You've gotta hand it to Wikipedia for it's versatility, one minute it's boring you to death as you conduct some painfully tedious research, the next it is impregnating your subconscious with a deep unease you can't shake for days!
As a self-confessed mistress of the morbid, I often spend evenings lurching from one stomach-churning Wikipedia #horror to the next like I'm riding the most fucked up internet ghost-train. Below are the ones that have truly stayed with me. I hope you enjoy their company.
Art Below By: Schaphism
What Is It? Scaphism, also known as the boats, is an ancient Persian execution level designed to inflict unimaginable pain and suffering for days before death.
Individuals were stripped naked and placed between two rowing boats with their head, hands and feet exposed to the elements. They were then force fed milk and honey and smothered in the sweet substance to attract insects before being lowered into putrid, stagnant water.
As the victim's excrement filled the floating prison, more and more insects would be attracted to them. Even worse many species burrowed under the skin to breed and eat the victim from the inside out.
"The defenseless individual's feces accumulated within the container, attracting more insects which would eat and breed within the victim's exposed flesh, which— pursuant to interruption of the blood supply by burrowing insects — became increasingly gangrenous."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: A Persian soldier named Mithridates endured this hauntingly brutal torture for 17 days before finally expiring.
2. The Silent Twins
What's The Story? Jamaican born June and Jennifer Gibbons moved to rural Wales shortly after they were born due to their father's career as a technician in the air force.
At once, the twins were ostracized by other children, mainly because they were the only black students in their school. This, combined with their rapid-fire patois that made them difficult to understand, caused the twins to close themselves off from the world.
Speaking in a language that only the twins and their younger sister understood, the pair refused to speak to anyone else into adulthood and remained silent when anyone tried to invade the world they had created for themselves.
The twins had a successful writing career as adults, but eventually turned to crime and were locked away in the notorious Broadmoore Mental Hospital for committing arson.
After being hospitalized for 14 years and dosed with sedatives, the twins called on a longstanding pact they had as children —that when one of them died, the other would live a normal life — so Jennifer seemingly died at will to free her sister from her imprisonment.
"The girls had a longstanding agreement that if one died, the other must begin to speak and live a normal life. During their stay in the hospital, they began to believe that it was necessary for one twin to die, and after much discussion, Jennifer agreed to be the sacrifice."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: Jennifer died of of acute myocarditis a few days after the twins made the decision as to which one would sacrifice themselves. No drugs or poisons were found in her system and her death remains a mystery. Is it really possibly to will yourself to die?
3. The Botched Lobotomy Of Rosemary Kenndey
What's The Story? President John F. Kennedy's sister Rose was born with learning disabilities due to being starved of oxygen at birth after a nurse instructed her mother to cross her legs for two agonizing hours during labor.
Although Rosemary found school difficult and was educated away from other students due to her differing ability, the young woman still strived to achieve in her studies and was described as having a placid and easy going demeanor.
As she got older however, Rosemary began to be rebellious and display behavior that was not befitting of the goal-oriented, appropriately behaved children her parents desired. Also known as becoming a teenager.
To save face (the family also painstakingly concealed Rosemary's learning difficulties) Rosemary's father decided that his 23-year-old daughter would undergo an experimental procedure called a lobotomy.
The lobotomy was botched (although even a 'successful' lobotomy is a medical catastrophe in itself) and Rosemary was left with the mental capacity of a 2-year-old. She couldn't speak, lost her ability to walk and was incontinent. She lived until she was 86 years old in this state in an institution.
"'We went through the top of the head, I think she was awake. She had a mild tranquilizer. I made a surgical incision in the brain through the skull. It was near the front. It was on both sides. We just made a small incision, no more than an inch.' The instrument Dr. Watts used looked like a butter knife. He swung it up and down to cut brain tissue. 'We put an instrument inside,' he said. As Dr. Watts cut, Dr. Freeman put questions to Rosemary. For example, he asked her to recite the Lord's Prayer or sing "God Bless America" or count backwards ... 'We made an estimate on how far to cut based on how she responded.' ... When she began to become incoherent, they stopped.'"
