1. The sad violin

There’s something melancholic about a photo of an old violin. Maybe it’s because of the slow, deep music associated with it, or just weathered look of the old wood.

images with disturbing backstories, the titanic violin

This violin is one of the oldest in the world, valued at $1.5 million. But the reason for its exorbitant value is heartbreaking. See those initials on the case? This violin belonged to Wallace Hartley, the lead violinist who died on the Titanic, He played it the night she sank, and the violin was later found floating in the debris field.

2. Bad Santa

Nothing like a family trip to see the mall Santa, right? With Christmas decorations and the kids all dressed up, the holidays are a time of joy and good cheer… unless Santa is a psychopath, that is.

images with disturbing backstories, serial killer santa

Behind the white beard is Bruce McArthur, part time mall Santa, full time serial killer. For over seven years, McArthur used a dating app to meet victimes and lure them to their deaths. He would then spread their remains among the several properties he managed. McArthur is currently serving life in prison after being convicted for his crimes.

3. Summer surprise

Vacation pictures are the best right? It’s always so much fun to go back and relive those memories. Unless those memories are more sinister than you realized.

In this picture, YouTuber vlogger Sarah Funke was on a trip to the Red Lake in Cyprus. She’s at the edge of the water, ignoring the nearby log. Except it wasn’t a log at all. It was a half-sunken suitcase. And two years later, it would be open and its contents revealed to the world. This seemingly innocuous suitcase actually contained the victim who had gone missing.

4. Father knows best

This looks like the classic photo of a happy family. Everyone is all dressed up and smiling, and it looks like the perfect picture to frame in the living room. Except no one really wants this memory.

John list with his family, photos with disturbing backstories
Wikimedia Commons

The man in the photograph is John List. In 1971, not long after this photo was taken, he lost his job. Unable to cope with the lack of income and humiliated by the thought of having to go on welfare, he chose instead to kill his mother, wife, and children. He was captured 18 years later.

5. What comes next

The sunny vacation photograph seems so innocent, but the idyllic setting betrays the truth of what would become of these young explorers.

photos with disturbing backstories, Lisann lost in panama

This is Lisanne Froon, one of two Dutch girls went missing while hiking in Panama. When one of their backpacks was found, cell phone data shows that they attempted to dial 911 just two hours after this photo was taken – and again 10 days after that. Partial remains were eventually found by locals. No one knows exactly what happened.

6. What lies beneath

Just a woman, warming her puppy in her jacket on a chilly day. What could be so wrong with this picture? Well, it’s not just who she is, it’s what she’s looking at.

myra mooor photos with disturbing backgrounds

This is Myra Hindley, in a photo taken by Ian Brady. The pair are among England’s most notorious and violent criminals. Though it looks like she just just looking at the ground here, what Myra is actually looking at is the final resting place of one of the duo’s victims. She knows because they put them there.

7. Fighting for their lives

Just a group of guys, hanging out and enjoying their flight. There’s nothing chilling about this particular picture. But that’s because the people in the photo didn’t end up where they thought they were going. Where they were going was much worse.

This is a Uruguayan rugby team, and this picture was taken just before their plane crashed into the Andes mountains. The survivors were stuck in the mountains for months, and had to retort to some unsettling acts in order to survive – which not all of them did. Some of them eventually made it out of the mountains, and their horrific story has been documented in books and a movie.

8. House party

A teenager with a red Solo cup at a house party – almost every high school student’s social media is full of pictures just like this one. Except this was no ordinary teenager, and this was no ordinary house party.

This is Tyler Hadley. He’s hosting his party at his parent’s house, cool as can be. He’s drinking an having fun with his friends.

photos with distrubing backstories, tyler hadley

But he was hiding a big secret.

That same day, Hadley had killed both of his parents.

They were still in the house when all his friends came over. His friend, in the picture, upon realizing what he had done, turned him in. But knowing he would never see his friend again, he asked him to take a picture together.

9. Auto pilot

This is just a picture of a private jet. Surely there’s nothing creepy here? Well, it’s not just the jet, it’s what would happen with it later.

That’s because this jet belonged to golfer Payne Stewart. In 1999, Stewart and five others took off on the jet’s final flight. Shortly after takeoff, the cabin lost pressure, and all passengers succumbed to the lack of oxygen.

Eventually the jet strayed from its path, and was intercepted by USAF fighter jets. As the jet approached the Canadian border, on a path to Winnipeg, the Canadian Air Force prepared to have to shoot it down. Instead, Stewart’s jet ran out of fuel and crash landed in South Dakota.

10. A shadow of their former self

At first glance, it looks as though this photo is of the ground, with the shadow of an elderly citizen walking with a cane cast by a late afternoon sun. But that shadow was actually all that was left of that person.

hiroshima shadow nuclear strike, photos with disturbing backstories

This photo was taken in Hiroshima, Japan, in the aftermath of the U.S. atomic strikes on the Japanese cities. The force was so massive, people were vaporized in place, only tiny specks of where they were etched into the stone by sheer force.