Have you ever come across a story or a fact that made you say “No Way!” in utter disbelief? Well, the world is filled with such stories, and if you are a little bit freaky, you probably enjoy getting frightened or weirded out. If that applies to you, you are going to love this list, but if you are faint-hearted or prone to getting nightmares, maybe you should think twice about this list. You’ve been warned! From severed human feet washing up on beaches to a “zombie” parasite that actually exists in the world, here are 12 creepy facts you won’t believe are true!

1.In Ancient Egypt, the dead bodies of beautiful women were left to decay for at least a few days before they were sent to the embalmers to prevent acts of necrophilia.

There is a lot about Ancient Egypt that fascinates us, but few people know about the strange rituals that were common in those times. According to experts, ancient Egyptians practiced necrophilia or sexual acts involving corpses, to make contact with their deceased spouse.

Furthermore, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote in The Histories that ancient Egyptians left the bodies of deceased, beautiful women to decay for three to four days before sending them to the embalmers. This was done specifically to prevent the embalmer from engaging in sexual acts with the dead body.

Even in ancient Egyptian mythology, there are descriptions of necrophilia. For example, when Set killed his brother Osiris and dismembered his body into several pieces, Osiris’ wife Isis retrieved all the pieces, wrapped up his body, embalmed him, and had sex with him to bring him back to life and to impregnate herself. That is how Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, was posthumously begotten. (12)

2. Cone snails can sting without warning, and you may not feel the sting immediately. There is no antivenin for a cone snail sting, and the only treatment available is to keep the victim alive until the toxin wears off. 

Cone snails are beautiful but deadly creatures! There are about 800 species of these extremely venomous predatory sea snails. Live ones are extremely dangerous, and if you pick one up or step on one, they can sting without warning.

The sting of a small cone snail can be as bad as a bee sting, but the sting of the larger ones can be serious and even fatal to humans.

The immediate signs of a cone snail sting are intense pain, tingling, and numbness. Their venom is designed to paralyze. In severe cases, the sting can cause muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, and vision impairment.

More often than not, the symptoms appear within minutes, but sometimes, they may take days. There is a species of cone snail known as  “cigarette snail.” It is said that if this cone snail stings you, you would have about the time to finish off a cigarette before dying.

So far, cone snail stings have no antivenin, which means once you are stung, the only treatment available is to keep you alive until the toxins wear off. (12)

3. Since 2007, at least 20 detached human feet have washed up on the coasts of the Salish Sea.

Imagine taking a stroll down the beach one day and discovering a severed human foot! Such a nightmare-inducing thing has actually happened to people several times. Since August of 2007, at least 20 detached human feet have been found in Washington, US, and British Columbia, Canada on the coast of the Salish Sea.

These detached feet are found in various states of decay, and sometimes they are found wearing hiking boots or other footwear.

As gruesome as the discoveries are, authorities do not think they are the work of a crazy, foot-lopping serial killer. That is because the feet do not show any sign of trauma, and they do not seem to have been forcibly removed.

Despite this, it is natural to wonder why just the feet are washing up to the beach and not other body parts, and why these feet are still intact despite being in advanced stages of decomposition.

Experts think that the answer lies in the shoes. Feet can get easily disarticulated, and shoes act as a flotation device that carries them to the shore. The feet that have washed ashore are from suicide or accident victims, and the shoes protect them from hungry marine creatures. The feet often get saponified, in which the fatty tissues turn into a soapy, solid, waxy substance called adipocere. (12)

4. When underwater, the blobfish looks like any other fish, but because it lives deep in the ocean where the pressure is intense, it does not have a swim bladder to keep it buoyant. Moreover, it does not have a skeleton or muscles, which is why it becomes saggy and droopy when taken out of the water.

The blobfish has been voted as the ugliest animal in the world, but experts argue that the title is rather unfair. Considering everything that the blobfish has to endure, it maintains a decent appearance in its natural habitat.

Found at depths of 2,000 to  4,000 feet, the blobfish has to deal with the pressure that is 120 times higher than the pressure at the surface. To withstand such intense pressure, you would need a sturdy submarine!

On the other hand, many fish have a swim bladder, which is a sac of air inside their body that helps them to stay buoyant and move around underwater. When you take such a fish out of the water, the swim bladder may expand and cause their insides to be pushed out of their mouth, killing them instantly. Since the blobfish does not have a swim bladder, its stomach stays inside, but it does not mean it likes being out of the water.

