Horrifying True Stories From Human History That Were Kept Hidden For Years

It's no secret that most of human history has been a pretty bloody affair. We do what we can to remember the horrors of the past as lessons for the future, but it's inevitable that some of those stories slip through the cracks.

Here are 19 true stories of the macabre from across the world. Enjoy! And check out the sources and links for even more.



During WWII, an American airplane crashed near the island of Chichijima. There were nine servicemen on board. One was rescued by an American submarine. The other eight were taken in by the enemy. Eventually, the enemy officers ended up EATING those servicemen.

But that's not the weird part. The one serviceman who was rescued? That was George H. W. Bush.



The brazen bull was a torture and execution device that basically roasted the person alive. It was a hollow brass bull with a door on the side. The victim would be locked inside. A fire was lit underneath the bull and a special design of tubes caused the steam to imitate the bellowing of a bull.

Legend has it (with some fairly convincing evidence) that the designer of the bull was locked inside to see if his creation was true to the description.




The Clathrate Gun Hypothesis states that melting permafrost containing methane is thought to have caused runaway ocean toxicity and global warming. The result was the Permian-Triassic extinction event 232 million years ago that wiped out the vast majority of life on Earth.

It's creepy because there's a chance it's happening again right now.




In the 16th century, Roanoke was to be the first permanent English settlement on the American continent. Its proprietor, after a couple of years, was called back to England as the Queen summoned all available ships for war against Spain.

When he returned, the colony was abandoned. No trace of them to this day has never been found. Only one clue has been left to guess their fate.

The name of a nearby island "CROATOAN", was carved into the palisade wall surrounding the colony. Many theories have arisen over history as to what happened to them. With the most widely accepted being that they assimilated with the natives.




At the start of the Cold War, Henry Murray developed a personality profiling test to crack soviet spies with psychological warfare and select which US spies are ready to be sent out into the field. As part of Project MKUltra, he began experimenting on Harvard sophomores. He set one student as the control, after he proved to be a completely predictable conformist, and named him "Lawful".

The latter half of the experiment involved having the control student prepare an essay on his core beliefs as a person for a friendly debate. Instead, Murray had an aggressive interrogator come in and basically tear his beliefs to pieces, mocking everything he stood for, and systematically picking apart every line in the essay to see what it took to get him to react. But he didn't, it just broke him, made him into a mess of a person and left him having to pull his whole life back together again. He graduated, but then turned in his degree only a couple years later, and moved to the woods where he lived for decades.

In all that time, he kept writing his essay. And slowly, he became so sure of his beliefs, so convinced that they were right, that he thought that if the nation didn't read it, we would be irreparably lost as a society. So, he set out to make sure that everyone heard what he had to say, and sure enough, Lawful's "Industrial Society and its Future" has become one of the most well known essays written in the last century. In fact, you've probably read some of it. Although, you probably know it better as The Unabomber Manifesto.




Hiroshima and Nagasaki were targeted because those cities were never struck during the bombing campaigns of WWII. The United States picked those cities, because they wanted to see how much damage their bombs would do. They had minimal military significance as primary targets.




In 1838, Edgar Allan Poe's only novel was published - The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Partway through the book, the crew of a ship finds themselves with a busted boat and no food or water. In order to survive, the crew draws straws to figure out which of them will be sacrificed to provide meat for everyone else. The death straw goes to a former mutineer named Richard Parker, who is promptly stabbed to death and eaten by his crew-mates.

40 years later, a real life ship leaves England with a young sailor on board actually named Richard Parker.The boat Parker was on wasn't really made for trips around the world, so it shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone when it sank in a storm. The four-man crew barely escaped in a lifeboat, but they definitely didn't have enough provisions for survival.

Parker fell overboard and then made the mistake of drinking seawater to attempt to quench his thirst. Dehydration set in and he started going downhill fast. That's when his fellow survivors decided they would kill him to ensure their own survival. The men had considered drawing straws, but they figured Parker was so far gone they might as well kill him and drink his blood while it was fresh (instead of risking the contaminated blood that might occur if they just waited for him to die due to illness). After stabbing Parker in the throat with a penknife, the three men devoured him. They were rescued a few days later.



The Japanese biological warfare division Unit-731 was responsible for horrific experiments during WWII. Heard of Josef Mengele? These guys were arguably worse.

Prisoners of war were subjected to vivisection without anesthesia after infecting them with various diseases. Scientists performed invasive surgery on prisoners, removing organs to study the effects of a disease on the human body. These were conducted while the patients were alive because it was feared that the decomposition process would affect the results. The infected and vivisected prisoners included men, women, children, and infants.

