18 Seemingly Normal Pictures With Unsettling Backstories

Final Footprints


Photo: u/moto2four/Reddit

Posted by Redditor u/moto2four:

Final footprints of a 4-year-old girl that drowned in the pond pictured



Photo: Unidentified crewman of the Captain Theo/Wikipedia/Fair Use

Posted by Redditor /u/neverlearnedhowto:

This picture was taken by the crew of a ship who saw this girl (11) floating on a disintegrating float. Her whole family was murdered on a sail boat by their hired captain who left her to drown with the sinking boat. She miraculously made it to the life float. She drifted for four days, no water, no food, being burned by the sun. Upon hearing that she had survived, the captain killed himself.


The Red Car

Photo: Unknown/Wikipedia/Fair Use

Posted by Redditor /u/98finishing:

This photo before the Omagh bombing in Northern Ireland. Almost immediately after this photo was taken, a bomb was set off in the red car beside the boy on his dad’s shoulders. The father and child survived miraculously, but the photographer and 28 others died, while around 220 were injured.


Mark Jackson’s Basketball Card

Photo: supremecollection/eBay

Posted by Redditor /u/puckit:

In the background are the Menendez brothers sitting courtside after they killed their parents.


Background Check

Photo: u/itsdrummerjake/Reddit

Posted by Redditor /u/itsdrummerjake:

My friends and I found a 22-year-old girl, face down in the mud, both legs broken with compound fractures. She had no cell phone, no water, no food, and nothing to keep her warm. Her friend was dead.

Before we found the hiker, we were climbing rocks in the area and taking pictures. We didn’t even know the poor girl was in the background of these photos! Look towards to right side of the frame in the background.


Mount St. Helens Eruption

Photo: Harry Glicken/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Posted by Redditor /u/Try_Another_NO:

The last photograph of David A. Johnston, taken by Henry Glicken as he left the Coldwater II Observatory. 13 hours later, Johnston was killed there in the Mount St. Helens eruption.


Snake Bite Captured Mid-Strike

Photo: u/gwtrull/Reddit

Posted by Redditor /u/Wolfgang7990:

Just a normal day with a family taking advantage of wild flower season and getting a wholesome photo. Just below the wife, a rattlesnake is in mid strike towards her forearm. IIRC the wife was bitten and survived but the dog did not.

I guess the moral of the story is check the tall grass.


Cannibal Issei Sagawa

Posted by Redditor /u/taramarriee:

This photo is of Issei Sagawa, an actual cannibal from Japan. This photo was taken for a Japanese magazine after he was released from prison due to insanity. He was frequently on talk shows, reviewed restaurants for magazines and even appeared in horror films. He wrote a book on his murder of Renee Hartevelt, and you can read in explicit detail about how his mind conflated eating her to a romantic act. Note: it is not for the faint of heart, it will not leave you.


BTK Killer

Dennis Rader at his daughter Kerri’s graduation from Kansas State University, May 28, 2003. She earned two degrees in education, one in life sciences and another in elementary education.

Posted by Redditor /u/CulturalAerie2:

I remember an earlier thread with this topic and this was one of the most memorable.

It looks like just an ordinary photo of a father happy to see his daughter graduate. However, the guy on the left is Dennis Rader, AKA the BTK Killer, who killed 10 people over the span of about 25 years, all the while being a beloved member of his community. He was a security system technician, a Cub Scout leader, a church president, a city worker, a happily married father of two… and a sadistic serial killer.

The idea that pretty much any normal-looking person you see on the street could actually be a total psycho really heebs me out.


Niagara Falls

Posted by Redditor /u/chebezlcrow4212:

Ayano Tokumasu, a person in a red sweater in the background, lost her footing while posing for a picture and fell into Niagara Falls.


Mall Santa Bruce McArthur

Posted by Redditor /u/grumpyhoser:

The man dressed as Santa Claus in the picture is Bruce McArthur. He was a landscaper for most of the year, and worked as the Agincourt Mall Santa during the holiday season
Between 2010-2017 he would lure men to meet up via a dating app, murder them, and spread their remains among planters’ boxes at properties he managed. He was found guilty of 8 counts of first degree murder and is serving life in prison.

Click here for image.


Smudge The Cat Meme

Photo: Know Your Meme

Posted by Redditor /u/dorkusmalorkus123:

Smudge the cat and that real housewife.

Even I laughed at it till I realized the “housewife” pointing her finger was arguing with a group accusing her of making up her husband’s abuse…the guy almost blinded her.

He killed himself.

I think she’s ok with it, but…I was amazed. Just goes to show what’s hidden in an internet full of disembodied images.

The cat Smudge really is that great though. He’s a rescue.


2004 Tsunami

Posted by Redditor /u/Dodobetes:

This one. The picture was actually found on the camera of two vacationers who were swept away in the 2004 tsunami, which resulted in over 230,000 deaths.


Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov

Posted by Redditor /u/cgsimmons:

This picture of Russian ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov standing in an art gallery about to do a conference, behind him is Mevlüt Mert Altıntaş, the man who is about to assassinate him.


The Bear

Posted by Redditor /u/ReptileRuairi:

This guy took a picture of a bear while in the woods. Shortly after he took that photo he was killed by that same bear…


Memento Mori Photos

Photo: George Eastman Museum/Flickr/No Known Copyright Restrictions

Posted by Redditor /u/prettyfly4aporkpie:

There was a tradition in victorian england to take photos of dead people, often dressed in their best clothes and posed as if taking a family portrait: it’s really unsettling looking at these, sometimes the whole photo looks completely normal except one person looks a bit off, and you only realise when you look closer.

It’s also interesting because it show how normal death was, back in an era where people weren’t hospitalised for illness, and so many children died in infancy. Death was a part of life, and most people had experienced death directly multiple times, so recording it was seen as recording normailty as part of the grieving process.


Sadako Sasaki And The Paper Cranes

Photo: DanB Seattle 2012/Flickr/CC-BY-SA 2.0

Posted by Redditor /u/Neopterin:

Sadako was a Japanese girl who became a victim of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima when she was two years old. She was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 11 and given no more than a year to live.

Sasaki’s father, Shigeo, told her the legend of the cranes and she set herself a goal of folding 1,000 of them, which was believed to grant the folder a wish. Although she had plenty of free time during her days in the hospital, Sasaki lacked paper, so she used medicine wrappings and whatever else she could scrounge; including going to other patients’ rooms to ask for the paper from their get-well presents. Her best friend, Chizuko Hamamoto, also brought paper from school for Sasaki to use.

A popular version of the story is that Sasaki fell short of her goal of folding 1,000 cranes, having folded only 644 before her death and that her friends completed the 1,000 and buried them all with her.


‘His Master’s Voice’

Photo: Francis Barraud/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Posted by Redditor /u/hakoMike:

The RCA Victor logo painting of a dog looking into a gramophone, titled “His Master’s Voice,” was inspired by the painter inheriting his late bother’s dog and noticing the dog being intrigued by recording of his late owner’s voice on recordings.


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