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18 Horrifying Facts That You’d Hate to Know, But You Should

Horrifying Facts

Has anyone ever told you something you wish they didn’t? Our world is a beautiful place, but full of horrible realities. Sometimes the price of knowledge can be agonizing, and ignorance is indeed a bliss. Here are 18 horrible facts that’ll potentially steal your sleep at night. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

1. In the 18th century, rich people paid to get their rotten teeth removed and replaced them with the healthy teeth of poor people. This fad reached its highest peak when in 1815, teeth were pulled out from the corpses of soldiers who had died at the Battle of Waterloo.

Dentistry
Image credits: Antall, József (1981) Bilder aus der Geschichte der europäischen Heilkunde und Pharmazie, Budapest: Corvina Kiadó ISBN: 963 13 1084 1. p33 /wikimedia

Until the 1700s, painful extraction was the only way to deal with a toothache. Before that, there hadn’t been a real effort to understand dentistry, and so people’s knowledge on how to maintain good teeth had been limited. In 1771, a failed doctor named John Hunter published a pioneering book called the Natural History of the Human Teeth, which proposed a scientific solution to people’s teeth problems. In this book, he suggested the idea of teeth transparent that instantly became a craze among the rich people. He suggested that healthy teeth from the living or the dead can be used to replace with the rotten ones. The idea was soon picked up by the wealthy people. (source)

2. There is a belief in South Africa that having sex with a virgin will cure HIV/AIDS. So adult men rape young girls and children  who are as young as even nine-years-old in hope of a cure. It’s called ‘virgin cleansing myth’.

Virgin cleansing myth
Image source: Jeppestown/flickr

The country, which is already ridden with poverty, unemployment, and violence, is in the grip of a widespread myth that says virgins could cure a man suffering from HIV or Aids. South Africa had the highest number of HIV-positive people in the world. Back in 2001, reports on sexual abuse of children surged significantly and children as young as nine-years-old were being gang-raped by men looking for a cure. Many a time, victims contracted HIV, and some died of that disease. (source)

3. During World War 2, the Japanese Imperial Army carried out horrifying experiments on humans, such as vivisection of living people, injection of diseases disguised as vaccinations, freezing the subjects’ limbs to study the effect, amputating limbs of the subjects, reattaching them to the other parts of their body, and so on.

Shiro Ishii
Image credits: Masao Takezawa/wikimedia, 松岡明芳/wikimedia

The army set up a biological and chemical warfare research and development center, which was called Unit 731. The list of horrors at Unit 731 is quite long. Experiments were done under the supervision of commander Shiro Ishii.  At the end of the war, commander Shiro Ishii was granted immunity by the American Occupation Authorities. He died of throat cancer at the age of 67. (source)

4. When someone with HIV infection has sex with another HIV-infected person with a different strain of the virus, they might become “superinfected”. The worst part is that the superinfected person becomes immune to the HIV medication.

HIV
Image credits: C. Goldsmith/wikimedia

Superinfection may lead to a more rapid disease progression. It’s very rare, and since 2002, only 16 cases of superinfection have been documented. Studies have found that 95% of superinfection cases have occurred during the first three years of the infection. Other than having sex with someone, sharing needles can also lead to superinfection. (12)

5. Until 1986, Doctors did not think babies could feel pain, and they performed open-heart surgeries on infants without anesthesia.

infant operation without anesthesia
Image source: unclesemite

The indifference of doctors to their patients’ pain and sickness is a challenge that practitioners of the field have faced since time immemorial. Before the 1980s, back in the days of ignorance, doctors were in denial of the fact that infants could feel pain. As a result, children as old as 15 months were being operated without any anesthesia in developed countries like the USA. Experiments to observe the newborns began at universities in the beginning of 20th century. Eventually, it was concluded by many scholars that infants not only feel severe pain during those procedures such as surgery but can be physically damaged and psychologically traumatized by it.(source)

6. Priapism is a condition in which men suffer from erection for over 4 hours. The treatment is gruesome where needles are jabbed into the penis to draw out the stagnant blood causing the condition. If that doesn’t work, then a small hole is cut at the top of the penis to drain the blood.

