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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.



18.

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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.

PEE_ALL_OVER_ME

17.

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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.

whatsasnozberry

16.

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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.

Noodle36

15.

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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.

sweetwattah

14.

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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.

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13.

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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.

I-Eat-Mop-Hoop

12.

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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.

CunningLanguageUser

11.

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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.

BlackCaaaaat

10.

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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.

Saftpackung

9.

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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.

JTorrent

8.

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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.

DuosTesticulosHabet

7.

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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.

Wolfgang7990

6.

By Andreas Biegleder - http://www.theater-nandlstadt.de/hinterkaifeck/images/01hof.jpg, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=25539430

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.

Genuine_Luck

5.

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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.

Kiavu

4.

V0047152 The revolutionary army attacks Nanking and crosses a stream

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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.

Cabes86

3.

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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.'"

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2.

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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."

crowwitch

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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.

AlbinoWitchHunter

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Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's searing novel, was written at the height of the Reagan administration and satirized political, social, and religious trends of the 1980s. It's also a hit television series on Hulu that returns on June 5.

While we still have a long way to go before we can find out what's next for June/Offred in the Republic of Gilead, we can, at the very least, regale you with some cool facts about one of the most enduring stories of the last three decades.

The Trailer for Season 3 Plays Off a Slogan from the Reagan Era

Perhaps the best thing that came out of the Super Bowl––aside from the memes haggling Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, that is––was the trailer for the third season of the Hulu series.

The trailer lampoons former President Ronald Regan's 1984 "Morning in America" political campaign television commercial.

"It's morning again in America," you hear over a soundtrack and images that resound with boundless optimism. Things turn dark from there. Soon the camera freezes on Elisabeth Moss's face: "Wake up, America," she says.

Margaret Atwood's Follow-Up Will Be Released Later This Year

Margaret Atwood will release a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale titled The Testaments in September 2019. The Testaments is unconnected to Hulu's adaptation and will feature the testimonials of three female narrators from Gilead.

This literary device keeps with the metafictional epilogue that follows Offred's story in the original novel. The novel ends much in the way Season 1 ends: with Offred entering the van at Nick's insistence. The epilogue explains how the events of the novel were recorded onto cassette tapes after the beginning of what scholars have come to describe as "The Gilead Period." An interview with a noted academic implies that a more equitable society, one with full rights for women and freedom of religion restored, emerged following the collapse of the Republic of Gilead.

Serena Joy Waterford Is Likely Based On A Noted Conservative Activist

As the series goes on, we learn more about Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) and her beginnings.

Serena was a conservative activist who, along with her husband Fred, spearheaded the Puritan movement that ultimately gave rise to Gilead. Inspired by women whom she perceives to have "abandoned" their families in the name of female autonomy, Serena Joy delivers impassioned speeches at venues around the nation calling for policies that would place women back in the home. She even wrote a bestselling book, A Woman's Place, that served as the vessel for much of her conservative dogma and inspired many of the Commander's Wives who become her friends and neighbors.

Serena was likely based on conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who established herself over many years as one of the fiercest antifeminist and anti-abortion advocates in the United States. Schlafly was also a vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which she considered an attack against traditional gender roles.

The 1990 Film Adaptation Had a Messy Production

A film version of The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1990. It starred Natasha Richardson as Offred, Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy, Robert Duvall as Commander Waterford, Aidan Quinn as Nick, Victoria Tennant as Aunt Lydia, and Elizabeth McGovern as Moira.

The film was not well received and had a messy production. Director Volker Schlöndorff replaced original director Karel Reisz amid internal bickering over a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Schlöndorff asked for rewrites, and Pinter, who was reluctant to do them, directed him to author Margaret Atwood, who was one of several who ended up making changes to Pinter's screenplay.

