Humanity typically gets its fill of getting scared over the course of a couple weekends in October. Outside of that, we don't take too kindly to an overabundance of terror in our lives. Unfortunately, these people seem to have accidentally triggered some kind of curse for which there's just no real explanation.
Orange County Sheriff's Department
Orange County, California tends to be a decent place to set horror films, primarily because people are paying an extraordinary amount of money to live in a calm and sunny part of the country and as far away from danger (read: the Midwest) as possible. So imagine the shock when some San Clemente residents began to notice porcelain dolls appearing on their doorsteps.
The most terrifying part was not the dated period clothing, the soulless eyes of the dolls, or even the fact that some residents noticed a passing resemblance between the dolls and their daughters. It was the total randomness of the dolls' placements, spanning multiple neighborhoods over the course of a week. There were no notes and no clues -- only a vague feeling that something terrifying was about to happen.
Orange County Sheriff's Department
"We've narrowed it down to 'Restless 19th-century ghost' or 'Threat from eccentric mafia don.'"
Upon realizing that they were trapped in the beginning of a Bride Of Chucky / X-Files crossover, residents began to call the police. After some top-notch detective work, the police announced that their search had led them to the culprit: a sweet innocent old woman who went to church with many of the recipients. Wes Craven himself could not have scripted a creepier setup.
Fortunately, the dolls were not an omen of death so much as they were an omen of Old Lady Trying to Interact With Her Neighbors. The police found that the dolls were being dropped off "out of goodwill and that [the woman] intended it as a kind gesture," and it seems she hadn't seen enough horror films to realize the terrifying nature of magically-appearing porcelain dolls. Hopefully, she sticks to baked goods the next time she wants to do something nice for the neighborhood.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Despite what we tend to see in the news, many police officers have developed an astonishingly high tolerance for crazy. Kristie Buble is an officer who serves the Long Branch, New Jersey area. She had no idea that giving in to her boredom one evening in her quiet beach town would toss her straight into the plot of Bubba Ho-Tep. Buble was responding to a complaint of a senile old man running around some lady's yard, which is about par for the course in suburban New Jersey.
"Oh, Thursday's already here?"
The man was wandering about in the pouring rain, wearing two raincoats, when he stopped in front of a house for sale and looked at it for a good while, possibly communicating mentally with the friendly spirits inside.
She asked him the typical who/what/why questions, only for him to begin insisting that he was Bob Dylan, and that he was taking a break from hanging out with Willie Nelson and John Cougar Mellencamp as part of some kind of "Reminding People We're Still Alive (Barely)" tour.
Top billing goes to the guy most likely to still be breathing at the end of the show.
Figuring she had nothing better to do, Buble called the old man's bluff and drove him back to the Ocean Place Conference Resort, where he claimed to be staying. Once she and "Bob Dylan" arrived, the officer was able to determine the man's true identity: Bob Dylan.
As it turns out, the old man was telling the truth about who he was all along, as Dylan's tour bus was able to confirm his identity by showing Buble his passport. In her defense, her sergeant met her at the hotel, looked at Dylan, and also did not believe he was who he said he was -- possibly because Dylan is slowly morphing into Ian McKellen as he ages.
So besides looking for houses to buy, why was Dylan walking through the pouring rain at night? Well hell, he's Bob Dylan. That image is probably in half the songs he writes.
The image most people have of Japan seems to fall on a couple of different spots on a spectrum. There's the ancient and regal samurai-style culture, and then there's the hustle and bustle of life in cities like Tokyo. Now imagine hopping off a train somewhere in the middle: a rustic Japanese town which is bound to be brimming with rich cultural experiences. But wandering down the street, something seems ... off. The people don't seem to move much -- in fact, they're not moving at all. You look at a man resting against a tree and smoking a cigarette, and realize that he's a scarecrow.
Making him more of a scare-"You-know-that'll-kill-you"-guy.
You turn and see a woman doing chores. She's also a scarecrow.
You look through a window into the village's one-classroom school. The teacher and the students: all scarecrows.
Person putting scarecrows everywhere? Also a scarecrow.
You quickly turn to try to get back on your train, but it's already gone with the wind. Now it's just you and the scarecrows, while somewhere across the sea, R.L. Stine is having a nightmare more pleasant than the sight before your eyes. Welcome to Nagoro, Japan.
Turns out this is all the work of one woman, Tsukimi Ayano. She's been making the scarecrows for over ten years, partially as replacements for the town's dwindling population. As a result, the current ratio of scarecrows to people in the town is 150 to 35, which is probably also the ratio of sleepless to restful nights the average Nagoro resident has every year, thanks to the burgeoning scarecrow population.
Kind of makes you sad and contemplative -- assuming your brain isn't straw, that is.
