Oddly Terrifying: 50 Of The Most Unsettling Images To Give You The Creeps (New Pics) Interview
Welcome to the corner of Reddit known as ‘Oddly Terrifying' that fires up your brain with some tingly sensations. How? Well, the title says it all. This community of a whopping 2M members has people sharing the weirdest, creepiest, and most unsettling pics of random objects, from natural artifacts to computer-generated images.
The whole entertainment of oddly terrifying pictures lies in its paradox—although it’s terrifying, it’s also impossible to look away. The pics captivate you like a horror movie you never signed up for, but still watch until the end with palms obscuring the screen. You look once, you look twice, and go “this is enough for me today,” only until realizing you’d like to see some more. After all, we all need some distraction.
So scroll down through Bored Panda’s new batch of oddly terrifying pics, and be sure to check our previous post for some more when you’re done with this one.
To find out what fascinates us about the unsettling photos and videos, Bored Panda spoke with Lisa Yaszek, a Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies at Georgia Tech where she researches and teaches science fiction as a global language crossing centuries, continents, and cultures. Lisa shared incredible insights into how our minds are captivated by them.
“It’s hard for us to look away from unsettling photos and videos because they challenge our usual ways of perceiving and cataloging the world, disrupting our sense of ordered reality and even suggesting that reality might be something other than we thought it was,” Lisa told us.
She explained that “these photos and videos tend to revolve around grotesque juxtapositions of things that should not be together; they are objects that defy science and rationality and disturb our sense of scientific category. More often than not, they focus on disgusting bodies that are monstrous fusions of things that should be kept apart.”
The professor added that while these monstrous bodies are usually individual ones, they often suggest a larger universe that is seriously out of kilter as well.
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The professor argues that it’s no surprise that humans are fascinated by oddly terrifying images and that there are whole online groups dedicated to sharing them. “Photos and videos are supposed to give us clear and accurate representations of reality; they assure us that we document and thus know the material world around us in methodical and consistent ways.”
But unsettling images can do the exact opposite, Lisa suggests. “They can undermine our faith in reality: either the camera does not lie and it has captured some monstrous rip in our own reality, or it does lie, and we have to recognize that we cannot even trust our own technologies to accurately document the world around us! Either way, it’s disturbing.”
So you may wonder why we keep looking at these photos—and disturbing art in general? Lisa has an illuminating explanation. “Grotesque imagery is part of every culture and goes back to the dawn of civilization. Today, we actively seek out terrifying experiences by looking at grotesque photos, watching horror movies, and even going on roller coasters,” she said and added that “as humans, we seek out these terrifying artistic and cultural experiences for at least two different reasons.”
“First, as designed experiences, terrifying art and culture give us a way to engage with things that are disturbing, uncanny, and even utterly monstrous from a safe distance. Our psychological and mental categories for understanding the world are temporarily turned upside down, but we’re not directly, physically threatened by the grotesqueries we are looking at or experiencing, and we know eventually everything will return to normal,” Lisa explained.
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Lisa argues that it leads us to a second important point. “It’s the pleasure that comes from looking at disturbing images: they give us an opportunity to exercise our minds and to play with reality ourselves. Suddenly, we become storytellers asking ourselves and each other: Where do these grotesque images come from? Who is behind them? How would I react if I encountered this object or situation in real life?”
The professor suggests that at their most provocative, horrifying images can even inspire real-world change: “And how do these images make me see my own reality differently? What do I need to do in my own world to make sure this never happens? Terrifying and grotesque events are part of the human experience, and encountering them first in safe artistic and cultural spaces provides us with excellent ways to prepare for them,” she concluded.