Atacama desert is the geographical equivalent of the devil's dangling balls, only somehow even worse: The land is dry to the point where NASA uses it for testing their Mars equipment, and what little water there is to find is laced with arsenic. A certain comedy site once named the area #1 on a list of unlivable hellholes.
It beat out five separate joke entries about New Jersey.
So, let's say you're an archaeologist, sent to excavate around Atacama after your boss found out you're screwing his wife. As awful as the place is, it soon proves to be a veritable goldmine for your profession, since the conditions are custom made to preserve ancient dead folks. So you cavort happily about, cataloging mummies as you stumble upon them.
And then you find this fucking thing:
What. The. What.
Bullshit. You're sure that's a fake, like maybe someone in your crew dropped a plastic souvenir doll he bought from one of those alien-themed roadside attractions. But it's a real mummy, and holy crap, did you just find an actual ancient alien?
That little buddy is called "Ata" (as in, "Atacama"), and it certainly comes with a massive side order of Fox Mulder theories re: its possible extraterrestrial origin. Apart from the obvious alien head (complete with an underdeveloped jaw and face), Ata also sports just 10 ribs instead of the 12-pack most humans have. Oh, and it's just 6 inches tall. That's another point for the "it's an alien" camp, we suppose.
In reality, of course, scientists have been able to verify that Ata is very much a human. He's not the eons-old mummy he seems, either -- in fact, chances are the poor guy died just a few decades ago. The reason behind his ... unconventional look is still up for debate: Some say that Ata is a miscarried, severely malformed fetus. There is also evidence that he may have been 6-8 years old at the time of death, and suffered from an extreme form of dwarfism, progeria, or other disease that might have accounted for his appearance. Either way, we're almost certain you won't wake up to find this little guy climbing over your pillow tonight.
Personally, we suggest never sleeping again.
For more fuel for your nightmares, check out The 24 Creepiest Discoveries People Just Stumbled Into and 6 Archaeological Discoveries Scarier Than Any Horror Movie.
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