Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Haunting photos and their stories (18 Pics)

Monk performs ceremony on man who died
On November 25, 2011 travelers in the station hall of the Shanxi Taiyuan Train Station in Shanxi, China, noticed that an old man had been asleep for an unusually long time. When checking on him they found that his body was cool to the touch and first aid personnel confirmed that he had died. A monk who was waiting for his train performed a religious ceremony for the old man to help his soul find peace.


Woman and child fall from broken fire escape
n 1975, 19-year-old Diana Bryant and her two-year-old goddaughter Tiare Jones fell from a broken fire escape during an apartment house fire in Boston, Massachusetts.

The heat had forced them into the furthest corner of the fire escape. A firefighter was on a ladder nearby and asked for Bryant to hand him the child. When she attempted to do this, the fire escape gave way. Bryant broke Jone's fall, saving the child, but she died later that night from her injuries. This picture prompted officials in Boston and other cities around the country to rewrite its fire escape safety laws.

The journalist who took the photo wrote, "I was shooting pictures as they were falling - then I turned away. It dawned on me what was happening and I didn't want to see them hit the ground. I can still remember turning around and shaking."

The face of a Kamikaze
Corporal Yukio Araki was a 17-year-old Kamikaze pilot. This photo was taken on May 26, 1945, and shows him holding a puppy with four other pilots of the 72nd Shinbu Squadron at Bansei, Kagoshima. Araki died the following day in a suicide attack on ships near Okinawa.


Terra Nova Expedition
Robert Falcon Scott (standing in the middle) led the ill fated Terra Nova Expedition starting in 1910 with the hopes of being the first to reach the geographic South Pole.

They succeeded in reaching the pole on January 17, 1912, but had been preceded by a Norwegian team 34 days earlier. The journey back was brutal and unrelenting causing the team's physical conditions to deteriorate (many had frostbite and other wounds).

Some of their bodies, journals and photographs were discovered eight months later in October 1912 by a search party.

Scott's last journal entry was dated March 29, 1912, it read:
"Every day we have been ready to start for our depot 11 miles away, but outside the door of the tent it remains a scene of whirling drift. I do not think we can hope for any better things now. We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker, of course, and the end cannot be far. It seems a pity but I do not think I can write more. R. Scott. Last entry. For God's sake look after our people."


The murder of James Bulger
James Bulger was a two-year-old boy who was abducted by two ten-year-olds, Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, from the New Strand Shopping Centre in Bootle, England, while accompanying his mother. The photo above was from CCTV footage and shows the last image of Bulger alive. The boys tortured and murdered him, and his mutilated body was found on a railway line about two-and-a-half miles away.

Thompson and Venables were charged for the murders and held in custody until June 2001, when they were released on parole with new identities.

Man captures his own assassination and solves his own murder
Reynaldo Dagsa was a Filipino politician who was celebrating New Years Day with his family in 2011. Moments after taking this photo he was shot in the head and died from his injury. He inadvertently captured the moment of his own assassination. Through the photo, the shooter and his lookout were identified and charged with murder, so he sort of solved his own murder as well.


Regina Walters, serial killer victim
Moments after this photo was taken, 14-year-old Regina Walters, a runaway from Pasadena, Texas, was murdered by serial killer Robert Ben Rhoades in 1989. She had been strangled with baling wire and her body was abandoned in the same barn from the picture.

Five months before her body would be discovered, Rhoades' 15-year murder spree came to an end when a trooper felt Rhoades had parked dangerously on the shoulder of Interstate 40 about 50 miles north of Phoenix. The trooper discovered another girl chained to the door with welts on her body, cuts on her mouth, and a horse bridle secured around her neck. For his crimes, Rhoades was sentenced to life without parole.


Held captive for 25 years
In 1876, Blanche Monnuer was a teenager in Paris who had fallen in love with an older, unsuccessful lawyer. Her mother tried everything to stop what she believed to be a doomed romance, but it was to no avail.

