Weird History
35.1k voters

Historical Events You Should Never, Ever Google Image Search

Updated January 14, 2021 107.1k votes 35.1k voters 2.3m views15 items

List RulesVote up the events even your history teacher would rather you not Google.

While Google gives you everything you need at the click of a button, plenty of weird photos from history should stay out of your Google Image history. Disgusting historical photos, such as pictures from real-life crime scenes, still look just as horrifying as they did decades ago, and have no problem making a negative impression on your brain even centuries after the fact. Yet morbid curiosity often drives you to Google certain gross photos from history, just so you can confirm them with your own two, no longer innocent eyes. 

The creepy historical photos below come from a variety of past events, ranging from mass suicides to twisted experiments to holiday celebrations that didn't age well at all. When considering things to never Google, keep these items at the top of your list. Unless you never want to sleep, in which case, search away.

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    The Remains Of Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov

    The Story: While you likely never considered Googling someone's remains, you really, really don't want to Google the remains of cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov. Komarov was the first person to perish on a space mission after the Soyuz 1 space capsule crashed upon reentry in 1967. Prior to Komarov's passing, US listening posts in Turkey reportedly picked up on him crying in rage and cursing "the people who had put him inside a botched spaceship." Basically, Komarov knew his demise was certain, and he hit Earth with the full impact of a meteor falling from space. And so that mourners might see his compact and charred remains, Komarov's funeral was open casket. How thoughtful.

    What You'll See If You Google: The charred remains of Vladimir Komarov, who became a human meteor.

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  • 6

    Radium Girls

    The Story: Before most people knew radium to be toxic, it was used to paint clock faces on luminous watches during WWI. In this time, the United States Radium Corporation hired around 70 women in 1916 to paint these glow-in-the-dark watches -  telling the workers that the radioactive paint didn't cause any harm in such small amounts. Some even touted radium as a health cure. As the success of the watches took off in the early '20s, thousands of workers painted watch faces at various locations across the country. Though these women never realized it, their bones were literally being eaten from the inside out. Not only did they expose themselves to radium, they also ingested it. To perfect their craft, women spun the paint brushes in their mouths between strokes in order to get a sharp, precise line. Each time, they consumed a tiny amount of radium paint, which their employers told them was completely harmless. On average, each woman painted 250 dials a day.

    By the 1920s, the initial group of women hired started experiencing symptoms of radiation poisoning. Their jaws swelled and their teeth starting falling out, along with pieces of jawbone. By the time their case against the U.S. Radium Corporation went to trial, many had been irreparably damaged from the poison and would perish because of it. Today, their grotesque symptoms remain documented all over the internet.

    What You'll See If You Google: Women with the effects of radiation poisoning, including gigantic mouth tumors.

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    The Tuskegee Syphilis Study

    The Story: Googling photos of syphilis is bad enough, but Googling photos of the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis probably qualifies as a form of self-harm. This infamous 40-year study took place from 1932 to 1972. It exploited hundreds of poor African-American men, some with syphilis and some without, to take part in an experiment without their consent because they were seeking free medical care. These men, most of whom had never been to a licensed doctor, were told they had "bad blood" and given placebos. Though the study began before a treatment for syphilis existed, it continued long after penicillin became standard in 1947. To properly track the progression of the disease, none of the men received effective care, leading many to go insane and blind before eventually perishing. 

    What You'll See If You Google: What happens when you don't treat syphilis. 

    Photos of syphilis already reveal a menacing and debilitating disease if left untreated; photos of the Tuskegee Study show this disease being used as a means to dehumanize and harm Black men. By the time the study came to public knowledge in 1972, 28 had perished from syphilis, another 100 had perished from complications, and the disease had spread to 40 spouses and 19 children.

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  • 8

    Chinese Foot-Binding

    The Story: The first evidence of Chinese foot-binding came from the tomb of Lady Huang Sheng, who passed in 1243. This ancient practice, which resulted in small, misshaped, and disfigured feet, persisted for thousands of years in China, and was meant to show off feminine wealth and dignity. Brides bound their feet so tightly that they ideally only became 3 inches in length, into what people called "golden lilies." Brides with feet 5 inches or longer ("iron lotuses") actually lost marriage prospects because suitors viewed them as less valuable.

    This process started when a girl was 5 or 6 years old. To get such small feet, their toes would be broken and bound flat against the sole of the shoe, making a triangle shape (as if you folded a foot in half). Puss and blood threatened to infect the foot if wrappings weren't changed frequently, and sometimes skin was cut away if it was deemed "excess." This took two years to complete, and foot-binders forced girls to walk long distances to further the process along. Basically, the photos are not for the easily queasy. 

    What You'll See If You Google: Painful foot deformities.

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