Every now and then, we all need a distraction. But how can we surprise someone who's constantly on the internet? Surely, they've seen plenty of crazy stuff. Well, let's try something different and take a deep dive into the subreddit r/OddlyTerrifying.
It has 1.1 million members, and they're trying their best to share content that lives up to its name. Who knew that Jim Carrey doing The Grinch face without any makeup can look so sinister? Or that a mosquito flying in front of the lens when a person is taking a photo of a square makes it look like a giant alien invasion?
Most of these images aren't even that scary or dangerous when you spell them out. But they can still carve themselves into your memory like a vivid nightmare. Enjoy!
In a way, you could say that the popularity of r/OddlyTerrifying lies within people's fascination with morbid curiosity. According to Coltan Scrivner, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Comparative Human Development and a Fellow at the Institute for Mind and Biology at The University of Chicago, we've all felt it at some point. Whether it was triggered by seeing a car wreck while driving down the highway or a friend talking about how they saw a ghost in an old building; we tell ourselves that we don't want to look, don't want to listen, and don't want to know—yet we still look, we still listen, and we still want to learn more.
"The car wreck story is a bit old and tired, but it's a good example because it's something that almost everyone has experienced and can intuitively understand," Scrivner wrote in Psychology Today. "It's true for almost everyone that you don't want to see someone injured and you don't hope anyone died in the wreck. But, if they did, you do feel compelled to look at it."
To illustrate why, Scrivner wants us to take a look at the world of our ancestors. It was a dangerous place. The world today can also be dangerous, but even the most basic treatments that are available today can severely decrease the seriousness of an injury. "If you got injured 10,000 years ago (or even 100 years ago), your chances of surviving were far less than they are today with modern medicine. Even if the blood loss didn't kill you, an ensuing infection might. This placed a premium on avoiding danger—or at least avoiding the consequences of danger," he explained.
Cabbage Fields. It Looks Like A Field Of Alien Eggs And I Hate It
"However, to avoid danger, you must first know something about it. The more you know about something, the better you can predict it. And the better you can predict it, the better you can deal with the consequences if it does occur."
Enter curiosity. You don't want to be in a car wreck yourself to find out how bad a car wreck can be. You also don't want someone else to be in a car wreck. But if they already are, you want to know how bad it is. This could inform your decisions and behavior.
"For example, if the car wreck is particularly gruesome, it might cause me to slow down or be extra cautious the rest of the day to decrease my chances of that happening to me. If it's just a fender bender, it may not affect my driving behavior very much."
Jim Carey Doing The Grinch Face Without The Use Of Any Makeup
The consequences of threats leave their mark on our psychology and influence our behavior in response to 'morbid' situations. According to Scrivner, this has resulted in most of us having some morbid curiosity, and some of us have a lot of it.
Nearly all images on r/OddlyTerrifying are either directly from or are closely linked to the real world. Maybe if we scroll through it enough, we'll understand our place in it better?