10 Rarest Cursed Images on the Internet

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While the term “cursed image” might conjure up notions of spellbooks and ancient prophecies, those familiar with internet culture understand that “cursed image” refers to something much more benign. At its most basic, a cursed image is a photograph that elicits discomfort through a variety of methods. The photograph might be creepy or grotesque. Alternatively, it could just be odd, nonsensical or low quality. The bottom line for a cursed image is the emotions it triggers rather than the pictures it displays. Below you will find some of the rarest and most outlandish cursed images to ever grace the internet. All were sourced from Reddit’s cursed images thread. Read if you dare!

  1. Screengrab from “Warning from Space” (1956)
  2. Original Source: “Warning from Space”
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: Japan
    Screengrab from “Warning from Space” (1956)
    photo source: Daiei Film

    This image originates from a 1956 Japanese science fiction film called “Warning from Space” about starfish-like aliens who come to earth to warn humans about a planet that has gone off course. The film was directed by Koji Shima, a popular actor and director. Critics generally dislike “Warning from Space,” stating that it’s mostly slow and nonsensical. One critic, however, noted the film’s contribution to the sci-fi genre overall and gave it four out of five stars.

    Did you know

    “Warning from Space” was the first Japanese science fiction film made in color.


  3. Robot Child with Humans
  4. Original Source: Unknown
    Doctored?: Possibly
    Country of Origin: Unknown
    Robot Child with Humans
    photo source: Reddit

    While this image can be found on a variety of sites, the mystery around its origin makes it “rare.” In all likelihood, the robot in question is a toy or statue. With that said, it appears in several Reddit threads as well as a Creepypasta written by an anonymous Wiki user. The story details how an adopted sentient robot named ANTRAN threatened the narrator’s family. The colors of the original image make it look like it was taken in the 1970s, but there are black and white versions of the picture as well.

    Did you know

    Cursed images are similar and related to creepypastas, another internet trend that works off of uncomfortable feelings, although with stories rather than images. Several urban legends, like Slenderman, started as creepypastas.


  5. Crowd of people wearing baby masks
  6. Original Source: “Double Blind”
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: America
    Crowd of people wearing baby masks
    photo source: Double Blind

    This so-called “cursed image” serves as the cover for the third issue of “Double Blind,” a publication that explores the use and growth of psychedelics. Their third issue is specifically about the use of psychedelics as a way to cope with crisis and generate interconnectivity. The cover art evokes a sense of shared trauma as each person wears the same outfit and masks. While some might find this image creepy out of context, it demonstrates the pain the magazine explores quite well.

    Did you know

    The cursed image meme originated from a 2015 Tumblr blog.


  7. Turnbull Canyon Black Cloaked Group
  8. Original Source: Unknown
    Doctored?: Unclear
    Country of Origin: America
    Turnbull Canyon Black Cloaked Group
    photo source: Backpackerverse.com

    Turnbull Canyon is a popular California hiking destination with a dark past. While the source of this particular image has yet to be determined, several web pages state that it shows potential cultists performing some nefarious ritual. Some accounts say these people in dark robes would appear in the canyon regularly, dancing wildly and chanting. Whether or not this is a true depiction of a strange cult or a doctored image meant to scare the viewer, it definitely earns its place as a cursed image.

    Did you know

    The first “cursed image” is a picture of an old man staring blankly at a camera while surrounded by tomatoes.


  9. Dolphin Human Hybrid
  10. Original Source: Reddit
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: Unknown
    Dolphin Human Hybrid
    photo source: u/ElppainipAZZIP via Reddit

    This rare image has no clear source or artist attached, but appears in several Reddit threads. Its status as “cursed,” shouldn’t be much of a mystery. The humanoid dolphin’s hyperrealism is unquestionably creepy as is not knowing whether the girl the humanoid dolphin embraces is real or just part of the sculpture. There isn’t much else to be said for this picture, except that perhaps humans and dolphins should stay far away from one another.

    Did you know

    Sigmund Freud’s theory of the uncanny valley precedes the cursed image trend by generations, but describes the phenomena of feeling uncomfortable when something seemingly ordinary feels off. The uncanny valley is especially evident in dealing with objects that appear almost human.


