“But Kate, it’s MAY. It’s nowhere near October! Spooky season is HALF A YEAR AWA–“
“What is your favorite very creepy fact?”
The good folk of the internet did not hold back and we got a terrifying list that was fact-checked by the wonderful folks over at BuzzFeed and confirmed: these terrifying tidbits are totally true.
There is a recorded case of hysteria in a large French convent in 1844. One nun began meowing like a cat, and shortly thereafter, every nun in the convent began meowing together for several hours at a time. This lasted until soldiers accompanied police to the entrance of the convent, and the nuns were informed that they would be whipped by the soldiers until they stopped meowing.
Suggested by: u/iknowthisischeesy
2. Walking corpse
Cotard’s syndrome, also called walking corpse syndrome, is a condition wherein the patient believes they are dead, dying, missing parts of their bodies, or don’t exist. Some people with Cotard’s syndrome may stop speaking or eating since they believe they’re dead.
Suggested by: u/NotMyShoes93
As one documented case of Cotard’s syndrome in 2008 reports, a 53-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital because she believed she was dead and smelled like rotting fish, and she asked to be taken to a morgue to be with other dead people.
3. Survived the electric chair
The only person to have survived death by electric chair, 17-year-old Willie Francis, reportedly described, “I tried to say goodbye but my tongue got stuck in the peanut butter, and I felt a burnin’ in my head and my left leg, and I jumped against the straps.”
Suggested by: u/Wilgrove
He survived because the chair malfunctioned due to being improperly wired. He screamed, “I am not dying!” before being unstrapped from the chair and returned to his cell. Francis was executed the following year in 1947.
A human body could be skeletonized in less than four days in highly oxygenated deeper water, according to a study done by Simon Fraser University.
Suggested by: u/MattewIcicles
Decomposition rates for a human body differ depending not only on whether the body is in water, air, or the ground, but also on conditions like temperature, scavengers in the environment, humidity, oxygen availability, and more.
The Roman Empire lasted for more than 1,000 years, making it the longest-lasting empire in history (even noted by Guinness World Records). For comparison, the US is turning 245 years old in 2021.
Suggested by: u/TrashbinTerry
However, this number spans from the establishment of the Roman Empire — in 27 BCE when Augustus became emperor after the Roman Republic was overthrown — to the end of the Byzantine Empire — which was considered a continuation of the Roman Empire, also known as the Eastern Roman Empire, and fell during the fall of Constantinople in 1453 CE.
6. Fatal insomnia
Fatal familial insomnia is a rare genetic degenerative brain disorder wherein the affected individual is unable to sleep. The disorder may begin mildly but gradually worsen, causing mental and physical deterioration. There is no known cure, and eventually, the disorder leads to death.
Suggested by: u/BackdoorConquistodor
The first known case was in 1765 of an Italian man who died in Venice.
7. Never found bodies
The bodies of the 29 crew members of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank suddenly in Lake Superior in 1975, were never recovered and remain entombed in the freighter. In a 1994 submarine expedition, Fred Shannon’s team spotted a body on the lake bottom outside of the ship.
Suggested by: u/Omny87
8. You need a lot more people
Theoretically, it would take approximately 400 humans to have enough iron to forge a sword from blood. This is based on the fact that the average human has about 3.5 to 4 grams of iron in their body, and one hand-and-a-half sword weighs 1.5 kilograms (1,500 grams). So 1,500 grams divided by 3.75 grams is 400.
Suggested by: u/Orphangasm
Iron is distributed throughout the body in hemoglobin, tissues, muscles, bone marrow, blood proteins, enzymes, ferritin, hemosiderin, and it’s transported in plasma, with the most being found in hemoglobin. So if you were trying to forge a sword out of human blood alone, you’d likely need more humans.
9. Serial Killers
In 2015, former chief of the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit John Douglas said, “A very conservative estimate is that there are between 25 and 50 active serial killers in the United States” at any given time.
