Top 10 Audio with Disturbing Background Stories

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Top 10 Audio with Disturbing Background Stories

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nathan Sharp
Don't listen to any of these creepy recordings before going to sleep. For this list, we'll be looking at eerie pieces of audio that have horrific backstories. Our countdown includes Timothy Treadwell's Lost Audio, Chernobyl Phone Call, The Last Transmission of Vladimir Komarov, and more!
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Top 10 Audio with Disturbing Background Stories


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Audio Recordings with Disturbing Background Stories.

For this list, we’ll be looking at eerie pieces of audio that have horrific backstories.

Which of these do you find the creepiest? Let us know in the comments below!

#10: Timothy Treadwell’s Lost Audio

Fortunately for us, the audio of Timothy Treadwell’s demise has never been released. But by all accounts, it’s absolutely horrible, and using our imaginations is more than effective. Treadwell was an environmentalist with an aim to protect bears and their natural sanctuaries. Ironically, he died at the mercy of the very animal he swore to protect. On October 5, 2003, Treadwell and his girlfriend were mauled by a brown bear while camping in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. His video camera captured audio of the attack, which included screams and Treadwell pleading to his girlfriend for help. The tape is reportedly stored in a vault, but it was heard by Werner Herzog for the documentary “Grizzly Man.” He was left visibly shaken.

#9: Hurricane Ike

This one is technically a video, so we’re cheating a little bit. That said, most of the horror can be found in the audio rather than the visuals, and the audio is quite harrowing indeed. Hurricane Ike struck America in September of 2008, causing 214 deaths and $38 billion in damages while reaching winds of 145 miles per hour. This video was taken by a Weather.com producer who was inside Galveston’s darkened San Luis Resort Hotel. The passing hurricane sounds like the soundtrack to a horror movie, complete with ghostly, high-pitched squeals that eerily sets the tone for a night of hellish disaster.

#8: The Travis 911 Call

Back in February of 2009, a 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis pounced on 55-year-old Charla Nash. Travis’s owner, Sandra Herold, called 911 in a panic, knowing that her friend’s life was in obvious danger. The audio is greatly disturbing, as Herold is clearly flustered and an enraged Travis can be heard screeching in the background. The police soon arrived, dealt with Travis, and saw to the gravely injured Nash. Her injuries were significant, but hospital staff was able to save her life. She later received a face transplant and sued her friend’s estate for $4 million.

#7: “Down the Hill”

It’s amazing how disturbing three simple words can be. In February of 2017, teenagers Abigail Williams and Liberty German were murdered by a still-unidentified male in Delphi, Indiana. The girls had gone for a hike and never returned to meet German’s father at the agreed-upon time, prompting a search and rescue. Their bodies were found the next day. Police recovered German’s smartphone and found something both interesting and helpful. German had photographed the man who supposedly murdered the young girls, as she did not feel safe with his approach. Audio from the phone was also released, which depicted a muffled male voice saying “down the hill” - presumably an instruction given to the two girls. Unfortunately, the case remains unsolved.

#6: Joseph James DeAngelo Tape

Nicknamed the Golden State Killer, Joseph DeAngelo’s spree lasted from 1973 to 1986, and he successfully eluded police capture. He was also known to make obscene phone calls to his victims, like in “Black Christmas.” The FBI released one of these recorded calls in 2018, which depicts DeAngelo breathing heavily into the phone and using crude and terrifying language against his victim. This is not the type of call you’d want to receive in the middle of the night. It wasn’t until 2018 that DeAngelo was arrested and charged, and he was sentenced to life in prison in August 2020. He was nearly 75 years old.

#5: Chernobyl Phone Call

Anyone who has watched HBO’s “Chernobyl” has heard the nightmare-inducing phone call that was placed shortly after the famous explosion. It starts with a very haunting beeping sound before panicked voices begin speaking to each other. The audio is obviously not in English, but the fear and anxiety in the voices are palpable. The call reportedly consists of an emergency service worker inquiring about the explosion before phoning the dispatchers and ordering them to respond. Many of these firefighters would die horrible deaths owing to the fatal amounts of radiation at the scene. It’s impossible to tell how many people died in the tragedy, but it remains the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

#4: Operation Wandering Soul

By all accounts, the Vietnam War was a neverending nightmare for both sides. The Viet Cong were subjected to psychological warfare by the United States Army, who broadcast the so-called “Operation Wandering Soul” from helicopters and bases. This recording is full of creepy sounds, including echoey reverb effects and ghostly vocals that were intended to represent the damned souls of the dead. The tape preyed on Vietnamese ritual, as it’s said that the unburied dead wander the Earth in pain and frustration, hence “Operation Wandering Soul.” Just imagine hearing this in the pitch-black jungle late at night.

#3: The Last Transmission of Vladimir Komarov

Venturing to space requires an incredible amount of bravery, and it’s exactly because of disasters like this. Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov became the first person to die in space when his Soyuz 1 capsule failed to deploy its parachute during re-entry. Audio footage of his final transmission has been released, and it depicts an agitated Komarov yelling over a din of loud background noise with the full awareness of his impending death. A lot has been debated regarding this audio, including the translation and even the authenticity of the audio itself. But if it’s real, then this is truly one of the most disturbing things found on the internet.

#2: The Exorcism of Anneliese Michel

In the late 1960s, a German teenager named Anneliese Michel began experiencing seizures and depression. Michel grew worse as time wore on, and she began hearing voices. By the mid-’70s, Michel’s condition had not improved, and her parents turned to the Catholic Church for relief. Michel was deemed possessed and subjected to nearly 70 exorcisms. Audio of these exorcisms were recorded and eventually played in court, depicting a gravelly-voiced Michel making horrible noises and screaming with a ghastly howl. Unfortunately, Michel passed away at 23 from malnutrition, as she had not been eating throughout the ordeal. Both Michel’s parents and the priests faced trial and were found guilty of manslaughter for their roles in her death.

#1: The Jonestown “Death Tape”

Perhaps the most disturbing bit of audio found on the internet is the Jonestown death tape. Back in 1978, Jonestown, Guyana was home to a cult known as the Peoples Temple. The cult was led by Jim Jones, and on November 18, 1978, 909 people died at Jonestown from cyanide poisoning. The event is now attributed entirely to Jones, and his victims are deemed just that. Running nearly 45 minutes in length, the tape depicts the terrifying event in full. Listening to this is certainly not for the faint of heart, as it’s a disturbing historical document that depicts one of the greatest tragedies in modern American history.
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