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Nightmare Fuel / Other

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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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  • One weather program clicks like a cricket, scaring any user in a classroom who is wanting to work in peace and quiet.
  • 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 is 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!
    • Its 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 HEX code under the icon, followed by four-notes arpeggio chime nicknamed as "Chimes of Death". The LC variants has softer arpeggio, with eerie four notes proceeding it.
    • 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 a crashing sound. It is 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. Even more unnerving is if you somehow missed the screeching noise and only heard the crash part- which sounds like something in the machine exploded...
    • 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 in Windows Server 2012 and onwards. This version of the BSoD uses a less-harsh cerulean background, the error name has been removed in favor of "Your PC ran into a problem and needs to restart. We're just collecting some error info, and then we'll restart for you" message, and has a big sad ":(" emoticon placed on top.note 
  • Turning on your PC, and then finding a blank screen while the PC Speaker is beeping out what sounds like morse code. Some manufacturers have taken things up to the next level by replacing the beeps with the loud shrill noise of an air raid siren (notably, many high-end ASRock motherboards do this — impressive how they achieved doing this on the punitive PC beeper), a creepy voice speaking out the error in a creepy monotone (premium Asus motherboards are known to do this), or even play unnerving music (DFI actually had a range of boards that played Ludwig Van Beethoven's Für Elise if something on it failed, as demonstrated here). Nothing Is Scarier, indeed.
  • 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 male voice saying "Caution: A virus has been detected". Averted from 2010 onwards, which uses a less creepy version of all of those (with no atomic symbol).
  • 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 an undisclosed password. Some rogue antiviruses (such as Windows Police Pro) use this sound as well. Averted starting in 2010, as it switched to a more normal noise.
  • Avira plays a very loud and rapid noise when it discovers a virus, scaring many.
  • 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. To make things 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. Some of the viruses which are harmless to floppies can and have ended up destroying entire hard drives because they were too shoddily-programmed and expect every storage media to be the same as a floppy.
  • 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 happen spontaneously...
  • 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 tech-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 hassle 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 is 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 Ransomware 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. It is so bad 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.
  • 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 
  • The "erng" sound in Windows 95 or 98 if a program crashes with an "illegal operation" dialog box.
  • The "Chimes of Death" arpeggio on older Macs if they fail to start properly, especially the Power Macintosh and the Performa 6200 and 6300 which prefer to use a loud and sinister three-note brass fanfare.
  • In DOS-based version of 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, as well. Even the very implications of this are horrifying to comprehend.
  • 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, it delivers a powerful electric jolt that immediately fries the laptop's internal circuitry and other components much the same as an EMP would; leaving 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 one saving grace of MEMz is the fact that it is blatant about being malware, having been made specifically to be shown off on YouTube, and gives users a warning to not run it on a physical machine unless you want to render it useless.
  • 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. A similar warning can be gleaned from programs that can run SMART tests on Windows computers. If you get a warning that reads "Threshold Exceeded Condition", that means your drive is going to die very soon. Just as with the above example, there's no recourse other than to back up your data and get a new drive.
  • 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.
  • Typing in unusual text in Google Translate sometimes yields hilariously nonsensical results. Other times, it brings up some rather disturbing messages involving Biblical scriptures and the apocalypse such as the now-patched result of typing in "dog" in Maori or Hawaiian 19 times being "Doomsday Clock is three minutes at twelve We are experiencing characters and a dramatic developments in the world, which indicate that we are increasingly approaching the end times and Jesus' return". Some more examples of this phenomenon can be found here.
