You might not think these surprisingly scary pictures are creepy at first glance, but once you learn about their backstories, you’ll find out they actually document some pretty creepy moments. Whether they’re historical pictures that we later learn to have chilling backstories, or more modern photos that look totally normal but come with scary backstories, all the photos below will creep you out, once you learn what was really going on behind the lens.
These scary historical photos show everything from serial killers dressed as their innocent alter egos, people unwittingly posed with their killers, and people captured moments before a great tragedy. There’s even a picture of some teenagers, snapped just after one of them murdered his own parents.
Which of these normal pictures with scary backstories creep you out the most? Read on to learn the truth behind these images and vote up the ones that give you the creeps the most.
Regina Kay Walters, Photographed by Her Kidnapper
This is Regina Kay Walters. In this photo, she has her hands up, as if she didn’t want to be photographed. The reality is that this photo was taken by Robert Ben Rhoades, who had kidnapped her, and would latermurder her.
The Last-Known Photo of James Bulger
This security camera shot shows what looks to be a couple of young boys escorting an even younger kid. This happens to be the last-known picture of James Bulger, a three-year old who was abducted from a mall. Later, the two 10-year old boys would torture and murder Bulger. The boys were convicted of murder and became the youngest convicted murderers of the 20th century.
The “Shadows” of Hiroshima Victims
While this looks like strange shadows on walls and steps, they aren’t exactly shadows. These are the carbon imprints of people and objects that were permanently seared into the concrete at the moment of the Hiroshima bombing.
Family Portrait with Their Assassin
Manila city councilman Reynaldo Dagsa was taking a New Year’s Eve photo of his family. When he snapped the shot, he didn’t notice the man on the left, aiming a gun at him; he was murdered where he stood. The killer was Michael Gonzalez, whom Dagsa had previous sent away to prison for stealing cars.
Finger Guns in the Columbine Class Photo
At first glance, this looks like a typical high school class photo, with kids making weird faces, goofing around. However, in the upper left, you’ll see two teenagers making finger guns at the camera. Those kids are Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the two perpetrators of the Columbine High School shooting.
John Wayne Gacy Clowning Around
Clowns are unsettling in general, but it becomes even more frightening when you realize that this particular clown (who went by the name of Pogo the Clown) is John Wayne Gacy, serial murderer who assaulted and murdered 30 young men in just six years.
Tyler Hadley, After He Killed His Parents
This looks to be just a couple of bros taking a picture at a house party. On the right, however, is Tyler Hadley, who had this picture taken while his parents were upstairs – dead. Hadley murdered them and then threw a party at the house. Michael Mandell, the boy on the left and Hadley’s best friend at the time, hasn’t been able to get on with his life since.
John Lennon Gives His Killer an Autograph
This photo shows John Lennon scrawling out an autograph for a man he believed was a fan. The “fan” in the photo was in fact Mark David Chapman, who, hours later, would murder the Beatle.
Father and Daughter Before the Omagh Bombing
This photo, of a father and daughter in Omagh, a County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, was taken moments before the red car next to it exploded, resulting in 29 deaths at the hands of a splinter IRA group called the “Real IRA” in 1998. Seamus Daly is only now standing trial for the terrorist attack.
Heaven’s Gate Suicides
This photo shows a few people sleeping in bunk beds, which looks a little curious since they all seem to have the same clothes on and have made the unusual choice to sleep in their shoes.
It gets worse when you realize that this is a photo of the Heaven’s Gate cult, whose members would, in 1997, all commit suicide, believing the Earth was about to be wiped out and suicide was how they would reach the alien spaceship that would travel by and save them.
Jewelry That Was Stolen from the Jews
This looks like a photo of some sort of melting down factory, and it is – except the factory was in Hungary, during World War II. All the jewelry in the photo was stolen from Jews during the Holocaust.
Australian SCUBA Death Captured on Film
This photo looks to be of a SCUBA diver enjoying some under the sea time, but if you look beyond, you’ll see two people – Gabe and Tina Watson – on the ocean floor. According to Gabe, Tina was having a problem with her breathing apparatus. She later died. Prosecutors tried to charge him with murder, claiming he messed with her gear and then held her down until she was unconscious. A judge dismissed the charge due to lack of evidence.
Travis Alexander Moments Before He Was Murdered
This photo was found on a damaged camera that had gone through the washing machine at the home of Travis Alexander. The next few shots are of him bleeding on the floor. The photos were taken by Jodi Arias, with this one was taken minutes before she stabbed and murdered him. Arias was convicted and sentenced to prison for life.
Two Brothers, Before Lightning Struck
This photo looks humorous and innocent enough – two brothers taking a photo with their hair’s standing on end. The reality is that a lightning strike was imminent. The younger of the two, Sean, was was struck directly in his back, suffering third-degree burns.
Hitler Youth in Their Early Days
While this photo from LIFE magazine, as discovered by Redditor 3scobar, seems to show just an old photo of young children, it in fact depicts the Hitler Youth. Many of the children in this photo grew up to fight in World War II, some even working the concentration camps.
The Last-Known Photo of Chris McCandless
This is a photo of Chris McCandless, the subject of the novel and film Into the Wild. If you didn’t know better, it’s just a photo of a man enjoying some time in the wilderness, but this is actually the last-known photo of him, before he died, having eating poisoned berries.