Priapus
Image credits: wikimedia

It’s a medical condition in which after erection the penis refuses to shrink back to its normal state. When Priapism occurs, the blood in the penis remains stagnant and this deprives penis of oxygen for a long time. Then, the penis remains erected for 4 – 6 hours causing erectile dysfunction or disfigurement of the penis, and even penile gangrene. As if these weren’t horrific enough, to treat Priapism, urologists stick a needle into the penis and draw out the stagnant blood. In rare cases, they perform a surgical operation that involves cutting a small hole in the head of the penis and draining out the blood. (source)

7. A young woman’s body rotted in a hotel water tank for two weeks while the water was being consumed by guests during this time. Unwittingly, water contaminated by the semi-decomposed body was supplied to the guest rooms, the kitchen of the hotel, and a coffee shop downstairs, until people started complaining about a foul smell and odd colour.

Elisa Lam
Image credits: assets.lapdonline, Jim Winstead/flickr

Elisa Lam went missing while staying in a hotel in Los Angeles. While the police were looking for her, guests of the hotel began complaining about oddly colored water that came with a slightly unusual smell. After about two weeks since Lam went missing, the hotel staffs went to the roof to investigate their four 1,000-gallon water tanks. They found Lam’s naked body inside one of the tanks with her face up and a foot below the water surface. She had bloated and been moderately decomposed. The color of her skin had turned green. Even today, no one knows what happened to her. (source)

8. In the 1950s, the United States government said that they were testing smoke screens in St. Louis for protection against Soviet aerial attacks. They were actually spraying citizens with radioactive particles to study the effects.

Radioactive chemicals sprayed on ST Louis
Image source: University Of Missouri- Columbia via dailymail

The US Military claimed that its was ‘harmless’ zinc cadmium sulfide particles, but Professor Lisa Martino-Taylor, a sociologist at St. Louis Community College who had been studying the incident, believes that radioactive additive was also mixed with the compound. Prof. Lisa has spent years uncovering documents revealing that the US government had been experimenting on people without their knowledge. The operation was conducted secretly and not even the local government knew. The victims were mainly low-income families, particularly from minority communities. (source)

9. The crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger was alive and aware of their descent from the sky until the crew capsule hit the ocean at 207mph.

Crew of Space Shuttle Challenger
Image source: nasa.gov, Kennedy Space Center/wikipedia

Investigators have discovered a number of things that indicates that the crew was performing emergency recovery procedures as the capsule descended down toward the Earth. They were alive when they came falling down the sky like a shooting star, and aware of their inevitable deaths. The crew of Space Shuttle Challenger is a perfect example of the human spirit that has no chances of survival but still tries until his last breath. (source)

10. Fetuses in the womb can be startled and can cry. But since their lungs and airways are filled with fluid until birth, the sound of their distress goes unheard. 

Fetus crying
Image source: durham university via bbc.co.uk

Twenty-eight weeks old babies cry inside their mother’s womb. The discovery of this previously unknown behavioral state of human fetuses was made through ultrasound scans. A study showed that when subjected to low-decibel noise against the mother’s abdomen, the fetus would display traditional crying behavior like opening their mouths, depressing their tongues, gasping irregularly, and even quivering lower lips. (source)

11. Female spotted hyena has a “pseudo-penis” which is larger than the males’ penis. They mate and give birth through the penis. While 60% of hyena cubs die of suffocation inside, tearing of the pseudo-penis often proves lethal for the mother hyenas.

Female Hyena have a "pseudopenis"
Image source: Bettina Wachter/Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin via vox

A female spotted hyena urinates and mates with her penis which, by the way, is capable of an erection. Spotted hyenas are a matriarchal society, where adult male hyenas are docile and fearful. Naturally, mating between two penises are difficult, so the male hyena has to carefully position himself in a way so that his penis can curve upward and inward to make sex possible. Childbirth through the pseudo-penis is life-threating. A 2-pound cub squeezes through the narrow opening, which is only an inch in diameter, can cause fatal tears.(12)

12. Dogs love squeaky toys because it feeds their killer instinct. Years of evolution have taught dogs to behave aggressively upon hearing little squeaky noises as they resemble small animals in agony. It’s a natural instinct derived from their ancestors.

Dogs love squeaky toys
Image source: pixabay

Dogs are attracted to squeaky toys because they make small sounds like that of a small animal in distress. Some believe that for dogs it awakens their instinct to kill “small animals”. It’s their age-old dormant instinct that tells them to react aggressively towards anything that makes such noises.(source)

13. Koala Bears can give you chlamydia by peeing on you. Most people who are infected with chlamydia have no symptoms until it’s too late. The disease can cause blindness, infertility, and an infection known as ‘dirty tail’ where the urinary tract gets inflamed and expands. Needless to say, it’s very painful.