  • ILoveYou, despite its sweet-sounding name, is anything but. Released in May 2000, the virus attacked millions of Windows computers. This malware caused widespread e-mail outages and more than 45 million computers have been infected by this worm - including stock brokerages, food companies, media, auto and technology giants. The virus is delivered through an email pretending to be a love letter to the user, attached with a file called LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs. note  Once downloaded and executed by the user, the virus delivers its payoff - amongst many other things, it sets the Internet Explorer page to one of four randomly chosen web pages so that it downloads the file WIN-BUGSFIX.EXE, a trojan. It proceeds to add a registry key for it so that it will run even at startup and before the user even logs in, meaning that you're shit out of luck if you think resetting your computer will get rid of the virus. The virus eventually searches for files to modify by replacing those files with a copy of itself. Finally, it scans for the files mirc32.exe, mlink32.exe, mirc.ini, script.ini and mirc.hlp and if it finds one of more of these files, it generates a new script.ini and places it in the directory where the other files are found. This script contains instructions to send the virus to other email users. Remember this virus as a warning that not every nice thing sent to you on the internet is not as it seems...
  • Imagine, if you will, wishing to look something up on Google, but misspelling the site's name in the URL as "Goggle". A very simple and common mistake that, if you had the misfortune of making between 2004 and 2008, would cause several viruses (including one of the aforementioned rogue anti-virus trojans) to be shoved onto your computer! There's no telling what's more unnerving: the potential damage making this simple mistake could make, or the fact that a domain-squatter would be so malicious. Thankfully, the danger this particular typo poses has long passed.
  • Tech support scams are among the shadiest and most vile grifts pulled in the Information Age. The scam typically starts with a pop-up informing you, for example, that you may have a virus on your computer, along with a phone number for tech support. Tech-savvy internet uses will see this as suspicious and ignore it, maybe even running an antivirus scan for good measure. Those less knowledgeable, particularly the elderly and/or disabled, can be taken in and tricked into calling the scammers (almost always from India, and with Operator from India being Truth in Television, this makes the scam all the more convincing to the intended victims). From there, the scammers will trick their victims into permitting them remote access to their computer, all in the service of swindling their victims out of money. And God help you if you waste their time (unwittingly or deliberately) or subvert their efforts: their Paper-Thin Disguise as a tech support agent will quickly give way to foul-mouthed and viscous little bastards who will try to render your computer unusable.
  • Consoles tend to bring up something terrifying whenever they run into a problem.
    • One of the most notorious examples is when the PlayStation 1 models (including the slim ones) would let out a terrifying Death Cry Echo on their boot screen (sweet dreams) if they failed to boot properly (usually, this is caused by a corrupted BIOS) - this sound can only be described as an outright blood-curdling screech followed by creepy sounding chimes (it's actually a really glitched version of the regular boot sound, but still, it sounds terrifying). Even worse is when you realise what that sound means...
    • The PlayStation 2's infamous "red screen of death" which would often show up whenever it was unable to read a disc.
    • If you attempt to turn on an Atari 2600 without a game cartridge, you'll get this. (If you're lucky, the screen will stay blank.)
    • Have you ever been curious enough as to put a Sega CD disc into a CD player? If so, you'll probably remember the experience of having a woman with a rather unsettling voice telling you to press pause and to eject the disc, as it contains CD-ROM data which can damage the speaker system. All of this sounds creepy enough already, but to make matters worse the kind folks at SEGA decided it would be an even better idea to have a guitar riff that sounds like it's playing from the utter depths of hell.
  • A certain error on Android causes the phone to freeze, then display the unsettling message "Your device is corrupted and can't be trusted" before shutting down. It can be pretty startling.

  • 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. It’s hard to see in the darkness of the domed nest, but the parents know that something isn’t right. Whatever’s in their nest, it’s not their chick."
  • The Discovery Channel mini-series Miracle Planet features a detailed CGI "simulation" of a massive 300 mile wide asteroid impacting the present-day 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). It is actually believed that such an event occurred at least six times during the early Precambrian era, which would ultimately have a major impact on the planet's internal composition.
  • Nazi propaganda films. One notorious propaganda movie, The Eternal Jew, contained a really dehumanizing 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.
    • 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 Belushi, John Candy, and Chris Farley all chosen to star as the lead until Author Existence 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.
  • 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 is one scene where the Edmontosaurus are ambushed by the tyrannosaurs where one literally leaps (like a raptor) out of 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, and the water were infested with sharks. 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?
