19 Photos That Prove The Past Was A Totally Terrifying Time To Be Alive

If you’re feeling gloomy about the state of the world we’re living in today, take solace in the fact that things could be so much worse. Indeed, you could have been alive a hundred years ago – a prospect that, on paper, is utterly terrifying. Just take a look through these images if you don’t believe us. After seeing them, you’ll never have been so glad to be here in the 21st century…

These days, Halloween costumes are generally not very spooky. Indeed, today they generally depict either popular movie characters – something funny or something sexy, of course. Decades ago, though, the holiday was clearly still one to be celebrated with the most chilling of getups.

Speaking of horrific Halloween costumes, we can only presume that they’re what’s on show here. After all, what other explanation is there for this bizarre scene? Perhaps we should be grateful that Halloween is much more about just having fun these days. We probably wouldn’t sleep until December, otherwise.

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Who knew a hospital for dolls could be such a frightening prospect? Maybe it’s the way that they’re hanging from the rail, their blank, emotionless eyes staring out at us. Or maybe it’s the random heads and body parts littered around the bottom of the window. Either way, it’s as creepy as it gets.

Are children supposed to look this terrifying? We’ve certainly never seen any that do before. Maybe, then, it was just a quirk of the past? A haunting, let’s-please-never-go-back quirk, that is. Or perhaps, these children knew something we don’t – an even more alarming concept, if we’re honest.

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Ever wondered where J.K. Rowling got the inspiration for having Lord Voldemort on the back of Professor Quirrell’s head? We can’t say conclusively that it was this doll, but it’d be a pretty safe bet. After all, both He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and this two-faced abomination from the 1920s are equally as terrifying.

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Santa Claus is a lot jollier these days. Or at least he is, if this picture is anything to go by. Quite how that child isn’t running for the hills, we’ll never know. Maybe kids were just a lot harder to scare back then.

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It doesn’t matter if you’re witnessing the past, the present or some weird vision of the future: if you see a ventriloquist’s dummy, it’s guaranteed to always be disturbingly creepy. But there’s just something about this decrepit picture that really adds to the eerie atmosphere of this scene. And it probably doesn’t help that the ventriloquist is seemingly deep in conversation with one of his dolls…

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Medical procedures in the early 20th century were often experimental. And, without doubt, this picture shows just how weird those experiments got. Just to clear things up: this poor woman is attempting to have her freckles removed with the use of carbon dioxide. We haven’t a clue what the rest of the apparatus is about, though.

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This Santa Claus at least looks a bit more pleasant to deal with than the one above. It’s just a shame, then, that he’s brought an entourage of terrifying clowns with him. And it’s no wonder that the poor kid is seemingly doing everything in her power to ignore them – in fact, we can’t believe she isn’t screaming down the hospital already.

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Apparently, this helmet was intended to stop its wearer from being sidetracked by their surroundings. But even back then, there must have been a better way of going about it than dressing up like a Doctor Who monster. And even if the person inside the helmet wasn’t distracted, those near them surely would be – after all, it’s practically impossible not to gawp at the crazy contraption.

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We’re not really sure what’s going on in this photo, to be honest; hopefully, it’s just showing youth of the past having a bit of fun. One thing we’re definitely more certain about, though, is that it’s making us very uncomfortable in the present day.

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What happens when you put hundreds of members of the Mickey Mouse Club in the same room? Well, something that definitely shouldn’t be as creepy as this. And those enormous blank grins are absolutely overwhelming, making the group look like some kind of weird cult – although some would say that isn’t too far from the truth…

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Remember all those horror movies with the creepy vintage dolls? Well, toys like those once actually belonged to real children. But as this photo shows, the kids of the past clearly didn’t care that their playthings looked about ready to murder them in their sleep.

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If you’re dead serious about pursuing ventriloquism, the least you can do is not make your doll look completely and utterly terrifying. Why is its head so large? What’s with those creepy eyes? And why does it look like it’s covered in blood? We almost don’t want to know the answers to those questions.

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What is it about dolls from the past? Were toymakers just utterly oblivious to the fact that their products were basically the creepiest things going? And the fact that these three all have the same expression is even more disturbing. We don’t blame you for cowering behind your computer screen.

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Yes, this boy really does appear to have antlers. No, we have absolutely no explanation for it, either. Nor can we explain why there’s seemingly a crow posing for a picture with him. It’s exactly the kind of scene you’d find in a period horror movie.

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Supposedly, these weird WWI-era instruments were a means of improving hearing and vision. However, they also had the unfortunate side effect of turning their wearers into B-movie supervillains. We think we’ll stick with modern hearing aids and spectacles, if it’s all the same to you.

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Not many children’s clubs can boast of having taken one of the weirdest photos ever committed to film. One branch of the USSR’s Young Pioneers could, though, as they’re the ones depicted in this ghoulish snap, which was captured back in 1937.

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We’re nothing if not puzzled by this picture. Does it show some kind of pagan ritual? Or just a Halloween costume taken to the max? Either way, we’re not really sure we want to know the answer. Indeed, sometimes the truth is even creepier than whatever nightmarish visions our brains can conjure up.

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