5 Animal Stories That Are Straight-Up Horror Films
Animals are adorable ... and absolutely terrifying. From a teeny-tiny fur ball to a menacing whirlwind of claws and teeth, nature has no qualms about turning any and everything into humankind's nightmare fuel. Like the time ...
A Man Insides Were Destroyed After A Gecko Dare
Most Christmas parties end with a drunken Santa writing his name in the snow outside. The one David Dowell attended somehow continued past that milestone and into "eating live geckos on a dare" territory. (Before you ask: Yes, this was Australia.) There are accounts of both seeing and not seeing Dowell do the deed, so instead of Schrodinger's cat, we have Dowell's gecko to work with. But, what we're absolutely sure of are the nightmare symptoms that appeared after the party.
The next morning, Dowell complained about stomach pain, but it was dismissed as a typical hangover. Then a day later, he began vomiting green stuff Exorcist-style. Dowell got rushed to the hospital and was suspected of contracting salmonella, which usually comes from contaminated food or water. (In Dowell's case, the food probably being a live reptile.)
At that point, Dowell's stomach had swollen enough to look like he was pregnant, his testicles had blown up to the size of grapefruits, and his urine had turned black. Also, fluid started filling up his lungs, and he was suffering from liver failure and abdominal obstruction. After 10 excruciating days of pain, he passed away. His doctors were at a loss since even the worst salmonella case wouldn't typically produce symptoms this severe.
A taxonomist and ecologist specializing in gecko parasites then stepped forward with a very likely reason. According to her, Spirometra tapeworm may have caused Dowell's death. These nasty parasites are found in snakes, frogs, and, as you might have guessed, geckos.
A Golden Hamster Built A Nest Using Its Owner's Remains
Ignoring their crazy incestuous origin or tendency to go full Hannibal Lecter when their litter becomes too big, hamsters are among the cutest creatures on the planet. Still, turning a blind eye to those big red flags means possibly having cute, little timebombs as pets.
One German forensic paper from the '90s tells the story of just how the bond between an owner and hamster can quickly change from heart-warming to heart-stopping. Officers found an unnamed 43-year-old owner lying dead in her own home. Her gown was hiked up to her stomach, leaving her naked from the waist down, while her face had gruesome lesions. Based on the scene and every Law & Order: SVU cold opening ever, investigators initially suspected that it was a rape and murder case and submitted the body for autopsy.
However, the autopsy revealed that the woman died of lobar pneumonia, which last time we checked isn't a registered sex-offender. In addition to that, the multiple tiny specks of dried blood on the woman's nightgown didn't fit with the botched scalping narrative that the severe lesions on her face originally suggested.
With the autopsy conflicting with the initial hypothesis, the officers in charge focused their attention on a smaller, fuzzier suspect -- the woman's free-range golden hamster. A quick inspection of the hamster's new nest revealed that it didn't stay with its owner's corpse out of loyalty. It was just a furry little Ed Gein; the nest was constructed with pieces of skin, hair, and muscle/fatty tissue. It had built itself a mini-palace using parts of its owner, mouthful by bloody mouthful.
A Man Got A Brain-Eating Amoeba At A Water Park
When hitting up a water park, your main concerns are long lines and exactly how much pee was in the mouthful of water that you just accidentally swallowed. In 2019, Eddie Gray hit up a North Carolina water park and discovered a lesser-known problem: Naegleria fowleri, a.k.a the brain-eating amoeba.
As the horror movie moniker suggests, the amoeba finds its way to the brain and feasts on the victim's neurons. But contacting it in the first place is remarkably rare; from 1962 to 2018, only 145 cases were reported in the US (only four survived).
Naegleria fowleri is a tricky beast. If Gray had just swallowed it, then the amoeba water would have just become his pee and presumably worked its way into some other park visitor's mouth (see: main park concerns from earlier). But if the water is warm enough and the amoeba happens to go up the nose, into a deeper part of the nasal cavity, it will then burrow its way to the brain through the olfactory nerve. When Naegleria fowleri starts to chow down, the victim's immune system will respond by sending a battalion of white blood cells to fight it, which ends up with your brain looking like a warzone.
"Well, I'll just avoid water parks," you say. Except it's not the "park" part; it the "water" thing. Which is why some cases have been linked to home water use, like in neti pots.
Hundreds Of Sheep Jumped To Their Deaths
"Well, if ____ jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?" has been a go-to question for exasperated mothers since the dawn of time. In 2005, 1,500 sheep answered, "Yes."
In Turkey, villagers of the eastern province of Van let their sheep freely graze in the serene grassy fields. However, that took a dark turn when one sheep thought it'd be cool to jump off a 49-foot cliff. Then, over a thousand of its sheep buds thought, "Hmm, that's actually a pretty good idea," and followed suit, creating a horrifying wool waterfall.
The first 400 immediately met their doom as they hit the bottom of the cliff. Luckily, their fluffy carcasses provided enough cushion to save the thousand that followed.
Apparently, this wasn't a one-off thing either.
A Crocodile Stalked A Man For Two Weeks
Regular stalkers are scary enough, and that dread is even worse when your stalker is a pre-historic monster. Which happened when tourist Ryan Blair got stuck on an island off the coast of Western Australia for half a month, getting creeped on by a giant crocodile.
Blair was dropped off by a boat with some food and water. The original plan was for him to explore the area with his kayak, then paddle his way back to the mainland. Instead, with Steve Irwin no longer around to protect us, a 20-foot long crocodile saw him as an easy dinner. Forced to drag his kayak onto an island, Blair had no choice but to wait it out; surely, the croc would get bored and leave him be after a day or two, right? Nope.
For the next two weeks, every time he tried going into the water, Captain Hook's nightmare would appear. Blair tried making a signal fire with the little resources he had, but it was so small that passing ships probably mistook it for a campfire. Lucky for him, a savior, Don MacLeod, decided to check out Blair's fire and rescued him. It would turn out to be a busy weekend for MacLeod, who, after saving Blair, rescued another boater that suffered a croc attack less than 24-hours later.
Top image: Ilyashenko Olesksiy/Shutterstock