Nightmare Fuel / Other

For all the works that scare people that won't fit anywhere else.

This is not a real life section. Degree of fear varies greatly from person to person. Tropers are especially reminded to remember the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment here and keep all examples family-friendly and as neutral as possible. We really don't want to traumatize people or start any Edit Wars, so use some common sense.


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  • The Blue Snake, a French Canadian avante garde ballet. At the end of this scene, a creepy moaning giant puppet based on the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk appears. This is where the scene and the clip end. In the next scene, the giant eats people, then he gets his head smashed open and red-clad dancers jump out of the hole.
  • Macbeth (aka The Scottish Play) by William Shakespeare. Jeez, where do we start? Bearded hags, apparitions of creepy, dancing children, potions brewed from dismembered animal and people parts, murder, madness and general mayhem. Fun for the whole family.
    • The Patrick Stewart telefilm version makes it worse. The witches murdering the captain from the beginning of the play, Banquo getting right back up after his murder, the witches using corpses to give Macbeth the infamous Birnam Wood prophecy... Goddamn.
  • The spectre from Hamlet. We don't even know if it really is the soul of the dead king; it could be a demon planning to damn Hamlet. If so, it succeeds.
  • In Julius Caesar, the scene where an innocent poet is literally torn to pieces just because he shared a name with one of Caesar's assassins, Cinna. This is something that could happen to anyone.
  • Shakespeare had a bit of a talent for NF as Titus Andronicus proves.
  • Pippin. Most musicals don't end with the main character nearly succumbing to the peer pressure to immolate himself, resulting in the narrator's screaming tantrum when he refuses. The narrator and most of the cast then proceed to peer over the stage, noting that there are many people in the audience who must feel the same, and if they're ever so tempted, "we're right here in your heads", implying that the whole thing was the hallucination of a young man building towards suicide. Then they remove all the trappings of a musical comedy leaving the protagonist and the woman who helped him half-naked and vulnerable on a darkened stage. "How do you feel?" she asks him. "Trapped." THE END. Licensed versions try to make it a little cheerier, but it's still a musical "comedy" about how most young people have no role models or direction, and must learn to either accept their soul-crushing mediocrity or literally destroy themselves. Thanks so much, guys!
    • The alternate (and current) ending is potentially even worse. After Pippin and Catherine decide to content themselves with their ordinary life, her son Theo starts singing the chorus to "Corner of the Sky." The Lead Player and the chorus return to the stage and surround the boy, implying they'll start pushing him down that same suicidal path. Creepy.
  • In A Contempory Theatre's seasonal production of A Christmas Carol, the Marley's Ghost sequence is epitome of this, with several jump scares, mirror scares, etc. leading up to his appearance, where he jumps out of Scrooge's bed. Not from under the bed, from inside it.
  • Anything and everything by Sarah Kane. She wrote five plays in her short life (she committed suicide at the age of 28) - all including absolutely horrific happenings. Examples: a soldier sucking out and swallowing a man's eyes, a dead baby being eaten, a man's genitals being cut off and barbecued, several instances of brutal rape (one concerning a man being sodomized with a metal pole), and people being eaten alive by rats. Her last play, 4:48 Psychosis, is a disjointed nightmare even just to read on the page, with no stage direction or indication of character at all. It gets worse when you read about her life and realize that the play is basically her suicide note.
  • The murder scene in Christopher Marlowe's Edward II is absolutely harrowing to watch; the deposed King Edward is deprived of food and sleep and imprisoned, basically, in a sewer, and his murderer is friendly and comforting before he impales him through the anus with a hot poker.
  • The song "Molasses to Rum" in 1776. Edward Rutledge describes out the slave trade quite brutally, acting out an auction to show the Northern colonies their hypocrisy—it is, after all, Boston ships that sail to Africa. It horrifies the Congress, and it'll probably horrify the viewer at home, too, given what we know about how utterly inhuman the industry was. Especially the film version, which is sung by John Cullum.
    "Who sails the ships out of Boston, laden with bibles and slaves? Who drinks a toast? To the ivory coast? Hail Africa, the slavers have come..."
    "And it's off with the rum and the bibles, and on with the slaves, clink-clink."
    "Gentlemen, do you hear? That's the cry of the auctioneer!"
  • Fort Edmonton Park's Spooktacular is bound to be rife with it more often than not, but they topped themselves in 2013 in more than one area:
    • "The Haunt", which was a Paranormal Activity style tour that relied heavily on Nothing Is Scarier in all three examples and actually worked. The entire 1885 Street area was used for it, and drifting from one building to another was nothing short of uncomfortable when it was that dark out. The story concerned a woman who had been abused by the whole town and committed suicide, and the hosts brought you to where she frequented. At one point you were brought to a bridge where the ghost of said woman appeared behind you and screamed at you... and as a nice Twist Ending, you were brought back to Egge's, where you were trapped in a house full of screaming children and strobe lights.
    • The Dollhouse on 1905 also relied on Nothing Is Scarier and achieved it to a chilling effect. An old woman lives in a house full of dolls, some of which are actually living humans. Before you enter, you are asked if you've seen two girls and are shown a photo of them. The woman's daughter makes her entrance by shouting, "MOMMEEEEE!!! I DON'T LIKE THIS DOLLY ANYMORE, HE IS UGLY! I WANT A TALL ONE!". You are then brought to the kitchen, where said two girls are sitting at the table, and one utters, at one point, "help me...". The little girl soon grabs a syringe, and goes for you... before the lights turn out and you hear a scream. There's also a surprise ending here too; a SWAT team bursts in to seize the premises, which happens so quickly it caused some people to doubt it actually happened.
    • The rovers on 1905 street were worth a mention too; one being an adolescent boy who was a zombie and would literally charge after some people down the whole street, and a burn victim who spoke in a Walter White voice and threatening tone, while limping in a menacing manner.
  • The Boyg in Peer Gynt. Peer is fighting an entity in pitch darkness, no substance whatsoever - and it is always avoiding direct confrontation. On stage, this has been solved in a number of ways, usually with smoke effects and a deep and ominous voice coming from the shadows. Or just a black stage with the main actor struggling alone. It becomes even more scary when considering that Peer takes up some of the traits from the Boyg, effectively becoming like it at the end of the play.
  • The monologues of Theodore Gottlieb, known as Brother Theodore. He could take an absolutely ridiculous position, such as promoting human guadrupedalism, with a severity and intensity that seemed from Hell itself. Reading Gottlieb's biography reveals his life was pure Nightmare Fuel.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar can have this effect depending on how expressionistically it is staged. Some productions have two of the performers cast as "Judas Tormentors" - a pair of blank-faced mime artists (dressed in nude full-body suits) who silently follow around Judas Iscariot, perhaps standing in for traditional artistic depictions that show the Devil closely following behind Judas as a sort of doppelganger. And when Judas's time is up, he does not commit suicide; these two human shadows prop him up and slip on the noose, and he doesn't resist. Even worse is the sequence in which Jesus is confronted by lepers and other sick people begging to be healed: they lurch around the stage as a kind of inhuman mass, covered in cobwebs, looking like a horde of the living dead. Happy hippie musical? Hardly.

  • Three words: "Cannot Load OS".
    • Or "Boot failure".
