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17 Unsettling Historical Photos That Prove How Creepy The Past Really Was
May 31, 2017

17 Unsettling Historical Photos That Prove How Creepy The Past Really Was

Life in the past was creepy. Don’t take our words for granted and have a look at the 17 weird historical photos we collected for you.

Reading this article will make you appreciate our modern world and stop looking for flaws. It was much worse back then!

1. When Halloween Was Way Creepier

via Getty Images

Earlier generations of children experienced Halloween in its purest form.


Forget about department stores selling you already made superhero costumes! Back in the days, one would exploit mom’s few seconds of distraction to steal the sheets and turned them into a lousy ghost outfit.

Obviously, the results were horrible and attracted serious grounding. Most kids ended up raiding the neighborhood dressed like the Ku Klux Klan.

Below is another sample of just how deeply disturbing Halloween was. Costumes were so crudely crafted they were scary. Add the fact that the world was in black and white back then and you realize just much our modernity screwed up its ties with traditions.

via Imgur

Coming up is a dark chapter of the past that seems unbelievable today.

2. When Beach Patrols Measured Women’s Bathing Suits

via Rare Historical Photos

Women heading to the beach a hundred years ago had a good reason to worry.

Police officers were waiting around the corner, anxious to observe a law that would make today’s girls chuckle in disbelief. Skirt length was meticulously measured under the pretext of conserving modesty.

For someone unfamiliar with the harsh regulations and lack of emancipation women faced in the past, it seems the lovely ladies took part in an odd pageant where leg geometry established the winner.

Throughout the 1929s, the beaches of America saw a fierce fight for showing more leg real-estate. The limit was six inches above the knee and “beach tailors” often took demoiselles down at the local police station for skirt extensions.

From the visual comfort of our bikini era, the past seems preposterous.

via Rare Historical Photos

Check out the horrors of war in never seen before shots!

3. When War Gave Soldiers Shell Shock

via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing shows the horrors of war more vividly than pictures of shell shock victims.

Nicknamed “the thousand-yard stare,” shell shock was a psychological condition that short-circuited the human mind and turned former killing machines into vegetables.

As the name suggests, the state installs itself as a result of experiencing fierce bombardments. Nevertheless, seeing your comrades get blown to pieces right in front of your eyes can also trigger shell shock.

Reports from campaign doctors indicate that the victims became unable to talk, walk, eat, or sleep. It’s like their internal processor went into overdrive, killing all neurons but one.

The photos we included show two of the stages of shell shock, so we let you decide which is the more disturbing. Do you prefer the soldier staring at the void or the young fellow overwhelmed by hopelessness?

via Wikimedia Commons

Just look at how mothers used to put their babies at risk. Obeying fashion was dangerous even back then!

4. When Parents Kept Their Babies In Cages

via Getty Images

Behold, a groundbreaking invention that proved one more time just how painful the past was.

Last time we checked, babies were not making photosynthesis. However, that didn’t stop parents from replacing the comfort and safety of the traditional crib with an improvised cage hanging meters above the hard sidewalk. Their pretext was giving the little ones an early contact with the great outdoors.

Lucky toddlers ended up with an aversion for heights and narrow spaces, and an explicable urge to strangle their parents. The less lucky ones made the population pyramid less chunky for the 1950s.

We don’t even bother explaining why baby cages were an awful idea. Just look at the gap between the metal enclosure and the window frame!

via Getty Images

On the next page, you will meet the most miserable city dwellers ever.

5. When A Whole Town Had To Wear Gas Masks

via Imgur

Don’t worry! Judgment Day is not here, at least not yet.

The crazy town folks wearing gas masks belong to the Japanese island of Miyakejima, a place where the hell broke loose in the geological sense of the word. Continuous volcanic eruptions rendered the air full with toxic particles, and the locals were given two options – either evacuate or spend their days wearing creepy masks that would filter the impurities.

Do you still think your city is polluted? Imagine a hellish world where you have to put on a gas mask just to cross the street to go to your local gym. Once there, you would still need the cover to exercise!

Even moments of pure delight are turned into bizarre spectacles. The newly-wed couple pictured below would have to postpone that kiss indefinitely.

via Imgur

Click next to look at what today’s gamers never got the chance to experience.

6. When Some Princeton Students Went Too Far With A Snowball Fight

via Princeton

Three Princeton students agree to document their disfigurement after a snowball fight takes epic proportions.

You are probably disappointed to see pupils enrolled in one of the most prestigious Ivy League institutions get so physical. Nevertheless, we are talking 1893 here, a glorious year when youngsters had no computer games to quench their thirst for violence in a harmless fashion.