Koalas chlamydia
Image source: www.bbc.com

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. Although koalas chlamydias are of a different strain, its is being speculated that if the disease starts transmitting into humans, it could cause a devastating epidemic. There is a huge outbreak of chlamydia among koala species in Australia where the animals are national icons. In some parts of the continent, koala infection rates are as high as 90%. The worst part is the disease can pass on to humans through direct contact, like when you are cuddling one of these creatures and get peed on. (source)

14. You can actually kill yourself by cracking your neck like you do with your knuckles.

neck
Image credits: Internet Archive Book/flickr

Although very usual, cracking your neck can accidentally damage your vertebral artery. It can lead to swelling, followed by a restricted blood flow which will kill off a portion of your cerebellum. This can cause a stroke and eventual death. A man named Michael Paul was on his way home from church when he decided to crack his neck just like he cracked his knuckle. He started sweating profusely and then went pale. By the time Paul could receive medical care, he had slipped into the coma. Michael Paul died of cracking his neck. (source)

15. An ancient warlord named Timur/Tamerlane had inscriptions on his tomb that said: “When I rise from the dead, The world shall tremble.” Inside his casket was a note that said: “Whoever disturbs my tomb will unleash an invader more terrible than I.” Stalin ordered Soviet anthropologists to exhume Timur’s body on 19 June 1941. Three days later, Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa and began invading the Soviet Union. People call it “Tamerlane’s Curse”. 

Timur
Image credits: user:shakko/wikipedia

Many had linked the Nazi attack with the opening of the tomb of Tamerlane. The expedition was quickly winded up, and remains of Timur was sent to study in Moscow. Then just after Timur was re-buried with full Islamic rituals in November 1942, the Soviet won the Battle of Stalingrad. (source)

16. A GMO  called the Golden Rice has tons of Vitamin A that can save thousands of people from malnutrition. The deficit of Vitamin A kills 670,000 children under the age of 5 each year. But several people and organizations oppose the use of Golden Rice, because it’s a GMO, ignoring the fact that it’s a potential lifesaver.

Golden rice
Image source: IRRI Photos/flickr

In 2000, researchers came up with something called the Golden Rice, a genetically engineered form of the crop that is capable of producing 23 times more provitamin A than the regular rice. It could reduce the number of deaths caused by malnutrition, but according to Greenpeace, the genetically engineered rice is “not effective” and “superfluous”. They claim that cultivation of golden rice will open the door to a more widespread use of GMOs. Besides the research lacks a scientific basis, relying mainly on the manipulation of people’s perceptions. Like Greenpeace, several anti-GMO activists are unimpressed by the benefits of GMO crops like Golden Rice.(12)

17. There are likely thousands of microscopic mites crawling on you, trying to reproduce, populate and whatever. They live and lay eggs in your hair follicles, which means they’re burrowing into your skin.

Parasite
Image credits: Janice Carr/wikimedia

Two species of mite live on your face. They are eight-legged creatures with an elongated body like a worm and are so small that they can’t be seen with naked eyes. The entire span of their lifetime is spent on your face, where they eat, mate, lay eggs and die. Although, the mites also tend to occupy your genital area and breast, their favorite spot of occupancy is the face because the pores here are larger than anywhere else. You may have around two mites per eyelash. Don’t forget the acne pores. Scientists are not sure if the mites are beneficial or harmful. But they are sure, you can never get rid of them entirely.(source)

18. Ed Gein was an American murderer who killed people and ate them. He was also notorious for stealing corpses from graveyards and decorating his house with human remains. When asked if he had ever had sex with the exhumed bodies, he denied and said: “they smelled too bad.”

Ed Gein
Image credits: The Orchid Club/flickr

In 1957, Ed Grein was arrested for the murder of Bernice Worden. He was later confined in psychiatric institutions and ultimately died of cancer. Grein has had a lasting effect on popular culture, especially on Hollywood movies about psychopath killers. Popular fictional serial killers as Norman Bates (Psycho) and Buffalo Bill (The Silence of the Lambs) drew inspiration from his story. (source)


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