47 of the most haunting photos from history

Last updated on February 27th, 2024 at 04:26 pm

History is more than just innovations and triumphs. In truth, much of it involves numerous instances of brutality, warfare, genocide, and other unsettling, regrettable realities.

Take a look below at some of the most haunting moments from history.

A starving Sudanese child crawls towards a United Nations feeding center while a vulture patiently waits for its next meal. This photo won a Pulitzer Prize, but the photographer, Kevin Carter, took his own life three months later.

The two siblings shown here are experiencing the thrill of an electrical storm at Sequoia National Park in California around 1975. Shortly after this picture was taken, they were struck by lightning. Both survived.

A photographer accidentally captures the moment a person jumped off a bridge in China.

Joseph Goebbels glares at Jewish photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, 1933.

Anne Frank’s father Otto, revists the attic where he and his family hid.

Che Guevara’s final moments. Bolivia, 9 October 1967. 

A slave named Peter, exposed the damage to his back

Replica dog tags of every soldier who never made it back from Vietnam.

People on display at the Coney Island Human Zoo in 1904.

Motel Manager James Brock pours Muriatic Acid in the Monson Motor Lodge Pool to evict black swimmers, 1964.

A woman undergoes treatment for mental illness during the 19th century

A father looks for his two missing sons during the Kosovo war in 1999. He would later find them.

The survivors the 1972 Andes plane crash.

British POWs after their release from Japanese captivity in Singapore, 1945 

A starving child and a missionary in Uganda, 1980

The last photo ever of Nikola Tesla, 1943

Segregationists harass 6 year old Ruby Bridges with a doll in a coffin.

Windows on the World, the restaurant on top of the WTC North Center, 1976.

Shells from an Allied bombardment all fired in a single day on German lines in 1916

Women and girls using Radium paint, not knowing the health issues that would soon follow. 1922.

The Gadget, the first atomic bomb, 1945

Temporary NYPD headquarters at a Burger King, September 11, 2001.

Chinese guerrilla fighter Cheng Benhua smiling in her final moments.

Leftist woman handing out anti-shah manifesto. Tehran, Iran, 1979.

Pyramid of WWI German helmets in New York, 1919.

Austro-Hungarian trench raiders near Caporetto, 1917.

A young shrimp picker named Manuel, 1912. Photo by Lewis Hines

Kids work in a factory. Photo by Lewis Hines.

Tokyo residents mourning Hachiko the dog.

The Imprint of a Mitsubishi kamikaze Zero along the side of H.M.S Sussex. 1945.

Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic from Nirvana at Kurt Cobain’s funeral. Seattle, Washington (1994) 

The temporary grave of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. in Normandy, July 1944.

Coal miner waiting to get into the communal shower at the end of his shift, taken in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, 1958. by photographer Max Scheler.

Russian inmate identifies a cruel camp guard at Buchenwald.

JFK’s funeral at the capitol. November 1963.

“The Thousand Yard Stare”—USMC Private Theodore J. Miller is helped aboard a ship after intense combat on Eniwetok Atoll. Miller was KIA a month later, 1944.

British infantryman in 1941 with a long WWI-style bayonet affixed to his rifle 

A Chinese lady whose feet were bound from childhood. Late 1800s.

Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family, 1913

Anne Frank, with her sister Margot at Zandvoort Beach, 1940. 

Earliest known photo of Chernobyl disaster, taken by powerplant’s photographer, dawn of April 26th, 1986

Indian Soldiers arriving in France, World War I, 1914

A young private waits on the beach during the Marine landing at Da Nang, 1965.

Little John F. Kennedy Jr. waiting for his Dad, President John F. Kennedy to land at Camp David, Maryland in October 1963. 

A firefighter looks towards the heavily damaged Belgrade’s tallest building, NATO bombing, April 1999

Boy standing in front of fallen statue of Lenin, Ethiopia, 1991

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