60+ Scary Facts (That Are True!) Destined To Give You Nightmares

60+ Scary Facts That Will Absolutely Give You Nightmares

May 5, 2020 Updated October 26, 2021

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Hey, freaks! If you’re here, you likely enjoy being frightened or weirded out. Maybe scary things just don’t give you goosebumps. Maybe you can look at bugs crawling over a body all day and not feel itchy and uncomfortable. You might even find Halloween things funny. If so, congratulations: You’re a flippin’ psychopath. Just collecting these scary facts and interesting trivia left us with the heebie-jeebies. Everyone has their kryptonite.

Maybe true crime shows have you asking your boyfriend to hold your hand on midnight trips to the loo. Perhaps even the sight of Britney Spears with the ginormous banana yellow snake left you covering your eyes and begging someone to change the channel. Maybe you’re quietly obsessed with that la lechuza myth. Whatever weird-assed thing makes you squirm, we guarantee there’s something on this list of scary facts that will freak you out and will make for a terrifying game night. That’s obviously your kind of thing or you wouldn’t have clicked the link. Enjoy your willies.

Warning: This stuff is some combination of gross, haunting, or paranoia-inducing. You’re on your own with any lasting issues caused by these facts. But if you want even more creepiness in your life, check out our eerie pages on short scary stories, weird facts, and more. 

Scary Facts to Make Your Skin Crawl

1. Humans shed skin too. Like, a lot of skin. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) and recent studies, the average person will shed roughly 112 pounds of skin in their lifetime.

2. We could solve American homelessness easier than you think. On average, there are over 17,000,000 vacant homes in America at any given time. Meanwhile, according to EndHomelessness.org, there are roughly half a million homeless people in the states. We have enough vacant homes to give each homeless person several homes.

3. Your cellphone is more disgusting than a public toilet. Your cellphone has 10 times more bacteria on it than the average public restroom. Groooooss.

4. Our doctors may be killing us. Okay, that was dramatic. Please, if you feel like something is wrong — go see a health professional. But, it’s interesting (read: terrifying) to know that roughly 250,000 deaths are caused by medical error each year.

5. We’ve found the most terrifying defense mechanism. Horned lizards squirt blood from their eyes as a defense mechanism.

6. You could be trapped in a coma-like state and be aware of it. Locked-in Syndrome might just be the most terrifying medical condition. It’s when you’re stuck between being asleep and awake. You know you’re awake and can hear and see things around you. However, can’t talk and can only move your eyes, so you’re unable to respond to anything.

7. Your cat may sense when you’re dying. A pet cat, named Oscar, resided in a nursing home and was believed to be able to tell when one of the residents would soon die. He’d sleep beside them until they passed.

8. Rat Kings are real (and even harder to look at than the Tiger King). When a group of rats living in close quarters get their tails tangled together (this can happen for many reasons), they’re called a “rat king.”

9. Never say you’re being “eaten alive” by mosquitos, again. That was an actual method of execution. Scaphism was an ancient form of torture and execution where you’d cover someone with honey, stick them in a hollowed log, and let nature run its course.

10. Pine trees have proven that they can grow inside the body. Doctors recently went into surgery to remove what they thought was a tumor. It turned out to be a fir tree growing in the man’s lungs.

11. There might be a haunted Russian radio station. UVB-76 is a low-frequency radio station that has been broadcasting since 1982. No one knows where the broadcast is originating. It’s mostly just a buzzing noise with an occasional Russian voice transmission.

12. Your child is exactly as creepy as you think they are. Twenty percent of children report hearing voices. It could be imaginary friends. Or…

13. Attack of The Killer Bees might not be too far from the truth. The Japanese giant hornet has venom so powerful, it’s said to “melt” human flesh.

14. One-third of murders go unsolved in the United States. Is there anything else that needs to be said?

15. More than 80 million bacteria are exchanged in a single kiss. Think about that next time you give your date a kiss. Is it really worth it?

16. There was a chicken called Mike the Headless Chicken that lived for 18 months after its head was cut off.

17. Babies grow mustaches in the womb that then spread to cover their entire body in hair called Lanugo. The body hair keeps them warm and helps regulate body temperature. Don’t worry, they shed it before birth.

18. It takes the death of 27,000 trees daily to make toilet paper for humans.

19. Mice and rats can spread at least 35 different diseases to humans. These infections include salmonellosis, hantavirus, and rat-bite fever.

20. Crows are so intelligent they can recognize a human face. So don’t get one mad, okay?

21. We all have teeny tiny mites living on our eyelashes.

22. The Catacombs of Paris hold the bones and remains of nearly six million people.

23. The Pacu fish from South America has human-like teeth. Yeah, stuff of nightmares.

24. With all the explosions, movement, combustion, and mayhem, the universe is still completely silent. That’s because there’s no air for the sound to travel through vibrations as it does on Earth.

25. An astronaut’s footprint on the moon can remain there for a million years.

26. You can actually fit all the planets in the Solar System (sorry, not you Pluto) in the space between the Earth and the Moon. Think about that one.

27. According to the Science journal back in 2015, an average of 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enter the oceans every year.

28. According to DoSomething.org, 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage, stormwater, and industrial waste are dumped into US water every year.

29. There exists in the Czech Republic a small Roman Catholic chapel called the Sedlec Ossuary. What makes this church different? Its decorations are made from human bones. The ossuary is estimated to hold the skeletons of 40,000 to 70,000 people.