  • Incendio, a short documentary by the National Fire Prevention Agency about the 1974 Joelma Building fire in São Paulo, Brazil, one of the inspirations for The Towering Inferno. Between the subject matter, scenes of panicked tenants jumping to their deaths, the narrator's Creepy Monotone voiceover, and the spooky synth music reminiscent of Boards of Canada, it's pretty chilling.
  • Before Mayday, there was Air Disasters, an hour-long documentary that exposes some uncomfortable truths behind the world of flight and how the industry is run by utilizing footage of actual accidents, some of it quite disturbing. Particular attention is given to the vastly differing safety standards in various parts of the world and the industry's practice of selling aging airliners to the less safety-conscious regions and then wet-leasing them back to the countries that originally sold them. That in itself is a terrifying prospect.
  • Trevor McDonald’s duology of ITV documentaries titled Inside Death Row which see him interview prisoners with death sentences in Indiana State Penitentiary expectedly document his encounters with many disturbing and vile characters. The second documentary sees McDonald come face to face with William Clyde Gibson, an utterly remorseless serial killer who candidly recounts his various killings to a barely straight-faced Trevor, and bluntly dismisses the possibility of having any degree of humanity, giggling like a jolly hick all the while.

    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 hearing a 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... The tone is called 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.
  • The Emergency Broadcast/Alert System is actually kind of designed to scare us. With good reason, too — the notices they carry are often of approaching conditions that are dangerous, sometimes life-threatening, and necessary precautions need to be taken. Of course, just because they're kind of designed to be scary doesn't mean it's always appreciated...
    • One example: during the summer of 1997 in Fort Collins, many kids were terrified when all of a sudden, the screen went static after some really freaky emergency broadcast noises. Then all of a sudden came poor audio quality of someone announcing that there was a flash flood warning in effect because of a storm. The kids (and presumably other residents in the area) were immediately advised to seek shelter. Consider that this actually happened. Some people would actually watch the TV in fear due to these warnings seemingly hijacking the TV, and they can happen at any time. Thanks to the way these alerts are designed, they also do 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, then changing to another channel Initially, it was normal, but soon there it was again. They kept changing the channels - there it was. Again and again. The alert WAS CHASING THEM. (It's actually supposed to do this, in order to alert as mny people as possible no matter what channel they they're watching. Still, it's highly unsettling.)
    • In The '70s, several stations attempted to ease the frightening nature of EBS tests by turning the text into a jingle. This carried on until about 1976, when the FCC forbade all stations 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 fake ones on YouTube, usually involving zombie attacks. They’re enough to give anyone nightmares.
“...the bodies of the dead are rising from their graves and attacking the living. Do not approach or apprehend these bodies...”
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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! Think that's bad? Meet Saturn. Sweet dreams!
  • 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 in place so that people living in the area will know if someone has escaped: important since most of the inmates there are extremely dangerous serial murderers and rapists. 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 or guardians come to collect them, and even then, said parents and guardians have to go through numerous identity checks just to be sure that their children aren't being handed over to a murderer. Furthermore, they aren't allowed to walk the student(s) home: they have to come by car or catch a bus to minimise the risk of being attacked.
  • 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, the sheer terror in the woman's voice means it's still creepy as hell.
  • Operation Wandering Soul. This audio, also known as Ghost Tape Number 10, was created by the US military during the Vietnam war. For those curious as to why they made the audio the way it is, there is a common belief among the Vietnamese that once a person is dead the remains must be placed in an ancestral burial ground or that person will forever wander aimlessly in space. The audio itself is of a man, presumably dead, screaming in agony end on end. The man then notices the comrades, implied to be his "friends", and tells them that he is dead and in Hell. He then proceeds to tell his "friends" to go back home unless they want to end up like him. The audio ended up being so successful during the war that one soldier recalled 150 Viet Cong rushing down a mountain after two soldiers played the audio there. It's not just the Charlies that's affected tho. Reading the transcript is enough to upset any Buddhist folk, particularly those who have just lost a loved one recently. One imagines it would be taken up to high levels if the loved one perished serving his/her country. Indeed, the PSYOP crew were warned to not broadcast the tape within earshot of friendly South Vietnamese soldiers as it also effectively demoralizes them, and there are anecdotes of innocent civilians becoming really upset upon hearing the broadcast. Another anecdote tells of the tape accidentally being broadcast within earshot of some Laotian soldiers at the borders, and the soldiers were so freaked out that they hastily abandoned their positions. The writing is just that powerful.