The most screwed up thing about this is that most of them were granted immunity in exchange for their experiment data, concerning germ warfare.




During WWII, the German auxiliary cruiser "Thor" sunk the British HMS Britannia. Eleven survivors who latched onto a small raft reported consistently that one of them was dragged into the depths by a giant squid.



It goes roughly like this. Grigori Rasputin was a very large man standing 6' 4" and was a sort of adviser to the royal Romanav family of Russia. He repeatedly healed their fragile hemophiliac son, or so it is reported. He never really belonged to any specific sect per se, but was said to be a holy man. Many rumored him to be an agent of the devil or some possessed being. Pictures of the dude are creepy.

Anyway, among political strife and rumors that Rasputin was seeking more power he was ordered to be killed. He was given a nice meal laced with enough poison to kill several men. After a while with no reaction they promptly shot him in the back.

Rasputin fell, but regained his strength and attacked his assailants. He was shot again in the head, and beaten vigorously. They then wrapped him up and threw him in the Niva river. Later it was discovered that Rasputin had attempted to claw out of the ice and finally drowned.

This guy, rumored to have supernatural powers along being very large and creepy, survived thorough poisoning, shots to the back and head, beaten and thrown in the river, and finally drowned under the ice.



Delphine LaLaurie was a socialite in Louisiana who tortured and maimed her slaves. One day a house fire was started by one of her slave cooks who she had chained to a stove. The slave later said she started the fire as a way to kill herself.

When police entered the house following the fire, they found slaves who were maimed due to all kinds of experiments LaLaurie had been doing on them. People had their limbs removed and re-attached. Reportedly, some of them even begged to be killed.



The Jonestown Massacre. Members the communist People's Temple cult committed or were coerced to commit revolutionary suicide. The incident was the largest single loss of U.S. civilian life until 9/11 with almost a thousand casualties including men, women, children, and a U.S. Representative.

The recording of Jim Jones's final speech is truly nerve-wracking. The sounds of people applauding his words then of them dying in poison induced agony shortly after while he continues to speak just sends chills down my spine.



By Andreas Biegleder -, PD-US,

A small farmstead named Hinterkaifeck was the scene of one of the most puzzling crimes in German history. On the evening of March 31, 1922, the six inhabitants of the farm were killed with a pickaxe. The murder is still unsolved.

A few days prior to the crime, farmer Andreas Gruber told neighbours about discovering footprints in the snow leading from the edge of the forest to the farm, but none leading back. He also spoke about hearing footsteps in the attic and finding an unfamiliar newspaper on the farm. Furthermore, the house keys went missing several days before the murders, but none of this was reported to the police.

Six months earlier, the previous maid had left the farm, claiming that it was haunted; the new maid, Maria Baumgartner, arrived on the farm on 31 March, only a few hours before her death.

Exactly what happened on that Friday evening cannot be said for certain. It is believed that the older couple, as well as their daughter Viktoria and her daughter Czilia, were somehow all lured into the barn one by one, where they were killed. The perpetrator(s) then went into the house where they killed two-year-old Josef who was sleeping in his cot in his mother's bedroom, as well as the maid, Maria Baumgartner, in her bed-chamber.

The police first suspected the motive to be robbery, and interrogated several inhabitants from the surrounding villages, as well as travelling craftsmen and vagrants. The robbery theory was, however, abandoned when a large amount of money was found in the house. It is believed that the perpetrator(s) remained at the farm for several days someone had fed the cattle, and eaten food in the kitchen: the neighbours had also seen smoke from the chimney during the weekend and anyone looking for money would have found it.




In the 1920's, Soviet scientist Sergei Brukhonenko kept the head of a dog alive with a primitive heart/lung machine.

The research learned from such experiments led to the development of the first Heart/Lung machines, which are now used regularly for all types of cardiac and great vessel surgeries.



V0047152 The revolutionary army attacks Nanking and crosses a stream

The Rape of Nanking was one of the most horrific atrocities committed by the Japanese military in the Second World War. Between the beheading contest between Japanese officers (complete with statlines published in their local military paper), mass-rape and sexual slavery, or the stories of Japanese soldiers bayoneting infants and throwing them in pots of boiling water.

It got so bad that the German official sent there started helping people escape the city. John Rabe set up a safe zone within the city that sheltered almost 200,000 Chinese civilians from slaughter.