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: Rosemary's mother was not informed about the procedure until after it had been completed and had no say in what happened to her daughter.
This might make you feel sorry for Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, but she didn't visit her own child in the institution for over 20 years. Her father, Joseph, Sr. didn't visit her once. As a final injustice, Rosemary was buried beside her parents.
4. Lina Medina
What's The Story? Lina Medina became the youngest person to ever give birth at the heartbreaking age of just five years, seven months and 17 days. Although Medina was obviously raped by a pedophile during her childhood, nobody was ever charged with impregnating the young girl.
"A month and a half after the original diagnosis, Medina, at the age of 5 years and 7 months, gave birth to a boy by a caesarean section on May 14, 1939, necessitated by her small pelvis, which made her the youngest known person in history to give birth."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: Although he was cleared due to lack of evidence, fingers point to Lena's own father being responsible for the pregnancy.
5. Albert Fish
What's The Story? Albert Fish was a #serialkiller, pedophile and cannibal who boasted he "had children in every state." This deplorable man is thought to have murdered at least five people, all of which were children or adolescents under the age of 17.
Neglected as a child, Fish took to drinking urine, eating feces and mutilating his own genitals in a bout of sadistic, sexually motivated self harm which later moved onto the torture and abuse of others weaker than himself.
Fish took delight in sending horrific letters detailing his vile crimes to the families of his victims, and the chilling text below was read out loud to the murdered girl's mother as she was illiterate a couldn't read it herself. Truly awful.
"Grace sat in my lap and kissed me. I made up my mind to eat her, on the pretense of taking her to a party. You said Yes she could go. I took her to an empty house in Westchester I had already picked out. When we got there, I told her to remain outside. She picked wild flowers. I went upstairs and stripped all my clothes off. I knew if I did not I would get her blood on them. When all was ready I went to the window and called her. Then I hid in a closet until she was in the room. When she saw me all naked she began to cry and tried to run down stairs. I grabbed her and she said she would tell her mama. First I stripped her naked. How she did kick – bite and scratch. I choked her to death then cut her in small pieces so I could take my meat to my rooms, cook and eat it. How sweet and tender her little ass was roasted in the oven. It took me 9 days to eat her entire body. I did not fuck her, though, I could of had I wished. She died a virgin."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: Fish sent a father a letter with a detailed description of what his murdered son's buttocks tasted like, including the grisly detail that the boys penis (described as a pee-wees) was too chewy to eat and disposed of in a toilet.
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6. Pit Of Despair
What Is It? After the death of his wife from cancer, comparative psychologist Harry Harlow sunk into a deep depression and wanted to create an animal model of clinical depression.
To do this, he devised the worst possible imaginable enclosures for rhesus macaque monkey's and, often after they had bonded with their mother's an experienced affection, young macaques were placed in the barren cages with no social contact.
After 30 days, the monkeys were "enormously disturbed" and after a year they barely moved, didn't explore or play and were incapable of having normal sexual relations with other monkey's they were introduced to. Two test subjects even chose to starve themselves to death as opposed to suffering their barren existence any longer.
Female monkeys subjected to the treatment were tied onto a "rape rack" in a mating posture to force them to reproduce, but they were incapable of showing their babies any love and often brutally killed them.
"Not even in our most devious dreams could we have designed a surrogate as evil as these real monkey mothers were. Having no social experience themselves, they were incapable of appropriate social interaction. One mother held her baby's face to the floor and chewed off his feet and fingers. Another crushed her baby's head. Most of them simply ignored their offspring."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: The premise that when an infant is starved of love, it is incapable of caring for other people or, indeed, itself reaches into human territory and has profound consequences.
