We periodically send a number of our bravest/ most foolish novelists to scour the annals of archaeology in order to uncover the most nightmare-inducing discoveries ever delved up. It’s that time of the year again, so get ready to dive in with these artifacts that would’ve stimulated Indiana Jones soil his khakis. Just see the first poor archaeologist to detect …

5

Crocodile Mummies

Mummies are horrible horror movie rogues. If you remove all the CGI magic bullshit, they’re basically slow, lumbering hug machines that can be defeated by a mansion feline with a particular fondness for toilet paper. Displaying the sort of foresight that built them empire builders, the Ancient Egyptians considered this and decided to throw later generations a terrifying curve ball. Enter mummified crocodiles 😛 TAGEND

Just like the weird child who moved into the neighborhood around the time your bird-dog faded, the Egyptians were fond of mummifying animals. Crocodile mummification had a particularly terrifying reasoning behind it: The procedure was performed to worship the crocodile-headed deity Sobek. Some of the mummified crocs had previously been worshiped in life as incarnations of the deity. Others were raised as sacrifices — which sounds like the last thing that a crocodile god would want his adherents to do, but we’re not willing to hazard calling him out and having a multitude of immortal croco-mummies wreak havoc on our pond party.

When the British Museum analyse one 13 -foot, 2,000 -year-old crocodile mummy, they found that it had 20 child crocodiles sew onto its back, like a patchwork coat constructed in Hell’s own style shop, each as painstakingly mummified as Sobek itself.

When a Dutch museum decided to get a closer seem at their 2,500 -year-old, 10 -foot-long crocodile mummy, they discovered that it was in fact not only one animal, but the tightly compacted skeletons of two adolescent crocodiles, which in turn were wrapped in a blanket of virtually 50 newborn crocs . Man, Egyptian nesting dolls were hardcore .

4

The Serbian Skull Tower

The Serbian city of Nis welcomes all of its guests with a lovingly built tower … of skulls.

The Skull Tower, aka Cele Kula, dates back to 1809, when Serbia was still under Ottoman control. The First Serbian Uprising wasn’t going too well, and the rebels were waging a losing battle against 36,000 surly, mustachioed Turks. But rebel leader Stevan Sindelic wasn’t about to let his humen be immortalized on the bitch side of history. During one desperate last stand at Cegar Hill, he fired a round into a barrel of gunpowder inside a amply stocked armory, triggering a massive detonation which killed my husband and his humen … along with all the Turkish soldiers storming their trenches.

Hellbent on posthumous retaliation, the Turks accumulated the slain rebels’ bodies and decapitated them. 952 rebel psyches were skinned, and the scalps filled with straw and sending them to Constantinople as trophies. The skulls were used to decorate a 15 -foot-high stone tower which the Turks constructed right at the entrance of the town.

The Skull Tower was intended as a reminder to never mess with the Ottoman, but this indicated a fundamental absence of understanding of human nature: Now armed with a kickass “blaze of glory” story and a metal as fucking skull tower, the Serbs doubled down. In 1815, they rebelled again, ultimately winning liberty in 1830.

It eventually passed to the city of Nis that having a real-life Dio album cover staring at them 24/7 is cooler on paper than in practice, so in 1892 they built a modest chapel around it as a kind of architectural NSFW tag.

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The Self-Castration Clamps Of Cybele

The myth of the fertility goddess Cybele arrived in Rome around 200 BCE, during the Second Punic War. She garnered her own cult following, but instead of going the obvious road and hurling drunken sexfests, the adherents of Cybele did the … opposite of that. Take a look at these cool, ornate fastens they used … on their balls .

To demonstrate their devotion, Cybele’s followers chose to symbolize the self-castration of Cybele’s lover, Attis by … actually castrating themselves. Apparently they didn’t understand the concept of “symbols” too well back in the day. The scrotum moves between the serrated rims of those vicious-looking fixes. You close them tight, and then, when the fix is firmly locked down, a knife is used to remove the, uh, extra parts.

This self-mutilation continued unabated until Christians started gaining traction around the 4th century CE and began doling out penalties to curb the practice. It says a lot about Christianity’s tenacity that they looked at a dude who worshiped a fertility goddess by clamping off his own nutsack , and supposed: “Hey, we can figure out ways to punish that guy.”

2

The Cave Of Child Sacrifices

In 2006, a looter fell 60 feet into a pitch-black cave in the Belizean jungle. His rescuers detected a large cache of skeletal remains in the previously unknown cavern. Researchers find 9,566 bone fragments overall, most of them mired in a mix affectionately dubbed “bone soup.” The bones were in such a deteriorated state that the total body count can probably never be figured out.( As of 2016, there are at least 114 verified bodies .) And because “jungle murder cave full of bone soup” isn’t terrifying enough, tooth enamel analysis revealed something as bad: All of the dead were children.

Scientists believe that the children( all younger than 14, but chiefly between four and ten ), were sacrificed to Chaak, a Mayan rainfall god. The Mayans believed humen to be made of corn( as opposed to the corn syrup we’re mostly made of now ), so each sacrifice “fed” the gods. Until the gods switched to all-organic fair trade cane sugar, of course. Now the problem is getting them to shut up about it.

1

Ancient Tumors With Teeth

Hey, what’s up? Here’s a calcified tumor that has grown teeth 😛 TAGEND

Sofia N. Wasterlain et al ./ International Journal of Paleopathology
We’re not explicitly saying it wants to eat your flesh — just that it’s amply capable of doing so .

This affront to all that is sacred was find during the excavation of a Gothic church graveyard in Lisbon. Scientists’ best guess is that it’s a teratoma — an ovarian tumor which can start sprouting anything from teeth to hair and bones because its cells have gotten all screwed up and started developing randomly. This particular specimen was discovered inside the pelvis of a woman over 45, who died sometime between the 15 th and 18 th centuries, presumably from banging Cthulhu.

In 2013, archaeologists excavating a necropolis in Spain unearthed an unusual burial: 1,600 -year-old remains of a woman hid with her entire lower half encased in roof tiles. That’s … pretty unusual, right?

International Journal of Paleopathology
Assuming you weren’t merely crushed by the world’s shittiest mansion .

When they removed the tiles and rummaged around, they discovered a calcified, baseball-sized tumor in her pelvis — a tumor which, you guessed it, had budded teeth.

International Journal of Paleopathology
Yet somehow none of them recognise they were living the first act of a fright movie .

The researchers aren’t 100 percent clear what was up with the tiles. They suppose it may have been just inexpensive burial material, but we know the truth: Clearly, some prior archaeologist/ grave robber opened up the poor woman’s final resting place, and then hurriedly reburied the body for fear of the Cronenbergian terrors lurking within.

Adam Wears is on Twitter and Facebook, and has a newsletter about depressing history. It’s really good, honest .

Add some awesome, yet tasteful skull decoration to your own place all time ’round because it’s cool and you’re an adult who builds the rules now !

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