Pinter told his biographer years later [as quoted in Harold Printer, p. 304] that:

It became … a hotchpotch. The whole thing fell between several shoots. I worked with Karel Reisz on it for about a year. There are big public scenes in the story and Karel wanted to do them with thousands of people. The film company wouldn't sanction that so he withdrew. At which point Volker Schlondorff came into it as director. He wanted to work with me on the script, but I said I was absolutely exhausted. I more or less said, 'Do what you like. There's the script. Why not go back to the original author if you want to fiddle about?' He did go to the original author. And then the actors came into it. I left my name on the film because there was enough there to warrant it—just about. But it's not mine'.

Star Natasha Richardson reportedly felt "cast adrift" when much of Offred's interior monologue was sacrificed as a result of cuts made to the screenplay.

The Film and TV Series Aren't The Only Adaptations of This Seminal Work

There are several different adaptations of Atwood's seminal work, including, but not limited to:

  • an audiobook read by Homeland actress Claire Danes that won the 2013 Audie Award for Fiction
  • a concept album by Canadian band Lakes of Canada
  • a radio adaptation produced in 2000 for BBC Radio 4
  • an operatic adaptation that premiered in 2000 and was the opening production of the 2004–2005 season of the Canadian Opera Company.

Elisabeth Moss, the Star of the Hulu Series, is a Scientologist

Between The West Wing, Mad Men, Top of the Lake, and The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss has a reputation for starring in critically acclaimed television shows.

Much has been made, however, of her casting as Offred. Moss was born into the Scientologist belief system, which the German government has classified as an "anti-constitutional sect," the French government has classified as a cult, and the American government has allowed individuals to practice freely though not without considerable contention. Moss also identifies as a feminist.

Asked by a fan about the parallels between Gilead and Scientology (namely the belief that "outside forces" are inherently "evil") Moss responded:

"That's actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably. And so Gilead and THT hit me on a very personal level."

An Episode During Season 2 Highlighted President Donald Trump's Border Crisis

Last summer, President Donald Trump and his administration created a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border when he and Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general, announced their "zero tolerance" family separations policy. The president blamed Democrats for the policy, imploring them to "start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration."

As images and stories of children ripped away from their parents at the border began to circulate, the Season 2 episode "The Last Ceremony" showed just how timely the show really is: After Offred is raped by the Waterfords, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) allows June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) to visit her daughter, Hannah, in an undisclosed location. June is given 10 minutes with her daughter before a guard forcibly separates them again.

The episode, written well before the crisis was initiated, premiered just as Homeland Security admitted that more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents.

Another Episode During Season 2 Appeared to Predict Canada-U.S. Relations

The fallout between the United States and Canada during the G7 summit appeared to have reached its peak once President Donald Trump refused to sign a joint statement with America's allies and threatened to escalate a trade war between America's neighbors. He also referred to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "weak."

The Season 2 episode "Smart Power"––in which Canadian diplomats ban Gilead's representatives from the country and choose to stand with the women imprisoned in the totalitarian nation in a nod to the #MeToo movement––was written and premiered before the G7 blowup, but is no less prophetic.

In Season 2, Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" Becomes an Ode to Female Resilience

"This Woman's Work," a ballad written by singer Kate Bush that is also one of the tracks on her 1989 album The Sensual World, serves as an ode to female power and resistance in the horrifying Season 2 opener, where June and the other handmaids realize they're about to be executed. The women are forced to summon strength at a moment of debilitating weakness. As the camera pans over the bleak environs of Fenway Stadium, Bush starts to sing:

Pray God you can cope
I'll stand outside
This woman's work
This woman's world
Ooooh it's hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the FatherI
know you've got a little life in you left
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I know you've got a little life in you yet
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I should be crying but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
All the things we should've said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things we should have given but I didn't
Oh darling make it go
Make it go away
















"It was shattering and perfect," said Bruce Miller, who created the Hulu Handmaid's Tale adaptation. "One of the things I really like about the song is that on its face, there's a bit of very interesting lyrical play. It's nice that that's going on while you're watching."

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