    • An old one: "Non-system disk or disk error." Though this one usually meant that you left a diskette in the PC and it just needs to be removed and the PC rebooted. Similar errors can happen today if e.g. a USB stick is left in and is higher up in the boot order than your main drive.
  • The pre-2012 Blue Screen of Death. Particularly the unfortunate experience of seeing a BSOD that simply read, "Windows protection error. You need to restart your computer. System halted." No "Press any key to terminate the program, press CTRL+ ALT+ DEL to restart" stuff, just two lines telling you that your system has come to a complete stop.
    • The version of the BSOD used in versions of Windows based on Windows NT (this includes 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and all server versions prior to Windows Server 2012) is worse for two reasons: the fact that those versions' improved stability means it appears far less often than in Windows 9x/Me (whose BSOD could possibly just be merely annoying to people who have used those versions enough to see it oftennote ), generally only appearing during more severe errors, and the fact that it includes far more text, with said text containing information related to memory dumps and error messages that's bound to look bizarre to someone who doesn't know what to do with it.
    • The BSOD is quite scary, but Windows 98 and early Vista builds featured a Red Screen of Death. Yikes!
    • Don't forget the early Macintosh's equivalent, the Sad Mac. If your system disk was corrupted, or if you hit the interrupt switch, instead of a smiling Macintosh icon on a warm gray background, you'd get one that looked as if it was dead from a stroke on a stark black background with nothing else but some weird HEX code, and you'd hear the "Hawaiian Death Chimes". "Doo do da dooo! Da doooo doooo..." * shiver*
      • The first generation of Power PC-based Power Macintosh replaced the Death Chimes with Stock Sound Effects of a car's tires screeching and then crashing sound. It's also kind of loud. Anyone who would find it funny would stop laughing the moment they realized that $3,000 of hardware had a critical failure.
    • Kernel panics (like BSODs in Linux/BSD and other UNIX and UNIX-like systems) can be scary enough. Just imagine all your system going down with lots of cryptic error messages.
    • Fortunately averted with the Blue Screen of Death in Windows Server 2012 Windows 8, and Windows 10. This version of the BSoD uses a less-harsh cerulean background, the text basically sounds like it's saying "we're sorry," and has a sad ":(" emoticon on top.note 
  • Avast Antivirus usually detects viruses on sight, however whenever that happens, a dialogue window pops up with a pulsing atomic symbol, a siren sound, and a creepy voice that says "Caution: A virus has been detected". Then again most antivirus programs have something creepy in them.
    • Fortunately, Avast's detection is no longer so creepy.
  • AVG used to show a picture of what appeared to be a man with his face warped to make him look like a troll (here's a link to a picture of an old alert if you want to see it for yourself) as part of its Virus Detected alert. The newer versions of AVG use far more subdued icons, thankfully.
  • There was a time when Kaspersky Antivirus would play the (loud) squeal of a pig whenever it found a virus, scaring the crap out of users every single time. You couldn't even turn that sound off, as the settings were locked with a password.
    • Some rogue antiviruses (such as Windows Police Pro) use that sound as well.
  • Norton Antivirus 95 used to have a particularly horrifying failure mode if it detected a virus in memory. Your Windows shell would quit with no warning, you'd get a page or so of DOS and then the screen would go black and display a giant mechanical spider in the middle. After a few moments of staring at that nightmare, the screen would change over to the same spider in a cage, with the legend "Norton Antivirus has detected a virus and has shut your computer down to prevent further damage." or words to that effect.
    • Or worse, the screen going red during boot up with the same message in yellow followed immediately by the system freezing up. It effectively conveys the message that you have somehow screwed up big time by introducing a DOS virus to the hard disk and removing the virus is easier said than done.
  • DOS viruses are particularly terrifying. Not because of what they do to your computer (the vast majority are harmless), but because of the screens they bring up. Just look up "DOS Virus" on YouTube, and prepared to be scared out of your mind. And imagine being an unsuspecting DOS user who opened it, not knowing what it was...
    • However, catching one of the bad DOS ones (like Michelangelo or Jerusalem/Friday the 13th) is high octane nightmare fuel. Heck, some of the viruses who are harmless to floppies can and have end up destroying entire hard drives because they were too shoddily programmed and expect every storage media to be the same as a floppy.
  • The fact that Mac laptops have a light that, when closed, blinks slowly in the same rhythm as a person breathes as they sleep makes them just a little too human.
    • Many desktop Macs nowadays do that as well, as does the Nintendo 3DS when it's closed and still switched on.
    • Some laptops (observed from a Dell laptop) will even make a soft whining sound that sounds like breathing as the light is pulsating.
  • Some Dell CRT monitors make a near-silent beeping sound that repeats about every three seconds when they are powered off. Imagine buying one of these monitors with a new PC in 2004 and shutting off your electronics and getting ready for bed, but suddenly you hear 'BEEP'...'BEEP' and cannot find where the sound is coming from.
  • Apple iMacs are prone to scaring the life out of their users when it comes to unexplained crashes or hardlocks! Take for instance the 'three beeps', which blare from the speakers at full, unchangeable volume after a RAM fault. Not to mention intensely loud crashes that just happenspontaneously...
  • NightMare was one of the first "scareware" programs created. Made for Amiga computers, it would lay dormant for about five minutes when launched, then replace the screen for a split-second with a bloody skull while playing a loud scream note . Witness the terror for yourself.
    • There are tonnes of these for Windows as well. This is why you should log out of your computer at the computer lab even if all you want to do is go get a drink in the hallway.
  • A lot of hardware in computers produce sounds when things aren't quite working as one expects. While some are as tame as the "click of death" on hard drives (Which turns into Nightmare Fuel anyway, because computer-savvy people know what that means.), some things like computer fans will produce awful screeching sounds when they're about to go or power supplies will squeal when you start working them (Called coil whine... which is perfectly normal.).
    • On the topic of power supplies, if you have bought a cheapo one in the past and it has died on you, you'd probably be seeing a therapist right now. Some cheapo power supplies actually die with a bang, some even catch fire after going out with a bang. And sometimes, this happens to the more expensive ones as well.
  • Rogue antivirus programs can be frightening, especially if you don't know they're malware.
    • One of the most infamous of these programs is WinFixer. Imagine, if you will, innocently browsing the internet when you get a dialogue box telling you that your computer is full of system errors that can have any number of adverse effects, offering to download and install a program to diagnose and fix these problems. Regardless of whether you accept or deny the offer (all the buttons on the dialogue box do the exact same thing, even the close button in the corner), a pop-up window will appear, WinFixer being downloaded onto your computer. It will then run and show that you have myriad viruses and registry errors playing havoc on your computer (most of which are false), but it can't actually remove them until you purchase the full version of the software. If you pay for it, it will do jack diddly, because WinFixer, itself, is the virus and has just stolen your credit card information. Removing it can be a pain in the ass, too, as it will undo every attempt to delete it short of formatting your computer.
