Terrifying or Baffling: These 34 Photos from the Past Will Freak You Out

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There are a lot of things about the past that we have trouble understanding, and these images are few of them. These pictures are not only creepy but will absolutely make you wonder what these people were doing. Perhaps it is because the photos are black-and-white, which adds to the eeriness.

Nevertheless, take a look at these vintage photographs that have been compiled. Some of these look terrifying while some of them are just baffling.

Ventriloquist Jules Vernon and his family of puppets. [c. 1867–1937]

Returning from their initiation into the Poro, a secret society in parts of Africa. [1936]

Hell’s Cafe and its patrons

Roller skates and a mask. This is a vintage Halloween costume. [1910]

Engineers at Disney fix their animatronic.



A gas mask with Mickey Mouse. It was supposed to make the device appealing to children. [1942]

The contestants at a beauty pageant covered their faces so the judges wouldn’t be biased by their looks.

An Iron Lung ward used for treating children with polio. [c. 1930s]

This woman is undergoing anti-freckle treatment. [c. 1930s]

A fire melted and damaged these mannequins at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in London. [1930]


Max Schreck in between takes of the silent movie Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror [1922]

Two women talking while wearing bird headdresses.

This family photo looks creepy not endearing.

Born in 1868, Myrtle Corbin had an extra pelvis. She spent her early years as part of a circus sideshow.

American troops in Brewster body armor. [1917]



Katharina Detzel, a mental patient, made a man out of straw. [1910]

This was called the isolater. It was a hood that blocked out all sound. Oxygen was piped through a tank, and the eyes had slits so the user could only see one line of text at a time. [1925]

Children during Halloween [c. 1900]

This is not the cheerful Santa you see in malls now.

These are contestants of Miss Lovely Eyes Pageant in Florida. Judges scored based only on their eyes. [1930]



A nurse and a newborn baby pose in their gas masks. [1940]

This shell-shocked soldier gives a thousand-yard stare. [c. 1916 – 1918]

This little girl is being visited by two clowns. Their masks are scary. [c. 1950s]

Horsemanning was the 1920s version of planking.



These parents are posing with their dead daughter. In the Victorian Era, photography was expensive, and you had your photo taken at birth, your wedding, and your death.

This little girl grew up in a concentration camp. She draws a picture of her home while she lived in a residence for disturbed children. [1948]

An R’lyehian steam train after a boiler explosion

Neurologist Duchenne de Boulogne is seen electrocuting a man’s face in order to study facial muscles. France. [1862]

The Mickey Mouse Club having a meeting. [c. 1930s]



Costumes for the poor man [c. 1940s]

Two guests at the Rothschild “Illuminati” party [1972]

Ella Harper, who suffered from a disorder that weakens the ligaments in the knees, was known as Camel Girl. [c. 1870–1921]

A Navajo man dressed up as a Nayenezgani spirit

These images are taken out of context, and to modern society, they may look quite terrifying but may have been normal back then. It’s hard to understand posing with the dead, but that was their way of preserving their memories.

These photos will make you want to sleep with the lights on.

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