If nightmares came to life, they might look a lot like these real-life things straight out of horror movies.
Art imitates life, and the sheer volume of terrifying movies out there suggests Earth is far scarier than scary movies. The more you delve into human history, the more stories you uncover plenty of stories that would work well on American Horror Story. Real-life scares, unlike fictional fears, force you to face reality, all the sharp, spooky, and sinister sides of it. Killers and psychopaths reveal depths of human depravity worse than any jump scare, and enough actual monsters exist in the world to fill up a Guillermo del Toro film. Life is beautiful, but it is also extremely frightening.
The horrors below highlight some of the freakiest facts about planet Earth and her inhabitants. After reading them, you may ever feel like leaving your home again, but as the facts below show, even your home is susceptible to real-life horror.
Armin Meiwes, The Man Who Ate Someone AlivePhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
Everyone has different tastes, but Armin Meiwes possesses a truly disturbing palate. In the early 2000s, the computer repair technician posted on a website looking for "a well-built 18- to 30-year-old to be slaughtered and then consumed."
Despite being less appealing than a Craiglist missed-connection, someone responded to this post: an engineer from Berlin by the name of Bernd Jürgen Armando Brandes. Meiwes cut off a certain part of Brandes's body, both men ate said body part, and then Meiwes eventually stabbed Brandes to death. Over the next ten months, Armin consumed the rest of Bernd. Even more terrifying, Meiwes recorded it all on video.
The story understandably caused a media sensation, partially because the trial revealed that cannibalism was technically not considered illegal in Germany at the time. In the end, thankfully, Meiwes received a life sentence.1,462237Is this terrifying?
Someone Living In The WallsPhoto: Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY
There's no place like home . . . to scare the crap out of you.
One Imgur user, TwoBiteBrownie, took the internet on a tour of a secret passageway they and their brother discovered in their parents' room behind a bookcase. It opened to a spiral staircase that lead down to a tiny crawlspace. As freaky as the stairs and crawlspace looked, they paled in comparison to what lay inside the space: the signs of someone living there. A sheet laid on the floor, with strange trinkets, toys, and finished foods strewn about. Even more unsettling, TwoBite suspected the candy came from his Halloween basket, meaning the crawlspace's guest lived in the house alongside them.
Though it sounds like a hoax or one-time phenomenon, people manage to hide out in other people's homes undetected for months. In Japan, one woman hid in a man's closet for a full year, only getting discovered after the man installed cameras in his home. How do you feel safe knowing you might be sharing your shelter with some unknown guests?1,691328Is this terrifying?
The Horror House Of H.H. Holmes, America's First Serial KillerPhoto: Wikimedia Commons
H.H. Holmes, America's first known serial killer, carried out his reign of terror in a haunted house of his own design. The former medical student-turned-business owner opened a hotel in Chicago in 1890. The hotel served as his own personal murder house.
During its construction, he hired and fired different workers every week, so no one knew the layout of the building but him. Trapdoors, secret walls, stairways leading nowhere, and a basement straight out of a Saw movie include a mere handful of Holmes's twisted gruesome renovations designed to maximize torture and fear.
At the time authorities discovered his murder den, the bodies inside grew so decomposed it became difficult to tell how many there were. Estimates place Holmes's kills anywhere between 28 to 200 people, with Holmes confessing to 28. Today, Holmes's house no longer stands, but its infamy lives on.1,445303Is this terrifying?
Real Prop Dead PeoplePhoto: MGM/UA Entertainment Co.
Remember the scene in Poltergeist where the mom falls into the pool filled with decaying dead bodies? She looks genuinely terrified, and for good reason. You see, the producers decided to use real bodies as props because plastic skeletons ran too expensive. Rather than take a quick stop at Party City, producers just well full Dr. Frankenstein and utilized actual corpses to create their monster. On the surface, this bit of artistic planning paid off, with Poltergeist frightening audiences into two more installments. But many say it also contributed to the Poltergeist curse, a supposed evil which led to the deaths of many of the franchise's stars.1,550342Is this terrifying?