    • Another that is making the rounds is NavaShield. Unlike WinFixer, NavaShield doesn't force its way onto your computer: you need to go to their legitimate-looking website and download it, yourself. Once installed, it will give you an option to either purchase a software key, or take a seven-day trial, during which it will tell you your computer is protected. After seven days, it will begin to try to pester you into buying a software key with loud and annoying pop-up. After more time (which can be anywhere from a few days to a few years), this virus will start to deliver its payload by playing a looping laughing noise that cannot be silenced, and opening pop-ups to pornographic websites. It will even start to taunt you and cuss you out using your computer's text-to-speech voice synthesizer. This makes it appear as if your computer is infected with viruses that necessitate buying NavaShield (and Task Manager is also disabled, so you can't shut it down). Finally, it will simulate your hard drive being forcibly formatted on a window that is always on top and continuously expanding. Much like WinFixer, getting this crap off your PC is a major hassle.
  • A family of viruses called ransomware. For example, one that has made its rounds in recent years is the "DOJ Virus". The virus locks up your computer, replacing the screen with one telling you that the Department of Justice (or another important agency, depending on the country) has blocked access to your computer on the grounds of having found child pornography or other such illegal material on it, and that the only way to unlock your computer and avoid prosecution is to pay a fine using a pre-paid card purchased from Walmart within a few days.
    • The DOJ is just one of them, there are ransomwares claiming to be from the police, INTERPOL, FBI or CIA with the same claim (and the virus is actually smart enough to find out which state you are in and steal the appropriate logo). Alternatively, they would be purportedly from the RIAA or MPAA and claim to have found pirated movies or music on your hard drive.
    • Another type of ransomware which is fearful even to the computer-savvy (if it gets in) will actually encrypt whatever files it can, rendering them unusable. Then it provides an address to visit so you can pay money to decrypt the files if you pay them in time (don't do this; they're not likely to bother fixing it for one thing). Malware of this nature underscores why it's important to back-up valued files.
    • One ransomware virus that emerged in April 2017 is known as "Rensenware". Rather than demanding money, it instead offers to decrypt your files under one condition: play Unidentified Fantastic Object and get a score of "0.2 billion" points on "Lunatic" difficulty. Trying to cheat or terminate the virus's process will result in the decryption key never being made, and your encrypted data will be lost. The worst part of this is that the virus was created as a joke and was never planned to actually be used, but somehow was still disseminated across the internet. The original creator made a program designed to cheat the virus and decrypt your data, since, despite the virus's warning, it can't detect if you're cheating; and even apologized. Nonetheless, he warns that there may be variants of the original Rensenware floating around the net that cannot be cheated. Happy browsing!
    • One ransomware that has set itself apart from the rest is "WannaCrypt", which became notorious for its rapid propagation, spreading far and wide across the internet and even impacting hospitals and jeopardizing lives. How bad is it? Bad enough that Microsoft saw fit to release an emergency patch for Windows XP, an operating system that they stopped supporting in 2014, three years before WannaCrypt reared its ugly head!
    • Some ransomware viruses take it up a notch. You remember how, when webcams first became a thing, people used to laugh at those who covered their webcams thinking people could spy on them through the cameras? Well, certain ransomware viruses are perfectly capable of hijacking your webcam and snapping a picture of you going about your business, to plaster onto the FBI or whatever warning to make it seem more legitimate. Suddenly covering your laptop's webcam with a bandage doesn't seem so crazy.
  • Two simply words: Heartbleed bug. While the bug itself is pretty creepy as it makes your account vulnerable to hackers, what's even more horrifying is that the NSA confessed that they exploited it for years! As if the NSA weren't creepy enough already. note 
  • That "erng" sound in Windows 95 or 98 if a program crashes with an "illegal operation" dialog box.
  • The "twang" Windows Vista/7 Critical Stop sound.
  • The "Chimes of Death" on older Macs if they fail to start properly, especially the Power Macintosh and the Performa 6200 and 6300 which prefer to use a three-note brass fanfare.
  • In DOS-based versions Windows, the PC doesn't power off once Windows shuts down; the user has to manually hit the power button. Until then, a message in orange text on a lonely black background reading "It's now safe to turn off your computer." will stay on the screen. Someone forgetting to shut off their PC at night after shutting down will then be treated to an eerie orange glow coming from these lone words on their screen.
  • If Mozilla Firefox detects a reported attack site or phishing site, then it displays an extremely unnerving error screen with it being a blood red box over a dark gray background, with white text inside. Extremely jarring in contrast to its regular normal error screens, which is entirely white with black text. Example.
  • Apparently, any baby monitor that can link to wi-fi can also allow pedophiles to come and visit too.
  • Mobile apps that translate words in real-time through the phone's video camera. Not so bad if a bubble pops up with the translated text, but some creepily try to go the extra mile by trying to replace the actual words being captured, attempting to mimic the font, size, angle, and color scheme of the original. It always fails. The idea is so misguided, that if it were used in a movie to clue in the protagonist that they're in a simulator, it could make for some good horror.
  • The "USB Killer" will make you think twice before leaving your laptop anywhere in a public place: it is a device designed to look like a simple flash drive, but when plugged into a laptop's USB port, delivers a powerful electric jolt that fries your laptop's innards like an egg and leaves you with a laptop-shaped paperweight!
  • Trojans are already scary enough, thanks to the fact that they are concealed within legitimate-looking programs, but one that's particularly nasty is known as "MEMz". Once it activates, it warns you that your computer has been infected and will rendered unusable if you shut it down or try to terminate its process. Over time, it delivers its payload, starting with popups before hijacking your cursor, flooding your speakers with error sounds, and finally creating a black hole-esque loop of screenshots of your desktop layered one on top of another. Worst of all, it makes good on its threat: once activated, it overwrites your computer's boot sector, so if your computer is rebooted, all you'll ever get is a looping image of "Nyan Cat". And if you terminate its process, it floods the screen with taunting messages before blue-screening your computer.
  • The graphical disk utility in Ubuntu Linux gives off a very unnerving warning if the SMART test indicates that your hard drive is about to die soon. Worse yet, there's often nothing you can do save for backing up all your data and buying a new one.
  • Do you enjoy Sonic the Hedgehog fan games? You may want to skip Sonic Gather Battle, which contains malicious coding. Suspiciously enough, the game must be run as an administrator, requires an internet connection, creates strange files, and edits your computer's registry, all of which were handwaved by the creator. Once "infected" by this game, trying to search for the game's title followed by "Cheats" or "Hacks" or trying to edit the game's files will cause the game to turn into something right out of a Creepypasta, with graphics becoming black and red, creepy eyes flashing on the screen, and invincible ghosts appearing to attack you. And your status as "hacker" is recorded on a database outside of your computer, so uninstalling and reinstalling the game doesn't fix these issues. While wanting to protect one's game from hackers is understandable, turning your game into malware to do so is less so.

  • Not a documentary per se, but this zoology article about fairy wrens and cuckoos makes the latter horrifying:
    "In Australia, a pair of superb fairy-wrens return to their nest with food for their newborn chick. As they arrive, the chick makes its begging call. Itís hard to see in the darkness of the domed nest, but the parents know that something isnít right. Whateverís in their nest, itís not their chick."
  • The Discovery Channel documentary mini-series Miracle Planet features a detailed CGI "simulation" of a massive 300 mile wide asteroid impacting the Earth, which directly results in the entire planet's surface being covered in "Rock Vapor" (which, in layman's terms, is essentially a literal cloud of magma) as hot as the sun itself! Which, in turn, causes the total evaporation of all water on the planet's surface, the death of all plant and animal life-forms, every man-made monument ever built being burned to ashes, and the planet's surface being reduced to a lifeless wasteland, the only possible survivors being some strains of bacteria (emphasis on possible)...
