We've already pointed out that old photographs can be terrifying, thanks to that grainy black-and-white look and the fact that old-timey people were insane. But we've merely scratched the surface of the Lovecraftian world of horrors that our grandfathers called the present.
Here are 13 more photos to make you glad that you're living in the 21st century.
#13. "It's Almost Like Mother Is Still Alive ..."
This might just look like a standard arrangement of weird-looking old-timey children, until you notice that there is a hooded thing right there among them. What the hell? Was one of them grossly deformed and had to be covered so the townspeople wouldn't come after her with torches? Because when you look at old family photos, you see it again and again -- often with the hooded figure lurking behind the kids like a sex offender Grim Reaper:
No, freakishly tall baby! Don't turn around!
The hooded figure is actually the children's mother, which, without further explanation, would only make this ten times weirder. Instead, this is a tragically failed attempt to make old-timey baby photos look naturalistic. See, back in the 1800s, cameras worked slowly -- you had to sit still for several minutes. Since that's impossible for an unattended infant, the mother had to hold her child while doing her best chameleon impression. At best, you got a portrait of a kid and a woman with a blanket over her head -- and at worst, it looked like the children were being haunted ...
That's the ghost of her childhood.
... or about to be dragged down to hell by a disembodied hand.
Now we know why Alfred Hitchcock turned out the way he did.
Of course, the kids' traumatized faces didn't exactly help.
All of these kids are dead now. Coincidence?
#12. "Look Ma, I Can Pull My Zipper All by Myself!"
"Now where did that damn LEGO go?"
All right, this isn't actually a photograph, but don't you feel lucky that it isn't? It's actually an engraved plate from a 17th century Italian anatomy text. Apparently Italian doctors believed that anyone who wanted to learn what the inside of a baby dick looked like needed to have their soul scarred in the process. It wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that these babies are clearly alive and, in the case of the one below, casually tearing themselves open.
Anatomy books today lack that theatrical flair.
This is what happens when you commission the illustrations for your anatomy book from a psychopath and are too cheap to have them redrawn. As a result, Italian med students were presumably left under the impression that babies would disembowel themselves if left unattended.
#11. Lord Voldemort's Drag Act
Even the mask is disgusted to be a part of this photo. This 1930 photo is entitled "Portrait of the Dancer," because nothing says dancing like rubbing a mask on your face while possibly groping yourself. Maybe the photographer mercifully managed to forget what exactly was going on in the picture before choosing a name. "Why did I mark this 'never look at this again'? Eh, probably some jackass dancing."
#10. Which One's the Puppeteer?
"Wanna know how I got these scars?"
This 1870 photo proves that ventriloquists were once somehow even creepier than they are today, a feat we previously thought impossible. Young Stalin there couldn't give less of a fuck that his doll looks like he's sizing up which audience member to murder first.
But, you know, it's not like ventriloquists intentionally make their puppets creepy. There's simply no way to give movable eyes to a doll and have it look normal. So what if we-
The only reason his butcher apron is clean is that he first drinks the blood of his victims.
NOPE, we take that back. The fact that this one appears to be standing on its own is the least creepy thing about it. Not even the puppeteer's flawless mustache can justify the existence of this photo. Come on, there has to be one old doll that looks normal. Right?
There's a 0 percent chance that anything but a knife was in that puppet's other hand.
Dear God, Stevil is back.
"You don't wanna know how this happened."
#9. The Star of the World's First Minstrel Show/Horror Movie Crossover
Nightmare creatures don't shave often.
This is a 1904 portrait of a Navajo dressed as the deity Nayenezgani, the god of sadness and nightmare fuel, we're assuming. Presumably this was part of a revenge plot -- white people took aboriginal land, so the natives took away their ability to sleep. In some photos, it looks like a person is having his face swallowed by a randomly appearing black hole.
The Golliwog's all grown up, and he is not amused.
#8. She Brings New Meaning to the Term "Bag Lady"
"Jameson's Garbage Bags: For the serial killer who likes to maintain eye contact until the end."
This lady looks like she's stuck in the 18th century equivalent of a Saw trap, or like she's already dead and dismembered and ready to be thrown into the river -- look at the cold, dead stare in her eyes. Also, judging by the shape of the bag, it looks like her killer took the opportunity to throw out some pizza leftovers, too.
However, this is actually driving headwear from 1906 France. Since cars were open back then, driving could be messy. Still, what the hell was she driving through -- mustard gas? As for the odd shape of the bag, that's because it also had to accommodate her French lady hat inside, obviously.
If a woman wasn't wearing a fancy hat in 1906 France, she was stoned to death on the spot.
And the best part was that once her limited visibility caused a traffic accident, they didn't even have to move her to a body bag.
#7. He's Either Going to Murder You or Give You an Amazing High-Five
"But officer, he was already dismembered when I found him!"
This is what the soul of a rapist looks like. Look at the sunken eyes, the giant gropy hands, the unmistakable blowjob face, that haunting mustache. Jesus, he's even wearing a terrible scarf. It's that, or Chewbacca's molesty uncle. Either way, don't let it get close.
"You're my favorite nephew, Chewie. Let's shower together."
The person inside that monstrosity is a Koskimo native -- the costume is part of a ceremony, and the creature depicted is a Hami, which literally translates to "dangerous thing." Yeah, if one of those were lumbering in our direction, threatening to kill and/or blow us, we wouldn't pause to think up a good name either.