People Share Seemingly Normal Photos That Have Deeply Disturbing Backstories

People Share Seemingly Normal Photos That Have Deeply Disturbing Backstories
Image by Dariusz Sankowski from Pixabay

In an eerie version of timing and prescience, some photos are taken just before tragedy strikes.

At the time the person took the photo, they had no idea what was coming. But only moments later--or perhaps moments before--horror lurked.

When the dust settled, the news was written, and the horror of the moment was fully understood, that once innocent photo then takes on a whole new, terrible significance.

Redditor KermitTheFraud92 asked:

"What is a seemingly normal photo that has a disturbing backstory?"

Some photos were taken just before a catastrophic accident took place. These were the final moments of peace before a terrible twist of events resulted in tragedy.

Studying is One Thing

"There is a photo of an American volcanologist sitting down while studying volcanic activity at Mount St. Helens."


"13 hours after the photograph was taken, on May 18, 1980, the volcano erupted and killed 57 people including the volcanologist."

-- God-of-War_0728

The Last Moments of Bliss

"this photo was taken at a nightclub before it caught on fire by fireworks leaving 100 people dead" -- AffectionateBat2687

"A few years after the fire I visited the area and there were burn victims everywhere we went. I don't think I truly appreciated the scope of the fire until then." -- onekrazykat

Just a Guy

"This was the last picture taken of Dale Earnhardt. it's weird because the race was televised and 10-15 million people were watching at the time, but this is the last one that shows him as a person and not just a car."

"This is a replay of the crash along with an onboard (roof, he didn't have an onboard camera) view, and the half-speed doesn't do justice as how hard and fast it was hitting the wall head-on at 190 miles per hour."

"He was the face and living legend of what was the second most popular sport at the time and 20 years later fans who were watching at the time still haven't gotten over watching their hero die live on TV."

-- HendrickRocks2488

A Historic Tragedy Was In the Wings

"This photo always gets to me somehow. Just a couple of astronauts posing in zero gravity happy to have such an incredible opportunity, like astronauts often do. Meanwhile they have no idea that their space shuttle is irreparably damaged, and in fact will be dead in a few days during reentry (which was considered 'safe' until then)."

"It's the crew for Columbia for those who don't know, whose tiles were damaged during the launch of the shuttle into space by foam. No one knew how bad the damage was until it disintegrated."

-- Andromeda321


"A man who swam to his girlfriend in their underwater hotel room while on vacation in Tanzania, and proposed to her with a note and a ring. He died before he could resurface from the water."

"Louisiana man dies during underwater proposal"

-- tojoso

A Dangerous Rustling

"A kid went missing hiking a spot on the Big Island of Hawaii. He texted some pictures of the scenery while he was hiking. After he never showed up at home, his family noticed somebody lurking in bushes in the photos he sent. Iirc, my family that live in Hawaii said the spot is illegal to hike at, so it's not like it would have been a heavily populated trail."

More info, and the photo in question:

-- forcehatin

High High Speeds

"This image may seem quite insignificant, but this was Marco Simoncelli's (#58, white and red motorcycle in the middle of the pack) last race."

"It's on YouTube and there are plenty of articles about it, but there was a crash and his helmet came off. His good friend, Valentino Rossi (also in that shot, #46) was unable to avoid him and went over his head."

"Ten years ago this year, still one of the most horrific live sporting events I have witnessed."

-- Counteract92

Others chose to share the photos that were taken just before a horrifying act of murder took place. The calm demeanor of the murderers are especially unnerving.

A Powerless Infant

"John Edwards Robinson"

"This photo. John Edwards Robinson (yellow sweater) is holding baby Tiffany, whose mother he murdered the day before."

"He gave baby Tiffany to his brother, saying she was adopted. His brother, along with Tiffany, didn't find out the truth for 15 years."

-- ReasonableMess_54

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A Brutal Scheme

"2 brothers smiling, kevin and bart whitaker. Hours later after arriving home from dinner, Bart killed Kevin and his mother after conspiring with a friend. He tried to kill his father as well, but he survived."

"It's a horrible story. I don't know what became of Bart though, all I know is that his father somehow found the courage to forgive him."

-- XxxLady_BlancxxX

Playing the Part

"The Lawson Family Portrait always makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Wikipedia tells their awful tale, which has been memorialized in murder ballads. Dressed in their finest, a picture made for the holidays, and no one knowing that the father would kill most of the family days later. Brutal stuff."

-- officialspoon

Seconds Before

"I've posted this before: A politician at an election rally"

"Last photo of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Taken moments before a suicide bomber, (wearing orange flowers, lower left, also on the inset, top left) hugged him bent down and touched his feet and detonated her bomb."

-- tinkrman

Way Too Calm

"This is a photo of Tyler Hadley holding a cup in a party at his house."

"Just before this party he had murdered his mother and father and hid their bodies in the master bedroom."

"Murder of Blake and Mary Jo-Hadley"

"Tyler Hadley's Killer Party"

-- your-playboy

The Yosemite Killer

"These photos were found and developed after the three women went missing near Yosemite National Park. Turns out they had been murdered by serial killer Carey Stayner."

"Carole Sund, her teenage daughter Juli Sund and their friend Silvina Pelosso; and later naturalist Joie Ruth Armstrong were all murdered shortly after these photos were taken."

-- nutmegtell

Broken Down

"Brandon Price. The picture in the article is the only known picture of him. He was living with his grand parents and being abused. He was dead when his grand mother brought him to the hospital. She has been charged and the last I heard was still awaiting trial in his death. The community took up donations to pay for his burial and headstone."

"He looks completely demoralized in the picture and I've always felt so bad for the guy."

-- Wastedgent

The Details Are Shocking

"If you're British, and of a certain age, you'll probably be as haunted by this grainy image as I am. I still distinctly remember the first time I saw it."

"At the time, James Bulger was only missing, and it was regarded as a cause for optimism that he was last seen with other children. The truth was far worse than anyone imagined, and still inspires a visceral reaction unlike any other crime in my lifetime."

-- GoodLordChokeAnABomb

It's important to remember how many other, not terrifying photographs are being taken every single second. It's nice to know these kind of eerie premonitions are not commonplace.

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