  • This YouTube clip about the Tree Man will require to have a good lie down and some alone time. If you have body horror issues, do not click on the link. It is the sum of all fears. You have been warned.
    • For those who don't realize what had happened to him... an infected mold/wart turned him into this!!
  • Nazi propaganda films. One notorious propaganda movie The Eternal Jew contained a scene comparing Jews to rats. Apparently audiences found the scene so horrifying that they ran out of cinemas and the movie had to be withdrawn.
  • The animated documentary Tales Of The Ratfink.
  • Newsreel footage of the concentration camps.
  • The videos of the loss of Space Shuttle Challenger. One minute it's all happy and they're going into space, and the next...
  • The Zapruder Film, one of the films captured by an amateur cameraman the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
    • It had quite an effect on Abraham Zapruder himself. He suffered nightmares about what he witnessed - he also became quite upset when asked about it by Jay Watson of WFAA Dallas:
    Zapruder: I heard a shot, and he slumped to the side, like this. Then I heard another shot or two, I couldn't say it was one or two, and I saw his head practically open up [places fingers of right hand to right side of head in a narrow cone, over his right ear], all blood and everything, and I kept on shooting [the scene]. That's about all, I'm just sick, I can't...
  • A documentary depicting tar literally dripping out of a lung.
  • The "Alien Abduction" scene in Cosmos. Also the Nuclear Winter parts, but that was sort of the point.
  • An episode of Unsolved Mysteries where an unidentified man was featured. He had been trying to get a ride on a plane at a small airport, but no one would take him. So he grabbed on to the wing of a plane and held on as it was taking off. Of course, he fell off when the plane was far in the air. The story in question can be seen here.
    • Though some might see that as a Too Dumb to Live moment.
    • Although that man was eventually identified as Brian Stanley Duecker, a 28-year-old marathon runner from Cincinnati, Ohio who suffered from schizophrenia (likely the reason he jumped onto the plane), his family still has to live with a lot of unanswered questions about what was going through his mind when he did what he did—a true nightmare scenario indeed.
    • Unsolved Mysteries is a terrific show, but it contains massive amounts of Nightmare Fuel, since many of the cases remain unsolved.
    • Hell, the iconic opening theme is one of the scariest ever put on public television.
    • The closing theme is scary, too, but with the added elements of poignancy (many stories featured on the show are beyond tragic) and resigned sadness (many unsolved mysteries will be forever unsolved). All that can be heard in this short piece of music.
  • The E! Channel's special Doomed To Die: 13 Most Shocking Hollywood Curses mentioned some particularly disturbing "curses" related to Hollywood. One worth mentioning is the curse of the Atuk script. Atuk is the story of a fat Eskimo trying to make it in the big city. The first victim of this cursed script was John Belushi who the creator had in mind to play the title role; he was preparing for the part when he died of a drug-overdose at the age of 33. The second victim was Sam Kinison- who nearly got around to making it but then freaked out and pulled out of doing it, he later died in a fiery car crash. Third victim was John Candy, who was in the process of reading the script when he died of a heart attack, and the last victim was Chris Farley who died of a drug overdose at the age of 33 much like his hero John Belushi- he wanted Phil Hartman to be his co-star, Phil Hartman later got shot by his own wife.
    • Two other "cursed" Hollywood projects had almost the exact same events happen-a film adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces and a biopic of silent film comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Both projects had John Beloushi, John Candy, and Chris Farley all chosen to star as the lead until Actor Existance Failure ensued in all three cases. It doesn't help in A Confederacy of Dunces's case, the novel it was based on was published years after its author committed suicide... or that when a Will Ferrell-helmed adaptation seemed to be getting off the ground, the film's setting —New Orleans— was trashed by Hurricane Katrina...
    • And one of the items on the list was the curse of musicians dying at the age of 27. (Kurt Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, etc.) The segment ends with one of the interviewees mentioning how Amy Winehouse is only a couple of years away from turning 27, and how she should turn her behavior around to avoid the curse. Two years after the special aired, Amy Winehouse did indeed fall victim to the curse, dying at the age of 27.
  • The Man Who Saw Tomorrow - a documentary-style movie about Nostradamus' predictions, narrated by Orson Welles is terrifying, especially when it comes to the infamous "King of Terror" prophecy and was huge Nightmare Fuel for 1980s viewers. However, it falls into Nightmare Retardant when its predictions for the 1990s were very quickly disproven, resulting in Welles distancing himself from the documentary.
  • The History Channel documentary "Last Days on Earth", detailing the eight most likely ways for civilization as we know it to be completely destroyed, in increasing order of likeliness.
  • The History Channel Life After People series. While it's fascinating, the fact that this could happen at some point in time or another is pretty horrifying.
  • Ric Burns' 1992 documentary on The Donner Party, the group of American pioneers who had to resort to cannibalism to survive, as seen on PBS' The American Experience.
  • The documentary A State Of Mind, following the lives of two North Korean barely-teenaged gymnasts, is definitely in some parts a Tear Jerker, and rather horrifying. The actual politics of North Korea aside, the choreographed gymnastics performances that are so stunning at the beginning of the film become screamingly awful once you realize the sheer scale of the Mass Games. The total hive-mind mindset that kind of training gives you... and that the big-ass pictures that are constantly changing, that in other productions would be video projections or digital transitions like at the Olympics, are made up of extremely well choreographed humans moving in unison. YMMV, of course, but seeing that many people move as one body, totally surrendered to the group will, is hardcore creepy.
  • Related to the above, National Geographic's Inside North Korea. Everything from the poor living conditions to the sheer magnitude of brainwashing and fear (the patients had no choice but to thank Kim Jong-Il, NOT the doctors, for the operation) will make your blood curdle.
  • The History Channel documentary After Apocalypse is pretty much packed of this. It realistically shows how Earth and life itself would look like after they had suffered from some apocalyptic event like a worldlike virus epidemic, like the Black Death in the Middle Ages, or the one in I Am Legend but without the zombies. The documentary is told from the eyes of an American middle-class family who lived a normal life before a deadly virus from China kills of most of the world's population who is trying to survive the new harsh world that comes after the epidemic. Meanwhile, environmental, sociological, psychological and medical experts are given short interviews from time to time during the documentary telling about the situations the family and the rest of the world goes through.
  • March of the Dinosaurs made feathered tyrannosaurs horrifying. There's one scene where the Edmontosaurus are ambushed by the tyrannosaurs where one literally leaps (like a raptor) out of friggin' nowhere to tackle one of the poor plant-eaters. Imagine three tons of teeth and death leaping at you.
  • This vegan documentary about meat production. It even starts the video off by saying "What you're about to see is beyond your worst nightmares".
  • Violence: An American Tradition, a documentary that is about, as the title says, violence in USA and its history, its culture, its relationship with media and pop culture, its effects on daily life, the politics and motives behind it, the people involved with it, etc. Anyone who believes that Humans Are Good will definitely have their beliefs crushed by this one hour long documentary, specially the part that deals with child abuse.
