12.03.2015

10 Photos That Show The Darker Side Of Life

1. John C. Calhoun

This haunting portrait of the seventh Vice President of the United States accurately depicts the body language and cold manner of a man who spent his political career advocating for slavery, which he believed to be a positive good. After his death in 1850, Calhoun's friends dug up and hid his tomb in fear that his grave would be ransacked. His body remained in an unmarked grave for nearly 21 years.

2. Schutzstaffel Officer Initiation

A chilling image, this photo was taken in 1938 at the initiation ceremony of what looks to be several hundred of Adolf Hitler's Schutzstaffel officers. The duties of these officers consisted of everything from protecting Hitler himself to organizing and running the concentration and death camps.

3. Smoke curing a human corpse.

The Hamatsa were a secret society among the Kwakwaka’wakw people of the Pacific Northwest who practiced "cannibalistic" rituals. In order to become a member of this secret society, one would have to go through several ritualistic challenges — one of which may have included eating a human corpse, though experts disagree about the prevalence of such acts.

4. Horatio Gordon Robley 

British army officer Horatio Gordon Robley was one of the most famous collectors of mokomokai — the preserved heads of the indigenous people of New Zealand. The Māori, as they were called, would tattoo the faces of their highly ranked members. After death, their heads would be preserved by removing the brains and eyes before boiling them and treating them with shark oil.

5. William McKinley

This photo was taken mere moments before the 25th President of the United States was shot twice in the abdomen by Leon Czolgosz. Though he didn't die immediately, this was perhaps the last peaceful moment of McKinley's life.

6. Postmortem family portrait.

Upon first glance this portrait may seem average, but further research shows that it's anything but that. The baby in this photo is in fact deceased, as this is an example of the Victorian trend of post-mortem photography. The baby's eyes are thus painted on.

7. A victim of the 1970s Soviet penal system.

It is not uncommon for convicted prisoners to tattoo themselves while serving their sentence; however, in 1970s Russia, many prisoners' tattoos represented more than just a story. In the Soviet penal system of the 1970s, many Russian prisoners were exposed to AIDS, syphilis and tetanus while being tattooed. This is one of those prisoners.

8. This member of The National Leprosarium.

Throughout the 19th century, leprosy continued to be a huge problem in the United States and especially in Louisiana. Because of the lack of knowledge surrounding the disease, the government eventually created a law forcing lepers to be quarantined in their own colony, which was eventually named The National Leprosarium.

9. Two engineers hug atop a fiery wind turbine.

It is somewhat difficult to see upon first glance, but upon further inspection you will notice the tragic sight of two young engineers hugging before their untimely deaths. This horrible accident occurred in Ooltgensplaat, Holland. Of the four engineers working on the turbine, two were able to escape. The other two can be seen hugging here.

10. Ann Hodges

This nasty looking bruise on Ann Hodges' body could have in fact been fatal. History's only known meteorite victim, Ann Hodges was simply napping when a fragment of this fast-moving black rock bounced off her radio and hit her right in the thigh. Though she survived the hit, Ann's husband believes that the media frenzy that followed the incident ultimately led to his wife's nervous breakdown.

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