There's something so enjoyable about looking at creepy images; horror fan or not, I think there's a part of all of us that just wants to be freaked out. While there's no shortage of forged photos out there, it's often the ones telling true stories that are the scariest.
Knowing that the scenes are genuine makes it all the more likely that one of the creepy characters is going to jump right out of the frame and into the real world - just one of the reasons why these authentic images from inside asylums are so chilling.
Starting in 1977, Paris-based photographer Raymond Depardon spent three years putting together an extraordinary body of work titled Manicomio, depicting the inside of Italian asylums during and after the law of 1978 that meant all asylums were to be shut down. Franco Basaglia, the director of an asylum in Trieste, told him:
“You’ll photograph patients here who you won’t see anywhere else, but it’s exactly the same in France and America. The psychiatric hospital made them that way; now it’s too late, there’s nothing else I can do for them. Take your photographs…otherwise people won’t believe us.”
The conditions Raymond encountered need to be seen to be believed: overcrowded, dilapidated, patients locked in cages. Although the project doesn't detail the individual stories of the patients, sometimes the mystery of 'not knowing' makes the whole experience even spookier - as is evident by looking through the photos.
Raymond also produced a film, San Clemente, about the relationships between doctors, patients and their families, which was released in 1980.
Take a look through a few of the scariest shots below.