Want to give an arachnophobic diver a heart attack? Put a Japanese spider crab in his path. These critters have very, very long legs which can extend up to 12 feet. Despite their somewhat intimidating appearance, they are reported to be quite docile and friendly, and a lot less scary than many of the more innocuous looking species that inhabit the ocean floor.
In January 2013, a Canadian student at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver was reported missing, having last been seen at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. After Elisa Lam had been missing for a week and a half, LA police released this video of her last known appearance. Three weeks later, Lam's body was discovered naked and drowned in the building's water tower, and her death was labeled an accident. Her mystery reportedly inspired Ryan Murphy to make American Horror Story: Hotel.
“The leaf-tailed geckos are native to Madagascar and are renowned for their camouflage. This individual is just a juvenile. Many of the leaf-tailed gecko species press their bodies against wooden limbs and trunks during the daytime, and their flattened bodies, fringes, and tails eliminate any shadow, making them invisible to predators. At night, they become active and hunt primarily invertebrate prey.” – Mike Martin
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This one is not so exciting to look at, but it totally wins the bizarre animal contest. It is colloquially known as a “sea squirt.” This is a sea critter that eats its own brain. A marine invertebrate, it spends part of its life in a larval stage where it can swim around in the water much like a fish or any other mobile animal. This is a relatively brief period in the sea squirt’s life. They cannot feed in this stage, so they swim off, find a nice little bit of seabed to settle in on, and then plant themselves.
Also known as "thumb splitters," these vibrant crustaceans are named in honor of their powerful claws, which can spear, stun and dismember prey with 200 pounds of force. In addition to their predatory tendencies, mantis shrimp are also distinguished for their impressive visual capabilities. The eyes of these psychedelic sea critters are equipped with 12 color receptors — meanwhile, humans and most other animals only have three. Scientists speculate this might enable them to process color information quickly within the eye instead going through the brain.
Watch through Blair Witch vision as some poor soul gets hopelessly lost in the subterranean stone tunnels of the Paris catacombs, and listen to him get more frightened as he speeds up his winding path (like he's being chased?) before the camera cuts out (was it dropped?). Then we hear the man either run off or get sucked into the spirit world. You watch and decide... if you're not claustrophobic, that is.
In this video, we have four kids wandering around looking for a ghost in an abandoned school in Iraq (one description says India, but since they're speaking Arabic we'll go with Iraq). The boys are kind of wandering aimlessly through stairwells and empty classrooms for a solid two minutes, which would arouse suspicion under our "Why is anyone filming this?" rule if not for the fact that we know they are explicitly waiting for the lights to suddenly dim and for a hallway full of disembodied 19th century clothes to start doing the Monster Mash. That doesn't happen. What happens is much creepier:
With their spiky bristles between their fur and distinct black and yellowish stripes, the lowland streaked tenrec mostly resembles a cross between a hedgehog and an oversized bee! Its appearance is even more unusual because of the spiky yellow bristles around their head, but gives them great camouflage while foraging on the forest floor. When a predator is foolish enough to go for the tenrec, it will be sure it gets a mouthful of spiky spines that detach from the tenracs body. This small tenrec is the only mammal known to use stridulation for generating sound – something that’s usually associated with snakes and insects.
One of the most bizarre rodents, populating the deserts of East Africa, is the naked mole-rat. Famed as the longest living rodent in the world, this wrinkly mole rat has a life span of 30 years. With two yellow buck teeth protruding from a pale, hairless body, the mammal may not be an eye-pleaser, but it has an alluring longevity-related adaptation that has gripped researchers in recent years: It seems to be immune to cancer.
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A headless goddamned ghost appears right in goddamned front of them. You literally see it materialize on camera -- of all the entries on this list, this is the one you absolutely have to watch (here's a shorter version that cuts right to the ghost if you don't have 4 free minutes). Seriously, your mind will be blown like Eric Stoltz's penis in The Rules of Attraction. As they swing the camera lazily through the room, the ghost just walks very purposefully toward them like it's delivering a pizza, while a long, low moan emanates from its phantom lungs.