  • This article is mostly harmless. But Andy says, with good reason, that searching for "Congo" and "massacre" will keep you up at night. The article was posted on 02 July 2009 CE. As of 23 November 2012 CE, the massacre is still going. The article actually has a link to a Google search of "congo" and "massacre", so you don't have to Google it yourself. Don't click on that link.
  • Pretty much everything on the CNN Freedom Project, also overlapping with Tear Jerker since it's about modern-day slavery. Especially nasty are the articles on the Sinai traffickers.
  • The National Geographic show Air Crash Investigation (aka Mayday or Air Emergency) can be either completely fascinating (on a scientific/engineering level), or horrifying if you're afraid of flying. One episode is particularly creepy, possibly even if you're in the former camp: A plane (Helios Flight 522) takes off normally and starts climbing to cruising altitude. As the captain talks to air traffic control, he starts talking more and more incoherently. The passengers all start feeling dizzy as well, and as the plane continues to climb, almost every one of them passes out. Including the pilots. The plane is still flying, albeit not on the course it's supposed to, and ATC radios military aircraft to find out what's going on. The military radios to ATC that the plane is filled with people who are completely non-responsive—except for one person, in the cockpit, who eventually acknowledges the military planes with a feeble wave. Then, a few minutes later, the plane loses altitude and crashes into the ground. Turns out that a switch had not been pressed which pressurises the cabin, resulting in everyone succumbing to hypoxia after they passed 18,000 feet. The one person who was in the cockpit? A flight attendant who had stayed alive by using the oxygen masks in the cabin, then three tanks of emergency oxygen. He had been calling for help on the transmitter but nobody could hear him. The plane eventually ran out of fuel and crashed, and investigators later found out that everyone had actually still been alive (albeit in a coma) when it did.
  • Covered in this documentary, there is the disaster of the MV Doña Paz, the worst peacetime maritime disaster ever. An oil tanker operating without a license, lookout, or shipmaster, and found to be unseaworthy, collided with the Doña Paz, which was badly overcrowded by as much as twice what was written on the ship manifest. The collision set the surrounding waters on fire, which some escaping passengers jumped overboard into. Most people were burned alive, or literally cooked by boiling water mixed with fuel. Worse, the collision happened at night, and knocked out power to the ship, plunging the crowd into total panicked darkness. Oh, and the waters were shark-infested. The collision was so sudden that crews had no time to prepare life jackets or lifeboats for passengers. Estimated vary on the number of casualties, but it was definitely over 3500. And to top it all off, this happened five days before Christmas- most passengers were returning to families for the holidays, who would never make it to their homes.
  • Almost every article about the Judge Rotenberg Education Center and similar behavior modification facilities. They "educate" by use of electric shocks.
  • The BBC docu-drama End Day, which depicts five different possible scenarios, in order of the amount of damage they would do to human civilization and the planet in general: A mega-tsunami, a killer asteroid, a global pandemic, the eruption of a super-volcano, and the Large Hadron Collider failing, which eventually results in the entire planet being consumed by "strange matter".
  • This ADHD educational series of videos -
  • The Science Channel has a few shows that, albeit very interesting, contain plenty of horrifying stories. Their newest one "The Unexplained Files" is just one of them. Featuring such stories as a supposed curse of a frozen corpse of an ancient human, who for everyone who came across it, recording or otherwise, later seemed to die prematurely from unrelated causes...
  • This squicktastic footage of a 70cm long worm being devoured by a giant red leech, filmed for the BBC's Wonders of the Monsoon.
  • Ever wondered what the inside of a penguin's mouth looks like? Here you go, courtesy of National Geographic. Not so sweet now, eh?

     Abandoned Locations 
  • See NightmareFuel.Theme Parks for abandoned amusement parks.
  • Schools.
  • Mental Asylums.
  • Houses.
  • Needs no link. Pripyat, Ukraine. Site of the Chernobyl disaster. To quote Call of Duty: "Fifty thousand people used to live in this city. Now, it's a ghost town."
    • An episode of Destination Truth actually got to go into Chernobyl, and found that from the looks of things, everybody just dropped what they were doing and took off. It included a short tour of an amusement park, a scene in a hospital, with medical equipment and notes left on the tables, and cars left in the streets. Whether you believe in ghosts and hauntings or not, it was undeniably eerie.
    • Pripyat also has a nursery littered with cribs and children's toys. Freaky as hell.
    • It's easy to say it's horrifying just by reading it, but imagine having to live through that day! One moment, things are fine, business as usual; next thing you know, you get orders from the news station to get into your car immediately and leave the city as quickly as you can, with no guarantee that you'll ever be coming back...
    • There's a team that monitors the reactor, the reactor's containment, and the environmental effects. Physically, they're OK (except for the effects of drinking too much alcohol), but mentally is another matter. The place is just so creepy that many of them go mad in various unusual ways, in addition to a lot of them becoming uncontrolled alcoholics (even by Russian standards, and Russians do have a cultural tendency to drink a LOT). A special public address system was installed to pipe music through the area to reduce the creepiness, which has helped some, but not enough.
    • In The Vice Guide to Travel, the founder (Shane Smith) travels to Chernobyl with a cameraman and a tour guide, and is told point-blank that he'll die from radiation poisoning if he walks into a certain forest (and this is after the team had taken anti-radiation pills and downed alcohol to keep any radiation effects at bay). After a few moments, the guide tells him that there are mutated wolves living in the forests. Although the wolves are never actually seen on-camera, Smith describes them as having three eyes and looking very fearsome before they ran off into the forest.
  • Centralia. An abandoned coal mining town in Pennsylvania where a fire has been burning underground for more than forty years. Engineers say that the fire could continue to burn for another century or more and spread to other towns as well. Roads have collapsed into sinkholes, houses and shops have been condemned and abandoned, and the town—now inhabited by only seven people—is filled with smoke and toxic gases. Did we mention that Centralia helped to inspire the creators of Silent Hill?
  • (Some) abandoned malls:
    • Notably, the notorious Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, IL (an economically depressed suburb of Chicago), best known for being the mall that got smashed up in The Blues Brothers back in 1980 — when it was already closed. Fast forward to the late 1990s when the Dead Malls website chronicled it and it was STILL standing AND abandoned, with huge gaping holes and a history of being a very dangerous place to be. Before it was torn down, it was known to be the site of several violent incidents, including gang violence and at least one murder. The site was finally demolished in 2012.
    • Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio has been the site of numerous expeditions by urban explorers since its closure in 2008, as well as the site of an accidental death (caused by a robber getting electrocuted after trying to steal copper from a junction box, when the mall was still operating) and at least one suicide. The mall has also been a target of looters, some of which even shot the skylights out, leading to bizarre conditions inside the mall itself (snow covering the mezzanine and center court during the winter months, and overgrown mall shrubbery during the summer).
    • Frederick Towne Mall in Frederick, Maryland has been closed since 2013, but (bizarrely for a permanently-closed mall) still retains its power supply. As a result, the mall is still lit up at night, despite being in a state of disrepair. One notable video filmed by urban explorers Dan Bell and Exploring with Josh, had them freak out after encountering a man standing by the back door looking into the mall itself. In the middle of the night.