Screenshot via YouTube

June and Jennifer Gibbons were inseparable twin sisters. They both had speech impediments that made it difficult for people outside their immediate family to understand them. As a result, they mixed very little with other children and were ostracized at school. This proved traumatic for the twins, eventually causing their school administrators to dismiss them early each day so that they might avoid bullying. Their language became even more idiosyncratic at this time. Soon it was unintelligible to others.

The girls had a long agreement that if one died, the other must begin to speak and live a normal life. During their stay in the hospital, they began to believe that it was necessary for one twin to die, and after much discussion, Jennifer agreed to be the sacrifice.

In March 1993, the twins were transferred from Broadmoor to the more open Caswell Clinic in Bridgend, Wales; on arrival Jennifer could not be roused. She was taken to the hospital where she died soon after of acute myocarditis, a sudden inflammation of the heart. There was no evidence of drugs or poison in her system, and her death remains a mystery. On a visit a few days later, Wallace recounted that June "was in a strange mood. She said, 'I'm free at last, liberated, and at last Jennifer has given up her life for me.'"



Elizabeth Bathory was a Hungarian noblewoman who killed hundreds of young girls after her husband's death. She and her collaborators were attributed with kidnapping and torturing to death almost 650 victims until her capture and imprisonment in the Csejte Castle.

The case led to legendary accounts of the Countess bathing in the blood of virgins to retain her youth, and subsequently also to comparisons with Vlad III the Impaler of Wallachia, on whom the fictional Count Dracula is partly based, and to modern nicknames of The Blood Countess and Countess Dracula."




The Dancing Plague of 1518. Up to 400 took to the streets of Strasbourg, Alsace, dancing uninterrupted for days.

Local physicians blamed it on hot blood and suggested the afflicted simply gyrate the fever away. A stage was constructed and professional dancers were brought in. The town even hired a band to provide backing music, but it wasnt long before the marathon started to take its toll. Many dancers collapsed from sheer exhaustion. Some even died from strokes and heart attacks. The strange episode didnt end until September, when the dancers were whisked away to a mountaintop shrine to pray for absolution.

Historians believe that the cause of the incident may have been an extreme form of mass hysteria caused by stress, starvation and medieval superstition. Another theory is a grain supply tainted by Ergot Fungi. Ergotamine is the psychoactive agent that LSD-25 was originally synthesized from and has also been linked to the Salem Witch Trials.


Relationships are hard. Finances are hard. Making things work with someone from a completely different lifestyle than your own is hard. Being in a relationship with someone who has a lot more money than you can be like a perfect storm of "oh no." When that perfect storm slams into the fragile isles of masculinity and societial expectations ... well ...

Keep reading... Show less

Famous and highly regarded people have delivered famous last words on their deathbeds for ages, and we can only hope to be as eloquent as them when our time arrives. I like to think I'll be too busy concentrating on my laborious breaths to focus on whether I'm being eloquent or prophetic, but you never know.

These people have certainly made their marks on the history books.

Keep reading... Show less

Ignorance really is biased.

We always think we know what is right and what is wrong, what's the truth and what's a lie. The reality is that most of what we know is just an opinion or a partial truth that we've filled in with our own rational (or irrational) explanation. These opinions that we pass off as 'facts' are far from it and it takes a lot of courage to look at yourself and admit you were wrong or misinformed about something. Everyone likes to pretend they're on a different level, but the truth is you're not so different from the people you disagree with. Meditate on that.

Here are a some people admitting strong opinions they no longer have, and what it took to change those views. Redditor u/segafarm asks:

What is the strongest opinion you once held but no longer hold, and what make you change your mind?

Jade-Colored Glasses

I used to think that being cynical/negative was realistic and somehow smarter than being positive. I've since realized that a "be prepared for the worst but expect the best" is far better. We can't control the outcome of anything in life. Being negative makes you miserable rather than protected from bad things happening.


Cant' Have A Conversation With A Parrot

I used to be a conspiracy theorist. Believed that 9/11 was committed by the US government and that we never landed on the moon.

Once I started looking outside of the echo chamber I was in and started looking at alternate explanations, theories and listening to different viewpoints I soon realized how ridiculous those notions were.


A Big, Mysterious Universe

I used to be a strict, hardline atheist. I was the kind of bastard that would bring the subject up for no reason, just to argue. I don't know what the hell my problem was. Now I feel like, the universe is big, I don't know what all might be out there, I don't really care. I live as if there is no afterlife, because that makes sense to me. But if you don't, and you believe in one, that's perfectly fine, and maybe you're right. Who knows?


Portrait Of An Artist As A Young Man

I used to believe anyone can be a successful artist if they just put the time and effort into it. There is no such thing as talent, only hard work.

