7 Normal Things That Become Horror Movies Under a Microscope

#3. A Moth Proboscis Is a Golden Dragon

Hemera Technologies/Photos.com/Getty Images

At Normal Size ...

This is a moth.

J. Pinta
"Greetings, ladies and gentlemen."

This is the face of a moth:

remf.dartmouth.edu
"WHARGARBARGL."

But Up Close ...

Moths don't just have a face like an inside-out sparrow -- well, yes, they do absolutely have that, but we're going to focus on that wacky curling party favor they call a proboscis. It looks pretty harmless there. It's like the one goofy feature on an otherwise sci-fi-movie-caliber monster.

Didier Grunwald
Nature makes the sweetest roller coaster designs.

With a mere 10x magnification, what was once a wacky deflated noisemaker becomes the twisted tail of some mythical golden dragon. Objectively we know that they're just tiny interlocking spines holding the proboscis structure together, but we still can't help but picture that thing spiraling up toward us from the darkness, the intermittent flashing of its scales alerting us to the true immense bulk of the beast that still hides in the void.

Or maybe moths just be lookin' crazy. We could be reading too much into this.

#2. Zebrafish Don't Want Your Soul ... They Already Took It Ages Ago

Azul/Wikimedia

At Normal Size ...

Zebrafish are those totally forgettable little silver-and-black things darting around at the periphery of any undersea documentary. They're the extras of the ocean, there to fill space at the edges while the camera focuses on something actually interesting. Their most notable trait is that they only cost like a dollar, so it's super easy to use them to fill your tank until you can get real fish up in that aquarium.

Vetmeduni Vienna/Zala
But just watch them get all Hollywood once they star in the Finding Nemo sequel.

Their second most notable trait is that scientists love the hell out of the li'l dudes, getting them drunk and unleashing robot predators upon them.

But Up Close ...

A mere 4.5x magnification later and ...

James E. Hayden
It's like a diseased heart opened its eyes.

Is that a monster from a '50s horror flick? Is that freaky psychedelic insect trying to hypnotize us? Is that Zorak at Burning Man? Whatever that bastard might be, we know two things: It sure as hell isn't the zebrafish we know and barely notice, and it will not find any welcome on the planet we call Earth.

But no, that is actually nature's placeholder, the zebrafish.

There is a little-known microscope technique called darkfield magnification, which creates a hollow cone of light-surrounded darkness instead of the fully lit cone most microscope work is done with. Photomicrographer James Hayden used this technique to snap a microscope photo of the zebrafish, revealing a creepy cross section of its skull. Sure, it's cheating this premise a little bit, but lean in real close to that mouth portion toward the bottom and you'll see an old Renaissance painting of the sixth circle of Dante's hell. We figured that was worth covering.

#1. Kidney Stones Are How Nature Lets You Know It Hates You (Even More Than You Thought)

John Lerskau/iStock/Getty Images

At Normal Size ...

This is a kidney stone.

Robert R. Wal
A way for people to experience the joy of birth with none of the joy.

There's no polite way to phrase it: That crusty overcooked McNugget comes right out of your pee hole, and it hurts like crazy. Kidney stones can happen for a multitude of reasons, most of which presumably involve having crossed an old gypsy woman at some point. But mostly it's about not drinking enough fluids. So remember to hydrate when you mock those gypsies -- the pee hole you save might be your own!

No seriously, you do not want to experience passing a kidney stone, because ...

But Up Close ...

Kempf EK
It's basically the movie Piranha, but in your urethra.

That's what a kidney stone looks like under an electron microscope. All those sharp edges are formed by a calcium oxalate called weddelite, which grows in crystal formations that look like something the T-1000 would morph into when you really piss him off.

Kempf EK
Pissing him off's easy. Pissing it out's agony.

With the human eye, the structure of a kidney stone looks rough and patchy, but zoom in 250 times and you'll see the truth: They don't hurt solely because they're solid objects in your urinary tract. They hurt because they are made of razors and inside your genitals.


Evan V. Symon is a moderator in the Cracked Workshop. When he isn't trying to find evil in every famous person ever, he can be found on Facebook. He also contributed to the Cracked De-Textbook. Andrew occasionally writes and makes ska-flavored noise that you can download.

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Related Reading: You know what looks crazy awesome under a microscope? Chalk. And microscopes can even make sand look unbelievably cool. For some art that was MADE to be viewed via microscope, this is the button to click.

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