The best and worst thing about a photograph is that it captures a moment in time forever. If it’s a happy event, the picture can be great; if it’s a sad or scary one, the┬ástory that image tells is very different.

Each of these photographs is scary enough on its own, depicting something quite obviously terrible…but it’s only when you learn the backstories behind them that you realize just how horrifying they are.

1. This photo taken in the Soviet Union during a severe famine shows a Siberian couple selling body parts, which the photographer claimed were those of the couple’s own children. Hunger leads people to make drastic actions, but this is simply unthinkable.

scary-1Google + / Julie Mitchell