2017 has been a barren wasteland of a year, where all that is solid has melted into air, all that is holy has been profaned, and man is at last compelled to face the fact that they’re probably going to make another Minion movie. A bizarre and terrifying year deserves a bizarre and terrifying trend, and one of the trends this year birthed was the idea of a “cursed image.”
A “cursed image” is any kind of image that fills the viewer with inexplicable confusion and dread, whether due to the photo’s poor quality or the distressing things depicted in it. There are no real, solid criteria for what makes an image cursed; you know a cursed image when you see it. If you’ve ever looked up pictures of a furless Tickle-Me-Elmo doll, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Not all of these 24 inexplicable photos are cursed, but all of them carry the central feature of a cursed image: the sense of looking on a familiar scene to find it somehow changed, as though you’d strolled a few universes over by mistake. Make of them what you will — just don’t come complaining to me when you end up with a mildly-cursed computer.
1. People often like to say that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Well, I’m here to tell you that, nope, the path to hell isn’t a road, it’s a set of stairs, and every step of the descent is marked by the cackling of these unholy beasts. The 90’s were a truly wretched time.
2. When I’m up to my knees in stress and I’m trying to play it cool, with full knowledge that my pretensions towards normalcy are not helping the situation and may actually be making everything worse:
3. This is a case where the “explanation” actually makes the whole thing worse: the driver of the dearly-departed car below was apparently “testing to see if the ice was thick enough to drive on” (nowhere does it explain why he needed to know this). Well, the good news is, the man definitely got his answer!
4. Well, I know the scientific explanation behind this one. Someone obviously put a batch of dough in the garbage before it was finished rising and, as it rose, it oozed out of the bin like the horrifying, primordial creature that yeast really is. The real question, though: why so much?
5. (me, under my breath) I will not make jokes about explosive diarrhea because they are crass and cheap, I will not make jokes about explosive diarrhea because they are crass and cheap, I will not make jokes about explosive diarrhea because they are crass and cheap … but seriously, who farted?
6. Back in high school, my friends always used to say that shoes hung over a telephone wire meant that someone in the neighborhood sold drugs, and boots hung over a telephone wire meant that someone in the neighborhood had just gotten married. I’d hazard a guess that when there’s a car hung over a telephone wire, it means something like “someone in the neighborhood can’t drive.”
7. One time, one of my students drew me with an angry-looking, long-haired girl next to me, drawn in all black and grey with empty eyes. When I asked her who it was she said, “Oh, Miss, it’s the evil version of you,” and I’ve never felt more fear inspired by a child’s statement in my life.
8. “So, what do you think qualifies you for this loan?” “…” “Uh, you list your personal assets as a log, half-eaten bird carcass, and really pretty acorn? Is that right?” “…” “And your address as “that really nice place in the forest where there are a lot of mice to hunt and cozy dens to hide in”?” “…”
9. Forget trying to explain gay marriage or gun laws to the Founding Fathers, I’d like to bring Benjamin Franklin forward to 2017 just to show him this Youtube video of what his electrical discoveries made possible. Welcome to the future, Benny, it’s terrible and I love it!
10. As someone who has spent six years working with kids and understands the full range of their terrifying creative genius, this isn’t even surprising. Like, you’ll turn away from them for 30 seconds and they’ll have positioned their slide over the Awful Bottomless Abyss and be daring each other to slide down backward.
11. Often, when I’m up Schitt Creek without a paddle, I’ll silently pray for Jesus to take the wheel. Well, this is what happens when you ask Jesus to take the whole car. Divine protection from low-hanging overpasses, tree branches, and road safety laws not guaranteed.
12. Hey, it’s not Joey’s fault that he compulsively vomits in front of pictures of Jesus! That’s just one of his personality quirks, like the way his skin sizzles when touched by holy water, or how he sometimes speaks in the ear-scorching tones of the dead, or the way that his head spins around 360 degrees after a few too many beers!
13. This is a glimpse into the far better alternate universe where Star Wars is a musical and all of the lightsaber fights are replaced by duet duels. Or, it’s a spoiler image from The Last Jedi where Darth Vader’s Force Ghost unicycles back from the Force Afterlife to call his grandson a punk nerd. Take your pick.
14. This is an amalgamation of three images, each with their own perfectly-sensible explanation (fingers placed into little doll feet, airplane trail lining up with a roller coaster, and Harry Styles’ stunt double wearing a mask). But combined together, with this disgusting unblinking emoji over them? They look like a set of pictures you get sent to tell you the exact time and place of your death.
15. Happy couple Sam Finan and Bob Thomas were married in 2015, at the Chequers Hotel in Cumbria, England. They decided that their special day was going to be Minion-themed, and had Minions on everything from the tablecloths to the bride’s car. That’s lovely! On an unrelated note, how do you not only delete an image but exorcise its presence from your desktop forever?
16. Look into this man’s defiant, unblinking eyes. This is a man who knows what he wants and will not let God or the government stop him. And apparently, what he wants is to get pecked to death by the meanest and most terrifying critters under five pounds. Well, go live your dream, bread man. Just … do it far away from me, okay?
17. “Oh, I don’t know anything about Tony’s death. I mean, I knew he was crooked, I knew he was a rat for the cops. Just never seemed like a real tiger, you get me? But everyone knew that, so I’m not the only one with a motive round here. And besides, I got an alibi. You can ask any of my people, any of my people.”
18. The most inexplicable part about this image is why this darling boy’s sitting alone at the bar on a Friday night like this. He’s handsome, polite, clearly has a sophisticated palate, and looks thoughtful. Somebody please get him a date, or a pack of friends, stat!
19. The caption on this picture was “runoff from a chemical plant explosion,” which I think is a very disingenuous way of saying “the first sign of the end of days, oh my god, oh my god, does that thing go to the ocean, how many fish has it killed already, we’ve poisoned our earth beyond all hope of recall!!!”
20. Hmmm, what’s the worst thing about this image: the fact that they decided to take this picture in the bathtub with their cursed-looking dog, the fact that the peace sign on this woman’s pants is perfectly colour-coordinated with her rifle or the fact that, if you look closely, the baby’s thumb is on the trigger? Trick question! The worst thing is the fact that we need to gender-color-code everything, even implements of death!
21. I could go for a “Silence of the Lambs” pun here, but I’m sure my gentle readers would feel fleeced by such a sheep trick. It would be shear laziness on my part or, at the very least, wooly thinking.
22. … So, pending further explanation, this is Pennywise from It attempting to lure me down into the sewers with the promise of a nice campfire, marshmallow roast, and sing-along. The saddest thing about it is that it would absolutely work on me.
23. The “EmoGag” is a choker necklace for fans of the Emoji Movie who want to show their “Emoji Pride” (all ten of them). Or, that’s what I’m going to choose to believe. Yep, this laughing/crying emoji is nothing more than an innocent necklace for innocent enjoyment, end of story, goodbye.
24. Which explanation for this is more likely: 11-year-old kids going through their “obsession with death, suffering and pain that would put a medieval theologian to shame” stage, or college kids going through their “life is meaningless, what’s a GPA, why did I take algebra” stage?