Ayano made her first scarecrow 13 years ago, after the death of her father, as a way of keeping his memory alive. She found that she rather enjoyed making scarecrows, and so far has made over 350, though many of them have been lost to time. Osamu Suzuki, another resident of Nagoro who has watched the village's population slowly drop, said that the scarecrows are "indeed something to bring back memories." They will also create new memories that people won't soon forget, no matter how hard they try.
Buckle up, because we're going for another quick ride. Imagine that you're driving down the highway late at night when you suddenly come across a roadblock made of traffic cones. You slow down and get your license ready to show to a police officer, but instead you see a creepy guy walk out of the shadows toward your car. You try to go around him, but he moves in front of your car, refusing to let you leave.
This is the reason someone invented those rear view cameras. Drive. Backwards.
Siri Stafford/DigitalVision/Getty Images
This is why if you ever see someone doing more than 20 backwards, you follow their lead.
Ivan Tukhtin unfortunately didn't have that option when he encountered a mysterious man on the highway, after the man had set up his own roadblock. Thinking quickly, Tukhtin asked the man / potential zombie what he needed to do in order to lure him away from the front of his car, but then quickly took off, as he'd seen enough horror movies (and sugary cereal commercials) to know what was going to happen next.
Fortunately, the guy wasn't actually a murderer -- just drunk and stupid. He had been drinking and driving (with a freaking passenger in the car) when his car ran out of gas on the highway, and he decided that the best way to get help was to scare the bejeezus out of someone, anyone driving past. Someone eventually called the police (who have been remarkably helpful over the course of this article), and they helped out the road blocker and his passenger by giving them a free ride directly to jail.
Though there's probably statistically some kind of other life-supporting planet out there, the fact remains that we have no goddamn clue where it is. However, some researchers at the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia were led to believe otherwise.
For the past 17 years, they'd been picking up a strange signal that would appear about once or twice a year. The signal was interference from particles known as perytons, and no one could figure out where they came from. Was it some distant black hole? Another planet trying to seek out life the same way? Some heavily obscure viral marketing scheme for the next Journey album?
Kim Steele/Photodisc/Getty Images
The truth is out there. It's just really, really dumb.
It was even more terrifying: The interference had been coming from inside the lab all along! Now it seemed that they had some investigating to do ... which only took about as long as it does to microwave last night's Chinese takeout. Literally.
As it turns out, whenever the telescope was pointed in the direction of the observatory's kitchen and someone opened the microwave door before it was done cooking food, the microwave would emit the mystery perytons, which would then be caught by the telescope. The source was discovered by PhD student Emily Petroff, who documented her findings in what we sincerely hope was the most sarcastic research paper ever written.
"Thesis: To explain the source of peryton interference and definitively
prove that I didn't take your stupid lunch out of the microwave, Greg!"
When Allison Henry ordered a selection of hair products from Target's website, she had no idea her life was about to take a turn for the Satanic. When her beauty supplies finally arrived, she found that the package also contained a less-popular cosmetic product: five vials of human blood.
Keith Brofsky/DigitalVision/Getty Images
While it does technically qualify as "protein-enriched," it's still pretty hard to mistake this for conditioner.
Before you start thinking that this was merely a simple case of a really wrong package going to an even more wrong address, think again. The box had both hair care products and blood in it. This means that somewhere along the line, the world's creepiest UPS employee opened up her box of hair products, placed the vials of blood inside, and then sealed it back up. To really drive the point home, the box also contained a copy of the video game Wolfenstein: The Old Blood. We can only assume there wasn't enough room for a relevant Taylor Swift poster.
Presumably the blood oranges arrived later by air mail.
So what happened here? Was someone conducting a dark hairstyling ritual in a UPS warehouse and had to quickly hide the evidence? Apparently, the blood samples came from one Kelly Mikhalik, who was sending her blood off to a lab to be tested for Lyme disease. The women's packages crossed paths at a UPS station in New Jersey, which is where ... something mysterious happened. Nobody seems to know for sure how three moderately scary packages got combined into a horrifying one, but we're dusting off our crucifixes and getting an exorcist on retainer just in case.
For a better look at the horrifying depths of the human mind, you can check out Jim's Twitter account at @thesounddefense. He also writes gaming news and articles at GeekNifty.com.
Psst ... want to give us feedback on the super-secret beta launch of the upcoming Cracked spinoff site, Braindrop? Well, simply follow us behind this curtain. Or, you know, click here: Braindrop.
We don't believe in dark wizardry and all that hoopla, but it's kind of hard to deny it after reading 18 Insane Coincidences That Will Make You Believe In Curses or The 6 Most Strangely Convincing Real-Life Curses.
Also, follow us on Facebook. Or don't; we don't care. But please do! We really care!