    • As of 2016, the mall is being reconstructed, keeping Bosco's and the Home Depot, while adding a Walmart.
  • Detroit has seemingly endless abandoned buildings, schools, hospitals, community centers, and even landmarks. These facilities have been rotting at an accelerated pace in recent years due to materials vultures breaking into these properties and tearing them apart. This and the freeze/thaw cycle causing the buildings to naturally fall apart makes them dangerous even for urban infiltrators used to exploring abandoned buildings. The crowning example must be a half-mile long Packard auto plant which hasn't been operational since the mid 1950s: numerous buildings connected by skybridges (which are either fallen or rotting), frequently burning in fires that can go on for days since even public safety refuses to enter.
  • San Zhi. Cracked put it best:
    Abandoned resort town in the middle of nowhere, mysterious deaths, lack of any official information... where have we heard this before?
  • Remember Silva's evil island lair in the film Skyfall? Like Silent Hill, it too was inspired by a very real place. Hashima Island, located about nine miles off shore from the city of Nagasaki. A former coal mining operation on the island, the small city that sprang up on the island was abandoned after Japan switched from coal to oil power in the 1960's and was closed to all for thirty five years. After those thirty five years, it was re-opened to the public. The island is full of crumbling concrete multi-story and closely placed buildings. It looks like a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie.
  • In a not-quite abandoned case: this story about a home in the Canary Islands that once the neighbors called the police to make a check, was discovered to house a roughly 7 foot tall, 22 foot long wasp nest. The sheer size of the thing is horrifying enough, but when you consider how long it would have taken to build & the fact that authorities can't seem to find the owner of the home...
  • The Rubber Bowl Football Stadium in Akron, Ohio. Once the home of countless high school football games, concerts, and political rallies, it was perhaps best-known as the home of the University of Akron Zips football team between 1940 and 2008, before the Zips moved to a new on-campus stadium in 2009. Since leaving the stadium, it has not been used by anybody at all and has sat empty and abandoned, being subject to vandals, scrappers, and Ohio's weather. This all happened because the stadium is located about 3 miles from the University of Akron's campus, and the university showed no interest in keeping up security while in a financial downturn. They did sell it to an independent firm in 2013 who promised to fix it up, but construction has stalled. As of late 2016 it still sits with only (most of) the football field intact. The rest of the horseshoe shaped structure is home to nothing but growing weeds, and danger all about in the form of large holes, broken glass, and a press box on the brink of collapse.
  • There was a cinema in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, England, called the Playhouse. Once a beautiful Edwardian building, it closed in 2005 — it was demolished five years later, but it looked like this for a while. There's something very disturbing about the billboard on this abandoned, dilapidated cinema, that once read what was playing, reading the words: "THE END".

     Disturbing sounds 
  • This recording of a mysterious Russian radio signal. Aside from the Paranoia Fuel implications of overhearing the communications of an Ancient Conspiracy, the actual sound of this is disturbing. Further more, while that recording by itself is scary and while the whole concept of a mysterious radio signal emitting a buzzing sound for 23 hours 10 minutes a day pretty scary, the fact that some of the clearer recordings have background noises and muffled conversations in the background is quite damn creepy.
    • There is a theory about what this signal does. According to it, the UVB-76 signal keeps the Perimetr (a.k.a. Dead Man's Hand) at bay. While it is broadcast, the automated nuclear launch system "knows" that the Russian government and military command still do exist, and stays inert. When the signal stops, the computer will think they are all dead, and will launch a retaliatory nuclear strike against all targets. America, Europe, China, all targets. Sweet dreams.
    • Occam's Razor would suggest that "The Buzzer" and its sister stations "The Pip" and "The Squeaky Wheel" have a much less sinister purpose: it's a part of the Russian Armed Forces radio relay system. The sounds and voices are channel markers to keep the channel from being used by civilians. Alternately The Buzzer is measuring changes in the ionosphere via its broadcast signal.
  • The Backwards Music Station. Despite its name, it doesn't actually play backwards songs. Instead, it plays a series of sounds that can only come from the bowels of Hell itself.
    • What's even more peculiar is that ENIGMA 2000 (which catalogs Number Stations and their ilk) has designated the Backwards Music Station as XM. Now, if you're wondering what's so weird about that, it means that not even * they* know if it's a Number Station or not!. Also, what tends to be bizarre is that often Number Stations seem to change the way they sound occasionally (for example, the Backwards Music Station in a recording on Youtube sounds really freakish (this one was recorded in 2004), while one recording allegedly from September 2009 sounds like the noise a wine glass makes when a finger is moved around its rim while wet). For a nice change of pace, the old favourite, Lincolnshire Poacher (E3 in the ENIGMA 2000 designations, which sadly appears to be defunct) sounds really cheerful.
    • Also, this. There is some Nightmare Retardant at the beginning with the cute little ditty of "This is a teeeessssttt of the emergency broadcast system! It's only a teeeessstt!" And then it quickly devolves to terrifying.
  • Calling a bad phone number and getting that creepy-ass tone followed by "We're sorry. The number you called is no longer in service." Sure, it's fine during the day, but alone, at night, when it's quiet... It's called a SIT tone in case you're interested.
  • Here's a 1997 recording of a distraught man calling Art Bell's program to describe things he discovered or was told while working for Area 51. Two minutes into the call, listen to the silence. No radio program theatrically fakes dead air for nineteen seconds (the silence following the Grover's Mill massacre in Orson Welles' The War of the Worlds was only four or five seconds long). There's controversy whether this was real or not, but in either case, the terror in that man's voice is enough to turn your bones to ice, especially late at night.
  • Emergency broadcast systems scare us - during the summer of 1997 in Fort Collins, many kids were terrified when all of a sudden, the screen goes static after some really freaky emergency broadcast noises. Then all of a sudden, poor audio quality of someone announcing that there is a flash flood warning in effect because of a storm. We were immediately advised to seek shelter. Consider that this actually happened. For awhile, a lot of people would watch the TV in fear because these warnings would hijack the TV and happen at any time. It also did not discriminate on channels - you could be watching Nickelodeon and then the creepy voice takes over... then switch to CBS and then three or four seconds later, there it is again. One person recalled watching one channel - then jumping as the alert popped in. And then they changed to another channel, it was normal. There it was again. They kept changing the channels - there it was. Again and again. The alert WAS CHASING THEM.
    • In The '70s, several stations attempted to ease the frightening nature of EBS tests by turning the text into a jingle. The FCC immediately forbade them to continue to do so. From then on, the EBS test was required to be read in a super serious tone against a silent background.
    • Not to mention the Emergency Alert System of today and the sounds it uses. The first is the three-beep tone indicating an incoming alert, and then the same two-tone alert from the older Emergency Broadcast System. Even more fearful is the fact of such alerts it presents, especially for bad weather where the alerts are always read with a computerized voice.
    • Speaking of the Emergency Alert System, one tornado warning from 2014 was broadcast six half-steps lower than the original pitch. Witness it here.
    • And while we're on the subject of terrifying alert systems: "YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE. THIS IS AN EMERGENCY MISSING CHILD ALERT..."
    • Ladies and gentlemen, a test of the Sydney CBD's Emergency Warning System.
  • The sound that always comes on the radio to signal a tornado warning. Not only does it mean a severe storm is coming, but that sound is enough to make young children crap their pants.