  11. Katharina Detzel with doll
  12. Original Source: Photograph by Manfred Zentsch
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: Germany
    Katharina Detzel with doll
    photo source: Manfred Zentsch

    While many cursed images are jokes and memes derived from everyday sources, some do have tragic and/or horrifying backstories. This photograph features a mental patient named Katharina Detzel. During the early twentieth century, Detzel became an “enemy of the state” because she performed abortions and sabotaged the railway. The authorities took her away to a mental hospital to silence her. Not one to give up, she made many escape attempts and often spoke out against the hospital’s inhumane practices. She created this doll out of burlap and straw as a way to curb her loneliness during her hospital stay. Unfortunately, Detzel’s fate is ultimately unknown as she was in the hospital when the Nazis took over Germany and murdered people deemed mentally ill.

    Did you know

    Katharina Detzel also authored a play about the hardships she dealt with at the mental hospital.


  13. Solus, the star of calamity
  14. Original Source: Instagram
    Doctored?: Yes
    Country of Origin: Unknown
    Solus, the star of calamity
    photo source: Thatguyshzr via Instagram

    This image is part of Reddit threads called “Imaginary Behemoths,” and “Boss Fight” where posters contribute artwork of monsters and other tough looking characters. The artist edited the outline of a giant humanoid behind the moon. A quick Google search also suggests that the flecks on the picture are a flock of birds. While other art pieces in this thread also feature scary monsters, this work earns its title as a cursed image through its dark colors, sense of foreboding and generally eerie mood. Notably, this post was removed by moderators, making it fairly rare on webpages.

    Did you know

    There are different categories of cursed images. Some Instagram accounts post about failed interior design or sad cooking projects, while other post much more disturbing content.


  15. Angry Video Game Nerd Woody Woodpecker Costume
  16. Original Source: “Angry Video Game Nerd” Web Series
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: America
    Angry Video Game Nerd Woody Woodpecker Costume
    photo source: Angry Video Game Nerd

    This image comes from “Angry Video Game Nerd,” a web series where an “angry nerd” reviews bad video games from the past. One of his recurring enemies is a man dressed in a Bugs Bunny costume who fights the nerd for insulting the video game he’s in. In later episodes, the nerd compares a bad Woody Woodpecker game to the Bugs Bunny one. Bugs appears again and the nerd rips off his mask, revealing a Woody Woodpecker mask underneath.

    Did you know

    An early version of the web series was called “Angry Nintendo Nerd,” but it had to be changed for copyright reasons.


  17. Clown/Sonic by a car
  18. Original Source: Reddit
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: Unknown
    Clown/Sonic by a car
    photo source: Ishhy1337 via Reddit

    The image is appropriately in a list of pictures without context as not much is known about this forlorn clown/Sonic the Hedgehog spotted through a car window. Clowns, in general, are common in cursed image compilations due to their ability to be simultaneously creepy and funny. In this case, the picture is probably a “cursed image” because it is bizarre rather than overtly uncomfortable or creepy. It makes the viewer ask, for example, “Why would someone wear a Sonic the Hedgehog costume and a clown mask?”

    Did you know

    Many cursed image curators collect repulsive images because they find something inherently humorous about their odd natures.


  19. Baby Tree and Stork
  20. Original Source: Unknown
    Doctored?: Most likely not
    Country of Origin: Unknown, possibly Russia
    Baby Tree and Stork
    photo source: The Past is a Foreign Country

    This photo is the rarest cursed image on this list because it is shrouded in mystery. It depicts a sculpture of baby dolls on tree branches with a stork waiting for them. One source says it is from 1930, but this claim remains unconfirmed. There are also a few websites in Russian with this image so it potentially came from there, but this is also unconfirmed. The old wive’s tale of the stork delivering babies comes from several different countries, but probably began from an ancient Greek myth about a mother transformed into a bird who carries her baby.

    Did you know

    Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called “The Storks” that describes the birds as delivering babies to various families, which solidified the myth throughout Europe.

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