Guide Suspicions: 25 Dark and Disturbing Stories

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David Gilmour's guitar whips up a frenzy in response, but soon the music returns to the hushed, eerie lull that proceeded the violent interlude. Something dreadful has happened, and we're left to imagine it. One-hit wonders Bloodrock improbably scored a Top 40 hit with a gruesome, eight-and-a-half minute, first-person account of dying.

The hard rockers' music resembles a British ambulance siren and the lyrics describe the gory aftermath of a plane crash as a man is tended to by an EMT. He feels "something warm flowing down [his] fingers," he tries to move his arm but when he looks he sees "there's nothing there. No wonder gloom-rock poet laureate Nick Cave has been covering the song for more than 30 years. Shock rock's greatest act could add any number of songs to a list of truly frightening songs — "Dead Babies" about child neglect , "The Ballad of Dwight Fry" an insider's view of going mad , "Sick Things" sick things — but it's one of Alice Cooper's at least three!

In a Rolling Stone interview , Alice Cooper shrugged off the tune's shock value. If I cut my arm off and ate it, OK, that would be shocking. But you can only do it twice. The lyrics were directly sourced and spliced from a written testament by artist Blaster Al Ackerman — who served as a medic in Vietnam, and later in a burn victim unit at a hospital, where he cared for a woman who was scorched from her waist to her face.

The song was cowritten by Cave and his then-girlfriend Anita Lane, interpolating tonal elements of American Southern Gothic into roiling, cartoonish art-rock. Although the band fell apart just a year later, the Birthday Party influenced gothic rock by incorporating disparate strands of blues and rockabilly to eerie effect. Just another Springsteen song about a boy and a car and a girl. Bruce had given a voice to desperate souls before, but those were usually good people fallen on hard times. Although Metallica were underground trendsetters for the early half of the Eighties, they broke into mainstream consciousness in with "One," a single about a quadriplegic solider asking to die.

He eventually headbangs Morse code on his pillow, asking his doctors to kill him. For Metallica, that story — set against machine-gun thrash riffs for nearly eight minutes — made for an unlikely Top 40 hit, an unforgettable music video using footage from the movie and a Grammy win. A tale told by a bog witch of the highest order. In the lead single from her album, To Bring You My Love , Polly Jean Harvey transforms into a beguiling, filicidal mother from a swampy underworld, beckoning her daughter back from the river she drowned in. The music video sees Harvey undulating to a sinister cha-cha rhythm and thrashing underwater in a red satin dress: She genuinely struggled to come up to the surface, she told Spin , thanks to the weight of her hefty black wig.

The low drone that opens Scott Walker's track "Farmer In The City" only hints at the plainly laid out horror that's going to come. The pop idol turned experimental miserablist has the sort of voice that can't be described using simple terms like "haunting" or "funereal" — he has a precisely calibrated moan with a vibrato, and the pitch-black music he's released in the past two decades has used his voice, and his bleak outlook, to arresting effect. Over a tense, spare arrangement by the Sinfonia of London, Walker wails his abstract interpretation of the Italian film director and intellectual Pier Paolo Pasolini's final thoughts he was murdered in Nearly every Nick Cave song is scary; few artists have dedicated themselves to the grim and macabre like the Australian Bad Seeds leader.

In the mid Nineties he tasked himself with writing and recording the self-explanatory album Murder Ballads , whose songs claimed the lives of dozens upon dozens of hapless fictional victims. This dramatic monologue from a nosy neighbor is set to a palette of eerie sound effects — subdued metallic clangs, low-rent electronic flutters — that would be the envy of any haunted house designer. Always a creepy dude not for nothing did Francis Ford Coppola cast him as the bug-gobbling Renfield in his take on Dracula , Tom Waits wheezes here like he's shining a flashlight underneath his chin to spook an edgy campfire scout troop.

In fact, they way he repeatedly intones, "What's he building in there? At least until the unsettling coda, where we hear the whistling from the home of the eccentric builder for ourselves. Eminem's revenge fantasia "'97 Bonnie And Clyde" was an upbeat yet horrifying track where the bleached-blonde MC detailed a father-daughter trip to the beach, with some hints that "Mama," in the trunk, wasn't exactly along for the ride willingly.

