20 Regular-Looking Photos With Disturbing Backstories
There are times when taking a glance at a seemingly innocent photo is enough to make you feel uneasy. And even thought you can’t quite put your finger on why, the reason might be because it’s hiding a chilling backstory that you don’t know yet.
Recently, one Reddit user asked others to share some ordinary-looking photos with disturbing backstories, and received a handful of examples that will send a shiver down your spine. Check out some chilling examples in the gallery below but be warned – some of the images might make you feel very uneasy.
#1 This Photo May Not Look Like Much At First
Image source: __Dawn__Amber__
Now, have a look at the guy in the background, top left. Have a look what’s in the background, top right.
That’s the Tank Man from the Tiananmen Square massacre. Thought to be student Wang Weilin, this photo was snapped minutes before the famous one was taken.
Nobody knows what happened to Weilin. He may have been executed, he may still be in prison, he may have fled to another country.
#2 Jewish Children Holding Hands As They Unknowingly Walk To Their Deaths In The Gas Chambers At Auschwitz
Image source: Significant_Cash2066
#3 Camp Staff Taking A Day Off
Image source: fraxiiinus
These photos of Auschwitz staff enjoying pleasant days off always stick with me. They look like camp counselors, but their job is killing people in horrible ways, and they enjoyed it. Most probably took lives not shortly before or after the photos were taken.
#4 This Photo Always Gets To Me Somehow
Image source: Andromeda321
Just a couple of astronauts posing in zero gravity happy to have such an incredible opportunity, like astronauts often do. Meanwhile they have no idea that their space shuttle is irreparably damaged, and in fact will be dead in a few days during reentry (which was considered “safe” until then).
It’s the crew for Columbia for those who don’t know, whose tiles were damaged during the launch of the shuttle into space by foam. No one knew how bad the damage was until it disintegrated.
#5 This Photo Creeps Me Out
Image source: OutrageousMix5145
John Lennon signed an autograph for his killer, Mark Chapman, just a few hours before the murder and then asked him “Is that all?”. Chapman even had a gun on him at the time.
#6 Father And Daughter In Omagh, Northern Ireland
Image source: canadian-bacon1867
This happy photo of the father and daughter was taken moments before the Omagh car bombing in 1998.
The bomb placed by a group known as the Real IRA was in this red car and killed 29 people, including the photographer who took this photo. Both the father and daughter survived.
#7 This Is A Pic Of The 1970’s-Era Gameshow, The Dating Game
Image source: driving_andflying
The circled man is serial killer Rodney Alcala. By the time of that appearance on the show, he had raped several women and murdered at least one.
He won the game, but the woman never went on the date with him. You can imagine how relieved she is.
#8 Franklin Delano Floyd And Suzanne Marie Sevakis
Image source: mothmvn
This is the leading image on Franklin Delano Floyd. In actuality, the little girl is Floyd’s stepdaughter, Suzanne Marie Sevakis, who he’d kidnapped around 1974, when Suzanne was under 10 years old.
He would go on to raise her as his daughter, putting her through high school under several pseudonyms, have a son with her in 1988, and marry her in 1989, under the name Tonya Hughes.
By 1990, Suzanne had decided to leave Floyd and take her son, Michael, with her. In April of that year, she was found beaten and bruised on the side of a highway, and she subsequently died in the hospital. Michael went into foster care and was adopted, only to be kidnapped by Floyd in 1994 and to never be seen again.
#9 The Final Picture Of The Webster Sisters And Their Friend
Image source: Twinklekitchen
Taking a selfie, they all look so carefree and then you see the bright light behind them and just want to yell at them to get out of the way of the train
#10 Genie Standing For A Photo
Image source: Kay_Elle
Genie was a ‘feral’ child. She was tied to a chair in a room her whole childhood and punished when she made noise.
She was found, rescued, and they tried to teach her to speak, and she actually managed to learn to communicate a bit. By all we know now, she was curious, intelligent, and eager to learn. Her brain had just literally missed the window to learn language.
As far as we know, she’s been in an assisted living facility somewhere.
