Dr. Bruno Boulestin and his team were digging around the site of a 7,000-year-old village called Herxheim when they struck something: horror gold!
"Dammit, Greg, I told you to stop burying drifters in the dig site!"
It was a human bone. That alone might creep some of us out, but that's like archaeologist bingo -- unless Indiana Jones lied to us, the only thing an archaeologist likes to disturb more than Nazi panties is ancient human graves. But then they pulled out another bone from another set of remains, and another, and another -- 500 bodies in all. It was an absolutely giant mass grave, especially for a civilization as relatively small as Herxheim. What killed such a large percentage of the population? Disease? Disaster?
The arrival of Mork?
Then they took a closer look at the bones and found the Terror Easter Egg: bite marks. On every single body. All 500 showed "markings similar to those found on the remains of animals that have been spit roasted." They found cuts in the human bones from the meat being scraped off, and most of them broken open to dig out the marrow. Previous researchers familiar with the site say that the removal of flesh could have just been a burial ritual -- but that doesn't explain two things:
1. The mysterious and complete abandonment of Herxheim about 7,000 years ago -- you know, right around the time that 500 people died and were eaten there.
2. The friggin' bite marks.
We're not saying that there was an ancient zombie apocalypse in southwest Germany, but -- no, wait, that's exactly what we're saying. Loud and clear.
"If you'll all please assume the fetal position, you'll be slaughtered in an orderly fashion."
Everybody grab your Shaolin spades and watch those archaeologists; they could turn at any moment.
That impossible ship graveyard up above, located dead smack in the middle of what looks like a freaking desert, is all that's left of Muynak, a city in western Uzbekistan. Many years ago, hundreds of ships would dock at the bustling fishing port by the Aral Sea, but over time the water there ... just sort of up and vanished.
Didn't even pay its room service bill.
All in all, the sea (actually a giant lake) has shrunk down to 10 percent of its original size. That's because, starting in the 1960s, the Aral's waters have been continuously diverted for irrigation purposes by the Soviet government. Its shoreline receded again and again, eventually retreating hundreds of miles from the once prosperous fishing village. The town slowly died, and the remaining Muynak fishing vessels became stranded, with nowhere to go, and that's when the camels came.
"Heard y'all needed a tow?"
People still live in Muynak, the post-apocalyptic fishmonger's settlement, but not many. Maybe that's due to it being a port town in a friggin' desert, or maybe it's due to the toxic heavy metals in the water that are slowly poisoning the inhabitants, or maybe it's just that people got sick of Scoob and the gang hollering at all hours of the night as they're chased through the wrecks by a ghost pirate that, let's face it, is obviously just Old Man Winters in a mask.
"And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for those pesky mercury-induced psychotic episodes."
Anything is creepy if you put it underwater. A gravestone on land? Sad. Underwater? Terror. Baby stroller on land? Cute. Baby stroller underwater? Suddenly you're checking for tiny baby hands reaching out of the mud to clutch at your swim fins. So when you start off with something already terrifying, like, say, a mass grave of thousands of people, and plant that shit in the bottom of the ocean, you've got some pretty high quality terror porn. It's called the Chuuk Lagoon, and, well, see for yourself:
The Chuuk (or Truk) Lagoon is a large atoll north of New Guinea. Back in February of 1944, the U.S. Navy launched an attack on the Imperial Japanese Army called Operation Hailstone. It was one of the most spectacular battles of the Pacific theater. By the end of it, thousands of soldiers on both sides were dead, their corpses forever entombed at the bottom of the Pacific. And they are still there, left untouched, just as they were nearly 70 years ago.
The Mystery World
And, more recently, Borderlands kills.
The Chuuk is the biggest ship graveyard in the world, but obviously, it's not just ships: tanks, artillery, human remains -- there are all sorts of corpses down there. So clearly it's a total hit with divers! Stupid, reckless, incredibly ballsy divers who are free to explore the husks of the old battleships, warplanes and the occasional skeleton, just as long as they don't try to remove any of it from its dark, watery grave. Oh, not for any paranormal reasons or anything: It's just that there's a lot of live ammunition, and most everything is covered in highly caustic aviation fluid -- which sure sounds like PC talk for "cursed" to us.
That's not just us fear-mongering, by the way: It really is kind of cursed. It's estimated that among all the machines of death at the bottom of Chuuk, there are a few million gallons of crude oil that threaten to spill out and utterly destroy the local ecosystem at any time. So no, there's no old gypsy lady pointing a chicken foot at you and shouting vile gibberish -- but let's call a spade a spade here. Or rather, let's call a mass grave of people killed in horrific ways that could one day release a black cloud of death that will destroy everything in its path "a little bit cursed."
Located in the northern Philippines, the Kabayan Burial Caves were first discovered accidentally by a logging crew clearing a local mountain slope. Once they checked inside, the loggers (who obviously didn't listen to the audience at home shouting "Don't go in there!") found hundreds of skulls and strange little walnut-shell-like coffins. Cracking open the coffins (Jesus Christ, loggers -- you're just begging to be disemboweled by ancient corpses, aren't you?) revealed scores of mummified remains of the Ibaloi people, all tucked inside the containers like soul-scarring little Poke Balls of the dead.
Fifteen identical caves were later found nearby, presumably after the loggers "split up" and two of them started making out on top of a bloody tomb. But hey, maybe you're jaded by this point in the article -- maybe the subaquatic skulls and cannibal graves have left your soul hardened to such pedestrian sights as creepy little wooden eggs filled with corpses. If that's the case, maybe you should take a closer look at one of the mummies:
It's like a Rob Zombie Coppertone ad.
And maybe you could also use a little context: The Ibaloi mummify their dead because they believe that members of their tribe will "live again," so they "preserve the body for the owner to use when he comes back to life." So if you put all the world's religions in a big deck, shuffle them up, and pick one that'll come true, all those little wooden eggs will crack open and release thousands of tiny, desiccated, screaming mummies if you pull the Ibaloi card.
Oh, but remember, that's not their idea of hell; that's their best case scenario. Because the Ibaloi are a terrifying people, and somebody just started raiding their damn cemeteries.
Cezary Jan Strusiewicz is a freelance English-Japanese-Polish translator, tour guide and writer. Contact him at email@example.com.
For more places that are probably haunted, check out 5 Amazing Abandoned Wastelands ... Within Walking Distance and The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Modern Ghost Towns.
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