11 Everyday Things That Are Terrifying Under a Microscope

As human beings, we go about our day-to-day lives, completely oblivious to the microscopic world around us. And that ignorance is great, because most of that microscopic world is scary as hell. Cracked has touched on some of these horrors before, but like the Leprechaun movies, the terror could not be confined to just one installment.

#11. Your Pillow

At Normal Size:

Odds are there's at least one pillow lying on your bed right now, but here's a picture anyway:

Everyone on board so far?

You rest your head on one almost every night (excepting those instances where you wake up in a daze on bloodied tile/pavement with a racketeer's jawbone in your vest pocket). It is a place of warmth, comfort and security.

But Up Close ...

You couldn't be more wrong. This is your bedroom pillow this very second:

Unseen Companions via Apartment Therapy
"We're just waiting for an ear to crawl into."

Those are common house dust mites. There's about a bajillion of these micro horrors living inside your pillow as we speak. We couldn't find a source saying that they crawl all over your face and into your ears and nose while you sleep, but really, do you trust them not to? They graze on your pillow like bloated alien cattle and feed off of your dead skin cells (and presumably your terror-soaked nightmares as well).

#10. Hydrothermal Vent Worms

At Normal Size:

Hydrothermal vent worms are so tiny that you can't see them. They live around the hydrothermal vents on the abyssal plain of the ocean floor, which is probably another big reason you can't see them:

Oh, they're in there. Waiting.

But Up Close ...

Run, Kevin Bacon, run!

Upon closer inspection, the hydrothermal vent worm (or razorbeak vaginabeast, as we have just classified it, just now) leaves little doubt that the hydrothermal vent in question is a sulfur-belching portal to the plains of the damned. If you told us that this thing snatches the souls of children in the night and ferries them to the underworld, we wouldn't be surprised. Also, try to play it cool, but it's behind you.

Fortunately, its mouth is less than a millimeter wide, but rest assured -- if it could, that worm would devour everything you have ever loved.

#9. Your Tongue


At Normal Size:

Your tongue is that thing sitting in your mouth right now:


You can't avoid touching it, and if you've ever made out with someone, you've been rubbing two of them together at the same time. Remember that.

But Up Close ...

Because they both look like this:

Science Photo Library
A pine cone with herpes.

The human tongue is covered in tiny spikes called filiform papillae. They do a variety of useful things, such as sensing pressure and helping to manipulate the food in your mouth, all while looking like the disease-ridden shingled back of some hollow mountain troll. And just imagine kissing someone, with all those spikes interlocking like a brown fleshy bike chain. Imagine it.

Science Photo Library
This is precisely what John Lennon was thinking about when he wrote that song.

#8. Sex

At Normal Size:

The Internet contains the most extensive and specific visual library of sex in the known universe, so we really don't need to show you a picture. It is literally right at your fingertips if you absolutely cannot contain yourself.

But have you ever wondered what sex looks like at the cellular level? Actually, you probably haven't, so get ready:

But Up Close ...


Top News Arab Emirates
Is that ... is it wearing a hat?

That writhing mass of blue tentacles is sperm, and the webbed purple moon sphere is the egg. Each looks relatively disgusting in its own right (the sperm looks like what would happen if aliens tried to make spaghetti with loose testicles for the meatballs), but that's nothing compared to the actual act of sex:

Science Photo Library

The magic of lovemaking at the microscopic level is less Barry White and more Omaha Beach. Granted, this is an image of in-vitro fertilization, mainly because science hasn't found a way to cram an electron microscope up a woman's uterus mid-coitus just yet. Still, the end result of a normal bout of naked-time tussling between two reasonably fertile individuals would look about the same. Then, of course, there is the chance of pregnancy, the miracle of life, the joining of two souls to create a third, which looks remarkably like the joining of dirty old deli cheese and a plastic straw:

Lennart Nilsson
Behold, the skeezy magic of creation.

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