ByTommy DePaoli, writer at
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Tommy DePaoli

Between post-mortem photography, gas masks, and the scariest clowns you've ever seen, the not-so-distant past always has the potential to be a terrifying place to revisit. There's something about the disconnect between then and now, especially during the early days of photography, that causes a feeling of unease from the black and white frames.

In another way, they can be some of the most hypnotizing and fascinating images that command your full attention.

Here's a chilling collection of creepy photos of yesteryear, 15 of the freakiest and coolest pictures that have endured to scare you in the present.

1. What's hidden underneath?

Mother and child stay hidden under gas masks in this haunting portrait.

2. Ravage them!

Does the woman on the right have calculus written on her dress? Is this some pagan sacrifice to Isaac Newton? WHAT IS GOING ON HERE?

3. Spot the creepy

At first glance this photograph is pretty innocuous...until you break it down to its individual components. Icy stares, creepy doll, really the whole back row is giving me the heebie-jeebies.

4. "He's my only friend"

Don't you tell me for a second that this doll didn't end up possessing the child after this picture was taken.

5. Posing with a mummified nun

During the Spanish Civil War in 1936, Spanish militiamen dug out a mummified nun from a Toledo convent and posed with her body.

6. Boneyard

Boys play around in a cemetery littered with human bones in the Philippines at the turn of the twentieth century. Seeing young kids play with real human skulls is enough to make your skin crawl.

7. Jawless

If you ever wondered how someone would look without a jaw, you now have your unsettling answer.

8. Soulless

I can't shake the feeling that this is the soul getting sucked from this poor man's body. I can't explain why this unsettles me so much, but I also can't take my eyes off of it.

9. Bloodthirsty unicorn

This kid seems totally oblivious to the fact he's being held by a horrifying unicorn-man who clearly has found his next snack.

10. Séance

In this freaky photo, a group performs a seance while a visible hand can be seen emerging near the table.

11. Just keep breathing

Rows and rows of orderly, uniformed girls fill the street with their eerie gas masks.

12. Pride is painful

Some women would wear these "beauty masks" in the 1920s to improve their appearance. Unfortunately, the terrifying masks probably had the opposite effect.

13. Stay sick

Who in their right mind brought this horrifying creature to a sick boy's bedside? That face is freaky enough to send him into a catatonic state.

14. "Come join me in my study"

There's something about that shadowy face and his hand on the baby that really upsets me. I wonder where that boy is now.


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