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Odd. Contextless. And beyond bizarre. These are just a few ways to describe the ‘Cursed Images’ social media project.

The project’s curator does exactly what it says on the tin and shares ‘cursed’ pics on Instagram and Twitter, and they are so creepy, you’re just as likely to be confused as amused. We’ve collected the weirdest offenders to prove to you that no matter how well you think you know the internet, there’s always going to be something out there that makes you do a double-take. Grab your holy water (trust us, you'll need plenty), scroll down, and don’t be scared to boop the upvote button next to images you thought were cool in a peculiar kind of way. And try not to mind all the insects...

More info: Instagram | Twitter

#1

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Loverboy
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Reminds me of that silly a*s thing in cartoons or childrens movies where there will be an unseen person or animal that'll cast a giant, scary shadow on the wall and it'll end up being a mouse.

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The ‘Cursed Images’ project has a similar number of followers on its social media pages. 83.7k people follow it on Instagram and a further 76.1k internet users do so on Twitter.

It’s the kind of content that really makes you stop in your tracks while you’re scrolling because it stands out from the crowd so much. It’s weird. It’s often less than aesthetic. And it really gets your neurons fired up as they try to comprehend the (often) incomprehensible.

Cursed images, as a genre, are quite popular on the internet. There are many pages that focus exclusively on these sorts of weird pics and memes.

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Mostly, their primary goal is either to shock or unsettle the audience and to provide an alternative to all the gorgeous and cute content people are used to seeing when they go online. Cursed pics get a lot of attention because they contrast against conventional content that usually goes viral, like cat pics, work memes, and parenting tweets.

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Know Your Meme points out that cursed images are supposed to be disturbing to the viewer, at least on some level. So they might feature illogical or abnormal content, and the photos themselves might be low-quality, which adds to the overall effect.

In short, if you feel uncomfortable looking at a specific meme, it’s probably ‘cursed.’ Though, of course, we all have different levels of tolerance for weird content. A photo of a bizarre doll might be just another meme on someone’s feed but someone who’s used to the gentler side of the net might find it extremely creepy. Meanwhile, pics of insects might make most people shiver and scroll faster past all the yucky stuff.

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Cursed images are generally seen as the opposite of ‘blessed’ content (think cuteness, wholesomeness, and stuff so heartwarming it might accidentally restore your faith in humanity). Meanwhile, pics that are both cursed and blessed are dubbed ‘blursed’: images that are wholesome and unsettling at the same time. 

The term for cursed images first popped up online in late 2015 after a Tumblr blog dedicated to this style of weird content was created. These types of memes spread on the site and later jumped over to Twitter in mid-2016. That’s when cursed pics got the attention of the media, from The New Yorker to Gizmodo.

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From thereon out, accounts dedicated to cursed content started popping up all over the net, from Reddit to—more recently—TikTok. Images aren’t the only cursed stuff you’ll find online, though. For instance, any comments that are upsetting and unexpected can be called ‘cursed.’ Meanwhile, the same extends to emojis: cursed emojis are glitchy, unaesthetic, and would probably live in Uncanny Valley if it were a real place.

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K W
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I don't know if it was watching Watership Down in 5th grade or that movie about giant radioactive rabbits but giant bunnies creep me to this day so this is by far the worst one for me.

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For any meme to go viral, it needs to find a way to resonate with its audience. Broadly speaking, the more relatable a topic or image is, the more likely people are to ‘vibe’ with it. Adding in a big dollop of humor can help, too. After all, who doesn’t enjoy having a good, long laugh to take their mind off stress?

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Cara
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Reminds me of a colleague talking about her husband, “The second time Amir fell through the ceiling…”

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However, you can also stand out by going the opposite route. Instead of wholesome and funny, you have disturbing and confusing. And in a time where we’re all bombarded by countless memes every single day, these sorts of pics can genuinely seem ‘fresh’ even if they make you raise your eyebrows and mumble, ‘What the everloving frick is going on?’

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Tell us, dear Pandas, which of these cursed images creeped you out the most? Which ones did you actually enjoy the most? Were there any that you genuinely would love to unsee? Are you fans of weird content or do you prefer stuff that’s closer to ‘blessed’ on the meme spectrum? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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River wolf
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Unsee juice! My shipment of 999999999 cases hasn’t arrived yet!

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PeeledPotato
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9 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Funny to think that there's probably a big pile of their bodies somewhere.

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Loverboy
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9 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh, my mom used to do this but it was yellow. Tasted pretty good, always wondered where she got it.

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Note: this post originally had 56 images. It’s been shortened to the top 50 images based on user votes.