#11 Two Trails In The Snow. Only One Is Leading Back To Life
Image source: imgur.com
This is the photo Kurt Diemberger took after his companion, the illustrious alpinist Hermann Buhl, fell into the abyss on the Himalayan mountain Chogolisa. Buhl was walking behind Diemberger and momentarily left the trail after which he fell through an overhanging cornice. He remains in the ice.
#12 American Volcanologist David A. Johnston
Image source: KermitTheFraud92
13 hours after the photograph was taken, on May 18, 1980, the volcano erupted and killed 57 people including the volcanologist.
#13 If You’re British, And Of A Certain Age, You’ll Probably Be As Haunted By This Grainy Image As I Am
Image source: GoodLordChokeAnABomb
I still distinctly remember the first time I saw it. At the time, James Bulger was only missing, and it was regarded as a cause for optimism that he was last seen with other children. The truth was far worse than anyone imagined, and still inspires a visceral reaction unlike any other crime in my lifetime.
#14 American Physicist Harold Agnew
Image source: tinkrman
This is physicist Harold Agnew holding the nuclear core of the Fat Man atomic bomb, which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.
The bomb ended up killing about 80,000 people, many of whom died from the long-term effects the bomb caused, like radiation illness and leukemia.
#15 John Edward Robinson And His Family
Image source: ReasonableMess_54
This is serial killer John Edward Robinson (yellow sweater) holding baby Tiffany Stasi, whose mother he murdered the day before.
He later gave baby Tiffany to his brother, saying she was adopted. His brother, along with Tiffany, didn’t find out the truth for 15 years.
Only eight of his victims have been identified, and he’s been on death row since 2000.
#16 Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571
Image source: KungThulhu
This picture was taken of a group of survivors of the Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crash in the Andes. They were eventually saved but had to resort to cannibalism to survive. They are all smiling in the photo, but it becomes eerie when you see the human spine to the right of them in the picture.
#17 JP Morgan And Lya Graf
Image source: madCHIPaLIP
This photo of JP Morgan and Lya Graf, a performer for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, caused her to become an overnight sensation, but she couldn’t deal with all the attention. So she moved back home to Germany, where she was later arrested and sent to Auschwitz for being Jewish and she was deemed an unfit human.
Not much is known about her, but it’s assumed that she and her family did not survive.
#18 The Hartley Violin
Image source: flyting1881
This is the Hartley Violin, owned by Wallace Hartley, the bandmaster and lead violinist on the Titanic. It was the one he carried with him and played on the night the ship sank. Survivors reported seeing Hartley and his band on the deck of the ship during the sinking, playing to calm passengers as they boarded the insufficient lifeboats. Hartley and every member of the band died in the sinking. We have his violin because at some unknown point before his death, Hartley tucked the violin back into its monogrammed case for safekeeping. That’s how it was found, floating in the debris field, by one of the ships sent to recover bodies from the wreck. They were able to identify it as Hartley’s because of an engraved brass plate, and it was returned to his fiancé, who kept it until her death. Her family authenticated it and sold it for $1.6M to an organization that collects Titanic artifacts.”
#19 Polish Constitution Day Celebration In Chicago
Image source: TheButterBug
This is a picture of First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 1978 shaking hands with serial killer John Wayne Gacy, who was active in politics at the time. By that time, he had already killed over 20 young men. He’s wearing an “S” on his lapel, which was given to him by the Secret Service to indicate that he’d been given security clearance. The picture was even signed, “To John Gacy, best wishes, Rosalynn Carter.”
#20 This Photo Of Howard Ashman And Alan Menken, Who Wrote The Lyrics And Music Respectively For The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast And Aladdin. In This Photo They Had Just Won Oscars For The Little Mermaid
Image source: your–dj–speaks
That night Ashman told Menken they needed to have a serious talk when they got back to New York, and when they got back a couple days later, Ashman told Menken he had AIDS and was going to die. They had been songwriting partners for over a decade and were in the middle of working on Beauty and the Beast.
So it looks like a happy photo of two men achieving their wildest dream, but it’s really a record of the last normal moment they had together. And while Menken is all smiles, if you look closely at Ashman you can tell something’s wrong.