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Tori Amos's reinvention for her covers album Strange Little Girls ups the American-gothic quotient with horror-movie strings, dimestore-synth beats, and a flip of the song's perspective — her strangled delivery and parental tenderness make the monologue sound as if it's coming from the victim as the life is being bled right out of her. There was one person who definitely wasn't dancing to this thing, and that's the woman in the trunk.

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And she spoke to me. One of rap's most chilling songs comes in the form of Eminem's rhyme-for-rhyme recreation of the moment an abusive relationship turns deadly. Written and released when his relationship with now-ex-wife Kim Scott was at its most toxic, the rapper murders Kim's husband and stepson while verbally abusing her from her home to a car to the site where he finally ends her life. He screams the entire song and even imitates Kim's voice for moments where she refutes his statements.

Dre told Rolling Stone in It's good, though. Kim gives him a concept. But the sounds now-defunct NYC quartet Khanate made in the first decade of the s actually lived up to that description, achieving rare levels of forbidding bleakness. What that means in practice is the sound of metal stretched and abstracted into agonizingly tense epics like this minute behemoth.

Stevens' ambitious Illinois tackled several moments from the state's history, including the haunting tale of Seventies serial killer John Wayne Gacy, Jr. His novels covered ripped from the headlines gossipy tales of upper class evil, but his Vanity Fair columns still had keen observations with the extra bonus of being fact-checked. Ranging from subjects like O. With an ear for dialogue like no other, Simon captures the grit of the city, and both the humanity and the fallibility of law enforcement officers as well as the criminals they pursue. A shooting and its fallout are the subject of this epic about life and death in the city of Savannah.

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A wonderfully researched, beautifully written history of injustice taken to horrifying lengths. When a string of murders plagued the oil rich Osage Indian nation in the s, the Feds were brought in to investigate. David Grann traces their probe, revealing corruption at every layer of law enforcement and government, and the inhumanity that rampant greed so often breeds.

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They wore black and painted their nails black and listened to Metallica. And in Arkansas in that was enough along with a coerced confession from the mentally disabled one of the trio to convict three semi-rebellious teenagers for the murders of three eight year-olds. Mara Leveritt traces the flaws in the justice system that kept these young men in prison for 18 years, and their ultimate release as adults who were deeply wronged by society.

Journalist and activist Masha Gessen provides context for the actions of the brothers Tsarnaev, tracing their lineage through a stream of war-torn countries so that by the time they immigrated to America, their often righteous anger elevated to unforgivable, murderous levels.

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The brutal murder that spawned the Civil Rights movement, the lynching of teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi revealed the depths of racism in America in the s. But Till was more than just a symbol of injustice, and Timothy B. Tyson adds context to his short life. And the other main character is a serial killer. That there was also a killer on the loose serves as a reminder of the baseness of man even when juxtaposed with the promise of modernity.

He eschews easy answers as to what drives a person to act with such depravity, and instead shows us every angle of the case. Bluets and The Argonauts author Maggie Nelson is best known for her literary nonfiction writing, but her foray into true crime is an accessible and intriguing entry point into her work.

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As a child, the murder of her aunt by a presumed serial killer haunted her and the rest of her family. When new DNA evidence pins the blame on another suspect, Nelson observes the new trial with the eye of a loving daughter and niece, as well as a deep and skeptical thinker. As the prosecutor in the Manson trial, Bugliosi has unique insights into just how Manson manipulated his followers to commit gruesome crimes. Skip Fatal Vision , the true crime book written by a journalist who was embedded with a man who was ultimately convicted for killing his pregnant wife and their two other children.

In The Stranger Beside Me , Rule describes her personal relationship with a co-worker whom she later realizes is a serial killer: the handsome and charming—and prolific—murderer Ted Bundy. At the top of any best of true crime list must be the book that revolutionized the genre. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. Inside the Mind of Margaret Atwood. Courtesy of Publishers. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below. Flatiron Books. Penguin Books. Broadway Books.