Suggested by: u/iMac_Hunt
According to a report based on the Radford University/FGCU Serial Killer Database, in 2015 there were 30 serial killers active in the United States if a serial killer is defined as having killed two or more people, whereas there were 15 active serial killers if a serial killer is defined as having killed three or more people.
10. Good chance of getting off
If you were murdered in the US, there’s an almost 40% chance your murderer will get away with it, based on 2017 data from the FBI.
Suggested by: u/Capulous7217
This percentage is inferred based on the fact that police cleared 61.6% of murders in the US by arrest or other means in 2017, leaving 38.4% not cleared.
11. Purple Hearts
For more than 50 years, the US has given Purple Hearts that were made during World War II. During the war, the US made 1,506,000 Purple Hearts. The US anticipated needing more Purple Hearts for ground invasions of Japan, but Japan surrendered, and the US was left with 495,000 unused Purple Hearts after the war.
Suggested by: u/Sethey_mercury
For context, a Purple Heart medal is a US military decoration that is awarded to service members who have been wounded or killed by enemy action while serving in the US military.
12. Unidentified bodies
Around 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year, according to NamUs. Subsequently, after one year, around 1,000 of those bodies still remain unidentified.
Suggested by: u/PatheticSwede
Scaphism is an *alleged* ancient Persian execution method that entails the victim being laid on their back between two fitted boats (so that they cover each other) with their head, hands, and feet sticking out. The victim is then forced to eat and is covered with milk and honey to attract flies and vermin. The boat is left out on the water, exposed to the sun, until the victim dies.
Thankfully, this gruesome execution is believed to be fictional, as it is never attested to in the Achaemenid Empire. The primary source of scaphism is Plutarch’s Life of Artaxerxes, wherein he contributes scaphism to a story told by Ctesias, who is historically considered an unreliable source.
For more uncomfortable details, though, as taken from The Wrong View of History by Jack Paraskovich: “The defenseless individual’s feces accumulated within the container, attracting more insects, which would eat and breed within his or her exposed and increasingly gangrenous flesh.”
14. Inverted organs
Situs inversus is a rare genetic condition wherein the positions of the organs in a person’s chest and abdomen mirror normal anatomy. For instance, their heart is on the right side of their chest, not their left.
Suggested by: u/pfudorpfudor
15. Squeak squeak!
There’s a theory that dogs like squeaky toys because the sounds mimic that of captured prey.
Suggested by: u/YT03
Foreskin is used to grow skin for skin grafts. Dr. James McGuire, head of wound management at the Foot and Ankle Institute at the School of Podiatric Medicine at Temple University, told CNN, “In some cases, we can get four football fields of skin out of one baby foreskin.”
Suggested by: u/superpugsbro58
17. Surprisingly long time
The last execution by guillotine happened the same year the first Star Wars movie premiered. On May 25, 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope premiered in the US. About five months later, on September 10, 1977, Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be executed by guillotine in France.
Suggested by: u/OdaSet
18. Male fish are sexual parasites
Certain species of male angler fish mate by biting a female angler fish so that his mouth fuses to her body. Ultimately, their epidermal tissues fuse, and their circulatory systems are united so that the male, “whose single function is to produce sperm, becomes dependent on the female for blood-transported nutriment, and the female becomes a kind of self-fertilizing host.” This is called sexual parasitism.
Suggested by: u/Sora984
19. Belly buttons
Of the total 2,368 species of bacteria identified in 60 belly buttons swabbed in an experiment by researchers, 1,458 species may be “new to science.” One person’s belly button had bacterium that has only been found in soil in Japan, but the person had never been to Japan.
Suggested by: u/BukakeRuinedMyRug
Pretty much every adult human has a population of Demodex, also known as eyelash mites, living on them. They’re arachnids that live in the hair follicles of your face and eat sebum. When you sleep, they crawl out onto your skin to mate, then go back to lay their eggs.
Suggested by: u/MrK1ng5had0w