  • So you live in a quaint town called Ipswich in the UK. It’s a nice place, lively in the daytime and lots of things to do. But then one night you suddenly start hearing Creepy Children Singing an Ironic Nursery Tune: It's Raining, It's Pouring. It always happens in the dark of the night, sometimes past midnight. And worse of all, it sounds like a young GLaDOS gleefully singing. You start to question your sanity at first. Then when you finally have the guts to bring it up in a conversation with your neighbors, you find to your relief you're not the only one, except now there's a rumor going around that it's a sign that a murderous psychopath is in town. Thankfully, it eventually surfaced that a surveillance system at a nearby warehouse was being tripped off by spiders building cobwebs near the sensors, but why the warehouse owners chose such a weird and disturbing alarm system is a Riddle for the Ages. Still don't think it as scary? Here's the obligatory recording.
  • The purpose of a cockpit voice recorder, or CVR (a.k.a one of the major components of the so-called "black box") is to aid in air crash investigations to help investigators figure out what made the plane go down. Nevertheless, they're downright chilling, especially if the accident involved multiple deaths. Here's a database full of recordings and transcripts from various doomed flights. But be warned, if you don't already have a fear of flying, you might now.
    • The sound of imminent death: "WHOOP WHOOP PULL UP!" Now with a Youtube link, along with a few other disturbing alarms.
    • A particularily terrifying example is the 1985 Japan Airlines Flight 123 disaster, where a rear bulkhead that was improperly repaired seven years prior exploded, causing the tail to blow clean off and the plane's hydraulics system to completely sever, thus making the plane uncontrollable. The pilots, miraculously, managed to keep the plane in the air for over a half an hour before finally crashing into Mount Osutaka. Only 4 of the 524 passengers and crew members on board survived. The drone of the alarm, the flight attendant over the intercom, the sickening crunching sounds of the impact... the CVR spares no details whatsoever.
    • A more low-key but no less terrifying example would be LOT Polish Airlines Flight 5055, which crashed after the engine's turbine disc exploded and the pilots struggled to keep the plane in the air before it suddenly nose-dived into the forest and killed everyone on board. The recording is comparatively uneventful, but near the end when the plane suddenly dips, the pilot has this to say...
    Pilot: Goodnight! Goodbye!! Bye, we perish!! note 


  • 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. And on that note, a manufacturing error left a batch of Princess Cadence dolls of the same toy series having voice pitch issues even with fresh batteries. Enjoy your husky-voiced Princess!
  • 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...
  • Ever been to the American Museum of Natural History before and been to the Irma and Paul Milstein Family Hall of Ocean Life or the Hall of Biodiversity? Then chances are that you've seen the two rather terrifying models of the infamous Giant Squid before. The one in the Hall of Ocean Life has a Giant Squid fighting against a Sperm whale, clinging to its face. Do you have a fear of the dark? Well, this one is in almost complete darkness. And just to make matters worse, the glass between the viewer and the exhibit is missing, meaning you can reach out and put your hand close to them if you feel like being brave enough. Thankfully, it's hidden behind a staircase, so if you know where it is, you can avoid it The one in the Hall of Biodiversity is arguably even worse, since you can't avoid it. Do you want to avoid it completely? Too bad; this one hangs from the ceiling and you are required to hang underneath it. Fun fact; this actually scared Arthur C. Clarke as a child. Yes, that Arthur C. Clarke. It really drives the point home that both of these models are terrifying.


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