  • Tornado sirens can be nightmare fuel, especially the ones in downtown Chicago
  • Continuing with the "terrifying noises" theme... anyone familiar with "The Hum"? Thousands of people worldwide are plagued by a droning noise, much like the sound of a diesel engine—with an intensity ranging from mildly annoying to ear-splittingly painful. The sound is barely audible, but has been known to cause sleep loss, headaches, sickness, and even nosebleeds. The usual means of blocking unwanted noise—earplugs, playing music—do nothing. Some "hearers" have been forced to quit their jobs due to the mental stress; at least one man is known to have committed suicide. Pedestrian causes (such as industrial noise, domestic electronics, and even tinnitus) have thus far been debunked; worse yet, the noise can't be detected or recorded with audio equipment. The best explanation is that it's being generated by ELF (extreme low frequency) military communications used during secret activities... which, of course, the government flatly refuses to discuss. As if having to share your silence with an invasive, alien noise wasn't already creepy enough.
  • In some areas, Amber Alerts are not the three-beep warning tone. Oh no, they use a tone that sounds like it came straight out of a horror movie. Try not to piss your pants.
    • And then there's the fact that you know exactly what kind of news the Amber Alert is bringing.
    • With the new smartphones, they now have a special option that allows you to be notified when an Amber Alert is sent out. Sounds well and good until you're talking to your buddy or playing on an app. And then you consider what's already been said above once you get over the initial shock.
      • It can be even worse when one is woken up to the sound. On March 28, 2015, Michiganders were awoken at 5:30 AM to an Amber Alert noise on their phones. Most of them would describe it as sounding like the end of the world.
    • In Georgia they have something that's called a "Levi's Call", which is like a high-priority Amber Alert that's specific to GA cases. It is delegated primarily to TVs and radios like most other emergency alerts. Why is this relevant? Because on December 17 and December 18, a Levi's Call was broadcasted over televisions everywhere in the state. Imagine watching the news before suddenly getting that mechanical warning beep and a voice talking about how there's a child abductor on the loose... Luckily the kid was found out to be safe shortly after the second call.
  • Aside from the Amber Alert, few things will chill the blood (or churn the stomach) faster than the phrase "Code Adam" broadcast over a PA system. Knowing the story behind the warning system makes it tenfold worse, filling your mind with the potentially hellish fates that await abducted children...
  • One more in the vein of disturbing sounds: the air raid siren:
    • The most creepy of all could be considered the British Castle Castings siren, just something about it's overall tone from winding up, wailing and winding down is simply menacing. Possibly stems from it being used to denote a nuclear attack in many works such as When the Wind Blows and Threads.
    • Venice still uses its old air-sirens to warn about an incoming high tide, followed by a beeping note that gets higher, the higher the tide is. It's downright creepy to hear these sounds at night. Oh, extremely high tides usually happen in winter, where foggy nights are pretty much the norm. Sirens and fog - you know this is up to no good.
    • Oh, and there's also the Refinery Thunderbolt 1003 siren in Sarnia, Ontario. This particular siren is used to warn the citizens of an emergency at a nearby Suncor power plant.
    • US fitness center chain Planet Fitness uses an air raid siren as their lunk alarm which they use to flag members that misbehave. Hate emergency sirens? Don't consider Planet Fitness an option for membership!
    • This rare deep-sounding German/Austrian air raid siren is scary as FUCK too.
    • Now imagine the German/Austrian air raid siren, except higher pitched and much more shrill. That would be the Japanese air raid siren.
    • The horror of air raid sirens may be attributed not only to how they sound, but to what they would represent in a nuclear exchange. If, God forbid, you ever hear an air raid siren in such a scenario, you will not be listening to a mere warning to find shelter. Instead, you will be listening to a mechanical banshee's wail heralding the imminent deaths of millions of people. Such a sound would also serve as the de facto requiem for civilization itself, as there would be one left to make such a composition afterwards.
  • Of course, there's always the double whammy-imagine waking up in the dead of night to the weather sirens wailing outside, followed almost immediately by this mechanical announcement when you turn on the TV:
    The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning for: (your county/city)
  • Over the course of this and the latter half of the last year, strange sounds were heard all over the world. These creepy sounds are coming from the sky, several people heard them and no one can explain them. Here is one of the many videos.
  • These recordings of an old carousel's incredibly broken down calliope. The halting, dissonant renditions of cheerful merry-go-round music tend to have a Creepy Circus Music feel.
  • Ever wonder what Jupiter sounds like? Well, good news for you. Your incredibly weird inquiry has been answered by the lovely people over at NASA! It sounds like a dark ambient song, and it is freaking horrifying!
  • This is one of 13 sirens for Broadmoor Hospital for the Criminally insane, which houses people like Peter Sutcliffe (also known as the Yorkshire Ripper) The Siren is tested once a week and is there so that people living there will know if someone has escaped, and since most of the people that are there are mostly Serial Killers who are insane...
    • The alarm siren is tested every Monday at 10am sharp- followed by the all clear siren, and the sound carries for miles around. Nearby schools have a protocol that if they hear the siren at any other time, they have to go into lockdown. Students have to wait until their parents/guardians come to collect them, and even then those parents/guardians have to go through numerous identity checks just to be sure that they aren't going home with a mass murderer. The parents/guardians aren't allowed to walk the student home, they have to come by car or catch a bus.
  • A surviving audio recording of the People's Temple Jonestown mass suicide in 1978. Transcript here for those too squeamish to listen, though reading it isn't much better. Partway into the audio, the mic begins picking up the sounds of people crying... most of them children.
    • The tape is mostly disturbing in the "Implied Horror" sense. Apart from the screaming and crying children in the background, it isn't disturbing in the way a recording of a brutal rape, torture session or a slow beheading would be (it's mostly a lot of talking, debating, applause and speeches) but it's the fact that you are aware that people are in the process of lining up and drinking the poison. After Jones' final line, there is just dead silence (apart from weird "music" which is actually a tape artifact and it sounds creepy as hell!) and it THEN really hits you....They're all dead!
  • In Chile, during Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship (1973-1990), almost all media was heavily censored. One of the few outlets that didn't abide by such rules was a local radio station named Radio Cooperativa, so whenever this news ad was heard between 1975 and 1989...
    Random Chilean Youtuber 1: "I remember that, whenever this was heard, everyone and everything fell silent."
    Random Chilean Youtuber 2: "That's completely true, it's the first thing I thought of. We were quiet, something had happened... Surely one of the atrocities that took place in the 1973-1989 period"
    Random Chilean Youtuber 3: "I was born in 1985 and I still remember my old woman's face when she heard it. 'What the HELL is going on now?"."
    Random Chilean Youtuber 4: "I was born in 1980 and my dad still suffers whenever he hears this ad."
  • On the year of 1995, many people who listened to the radio station WKCR 89.9 were startled when THIS came on. Oh sure, it seems normal at first, but just wait until 16 seconds pass...
    • There was actually a 4chan thread that was related to this as well. Check it out if you're curious about this video.