What changed my mind: Art school. There were quite a few people that tried hard, but just weren't able to achieve professional level art.


You're Not Your Emotions

For the longest time, I thought my emotions were in a sense the most "real" part of me. I was always a very emotional person and I didn't make a real effort to control it as I thought it was a good thing, that I was just being honest with myself. Over time though, I started to become very depressed and the negative emotions just keep adding on and on. I thought "this is just how I am I guess". Unfortunately it started hurting other relationships I had, and everything changed when my girlfriend broke up with me. After a lot of reading I found that emotions are not who we are at all. They're just reactions and there's nothing that requires us to act on them or feed them. I'm learning to let it go through me instead of hanging on like I used to.


Don't Forget Big Willie Style

I used to think that hip hop was bland, repetitive, and all about clubbing and sh*t. Then one of my friends pointed me towards people like Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Nas and Run The Jewels, who all have great songs and clever lyrics, and I realized that Hip Hop is pretty great.


The A**holes Will Always Find A Way

I used to think that the catholic church was responsible for all of the hateful people in it. I gave people the chance to challenge my opinion and someone explained it very nicely to me. Basically, the hateful people use the church as an excuse, if you remove the church they will gladly find another excuse.


High Times


I used to tell myself that I would never stop smoking weed, and that I'd be happy if my kids grew up to be pot smokers... Now I have a kid, don't smoke, and realize what an idiot I was when all I did was smoke all day. I could probably be in a much better position if I hadn't smoked all through college.

But I mean, I still think pot's okay... Just in moderation.


The Road Less Traveled

"All taxation is theft, man! I made my money without any help from public institutions or the infrastructure they support, I should be able to keep every last dime of it!"

Naturally that was when I was 18, living at home rent free, and working at Pizza Hut as a delivery driver who relied upon public roads for pretty much every cent I made.


All Those PSA's Didn't Do Much

The whole D.A.R.E anti-drugs. Yes crack and heroin is bad, but they over dramatized what happens when you do smaller drugs. Weed isn't even a gateway drug, alcohol is more of a gateway drug. When I saw weed for the first time I thought it was tobacco (This was after all the D.A.R.E training too). Letting the government teach you your morales and philosophy is a thing that sheep do. Don't be a sheep.


Where Would We Be Without The Kindness Of Strangers

I used to think people on welfare and state assistance just weren't trying hard enough. I grew up spoiled and entitled and it seemed like any kind of charity was a stigma.

Then, my husband became chronically ill, and the economy took a shit. My family has been close to homelessness more than once, and have relied on state insurance and assistance off and on throughout the past few years. There are definitely people out there who abuse the system, but some just get stuck in a horrible cycle of poverty.

I also work in a school that has a high number low income and refugee families. It has really opened my eyes to the struggles that some people face.


He's Still There For You, The Best He Can Be

I could go through life and could seek meaningful advice from my Dad who has always been there for me.

Now he has been reduced to a feeble condition, I am starting to understand I'm out there on my own, and even what he's sure of is suspect given his mental and physical facilities have been rapidly deteriorating in his late seventies. I feel horrible that I have noticed this long before he did - or at least admitted as much.


Clear Your Mind

This was before I received an ADHD diagnosis. When my doctor referred me to an ADHD specialist, first of all I refused to believe him and was kind of slighted that he even suggested that I could possibly have ADHD.

I had a very strong opinion that if I get a diagnosis that I would refuse to take prescribed amphetamines because they are "bad" and "addictive" and that they would ruin my life.

Then I actually tried the prescription and it was like magic.


Going Through The Whole Spectrum

Used to be fairly open with my views on immigration policy. Then I worked for a while down near Corpus Christie doing immigration work. I'd say one out if every hundred people that came through our office was going to somebody who actually wanted to work and try to make a living here. So many people simply wanted to exist enough to get welfare. Many were young men who we would later defend against exportation as a result of their criminal activity. I began to despise the work of defending these men and wished they would be deported.

Now, I'm dating a foreign girl and we are in the legal immigration process. She has advanced degrees and skills, so that makes things a little easier. But it does make me resent people who just bypass the system. We can't bypass the system because I imagine my participation in immigration fraud could get me disbarred.


The system we have in the US for paying our restaurant staff is...well, broken. Wait staff's income is largely dependent on what they make in tips, so if it's a slow week they may find themselves quite short on funds.

Keep reading... Show less

We thought it was such a good idea at the time, and now all we wish is that we had our money--and our time--back.

But we bought it, and now here we are, living with the pitfalls of capitalism.

Keep reading... Show less