University of Delaware ORB LAB
"Yo, dogfish, we heard you liked sharks, so we got one to eat you."
This looks like one of those bullshit fake photos you'd expect to see on Facebook and then debunked on Snopes a month later. But this "food chain in action" shot is in fact real -- it's a shark eating a dogfish eating some bait.
Basically, researchers use bait to attract the sharks that they previously tagged, and in this case a quick-witted dogfish decided to go for the bait before the shark could get there. Well, the joke's on him. And if these researchers didn't immediately go try to find a whale to cram this all into, we're not sure what we're paying them for.
#8. Rooftop Island
South China Morning Herald
"Shit, turn the wheel. We have to move the island again."
If that looks like a secluded island villa glued on top of a huge apartment building, well, that's exactly what it is. Why would such a thing exist? Because sometimes rich people are crazy, too.
The villa is the work of a wealthy Chinese doctor who spent six years constructing it on top of an apartment building in Beijing. The two-story-tall construction is a combination of fake rocks and real trees and dirt. It cost him $2.4 million and was constructed noisily above a building where hundreds of other people live.
South China Morning Herald
Meanwhile, your landlord won't allow cats.
So how do you get permission to build such a crazy thing, considering the building below it clearly wasn't designed for it? You don't! You just start building that shit. Sure enough, as soon as he got it finished, authorities told the man to tear it down. We've got a feeling this shit is going to end in an armed standoff.
#7. There Is No Water in This Picture
And no air, plants, or animals.
This looks like a simple fish tank or scuba photo cropped onto a black background. But there is no water, or seaweed, or any other aquatic life involved here: It's just a particularly cool opal gemstone.
The colors are called inclusions, other substances that found their way inside the molten material as the gemstone formed. But even seeing it in somebody's hand doesn't diminish the illusion that they've managed to imprison a piece of the ocean floor in some kind of magical crystal.
The photos are for an auction site where it was listed for $5,400, but the site says the sale was suspended for reasons we assume involve seller wizardry.
#6. An Extreme Close-Up of Paint on Canvas? Maybe Icing Spread on a Sheet Cake?
Kari/European Space Agency
Edward James Olmos' cheek?
Maybe it's one of those Magic Eye 3D pictures that were so popular in the '90s? Don't bother guessing -- you could probably stare at this all day and never deduce that what you're seeing is a satellite image of the Namib Desert, the red sands meeting the Tsauchab River.
And now let us blow your minds again: There is no water in this photo. At the bottom is a dry riverbed. The color comes from white salt deposits and vegetation (if you lean in real close, you'll see the highway that cuts down through the middle of it and a side road that splits off a little more than halfway through). Here's another image that makes it look exactly as strange as the last one:
Kari/European Space Agency
If you look closely you can see a tiny Arnold Schwarzenegger struggling to breathe.
#5. Oh Shit! Ghost Tsunami!
Roland Emmerich is having a priapism right now.
This water vapor tidal wave looks like the world's most low-key natural disaster, but from the ground it probably looks like nothing other than a bit of fog. This photo was snapped by a helicopter tour company in Florida, and it's a sight you can catch on rare occasions when the air is just the right temperature and humidity. You have those hotels to thank for it -- the air currents are lifted by the buildings, which causes the air to cool and the pressure to increase. That makes the water vapor condense, and suddenly you have yourself a 50-story wall of mist crashing gently over absurdly expensive oceanfront property.
It's times like this when you appreciate how freaky the world would look if we could actually see the air at all times. It probably gets up to all kinds of cool shit like this when we're not paying attention.
#4. "Honey, We're Only Going to Be Here a Week!"
"I can fit this in the overhead. I do it all the time!"
We'll let you stop and count the things that don't make sense about this photo, which would be strange enough if Saint Basil's Cathedral wasn't sitting there in the background.
The object blotting out the Moscow skyline is just what it looks like -- a massive Louis Vuitton suitcase. The huge replica luggage housed a pavilion advertising all sorts of fancy goods for the wealthy traveler. The hubris of placing such a symbol of Western consumerism next to the tomb of a famed communist didn't go unnoticed, and outrage forced them to take it down. Hey, scream all you want, guys, but this is your punishment for losing the Cold War. Get rid of it, and we'll just replace it with a huge replica of a tiny purse with a dog in it.
#3. A Polka-Dot Dress? A Row of White-Capped Bottles?
This is how God plays dominoes.
This is another one that messes with your eyes the longer you stare at it. But if your gaze drifts down near the bottom, you can make out what you're seeing: a bunch of dudes in white hats. Specifically, French police officers in their dress uniforms, standing at attention during their graduation ceremony.
Did you find the guy in the upper right quadrant leaning over, presumably peering around the line to see up to the front to try to figure out how much longer it will be until it's his turn to get his goddamned diploma?
#2. It's the Furriest Bridge in America
That's how lighthouses stay warm, duh.
Is it just us, or does it look like somebody managed to mate this lighthouse with one of those fluffy bunnies from earlier? We would Photoshop in an image of one of those rabbits humping a lighthouse, but inserting a doctored photo would go against the spirit of the article. Feel free to make your own.
A closer look at this one reveals the white stuff to be ice, the wind turning the icicles into twisted tentacles as they froze. That lighthouse is on the shores of Lake Michigan, and no, we have no goddamned idea how you're supposed to get into that door up there.
Winter is coming ... And possibly Cthulhu.
#1. Holy Fuck, It's Blue Lava
"I blue myself."
Seriously, we don't even know what to say. Look at it. That is some hostile alien landscape shit right there. Imagine seeing that pool of glowing wizard fire rolling down toward your village. It'd immediately be followed by your very own eruption of brown lava into your pants.
That is, in fact, not a volcano, but a sulfur mine, and blue flames are what you get when the sulfur combusts.
And you don't run for cover, of course. You stare, a torch in one hand, giant testicles in the other.
The sulfur isn't burning when it comes out of the ground -- the surreal blue fires erupt when miners "accidentally" ignite it with their torches. We put "accidentally" in sarcasm quotes there because you just know they're lighting that shit all the time, just to watch it burn (we're thinking seeing this is literally the only perk of working in a sulfur mine). By the way, try to imagine being the first guy to accidentally drop his torch in there, only to see that happen as a result.
Related Reading: If all these un-shopped photos have you hankering for some good ol' fashioned digitally modified images click here and see how the Cracked forums think our famous-est people REALLY look. They did the same thing to great musicians. We've also got more real, unaltered pictures of craziness: including real cities and battlefields across the world.