A wise and sagely woman once posited that heaven is a place on a Earth. And if that's true, then hell is just two exits down on the left. Oh, it exists, do not doubt it. It's real, it's right here and I have the goddamn pictures to prove it. Literally. These are images damned by God.
8. His Shadow Shall Block the Sky
This is what happens immediately after you finish signing that contract with Satan, and all you're left with is a mysteriously echoing laugh. This is the Fourth Sign of the Coming, right before the ground starts bleeding but just after all cats disappear from the Earth. This is how you know God is displeased with your selection of Pope.
OK, so it's actually a picture of a volcanic eruption at Fimmvorduhals in Iceland. But if you don't think "flames overflowing the Earth, resulting in a dark red cloud blocking out the moon itself" is some sort of portent of the endtimes -- then thanks for reading, Azazel of the Thousand Mouths! I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule of raping betrayers to read my stuff. While you're here, maybe you can click that Facebook share button; I bet Despair and Calthogh the Worm would get a kick out of this shit.
7. His Coming Shall Be Foretold
"Welp, looks like we've angered the Hellephant again. Water? Ha ha ha! What the fuck, Steve?! Is this your first day? No. Bill, you break out the iron cruciforms. Gus, start stabbing the hoses into virgins. Carl, I'm so sorry -- you're on Batchild patrol."
This is actually an undoctored picture of a fire at a chemical factory in the Netherlands. It took 150 firefighters to put out the flames, and while the plant burned completely to the ground, no injuries were recorded despite the toxic fumes. Though surrounding citizens were warned to stay inside to avoid possible respiratory infections and rampaging Balrogs.
6. The Earth Shall Bleed
What, you thought I was kidding about the Dark Eclipse coming right before the Earth starts bleeding? What kind of horrible jackass would joke about something like that?
This is a picture of, no shit, a place called Blood Falls in Antarctica. Here's the actual explanation: "2 million years ago the Taylor Glacier sealed off a small body of water that contained a community of microbes. This small pool of wild animals has not seen oxygen, sunlight or heat since that time. As the earth warmed and the glaciers in Antarctica melted away, these organisms have been independently evolving for eons without any outside contact. Until now, when they've suddenly sprung forth from the glacier. The frothy water is rich in iron, which gives it the striking red color. These strangely alien microbes may exist nowhere else on earth, and they give scientists an idea of what kind of life may survive after the earth becomes uninhabitable by almost all other life forms."
So, there's a place called Blood Falls, located on the frozen, cruel and empty continent of Antarctica, that contains strange life forms which have been sealed away for untold ages, and have now awoken and spilled forth onto the world. Oh yeah, and they'll probably be the last things alive on the planet.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have done a great disservice to a man; all this time, H.P. Lovecraft was writing non-fiction.
5. His Servants Are Among Us
Let's be fair: This is just a portrait of an unfortunate woman. Unfortunate because she's lived just a bit too long and has grown to resemble some horror-trope crone. Unfortunate because she's clearly suffering from some bizarre health issues. Unfortunate because she does not have access to care to correct these issues. And perhaps most unfortunate of all, because she has given her body over to demons who now walk the Earth in human skin, only distinguishable by their black eyes and the goddamn horns growing out of their heads.
This is most likely a common skin condition called a cutaneous horn, which is basically just compacted keratin -- the same protein in hair and nails -- protruding from the epidermis. If this is indeed a cutaneous horn, they're often benign and can usually be removed surgically. Though that does not treat the underlying cause, which is either excessive sun exposure to already damaged skin, or the devil coming to live inside the empty shells left behind by suicides.
4. Beware His Little Messengers
If doves are the messengers of the Lord, then the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko is probably Old Scratch's preferred postal carrier. Though you should know that these guys are utterly harmless. They're tiny -- usually two to five inches long -- and are endemic to the little island of Madagascar. So you're not likely to stumble across one in the first place, and it certainly won't hurt you if you do.
It won't hurt you at all. It needs you.
It might ask you to hurt others, though. Oh, softly enough at first, in half-heard whispers borne on the wind, but they will grow louder, more frequent and more insistent -- until one day you wake up to find yourself in a bathtub filled with liquid that used to be your family. And what will the Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko do? Why, just take a gander at that picture again: It will smile, friends. It will smile.
3. On a Fiery Steed He Rides...
This is either a picture of the exact moment that Satan busted out his hot rod and started tearing ass into the apocalypse, or else poor Marty's stuck right at 87 MPH again. This photo was taken at Serra da Leba, a landmark road in Angola, and while it hasn't been digitally altered, it is a long exposure taken over 60 seconds. You could cry foul that a manipulated image shouldn't make the list, hypothetical reader, or you could choose to contemplate the implications of that fact instead. Perhaps evil moves at a different speed than man; perhaps it is a slow and creeping thing. And maybe, if you weren't so rash, so impulsive -- if you could just stop and consider it for one little minute -- maybe you could finally trace back its fiery path.
Or hey, maybe it just looks bitchin' and I'm trying to show you a neat picture. Either way -- shut up, hypothetical reader. God, you are being such an ass right now!
2. In His Unholy House
The entrance to hell is a labyrinth. A vast, snaking maze of caverns bathed in fire, where the lost and the damned wander, uncertain and afraid, for untold eons. The fires burn so hot and for so long in those twisted, screaming caves that the rock itself melts and drips down like water. The burning liquid passes through skin like air; it fuses to bone.
This is the only rain in hell.
And the crazy thing? That's actually what is happening here. This is Fort Zverev, and if you couldn't deduce from the mockery of consonants in that name, it's located in Russia. They stored a napalm-like substance in the base of the fort, which burned at temperatures of over 2000 degrees. Then, in the 1970s, the place where they stored super-fire (hopefully to the surprise of nobody,) caught on fire. The resulting inferno burned so hot that it melted the bricks of the walls and ceiling so that they ran down like icicles.
The fort still stands exactly like this today. You know, just in case you're ever overwhelmed by the temptation of sin and want to remind yourself where you'll be spending eternity should you fail to mend your lustful ways.
1. The Gate to His Realm
There are many different versions of the devil, and many interpretations of what it means for him to walk the Earth. Some say he is but a corruption of our best intentions, and that we invite him in when we are dishonest. Others say that Satan is a literal being, but it's his son who will return to the world, born of a woman to trick us into believing he is human. Me? I say the devil is like Shaft: Just ain't no need to be subtle when you're a badass motherfucker and everybody knows it. He's going to kick open the doors of hell and charge in, guns blazing and guitars wailing. And by the looks of these pictures, that happened a long time ago:
This is an area outside of Darvaz in Uzbekistan. The locals call it (surprise!) the Door to Hell. It's the Russian equivalent of Centralia, and like all Russian equivalents of anything, it is much, much worse than the alternative. Whereas Centralia is a small town precariously placed over a never-ending fire and plagued by sinkholes, the Door to Hell was a large gas-mining camp that fell entirely into a massive sinkhole. The Russians, being classic Russians, decided that the best way to avoid getting poisoned by all the flammable gas in their flammable gas mine was...to light it on fire.
That was 35 years ago; it has burned ever since.