Call those vanity wounds, as the fight opposed Freshmen and Sophomores, in a battle royal that most likely echoed throughout the semester. The record doesn’t tell us who won. We all know how the International Federation of Snowball Fighting fails year after year to draft a core set of rules for the sport.

Judging by the black eyes, one can conclude the winter of 1893 was particularly icy in New Jersey. Alternatively, they might have put stones inside those snowballs.

via Imgur

Check out a dictator of the past seen from an unusual angle.

7. When Adolf Hitler Posed As A Nice Guy

via Exclusive Pix Media

We all know Adolf Hitler as the brutal dictator who turned Europe into a nightmarish never ending war.

When he was not busy electrifying the crowds with his impressive speeches or commanding the Wehrmacht, the German chancellor did incredible stunts to improve his PR. Posing with children and animals made the Fuhrer appear more humane and no wonder his nationals loved him.

Nothing is creepier than a toddler fondling the face of Hitler and turning it from grumpy to smiling. Even more unusual is the candid shot where Hitler was captured feeding baby deer.

Would you expect something like that from the incarnation of evil that oversaw the extermination of tens of millions?

via Exclusive Pix Media

City parades are supposed to be fun not give people nightmares. Go to the next page for the full story.

8. When Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Was Creepy

via Getty Images

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a tradition that floods the streets of the Big Apple in joy and color each year.

However, it was not always like that! With its first edition going all the way back to 1924, the parade’s position on the creepy-o-meter varied with the inspiration of the designers.

Everyone can agree that the giant balloon Mickey Mouse walking down Times Square works as an excellent poster for the alternate reality where Walt Disney is crowned Supreme Emperor of the world. Black and white photography goes well with the rainy day mood to picture a post-industrial dystopia where citizens are executed for not having enough fun.

Pinocchio, everyone’s favorite liar, looks bizarre having ropes coming out of his nose and preventing him from reaching the stratosphere. Children of the past must have felt quite uneasy seeing the odd creatures parading in broad daylight. You know, the kind of nightmare that only goes away if your rub those eyes hard.

You know, the kind of nightmare that only goes away if your rub those eyes until they bleed.

via Getty Images

On the next page, we will talk about the worst day in Swedish history.

9. When H-Day Came And Ruined Everything

via Rare Historical Photos

“Dagen H” is the humble abbreviation of the Swedish gibberish “Högertrafikomläggningen.”

But enough with the mystery! September 3, 1967, was the day when Sweden officially adopted driving on the right side of the road. Naturally, the switch created chaos on public roads, as drivers fought in vain to overcome their reflexes.

Just look at the photos and judge for yourself. What started with extra road police officers guiding motorists on the correct lane, quickly went out of control. Numerous accidents paralyzed traffic throughout the main cities, and people realized they were better off on foot.

Sweden was one of the last European countries to join the good guys and adopt right-hand traffic. You will be shocked to know that the change occurred despite desperate petrolheads saying “no” in a national referendum.

via Rare Historical Photos

Animal lovers would have had a hard time growing up in the 19th century. Check out the next story!

10. When People Built Pyramids From Bison Skulls

via Wikimedia Commons

Back in the 1880s, the American Plaines accommodated the largest extermination event since all the dinosaurs turned their bellies up.

Experts estimate more 180,000 Bisons were used to form the pyramid. The depressing monument of Death testifies the unprecedented scale of this human-induced disaster.

Bisons were hunted down for hides which were then processed into leather. As for the bodies, they were left to rot because the meat had little commercial value.

Bones that were not piled up into such creepy structures got an even more sinister use. Bison skeletons were used in refining sugar – a detail manufacturers did everything possible to keep off the label.

The 19th century saw the population reduced from 50 million down to 324. That’s when hunters laid down their weapons and passed down the problem to animal rights activists.

via Wikimedia Commons

Even parties of the past were creepy and unsettling. You must see!

11. When The Rothschild Family Hosted An Illuminati Party

via Hang The Bankers

The few surviving photos smuggled out of the 1972 Rothschild Family Illuminati Party are a testimony to the decadence and bad taste of the past.

Forget Lady Gaga and any other flamboyant artists you take as reference point regarding extravagance. None of them wore a giant buck head decorated with tears made from real diamonds the size of hailstones.

Guy de Rothschild & Marie-Hélène de Rothschild summoned their elite guests at Château de Ferrières with invitations written backward that could be read only using a mirror. The surrealist ball gave fuel to the idea that the banking dynasty owes its fortune to harnessing the powers of the underworld.

It is still unclear how photos of the highly secretive Illuminati Party leaked on the Internet. Some say they did it on purpose to flaunt their power and influence. Others claim the whole edifice will eventually crumble from within. What do you think?

via Hang The Bankers

“Past” and “safety” are two words that don’t go along too well. Go to the next page for another set of disturbing historical photos.