The girl disappeared and her mother and brother publicly mourned her loss. In 1901 it was discovered that they had her locked in an upstairs room with the windows boarded for the pervious 25 years, never once seeing sunlight. When discovered, Blanche was emaciated and covered in food and feces. She was severely malnourished and weighed just 55 pounds.

Following the discovery of her daughter, Madame Blanche was arrested but suffered a heart attack and died within a month. Her brother, who was also arrested, was found guilty for his part and sentenced to 15 months in prison. However, he won an appeal and walked free to the horror of all in the courtroom.


Volcanologist dies in the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens
David A. Johnston was an American volcanologist who died during the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. This was the last photo of Johnston before his death 13 hours later.

The volcano erupted laterally, sending swift pyroclastic flows down its flanks at near supersonic speeds. Before being struck by a series of flows that, at their fastest, would have taken less than a minute to reach his position, Johnston managed to radio his co-workers with the message: "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" Seconds later, the signal from the radio went silent.

Jerry Martin was an amateur radio operator located farther north of Johnston's position. He reported seeing the eruption envelop Johnston's post and declared solemnly, "Gentlemen, the uh... camper and the car sitting over to the south of me is covered. It's gonna get me, too. I can't get out of here ..." before his radio went silent as well.


Man finds out his younger brother was killed
The older brother of a teenager at San Jose High School in California found out his younger brother was stabbed to death in a street near the high school.

The article I sourced below describes the moment the brother arrived at the school after the stabbing:

A bereaved young man who arrived about an hour and a half after the stabbing cried out and collapsed to the ground in grief, slapping the asphalt with his palms as tears streamed down his face.

"That's my little baby brother," he wailed, before being escorted away through police lines. "He has a father, he has a mother. I helped raise him."

"I can't tell you how I'm feeling," he told an officer. "I hope I wake up."


The vulture and the little girl

In 1993, in Sudan near the village of Ayod, this little girl's parents briefly left her behind while they went to get food from a plane. The emaciated toddler struggled to make her way to the food station as well, but became tired. A vulture landed nearby and watched her as she rested.

Kevin Carter, the South African photojournalist who took this photo, committed suicide a little over a year after it was taken. He had been heavily criticized over the photograph. After he took it, he chased the bird away, but he often expressed regret for not doing anything more to help the child.


Two people embrace in their final moments
In 2013 an eight story garment-factory building collapsed in Bangladesh. At least 1,129 people were killed and 2,515 people were injured.

Taslima Akhter, the Bangladeshi photographer who took this photo, tried to find out more about these two but was unable to learn more clues about them.

Aktar says of the photo, "I felt like I knew them — they felt very close to me. I looked at who they were in their last moments as they stood together and tried to save each other — to save their beloved lives.

Every time I look back to this photo, I feel uncomfortable — it haunts me. It’s as if they are saying to me, we are not a number — not only cheap labor and cheap lives. We are human beings like you. Our life is precious like yours, and our dreams are precious too."


The remains of the astronaut Vladimir Komarov
For the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Soviet Union, the government decided they wanted something big from the space program in 1967. Vladimir Komarov was selected to command the Soyuz 1, and his best friend, Yuri Gagarin, would be his backup astronaut. Both of them knew that the capsule was not safe to fly, but everyone was terrified of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev's reaction to delaying or cancelling the mission.

Though he could have backed out, Komarov decided to stay on the mission, because if he didn't Gargarin would have to go and would die instead. Gagarin showed up to the launch in full gear and tried to convince the crew to let him pilot the craft instead, but the crew (including Komarov) refused to let him, and Komarov flew the ship.

This photo is of Komarov's open casket funeral, where his charred remains can be seen on display. Komarov demanded it personally before his flight to send a message to the government officials who had caused his death. His final “revenge” was forcing his superiors to look at what they had done.


Mother and son's final selfie
Gary Slok was a 15-year-old Dutch teenager headed for vacation with his mother, Petra Langeveld. The pair was excited to be headed to Kuala Lumpur. As the two settled into their seats on the ill-fated flight MH17, they decided to take a selfie together.