The blobfish does not have any muscles and it also lacks a skeleton. Their jelly-like flesh helps them to survive such extreme underwater pressure.

In fact, the pressure is what they need for structural support. So, they look like normal fish underwater. However, when you take them out into the atmosphere, they become saggy and droopy. (12)

5. Once you begin displaying symptoms of rabies, you will die. There is no cure, and you can go crazy and experience intense pain until you die.

When you hear the word “rabies,” you probably picture an enraged animal, possibly a dog, frothing at the mouth. If you have seen the movie Cujo, you probably already have a nightmarish idea about this disease.

However, rabies in humans is no less frightening. The disease alters the neural pathways of the infected, changing their behavior dramatically. Transmitted through animal bites, rabies has an incubation period of four to 12 weeks. It means that a person will begin to show symptoms in that time frame.

Common initial symptoms include fever, muscle weakness, and tingling. As the virus continues to attack the central nervous system, it can either lead to furious rabies or paralytic rabies.

People who develop furious rabies show symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia, agitation, confusion, excess salivation, hallucinations, problems swallowing, and an intense fear of water.

Paralytic rabies takes longer to develop, but its effects are just as severe. Infected individuals become paralyzed and eventually slip into a coma.

When someone is exposed to the rabies virus, they have to seek treatment immediately. A series of injections can prevent the infection from setting in. However, there is no cure for rabies infection. So, once someone starts displaying symptoms, they die. (12)

6. The tongue-eating louse is a parasite that severs the blood vessels in a fish’s tongue, causing the tongue to fall off. It then acts as the fish’s tongue, replacing an entire organ.

Cymothoa exigua, commonly known as the “tongue-eating louse,” is a bizarre and petrifying parasite that feeds off the head of a fish, cuts off its tongue, and eventually becomes a substitute tongue.

Females of this parasite grow up to 1.1 inches long and males tend to be much smaller. Both the male and the female parasite enters a fish through the gills. The male attaches itself to the gill arches, whereas the female attaches itself to the tongue of the fish.

Slowly, the female tongue-eating louse severs the blood vessels in the tongue, which causes the tongue to fall off. It then attaches itself to the leftover stub of the fish’s tongue and becomes a new tongue! (12)

7. Elmer McCurdy was an outlaw whose embalmed dead body was put on display and sideshows. People paid to see his body until he was forgotten. Years later, on the set of a show, a prop man thought he was a wax mannequin until his arm broke off, exposing human bone and muscle tissue.

Elmer McCurdy was an American train and bank robber who was killed in a police shoot-out in 1911. His dead body was never claimed, and the undertaker did not want to give up the embalmed body until he was paid.

So, he decided to put McCurdy’s body on display in various sideshows to make money. He dressed the corpse up in street clothes and placed a rifle in his hand. Advertised as “The Bandit Who Wouldn’t Give Up,” “The Oklahoma Outlaw”, and “The Mystery Man of Many Aliases,” the dead McCurdy traveled all over the country, being displayed to viewers who paid to see him.

McCurdy’S corpse even appeared in the 1967 film She Freak. In 1968, it was sold along with other wax figures to the owner of the Hollywood Wax Museum. In 1976, the body was used as a hanging item in the “Laff In the Dark” funhouse exhibition.

Around this time, the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man was filming on this location. During the shoot, a prop man for the show moved what he thought was a wax mannequin hanging from the gallows. However, when the arm broke off, showing a human bone and muscle tissue, everyone realized it was actually a dead body!

After the police arrived, the mummified corpse was taken to the coroner’s office. Elmer McCurdy’s body was finally laid to rest at the Summit View Cemetery in 1977, 66 years after his death. (12)

8. Real skeletons were used for a scene in the movie Poltergeist, and the film’s actress did not know they were real until after the scene was shot.

The 1982 horror film, Poltergeist, is one of the classics. Those who have seen it were long haunted by the film’s gruesome scenes. However, the scary movie has a backstory that is perhaps creepier than what you saw on screen.

In one of the scenes, the character Diane Freeling is seen being dragged into the swimming pool by the supernatural force called “Beast.” Though she manages to escape, she had to first face the skeletons of people buried in the grounds under her family home.