12. When Steam Trains Used To Explode

via Reddit

Riding the train was quite an adventure a century ago.

And that was not because you traveled at a snail’s speed in journeys that used to last for weeks. Your main fear lied with the internal system of the steam-powered locomotive that could have failed at any time, spilling its entrails in a devastating blow.

Although rare, steam train boiler explosions occurred a sufficient number of times to paint the past of railroad transportation in somber tones. Waved handkerchiefs survived as a symbol of farewells from the “golden age” of trains.

People use to travel in their best clothes just to be able to greet the Lord accordingly if water pressure and metal wouldn’t want to get along.

via Pinterest

History books didn’t like them! The next story attempts to bring a small dose of justice and rehabilitate their names.

13. When Rat Catchers Were Heroes

via Rare Historical Photos

“Yey, I got a big one!”

The smile on that man’s face is priceless. Not the same can be said about the pedestrians that happened to pass by that sewer when the rat catcher emerged victoriously.

Rats were such a nuisance a century ago that cities hired personnel with the only purpose of bringing the whole population down. The Rat Catchers were some of the most respected citizens, as entire communities relied on them to keep the risk of infectious diseases down.

Below is a sample of how a good day’s catch looked like. The brave men only had to set the poor rodents on fire before calling the day.

Now that you know how it once was, go find your local Rat Catcher and give him a firm handshake. Not all heroes wear capes, and the Rat Cathers of today have ugly uniforms.

via State Library of NSW

Check out what happened to old cars when new ones took their place.

14. When People Said Goodbye To Their Cars With Bizzare Funerary Rituals

via Imgur

Welcome to the dark side of the automotive industry, one in which cars embark for the afterlife following bizarre rituals.

Forget about the scrap yard and recycling! Great cars need something better to honor their impressive mileage, something that will spook your neighbors into locking their doors with fear.

Obviously, tastes differ concerning how the ceremony should unfold. While old-school shamanic rituals give local Satanists a job to pay the bills, a more modern approach is to ask some random kids to dress up as Disney characters and set the car ablaze.

If it’s a Volvo, it goes to Valhalla. Do you still need further proof the past was creepy?

via Imgur

Check out an eccentric celebrity of the past!

15. When Salvador Dali Went For A Walk With His Pet Anteater

via Imgur

Today’s celebs stun us with their antics, but they are still light years away from the wild persona of Salvador Dali.

The surrealist artist can be seen walking out of a Paris subway station led by his trusted pet anteater. We attached a clear image of the animal just in case you still have doubts whether such a bizarre creature exists for real.

Maybe (just maybe) the animal’s extended tongue inspired Dali’s taste for long and flamboyant mustaches. Or maybe this was an artistic statement our simple minds have no chance of ever understanding.

Don’t ask us why the past was creepier with the Catalonian artist around. Let’s just say that seeing an anteater leave a long trail of saliva on the pavement is not a great appetizer for a subway ride.

Dali relied too much on the persistence of memory for such flamboyant acts. You can’t unsee it!

via Getty Images

Having their swimsuits measured for conformity was not the only prejudice women of the past faced.

16. When Kathrine Switzer Tried To Run The Boston Marathon

via Associated Press

Even running events had a dark twist back in the days.

Check out the incredible shots of Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. She did so in 1967, at a time when rules expressly forbid female athletes from racing in the competition.

Kathrine got her hands on an official bib by registering as gender neutral. Midway through the marathon, race official Jock Semple attempted to stop Switzer. He was wrestled down by Kathrine’s angry boyfriend, giving one sports photographer the shot of a lifetime.

Hold it right there! Switzer was far from being a hero. Winning your category is a piece of cake when you are the only woman running. All you have to do is carry yourself all the way to the finish line.

via Associated Press

Let’s end the list with a profoundly disturbing historical photo, one that would have ruined your mind without the caption.

17. When Firefighters Rescued Melted Wax Figurines

via Wikimedia Commons

A massive fire destroyed Madame Tussauds wax museum in 1925.

It left behind a mess that gave both the witnesses and the rescue crew nightmare material to last a lifetime.

A chemistry crash course will tell you that wax is an excellent fuel, be it shaped as a candle or as a celebrity’s body. Thousands gathered on the streets to admire the blazing furnace that lighted up London’s sky.

For those unaware of the exhibitions housed at Madame Tussauds, watching the search and rescue operation unfold was an emotional roller-coaster. Firefighters carefully took out human body parts together with corpses frozen in unnatural positions. But where was all the blood usually associated with such carnage?

via Wikimedia Commons