damage was registered in her body.[3]

Aerial View of Jonestown Massacre

Aerial view of Jonestown Massacre

The photo captured from aerial view illustrating the Jonestown massacre in the United States in 1978. The killings accounted for over 908 people who died from Cyanide poisoning where expats from Peoples Temple cult gullible drank the Kool-aid. The Peoples Temple led by Jim Jones, who instructed his followers in Guyana to commit suicide. It marked one of the largest history massacres in the history of America.

Jones as the civil rights activist collected his followers to settle in Guyana county and organized an attack on Ryan and were filled with fear that the government will respond, and therefore, Jones gave way out to his followers to commit a revolutionary act of suicide, in which a total of 918 Americans lost their lives after drinking poison. The photo of the aftermath of the scene is terrifying, disturbing, and horrendous to view the picture. It marks one single most deadly stage that is non-natural in the history of America.[4]

Creepy Bird Doctors

Creepy Bird Doctors

What do you know about Black death? Well, the plague doctor mask was the most recognized representative of Black Death. The plague doctors were active during the middle age, but they acquired the creepy bird mask trademark costume during the 17th century period. Though the plague doctor trademark masks are very creepy on their own; they are creepier and scarier to the people and family that see them coming to their homes. The photo of the plague doctors not only frightening in their appearance but also represented the Black Death in the 17th century period. Therefore, the picture is psychologically and mentally disturbing to the families and people that lost their loved ones to the terrible plague.

The creepy bird doctors appear designed with long beaks because they were stuffed with herbs and flowers to help neutralize the foul smell emanating from the dead bodies and sickening individuals. The active pleasant-smelling substances staffed in the beaks for useful functions such as warding away disease and preventing the ailment from spreading. Specialized doctors won the masks, and physicians assign to treating and burying victims of the contagious diseases.[5]

Petrified Vietnamese Children After an Aerial Napalm Attack by U.S. Troops

Petrified Vietnamese Children After an Aerial Napalm Attack by the U.S. Troops

The picture shows Kim Phuc at age nine, fleeing her village following the Napalm Bomb Attacks. The Vietnamese war was one of the most significant battles with far-reaching effects on both the Vietnamese people and in the history of the world. The photo communicated the horrors of the Vietnamese war in vivid detail that words could never have achieved to describe.

This horrifying and disturbing photograph captures children scampering to safety after a massive aerial attack after suspecting that soldiers are hiding in a small village. The naked kid, nine years old Kim Phuc, are victims burned skin illuminates the effect of war on innocent civilians. The photographer Nick Ut captures the photo that shows kids and napalm soldiers running away from the bombed village.[6]

The Gruesome Death of an Iraqi Soldier, Highway of Death

The Gruesome Death of an Iraqi soldier, Highway of Death

The photograph was first considered too disturbing for printing in the media, but later this terrifying picture has been used as the representative of the first gulf war. The photographer Kenneth Jarecke who took the picture justified the photo saying: “If I don’t photograph this, people like my mom will think war is what they see on TV.” the incinerated remains of the Iraq tanker driver soldier illuminates the horrifying reality of the war. The etiquette of the media and press endeavor to protect the public and civilians from the very details happening on the ground from the war by hiding images like this from them.

Although the picture is terrifying, disturbing to viewers, it is very crucial to show the reality, the evils, and impact of war in society. Jarecke, for instance, targeted to alter the way the Americans perceived the Gulf War, but the editors and media tried to ditch the picture as it went unpublished in the U.S. and it was described as ‘The War Photo No One Would Publish.’ It is creepy and scary to the viewer, seeing a soldier burned beyond recognition in the tanker.[7]

Starving Sudanese Child Stalked by a Starving Vulture

Starving Sudanese Child Is Stalked By A Starving Vulture

Photographer Kevin Carter took the photo in 1993 near Ayad. The emaciated Sudanese girl was struggling to the United Nations Feeding Center as the starving vulture landed closer by preying on the child. The photographer approached carefully, not to disturb the vulture and waited for some time until the vulture is very close to the girl before capturing the photo. The photographer had no idea that he had shot the most disturbing and controversial photograph in the history of photojournalism.

He sold the picture to the New York Times who published the photo that attracted a lot of concern whether the child survived or not. Carter was bombarded with questions about why he did not help the girl and instead acted like another vulture preying of the emaciated child. Carter cited that the girl resumed her trek to the U.N. feeding Center, he chased the vulture away, but he added that it was unlikely that she survived.[8]

Girl Who Grew Up in a Concentration Camp Draws a Picture of ‘Home’

Girl Who Grew Up in a Concentration Camp Draws a Picture of ‘Home’

The concentration camps formed the homes of captured kids subjected to forced labor and bizarre lives. When Tereszka, the girl who grew up in a concentration camp, was asked to draw the picture of her home, she came up with ominous scribbles. This picture was captured by David Seymour in Warsaw 1948 home for mentally disturbed children. She could not recall where she comes from; her eyes are piercing like an opening window to her soul. The prove of the kind of horrors and terrible things she witnessed that her age would never have seen, making her appear like soldiers who have experienced heavy combat.

Tereszka, a distorted version of the name Teresa, has a terrifying hounding a thousand-yard stare in her eyes, making her look not that of innocent youth. The lines of the scribbles that she drew are unclear to date as to what they represent. The probable guesses encompass barbed wires demarcating her life. The picture is disturbing to the viewer as to the kind of fear and pain the young girl harbored and the unceasing violence and chaos in her life.[9]

Photo of Vladimir Komarov, Russian Astronaut

Photo of Vladimir Komarov, Russian Astronaut

In 1967 Vladimir Komarov, the Russian astronaut who was also a close friend of Yuri Gagarin, who was assigned a similar mission. The picture illuminates the remains of the body after the faulty spaceship accident. The image is horrible, disturbing to look at because it is burned beyond recognition. Though before the launch of the mission, they knew the space ship was not safe to fly, they decided to carry on.

Komarov understood he would end up dead, but refused to back out because he knew Gagarin would be his replacement and he did not want Gagarin to die. It is a disturbing story because everyone knew with certainty the mission was a failure, but they could not inform the leader of and the force behind the Soviet Union space mission. The photo repr3sent the remains of Komarov displayed in an open casket, which is a painful reminder of what the Russian officials did to their comrade, putting in harm’s way.[10]

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