Historic Photos With Creepy Backstories That Send Chills Down Your Spine

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These rare historic photos and the stranger-than-fiction stories behind them are sending chills down our spones. Read at your own risk! But remember, they are based on true historical events.

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The Empire State Building After A US B-25 Bomber Crashed Into It On July 28, 1945

On July 28, 1945, a United States B-25 bomber plane crashed into the Empire State Building in New York City. Heavy fog that morning caused the freak accident that killed 14 people, including the two pilots and one passenger on board the plane. The crew was told to fly to Newark airport instead of LaGuardia airport, which was the original plan.

A view of the hole rammed into the 78th and 79th stories of the Empire State Building following a plane crash in 1945.
Photo Credit: Bettmann via. Getty Images
Photo Credit: Bettmann via. Getty Images

This new route took them over Manhattan, where they were flying low to the ground for better visibility. The plane almost hit the Chrysler Building, and as the pilots swerved to avoid the skyscraper it went directly into the 78 and 79th floors of the nearby Empire State Building.

Remarkably, the Empire State Building stayed structurally sound after the crash but $1 million was needed to repair the huge hole that was left by the impact (over $10 million dollars today!). The picture above was taken after the crash, with people inside the building precariously close to the wreckage.

Spirit Photography

Nothing is as creepy as seeing a ghostly apparition caught on camera, something 19th-century “spirit photographer” William Mumler made a successful career out of. His haunting portraits often depicted subjects with their loved ones who have passed on. With the growing spiritualist movement in its infancy in the 1840s, more and more people were interested in catching a glimpse of the afterlife.

left: Mrs. Tinkman photographed by William H. Mumler. Right: John J. Glover photographed by William H. Mumler.
Photo Credits: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credits: Sepia Times/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Mumler also exploited the immense loss following the American Civil War. More than 600,000 men perished between 1861 and 1865, many of whom never said goodbye to their families. The belief in a spirit world where the dead could contact the living founded a supernatural industry of products and services like ouija boards, séances, and spirit photos.

Most historians believe Mumler’s photos are faked illusions, but no one has uncovered the secret of how he made the ghostly figures appear in photos.

The Room Where The Romanov Family Was Executed

The tragic end of the Russian Imperial family, the Romanovs, is forever immortalized in this unsettling picture. On the evening of July 17 1918 Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their five children: Olga, Tatiana, Maria, Anastasia, and Alexei were executed by the Bolsheviks. The Romanovs had been imprisoned at Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, over 2,000 kilometers from their homes (or should we say palaces) in St. Petersburg, prior to their execution.

Cellar of Ipatiev house in Yekaterinburg, after the Execution of the Imperial Family in the night on 16-17 July 1918, 1919. Found in the collection of State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF).
Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images
Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

While at Ipatiev House, also nicknamed “The House of Special Purpose,” the few comforts the Romanov family had brought with them from St. Petersburg were confiscated. This included money, jewelry, clothing, and camera equipment. The family was awoken at midnight on July 17 and taken to a small room.

Tsar Nicholas, Tsarina Alexandra, and their five children were all executed in a frenzy of gunshots and smoke. The chaos of that evening can be seen in the destruction of the room photographed after the execution.

The Shadow Of A Hiroshima Victim

All along the sidewalks of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, photographers found dark shadows in the shape of bicycles, trees, and people. Following the detonation of the atomic bomb, the intense heat and bright light created by the blast bleached everything it touched except for the objects and people that stood in the way – creating shadows of the people who were there during the explosion.

Human shadow on bank steps, in Hiroshima after the explosion of the atom bomb in August 1945, Japan.
Photo Credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Photo Credit: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The attacks on August 6 and 9, 1945 forever changed the landscape of Japan, just like the shadows changed the streets of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The following heatwaves and other attacks erased most of the shadows of the victims, but some – like the one above – are immortalized in photos as a reminder of the sheer destruction of nuclear war.

The Amityville Horror

The “Amityville Horror” has become one of the creepiest ghost stories of all time. When the DeFeo family was found murdered in their home at 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, New York, the entire country was shocked to learn that the slayings were carried out by one of the DeFeo children – 23-year-old Ronald DeFeo Jr. The photo below depicts investigators at the Amityville house after the DeFeo tragedy.

(Original Caption) View of the home of Ronald DeFeo Sr.,the car salesman, his wife, two daughters and two sons were found shot to death on 11/14/1974. Ronald DeFeo Jr., 23, the only surviving member of the family, who called the police to report the slayings, was being questioned by police. The Amityville Horror is based on this case.
Getty Images
Getty Images

Following the murders, the Lutz family moved into the house. They lasted 28 days before leaving the house, terrified of a ghostly presence that made children levitate, doors opened and closed on their own, and seemed to “possess” the patriarch George Lutz. Even famed paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren became involved in the case!

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