30. If you thought the Poltergeist movies were terrifying, wait until you hear what happened after they were filmed. Legend of a curse plagues the franchise due to four deaths among the cast: Dominique Dunne (Dana Freeling), Heather O’Rourke (Carol Ann Freeling), Will Sampson (Taylor, good spirit), and Julian Beck (Kane, evil spirit). Dunne, who was 22 at the time, tragically died at the abusive hands of her boyfriend. And O’Rourke was only 12 when she died unexpectedly from septic shock caused by a bowel obstruction.

31. In the 1800s, dentures were made out of the real teeth of deceased people.

32. The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland is iconic, but its history is a little spooky. When the ride was first built in the 1960s, fake skeletons looked, well, really fake. Disney’s Imagineers (aka “imaginative” “engineers”) weren’t satisfied, so they reached out to UCLA’s anatomy department for the real deal. As technology improved and fake skeletons began to look more authentic, the real skeletons were reportedly given a proper burial.

33. Want to visit the most haunted island in the world? You’ll have to travel to Italy. Poveglia reportedly holds the title, attributed largely to the fact that massive numbers of people dying of the plague were quarantined there in the 18th century. It was also used at one point as a mental asylum.

34. Before the advent of cups and bowls, people in ancient England used hollowed-out human skulls to hold their food and drink.

35. In 2017, homicide archivist Thomas Hargrove estimated that there are more than 2,000 serial killers currently at large.

36. Got climate change deniers in your life? Tell them that 2019 ​was the second warmest year on record. And not just that, the five warmest years between 1880 and 2019 have all been since 2015.

37. It would only cost the United States $140​ billion per year to make changes to adapt to our warming climate. Just as a comparison, the U.S. spent $718.69 billion on its military in 2019 alone.

38. The golden poison dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis) is the size of a paperclip, adorable, and can kill you with a single touch. In fact, just one frog has enough lethal poison in its skin to kill 10 to 15 people.

39. Lady Bugs are known to eat their own larvae to ensure the survival of the other larvae. Think of it as population control on a smaller scale.

40. Pigs can eat an entire human body, mostly because they’ll just eat anything.

41. A human head remains conscious for around 20 seconds after being decapitated.

42. A body decomposes four times faster in water than on land.

43. Within three days of death, the enzymes from your digestive system begin to digest your body.

44. When a person dies, their sense of hearing is the last to go.

45. Dead bodies swell up like balloons after about four days, due to the release of gases and liquids.

46. When the movie trailer for The Exorcist first came out in theaters, people were so scared, they ran out of the room. Eventually, they stopped playing the trailer in theaters.  

47. The Japanese Hornet is one of the largest and most venomous hornets in the world. A sting from this bug can result in kidney failure.

48. There is such a thing as homicidal sleepwalking. It’s also called homicidal somnambulism, or sleepwalking murder. In 2005, Jules Lowe was acquitted of murder after killing his father because he was sleepwalking during the crime.

49. A rat’s teeth can gnaw through substances as hard as lead sheeting and cinder block.

50. We’ve come a long way when it comes to maternity care. Did you know chainsaws were originally created for childbirth? Before caesareans were perfected, if babies were too big to pass through the birth canal, a chainsaw was used to removed parts of the pelvis quickly. 

51. There are about  25 to 50 active serial killers in the United States.

52. In 1973, two men in a small submarine experienced a malfunction in the sub. There, 1575 deep in the ocean, water started flooding in. The sub slowly started sinking. Although the men were able to radio for help, they knew they only had enough oxygen to survive for three days. When the rescue team finally found them, they only had 12 minutes of oxygen left. Talk about a close call!

53. So, you checked out our dinosaur coloring pages and now you have them — and their ultimate extinction — on your mind. But did you know the demise of the dinosaurs was only one of five great extinction events in life’s history on earth? That’s right, in the last 500 million years there have been catastrophic mass extinctions that came this close to eliminating all life from Earth. In fact, per National Geographic, 99 percent of all life forms to have ever lived on our planet are now extinct. Not scary enough? Scientists predict humans might cause the sixth great extinction.

54. Until the 20th century, human remains were used in the making of medicine. Before you gag and throw your phone or laptop across the room, here are the details: Per Medium, it was thought that ingesting powdered remains of certain organs would help with pain or ailments in that part of the body. For example, the crushed and powdered skull remains of a deceased person to cure headaches.

55. A book written 14 years before the 1912 sinking of the Titanic may have predicted the ship’s tragic demise. The novella titled The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility was about an “unsinkable” ship hit by an iceberg. The Titan (hello coincidence?) also had a shortage of lifeboats like the Titanic.

56. The cosmological theory of the Big Rip posits that as the universe continues to expand at a faster and faster rate, the force will pull galaxies further from each other, then galaxies will be pulled apart, followed by the planets and objects from their stars, the stars themselves, planets, and so forth until even nuclei in atoms are separated. What a way to go!

57. In 1915, Dr. D.K. Briggs of Blackville, South Carolina, declared 30-year-old Essie Dunbar dead after an apparent epilepsy attack. She was buried the following morning, but her sister in the neighboring town couldn’t get there until after the coffin had been lowered into the ground. When she arrived, she asked the ministers to dig up the coffin so she could see her sister one last time. When the screws were removed and the coffin opened, Essie sat up and smiled at her sister. She went on to live another 47 years, although many people believed her to be a zombie.

58. The film A Nightmare on Elm Street is based on a real story reported in the LA Times. A boy was terrified to go to sleep, and when he did, he died while screaming about a nightmare. 

59. The Devil’s Bible is real. It’s a contract between a monk and Satan. The monk wanted to escape death so he made a deal with the devil. 

60. The Catacombs of Paris hold the remains of more than six million people. Its walls are also made of bones.

61. In ancient Rome, it was believed that drinking the blood of a dead gladiator would give you their strength. The ancient Romans also thought that drinking blood was a cure for epilepsy.