16 Real Old-Timey Photographs That Will Give you Nightmares

Real Old-Timey Photographs That Will Give you Nightmares

#8. T-Shirts? Check the Back Left of the Rib Cage

The head is actually in the head.

Alexander Dabell was a man with a dream: to run a store out of a whale carcass. Dabell bought a beached whale at an auction, because that’s the sort of thing you could do in 1842, and used its bones as the basis of a souvenir shop in an amusement park he founded.

The park is still in operation today, and the whale bones remain a major attraction. “Look, kids! This is what an internal organ sees!”

#7. That Will Look Great on the Mantle

Dangerous Minds

Honor House was a company that sold crappy novelty goods out of the back of comic books. If you had a spare $2.98, you could buy a perverted symbol of your sexual conquests. But in a tragic paradox, anyone who would pay money for a fake head with a “full sensuous mouth” would have no sexual conquests to speak of.

It’s obviously a gag gift, but you don’t joke about mounting a woman’s head on your wall unless you’re the sort of person who would actually do it if you could move to a country where it was legal. We can’t think of a target audience for this product beyond rapists, unless there was an early 20th century precursor to the pickup artist community.

#6. What Do You Mean It’s Not a Costume Party?

Neato Coolville, Flickr
That guy on the right looks so shocked his pants could leap up another eight inches.

Have you ever been to a Halloween party where one guy forgot to dress up and looked like an idiot? This 1950s party is the opposite of that — one man forgot he wasn’t supposed to come dressed as pure nightmare fuel.

What the hell is he supposed to be? And what the hell is that on his left hand? Pincers?

#5. She Was Always a Leg Up on the Other Girls

So this is just another prank photo, right? There’s a second girl hiding up the first girl’s dress or something?

Nope. That’s Myrtle Corbin, who was born in 1868 as a dipygus, which is a medical term for “Is that an extra pelvis? Oh man, it totally is.” Myrtle spent her early years in a circus sideshow but later married a doctor, raised five children (using both of her two functional reproductive systems), lived to the age of 60 and had what must have been the kinkiest sex of the century. Are you imagining it? You are now!

#4. No Animals Were Harmed in the Making of this Batshit Craziness

We bet you could get it to chase after two different strings.

If your kitten dies, you mourn its death and dispose of its remains respectfully. Unless you’re a taxidermist named Walter Potter — then you slap four spare limbs and an extra tail on it and stick it in your museum of horrors.

This photo was taken in 1871. Potter’s taxidermy museum was in operation as late as 2003, at which point someone finally said, “Jesus, what are we doing?” and shut the place down.


“War is eternal, kids! Haw haw!”

What better way to introduce children to the horrors of war than with a beloved cartoon icon? These masks were made in 1942 so kids could be ready to defend themselves in the event of the Axis turning the United States into the Poison Gassiest Place on Earth.

Thankfully, they were never put to use, and after the war the leftover masks were given to senior officers as mementos, should they ever forget that the universe pumps horror the way a body circulates blood.

#2. Damn, That Almost Looks Like a Pile of — OH SWEET MOTHER OF GOD

At first, it could be a pile of anything. Then you look closely at the guy standing at the top …

And you realize these are animal skulls. Thousands. Millions.

Specifically, they are the skulls of American bison, which were driven to the brink of extinction by … these two guys, apparently.

Also, the 1870s photo proves that what we call a heavy metal album cover people in the 19th century called “everyday life.”

#1. And Now, a Lady Fucking a Skeleton

apfelauge via Flickr
Cracked.com and skeleton erotica, together at last.

When you picture life in the early 1920s, do you picture this? How long did you look at that before you noticed the “Hell yeah!” expression on the skeleton’s face?

This 1922 photo by German photographer Franz Fiedler was part of a necromancy-themed seriescalled “Fool Death, My Playmate,” which sounds like an artistic way of saying “Let’s commit necrophilia!” There’s a whole set for you to enjoy:

apfelauge via Flickr

Yeah, you just know someone in the ’20s masturbated to this.

You can read more from Mark at The Smoking Jacket or see him mess with the world of fan fiction atZug.

For more ways to help cure your healthy sleeping schedule, check out The 5 Creepiest Unexplained Broadcasts and The 5 Creepiest Unsolved Crimes Nobody Can Explain.


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