The 6 Creepiest Stories Of 2017 (You Totally Missed)
It feels like the world is on fire sometimes, doesn't it? Greenland is melting, the Nazis are back, and the Earth itself has found a humanity-sized eraser in "increasingly monstrous hurricanes." But a lot of stories get lost in that constant news shuffle. A lot of heartwarming, uplifting stories. This is not about those stories. This is about the opposite of those stories. We're about to make everything so, so much worse.
U.S. Diplomats Were Attacked With Mysterious Sonic Weapons
It seems American diplomats in Cuba were attacked with a sonic weapon (oh, those exist, by the way), and nobody has any idea what happened. People became inexplicably nauseous, or had sudden headaches while doing nothing of note in their offices. Others heard a deafening noise in their goddamn bedrooms at night. One man woke up to a metallic grinding sound and jumped out of bed. Once he walked a few feet away, the noise stopped. When he got back in bed, there it was again. Someone apparently pointed the noise at his head while he slept, somehow 360 no-scoping him with a weapon they got from the future.
We have to keep saying "they" because nobody knows who did it. Cuba has denied any and all involvement. Attacking official foreign diplomats would violate the Geneva Convention, which is what the global relations community refers to as a "bad idea." But officials don't have any other compelling suspects. A few Canadians experienced attacks as well, which throws a new wrench in the gears. Everybody hates Americans, but Canadians? We're pretty sure their national motto is "No grudges, buddy."
Once officials examined the injuries, things somehow began to make even less sense. The people who never heard anything -- they became nauseous alone, with no accompanying noise -- fit with our current understanding of sonic weapons. But the laser-precise attacks which made a noise are doing things to people which we didn't know was possible. Some have experienced concussions and hearing loss, which is out of the norm for this sort of attack. But others can no longer remember specific words. Somebody is out there with a gun that can erase thoughts out of your head, like Cuba is a level in a fucking Ratchet & Clank game.
All The Mass Graves In Orphanages
In 1950s Ireland, being an unwed mother was a serious stigma. Women and their children would often end up in institutions like the "Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home," where they would be separated. The Mother and Baby Home had something of a reputation, with former residents describing it as being "like a prison." This is, of course, ridiculous. Most people survive prison.
In early 2017, authorities discovered mass graves at the home, containing up to 800 children, some of whom had died of hunger.
"Hope you like hanging in the yard ... forever."
The problem isn't contained to Ireland. In September, authorities found a mass grave containing 400 children at Scotland's Smyllum Park Orphanage. Again, the orphanage had a sinister reputation, with former residents alleging widespread physical and sexual abuse. Maybe we should be looking into that sort of thing more. After sifting through the evidence, police found that a large number of the kids had died from tuberculosis and scarlet fever in the 1920s. But many of the others died after orphanage workers beat them around their damn heads. A government inquiry will make a final report in 2019, although most of the staff have long since been dragged into their televisions by angry poltergeists.
Related: Nicolas Cage Says He Only Gambled Once, Won $20,000, and Immediately Donated His Prize To An Orphanage
A Man Was Found Dead Inside A 23-Foot Python
In March, 25-year-old Indonesian Akbar went missing during the palm oil harvest. The following day, his fellow villagers went out looking for him, but came back with only his boot, a harvesting tool, and some fruit he must've dropped. Near those scattered belongings, they found a 23-foot-long python which looked rather full. In fact, it looked like it had recently eaten something about the size of an adult male. After running some advanced calculations in their head, they came to the conclusion that they might have to cut open this snake and see what was inside.
It was Akbar. Akbar was inside.
It's extremely difficult for any snake to eat a full-grown man. Humans have wide shoulders that don't collapse, so a snake's jaws have a tough time getting around them. An expert on large snakes called the chances of getting eaten by one "lower than the chances of being struck by lightning at the exact same time as winning Mega Millions."
That's why most supposed cases of snakes eating people are fake. But so far, this one hasn't shown any signs of deception. And if someone faked that video, they should really be working for a professional movie studio. They should also see a therapist, because holy shit, why are you making fake snake snuff films?
A Woman Fought A Decades-Long Conspiracy Which Stole Her Son's Body
In 1975, Lydia Reid's newborn son Gary passed away in Edinburgh's Royal Hospital for Sick Children. As if dealing with the tragedy of her son's death wasn't enough, Lydia found herself catapulted into the plot of Stranger Things. For the next 40 years, she grappled with a sinister conspiracy in order to discover what happened to her son.
It all started when Lydia asked to see her son one last time, only for doctors to show her the body of a completely different child. When she insisted that it wasn't her baby, hospital employees told her that she was suffering from postnatal depression -- a condition they presumably learned to diagnose at Gaslight University. While she probably was in fact suffering from postnatal depression, it does not often cause you to immediately forget your child's size and hair color. Things got weirder at the funeral, when Lydia realized that the coffin was too light to contain a baby. Once again, authorities and hospital staff ignored her protests, and the funeral marched ahead as planned. The hospital also spelled Gary's name wrong on the metal plate bolted to the coffin -- perhaps as a clue, perhaps as an additional "Fuck you, lady."