Three hours after this picture was taken, their plane was shot down by a missile and crashed near the Ukrane-Russia border. Slok and his mother were among the 298 people killed.

Slok played as a goalkeeper for his local football team in Maassluis, Netherlands. During a memorial service for the boy, a spokesman for the team said, "Sadly they never got the chance to fulfill that dream. But his story and his last picture tell you how dreams of many people with wonderful lives ahead of them have been wrecked.”


The self-immolating monk
In 1963, the Buddhist majority in South Vietnam had reached their breaking point in the growing tensions under the repressive Catholic regime of President Ngo Dinh Diem.

In May of that year, Buddhists had gathered in the imperial city of Hue to demonstrate many issues, among them, the right to fly the Buddhist flag alongside the national flag. The government aggressively broke up the gathering and nine Buddhists died in the violence that ensued. Buddhists were outraged by the violent actions of the government and their refusal to take responsibility for those who had died at the demonstration.

To protest against the Diem regime, two elderly monks committed ritual suicide by immolating themselves in a busy intersection in Saigon, Vietnam on June 11, 1963. Thich Quang Duc is the 73-year-old monk pictured.


The face of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami
Indira collapsed on a beach after finding the body of her sister-in-law, Maheswari. Offshore, other bodies floated by, many of them children. They were the victims of the 2004 tsunami that hit India and killed at least 228,000 people across multiple countries.

Today, Indira lives in a cement house given to her by the government. The photo won the Reuters photographer an award and was published all over the world, but it didn't make Indira any better off. She remains poor and is in failing health.


Love is eternal
The skeletons in this picture are about 2,800 years old. The University of Pennsylvania also determined that the two died together in about 800 B.C.. They come from an archeological site called Hasanlu in Iran and were unearthed in 1972.

The two are both males and could be relatives or lovers. The town they were in had been burned by a military attack. They likely hid from soldiers but asphyxiated quickly because of the fire. In their final moments, they turned to kiss each other before dying.


Omayra Sanchez
Omayra Sanchez was a 13-year-old Colombian girl who became trapped in the debris of her collapsed home, which was caused by a mudslide from the eruption of a volcano in 1985.

Sanchez's legs were bent in a kneeling position and trapped under concrete. Her deceased aunt also had her arms wrapped tightly around the girl's legs.

The workers and volunteers realized there was no way to rescue the girl without severing her legs. They lacked the equipment to be able to save her from the effects of amputation, so the doctors decided that it would be more humane to let her die.

Sanchez lasted three days before succoming to the likely effects of exposure. The entire world followed her televised plight and was outraged that the government didn't do more to save her and other victims of the mudslide.


The Jonestown Massacre
In 1978, Jim Jones founded The People's Temple, a communist cult church, and opened a compound in Guyana, South America. Living conditions at the compound weren't that great. It was over crowded, members worked long hours and were getting sick, and Jones wouldn't shut up babbling on the loudspeaker all hours of the day and night.

A congressman from California heard the reports of the poor conditions and went for a visit. At the visit, some members slipped him a note asking if they could leave with him. He told everyone there that anyone was welcome to go back to the States with him. The problem: members aren't allowed to leave without Jone's permission, which he wouldn't give.

The congressman and four others were killed on the tarmac of the airport. In a delusional panic, Jones declared that the United States would retaliate and come kill them and shoot their babies. So he ordered everyone to commit non-optional "revolutionary suicide." Adults and children drunk grape Flavor-Aid laced with cyanide and Valium. In total, 912 people died from drinking the poison, over 276 of whom were children.


The soldier with shell shock
This picture was taken during the Battle of Courcelette (France) in September 1916. The man is crouched in a trench displaying "shell shock" and what was coined at the time as the thousand-yard-stare, which was described as being the blank, unfocused gaze of a battle-weary soldier.

The stare is a disassociation from trauma, and can be seen in cases of post traumatic stress disorder, though not always. An eerie thought about the photo, people didn't smile for pictures during this time.


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