The spooky scene becomes even spookier when you learn that those skeletons were not plastic or rubber props. They were real human skeletons! In a 2002 interview, actress JoBeth Williams revealed that she thought they were fake skeletons during filming, but learned the truth later on.

The producer chose to use real skeletons because rubber or plastic skeletons were just too expensive! (12)

9. The Sedlec Ossuary, a church in the Czech Republic, is decorated entirely by the bleached and carved bones of plague victims.

The Sedlec Ossuary, also known as “the bone church,” is one of the key attractions of Kutná Hora in the Czech Republic. Though from the outside, it looks like any other chapel, on the inside, the Gothic church displays one of the most macabre arts in the world.

Decorated entirely by human bones, the church has a bone chandelier, made of almost every bone found in the human body. The church also has two large bone chalices, six enormous bone pyramids, four baroque bone candelabras, two bone monstrances, and skull candle holders among many others.

As far as the story goes, in the 13th century, an abbot went to Jerusalem on pilgrimage and brought back some sacred soil, which he spread across the church cemetery. People found out about it, and the Sedlec cemetery became one of the most sought after cemeteries in the region.

Then in the 14th century, when the plague ravaged Europe, around 30,000 bodies were buried at the plot. The Crusades added 10,000 more to the already crowded cemetery. When the Gothic church was built in the 15th century, many bones were moved and stored in the ossuary under the new building.

In 1870, the church hired a woodcarver to create something beautiful from the bones. He bleached and carved the bones and used them to decorate the holy space. (12)

10. If you hold a sneeze, you risk rupturing your throat, damaging your ears, and even suffering a  brain aneurysm.

Sneezing in public can be embarrassing, especially if you are at a place where you are supposed to be quiet. However, if you decide to stifle a sneeze to avoid public embarrassment, you may end up causing severe damage to various parts of your body.

When a sneeze is in progress, you should just go with the flow. If you pinch your nose or sneeze into a closed throat, you risk causing injury to the diaphragm. You can break a blood vessel in the eye or cause your eardrums to rupture. Moreover, holding a sneeze can also weaken blood vessels in the brain and cause it to rupture due to increased blood pressure.

In 2018, reports circulated about a 34-year-old man who complained of a swollen neck, changed voice, and pain while swallowing. It turns out, he had pinched his nose to stop an explosive sneeze and immediately felt a popping sensation in his neck. After examination, the doctors found out that the man had actually ruptured his throat! (12)

11. While performing an appendectomy, doctors once removed a malformed brain, a mass of hair, and bone from a teenager’s ovary. It was a rare form of tumor known as a “mature cystic teratoma.”

In Japan, surgeons were performing a routine operation on a 16-year-old female patient who needed an appendectomy. During the procedure, they discovered a tumor growing on one of her ovaries. A further inspection revealed a nightmarish combination of greasy, matted hair, a thin plate of skull bone, and a three-centimeter-wide brain-like structure.

No, it was not a malformed baby! The monstrous thing is known as a “mature cystic teratoma.” This rare form of tumor forms when a mass of cells inside the body grows into various different tissue types such as teeth, hair, nerves, and bones. The tumor tends to be benign and is usually surrounded by a capsule that makes it easy to remove.

In the Japanese girl’s case, an immature egg cell divided and the new cells took the form of hair follicles along with a thin layer of bone that covered a brain-like structure. (12)

12. Cordyceps, a parasitic fungus, turns ants into “zombies,” flooding their brains with chemicals and forcing them to go where there is just the right amount of light and humidity. The ants then die there, and new cordyceps grow from their rotting bodies.

If you know about the game The Last of Us, you have already heard of the cordyceps fungus that infects the inhabitants of the game’s world and turns them into terrifying zombies. What you may not have known is that the cordyceps fungus actually exists in the real world!

It is a parasitic fungus that mainly affects insects and other arthropods. There are about 400 different species of cordycepsbut one in particular, known as Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, turns ants into zombies.

The fungus infects foraging ants through spores and slowly takes over its brain. Infected ants become compelled to leave their nest in search of a humid microclimate that is ideal for the growth of the cordyceps fungus. When an infected ant finds the perfect spot, it sinks its jaws into a leaf vein and waits for death.

Meanwhile, the fungus eats away at the ant’s innards until it is ready for the final stage. Several days after the ant’s death, the fungus grows out of the ant’s body and readies itself to spread more spores and infect more ants. (12)

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