7. Rat Torture
What Is It? Anyone who has watched #GameofThrones (see the scene above) will already by familiar with rat torture, an umbrella term that encompasses any torture method where rats are encouraged to eat the victim alive.
Generally, the starved rats are placed over an area of the victims body in a bottomless cage or upturned bowl. Once a heat source is applied to the rat's prison, they gnaw though the prisoners body to avoid burning alive.
Naturally, all those tiny teeth tearing through your flesh caused hours of agony for victims and, if they didn't die from the server injuries to their stomach and bowels, disease would get them later.
"The report of CONADEP (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) in Argentina detailed the use of a torture method known as "the recto-scope" (reserved primarily for Jewish prisoners) which consisted of inserting living rats into a victim's rectum or vagina through a tube."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: As the quote above illustrates, this method of torture was still used as late as 1990.
8. Cotard Delusion
Image By: MenervaTau
What Is It? Cotard Delusion is a rare mental illness in which those afflicted believe they are dead, rotting or putrefying or missing vital organs.
People afflicted with the disorder withdraw form others, neglect their personal hygiene and physical health and have been known to starve themselves to death. Oddly, 55 percent of sufferers also suffer delusions of immortality, I guess you can't die when you're already dead, right?
"[The patient's] symptoms occurred in the context of more general feelings of unreality and [of] being dead. In January 1990, after his discharge from hospital in Edinburgh, his mother took him to South Africa. He was convinced that he had been taken to Hell (which was confirmed by the heat), and that he had died of septicaemia (which had been a risk early in his recovery), or perhaps from AIDS (he had read a story in The Scotsman about someone with AIDS who died from septicaemia), or from an overdose of a yellow fever injection. He thought he had "borrowed [his] mother's spirit to show [him] around hell", and that she was asleep in Scotland."
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: A Swedish death metal vocalist known as Per "Dead" Ohlin who is believed to have suffered from Cotard Delusion starved himself to appear corpse like and took his delusion to the stage, according to Hellhammer Magazine:
"Before the shows, Dead used to bury his clothes into the ground so that they could start to rot and get that grave scent. He was a corpse on a stage. Once he even asked us to bury him in the ground — he wanted his skin to become pale."
After a few years of living like the dead, the 21-year-old slit his wrists and throat with a knife and, when this didn't kill him, shot himself in the forehead with a shotgun. His suicide note began with the words "excuse the blood."
9. The Dyatlov Pass Incident
What Is It? The Dytlov Pass Incident led to the mysterious deaths of nine skiers in 1959. When their bodies were found, their tents had been torn from the inside out, and many of the dead were found half naked in the snow, despite subzero temperatures.
If this wasn't weird enough, the victims displayed extreme internal trauma with hardly any visible external injuries. This included a member of the team with brain damage, but no injuries to the skull. One female member of the party's tongue had also been removed.
Although an avalanche, secret military testing, animal attacks, and mania due to hypothermia have all be given as possible explanations, but nobody knows the real explanation.
Read more about the incident here.
Creepiest Quote: These notes from the inquest file are pretty chilling:
- Six of the group members died of hypothermia and three of fatal injuries.
- There were no indications of other people nearby on Kholat Syakhl apart from the nine travelers.
- The tent had been ripped open from within.
- The victims had died 6 to 8 hours after their last meal.
- Traces from the camp showed that all group members left the campsite of their own accord, on foot.
- To dispel the theory of an attack by the indigenous Mansi people, Dr. Boris Vozrozhdenny stated that the fatal injuries of the three bodies could not have been caused by another human being, "because the force of the blows had been too strong and no soft tissue had been damaged."
- Forensic radiation tests had shown high doses of radioactive contamination on the clothes of a few victims.
- Released documents contained no information about the condition of the skiers' internal organs.
- There were no survivors of the incident.
Why It Will Haunt Your Dreams: The cause of death was recorded as an "unknown compelling force" because, to this day, nobody has managed to bring this deadly mystery to a close.