  • Shepard tones. In concept they're incredibly simplistic: a series of looped notes that steadily rise and, after a note reaches the highest octave, they drop down to the bottom of the octave and begin rising again. In practice, shepard tones can be incredibly unsettling due to the brain not realizing that the individual notes go to the bottom of the octave and the tone appearing to keep steadily climbing into higher and higher octaves, appearing to never stop getting higher-pitched.
  • In 1961, two Italian brothers named Achille and Gian Battista Judica-Cordiglia claimed to have intercepted the final transmission from an alleged "lost cosmonaut", screaming in terror as her capsule burns up in Earth's atmosphere. While the recording is generally believed to be a hoax, it's still creepy as hell to listen to.


  • There's a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Pinkie Pie doll that sings and tells stories. This is all well and good... until the batteries start dying, at which point she apparently gets possessed by Beelzebub.
  • The Pinkie Cooper line of dolls. Basically, imagine an over-sized "cutesy" toy dog head on a Barbie's body, and despair.
  • This horrifying object called an "Evil Wand" with a copyright-infringing image of Cardcaptor Sakura on its packaging was found on sale at a dollar store in Ohio. It looks like any other plastic children's wand, but emits an evil, cackling laugh and contains a hidden image of a "demonic child" with glowing eyes and a wide psychotic smile, covered in blood and slashing her own wrists with a butcher's knife. A mother bought it for her two-year-old daughter, but discovered what was hidden under the foil on the wand and was rightfully outraged. What makes it worse is that it was being sold amongst children's toys. What makes it even worse it that no one seems to know who made it, nor why. Also, the toy is still being carried in the store.
    • The relative apathy of the owner of the store that carried the toy, though he is right that it is the parents' responsibility to inspect the toy given its name, he thinks that children are desensitized to such things "because they see it on TV every day". And that somehow makes it OK to keep selling it?
  • The Face Bank is a toy of sorts that is supposed to encourage your children to save money by feeding it. The face in question is haunting, to the point where adult reviewers mention being frightened by it. Here's a video of it in action, if you dare.
  • Any clockwork musical toy that has become detuned or broken due to aging and constant abuse by a child is bound to have a chilling effect on the listener. Equally creepy are music movements from factories in China that has been so poorly assembled that the music that it plays is severely off-tune even brand new.
  • Douglas Fir, a singing Christmas tree toy by Gemmy, looks like a cute concept from the packaging, but when it's out of the box and turned on, it's a different story...

  • The social networking smartphone application Snapchat has fun filters you can use to alter your face or the environment around you. But, more often than not, the face filters are quite creepy and can fall into the Uncanny Valley, like this and this, for example.
  • Old Time Radio Horror shows like Lights Out, Inner Sanctum, Quiet Please, and so on. A mixed bag as often the narrative tropes of the genre, such as the reliance on "Description Through Narration" and their general melodramatic styles can sometimes lead to them being narmy to the point of Nightmare Retardant, but when they are out their best and if you can get yourself in the right mood they build tension like nothing else.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop plots can be rather frightening once the Fridge Logic sets in. Not so much the ones where we see every repeat, but the ones where we don't, and it's implied that they go on for extremely long periods of time. On the order of centuries, sometimes. The idea of being trapped in something like that... Gah!
  • Urban legends in general. The Other Wiki even has a category presenting them. Have fun reading through each and every one.
  • Anything that PETA posts about undercover investigations. Look them up. Not for the faint of heart. The fact that they've been caught fabricating much of said footage only makes things worse.
  • Online GIFs. Average online images could be GIF images and they could suddenly move...
  • TV Tropes in of itself can be nightmare fuel in some ways.
    • Clicking through the Nightmare Fuel pages can actually be quite terrifying at times, as many of the NF pages feature an especially scary image on them that appear right at the top of the page. This means that when you open up a certain NF page, said scary image will suddenly be displayed on your screen, hitting you straight in the face, and there is absolutely no way to be prepared to what you'll see if you've never been to the page before. In a way, they're basically like silent jump scares.
    • And it's not just the NF pages. Even the regular TV Tropes pages can open up with a rather unpleasant image. And there's still no warning for which one it'll be.
    • When you load the front page, sometimes, if your computer is running a bit slow, you can see a subliminal message planted in the top-left corner of the screen just before the main page covers it up. Just one word... "follow"
    • If you put a page that you are editing into preview mode, the page image is shown in the preview, which can result in some self-induced nightmare fuel on pages with scary images, especially you're a serial tweaker.
    • Even certain trope names could sound wrong to some people. Go Mad from the Revelation in particular sounds like a demented advertising slogan.
  • Audiobooks can sometimes invoke this — passages that are already intense or disturbing can be made even more so when narrated aloud rather than simply read on a page. Moreso with a really good narrator, a cast performance rather than a single narrator, and/or ambient background music.
  • The Golding Institute: Final Relaxation is quite possibly the most terrifying "comedy" album ever released. It's essentially a parody of new age guided meditation albums, but it's billed as "your ticket to death through hypnotic suggestion." That's right, the intended result of the exercise is for you to die. At first, this is played for extremely dark humor, as cliche after cliche of the genre is inverted; for example, instead of a calming voice instructing you to relax your body parts one at a time over soothing music, there's a creaky-voiced old man telling you in excruciating detail how much pain each individual body part is in, accompanied by a low-pitched electronic hum. As the album goes on, however, the imagery and instructions get a lot more unnerving, that queasy electronic hum keeps growing louder and louder, the already creepy narrator gets even more sociopathic, and there's increasingly less there to remind you it's all a joke. To top it off, the inside of the booklet is a last will and testament, with blanks for the listener to fill in.
  • Conspiracy theories. Even if you don't believe them, just the ideas like the New World Order and the Illuminati can be terrifying. The "clues" that back them don't help either. The Other Wiki has a list of them. Sleep well.
  • The story of "The Giant Shrimp in the Laundry Room", an allegedly true story told by a woman who lived in an apartment complex which had a huge basement/laundry room that, for some reason, had tons of holes in the walls—she was told that the basement was connected to the water. As she was hanging up her clothes, she had this unsettling feeling of being watched. When she turned around, there was a five-foot-tall shrimp-like creature crawling out of one of the massive holes and headed straight towards her. Needless to say, she opted to move out of the apartment ASAP.
  • This song from the educational website Starfall. Where to begin: The creepy, one-legged, weird-looking zigzag people? The unnatural-looking environment around them, with its giant sun that looks like the planet this is taking on is getting too close, the twisted architecture, lavender sky, and weird cactus-like plants? The humanoid-faced cat? The music, which sounds sad, angry, and insanely happy all at once? The fact that this is the final video in their alphabet series doesn't help; They don't end with a fanfare, but with an acid trip-sequel nightmare. And this was meant for kids.
  • Nearly everyone who can remember the Puppet Show Rimini Riddle agrees that it was absolutely terrifying.
  • In the same vein as the Old-Time Radio Horror Shows example above, we have Halloween and horror sound-effects records, tapes and CDs. Most of them, of course, are rather tame and wouldn't frighten even the jumpiest of listeners, let alone the kids they were meant to terrify. But many adults fondly remember being scared out of their wits by classics such as Peter Pan Records' Ghostly Sounds, and Walt Disney's screamer Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House, both the 1964 and 1979 versions. For most, what froze their spines then still has the power to do so today, and very few might be brave enough to listen after dark....