His grave was right next to "Doug Realbaby."
For the next four decades, Lydia campaigned to have the coffin exhumed. She succeeded only earlier this year, when a judge granted a court order allowing an expert to perform DNA tests on the body. When they dug up the grave, they found a shroud, a little hat, a crucifix, and no body. Lydia was right. The grave was empty. So what happened to her son? Is he still out there somewhere, eating waffles with an 11-year-old telekinetic?
No. Almost certainly not. But we'll forgive you if you want to skip the following paragraph and go with the fantasy.
The most likely theory is that the hospital kept the body to harvest the organs. The Scottish Health Service already had to admit to illegally keeping at least 6,000 organs from infant corpses. Lydia told reporters, "They know what happened to my son. They know fine and well that they have that knowledge and they can give me peace. They can find my son. Even if he's been incinerated -- I want to know. Even if he's lying in a jar in a hospital somewhere -- I want to know. If it's possible to get my son back, I want my son back. If it's not, then at least tell me and let me have peace."
We shall now join you in denial.
A Woman Searches For Her Family, Finds A Serial Killer
Five-year-old Lisa Jenson's life began unraveling in 1986, when her father, Gordon Jenson, abandoned her at a trailer park in California. She told police disturbing stories of abuse, and siblings who had died after eating "grass mushrooms." Alarmed investigators managed to track down Gordon through a single recovered fingerprint, which revealed that he had multiple pseudonyms across the country. After serving 18 months for child abandonment, Gordon skipped parole and vanished again.
In 2002, police arrested Larry Vanner for butchering his wife and burying her remains beneath a pile of cat litter. Which is smart, if you think about it -- dirty cat litter is the last place anyone wants to look for anything. Fingerprints revealed he was the same man who abandoned Lisa all those years ago. But a DNA test said that he was not her real father. This was a bombshell to Lisa. If "Gordon" wasn't her father, then where did she come from?
Together with San Bernardino police, she launched a personal quest to uncover her past. A team of investigators spent years tracing Lisa's genetic heritage. It proved to be a difficult task; they had to go all the way back to the 1600s to assemble a family tree of about 19,000 people before they could start tracking down Lisa's immediate relatives. They discovered that Lisa's real name was Dawn Beaudin. She and her mother had disappeared in 1981, near Allenstown, New Hampshire.
All crime buffs reading this just clenched their buttholes.
Allenstown was the site of the Bear Brook murders, one of the most famous unsolved cases in the country. In the 1980s, police found four bodies -- one woman and three young girls -- buried in metal drums in Bear Brook State Park. Since Dawn went missing at the same time, authorities believed she was another victim. DNA testing revealed that "Gordon" was the father of one of the Bear Brook victims. Witnesses identified him as the same person Dawn's mother was dating when she went missing -- a man going by "Bob Evans," a name which sounds suspiciously familiar to us somehow ...
Evans drifted across the country, constantly changing his name and appearance, all while committing numerous murders, including that of Dawn/Lisa's mother. Evans raised the girl for a few years for some unknown, probably horrific reason. Dubbed the Chameleon Killer, he was caught in 2002 and died in prison. What an experience for all touched by this monster's crimes. What a harrowing, unique experience ...
South Africa Has Serious Problems With Murderous Cannibals
This August, a South African "traditional healer" walked into a police station, complaining that he was "tired" of being in a secret cannibal ring. At first the cops didn't know what to think, but when he produced a gaggle of dismembered human body parts, they started to suspect there might be something to his story. When they followed him to his house, they found a cooking pot full of human ears.
Police arrested five men for possessing human body parts, which these "healers" told their clients had magic properties if consumed. They obtained most of the flesh by robbing graves, but police charged the men with at least one murder after authorities found a missing woman's bloody clothes in their house, which led them to her body, buried under some nearby rocks. The local Traditional Healers Organization had to clarify that they were "against bogus traditional healers who use human body parts." Local residents took to the streets with signs reading "Say no to cannibalism" -- which apparently is a necessary statement these days.
"A 'please' would be nice ..."
That all happened this August, but it looks like South African cannibals pop up in clusters, like movies about asteroids. In September, Mount Frere police found a man who had beheaded a woman and was eating her body on his front lawn. He charged at the police, screaming, and they shot him. In true horror movie fashion, he sprang back up in the hospital and attacked a female orderly, before finally dying three days later. Local authorities said they believed the attack was drug-related, which ... obviously, guys. Do you know how mad you have to be at someone to publicly eat their head while not on PCP?
Michael Battaglino is a new contributor to Cracked. Be sure to check out some of his other work if you enjoyed this article.
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Nightmarish villains with superhuman enhancements. An all-seeing social network that tracks your every move. A young woman from the trailer park and her very smelly cat. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, a new novel about futuristic shit, by David Wong.