“Low-Quality Stories”: 99 Unsettling Posts From This Instagram Account, Dedicated To Sharing Cursed Pics

Do you ever feel pressure to post the best photos possible on Instagram, pandas? If an image isn't high quality with perfect lighting and a gorgeous subject, it’s just not worth sharing, right? Well, today, we’re hoping to relieve you of some of that pressure by introducing you all to an account that flies in the face of the unspoken rules of the Gram.

Below, we’ve gathered some of our favorite pics from Low Quality Stories. This page is dedicated to sharing bizarre, unsettling and cursed images that might not be high-res, but they’ll certainly get your attention. Be sure to upvote the pics that captivate (and possibly confuse) you, and remember that, as long as nobody gets hurt, you can share whatever your heart desires online.

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Low Quality Stories is one of many bizarre Instagram accounts sharing odd, cursed images, but they’re certainly doing a great job making a name for themselves in the niche. The account has shared only 335 images, but it has already amassed nearly 15k followers. There’s something about these odd photos that captivate us, and we just can’t seem to get enough of them. Strange occurrences one wouldn’t expect to see and hilariously unsettling interactions from social media fill the feed of Low Quality Stories, and we are here for it. But why are we so drawn to all of these cursed images?

Matt Moen wrote a piece for Paper exploring exactly what intrigues us about these photos, noting that we somehow find comfort in the discomfort of cursed images. “They lurk in the corners of our feeds, the runoff from our group chats, the bottom of Google searches we instantly regret making; the cursed image is the mold collecting along the edges of the internet,” Moen explains. “We have no idea where they come from, we know they shouldn't exist and yet there is something about these so-called ‘cursed images’ that fascinates us nonetheless.” 

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The original concept of “cursed images'' began in 2015 when a teenage photography and film student began the Cursed Images Tumblr blog. "At the time, I had a voyeuristic hobby of searching the archives of Flickr to look at forgotten flash photography from years in the past,” the owner explained to Paper. "Some of these forgotten photographs just had an eerie mood about them, like someone had captured a moment from a dream or another life. I was particularly interested in finding photos of dark and empty rooms, mannequins and costumes, all of which became common themes among cursed images."

But since then, cursed images have taken the internet by storm. "They're images of memories that never actually happened to you, but the moment you see them, it's suddenly happening to you,” the creator of Cursed Images noted. Accounts similar to Low Quality Stories have formed their own communities on Instagram, even finding their own niches in the greater umbrella of cursed images, such as cursed food pics or ugly design photos. "If it needs a caption underneath to explain what makes it funny, then it isn't funny," the owner of one such account told Paper, explaining why many of these photos have no context or explanation whatsoever. The pics just speak for themselves.

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Emma Grey Ellis at Wired also explored why exactly we can’t seem to look away from bizarre, cursed images, and one reason she suggests is that we might just be drawn to anything that will make us feel, whether that’s a horror film or an uncomfortable picture of beans filling a bathtub. “From an evolutionary perspective, we should be avoiding those things,” Dario Maestripieri, a behavioral scientist at the University of Chicago, told Wired. “Disgusting stimuli can carry the risk of infectious disease.” Maestripieri has found through his research that we can only bare to look at disgusting things for very short amounts of time, yet for some reason, we’re also drawn to them online. “There’s an aspect of personality at work. You might argue that if you’re really disgusted, you’re aroused. Some people are sensation-seeking.”

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Oddly enough, we might even be seen as more knowledgeable and honest when we share these unsettling images with one another. “People who share threatening rumors are seen as more trustworthy,” Colton Scrivner, a PhD student at the University of Chicago who studies human’s interest in violence and creepiness, told Wired. “It’s not necessarily conscious, but sharing negative information tends to make you seem like a more informed, more reliable social partner.” Perhaps it’s because we’re honest about the strange and disgusting aspects of the world, or perhaps it’s due to the fact that we feel bonded to one another after experiencing something frightening. Either way, sending your pals and loved ones some cursed images might actually strengthen your relationship.

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One of the trademark aspects of many cursed images is the combination of something perfectly mundane and something incredibly out of place. Perhaps it’s a hot dog where a straw should be in a beverage or a delicious looking wedding cake sitting in the toilet. These cursed images might confuse us because they can be so close to being normal, yet something is throwing off the whole photo. “For me, ‘cursed’ brings to mind a sort of unholy juxtaposition—things that shouldn’t be together, in a way that makes the whole thing feel senseless,” Jenny Odell, the author of How to Do Nothing, told The New Yorker. “It also reminds me of dreams, where your mind takes two potentially banal things, smushes them together, and renders something that feels deeply wrong.”

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It can be difficult to perfectly define what makes a cursed image, because it seems to be an umbrella term encapsulating a wide variety of photos. But according to writer Haley Nahman, there are several factors that can almost guarantee an image is perceived as cursed: something being where it doesn’t belong, tonal incongruity between the subjects and impact of the image, uncanny valley, creatures in groups and meat out of context. Nahman explains that certain things, like food, are easier to make cursed because we “typically go to great lengths to protect it and keep it clean.” So if you find meat being cooked by a clothes iron or spaghetti inside a shoe, you’re likely to be disgusted and confused.   

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Another possible reason images may stand out to you as cursed is simply because they’re old. Brian Feldman at Intelligencer wrote an article exploring cursed images, and he noted that, “[Some] cursed images draw their power not from the actual objects pictured, but from the fact that photos like these are bygone products of antiquated technology. Millennials hardly use point-and-shoot cameras anymore, ones with blaring flashbulbs and obsolete sensors. Timestamps in bright orange or yellow text no longer adorn the corners of our shots. When people post photos on Facebook and Google now, the sites subtly tweak and enhance their colors, giving everything more ‘pop,’ but less individuality.” This also might explain why some of these images being low quality might make them even more disturbing than they would be otherwise. 

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Many photos from the past might qualify as cursed due to the fact that they are old and aren’t as high quality as pictures today, but there are plenty of cursed images that are being created at any given moment. Haven’t you ever snapped a photo and realized after the fact that there was someone making an evil face in the background or taken a picture of your pet with the flash on, making them look like a demon? You might have plenty of cursed images in your camera roll if you’ve ever immortalized a moment the meat you were cutting looked disgusting or your dinner just seemed too sad to eat. Moldy veggies, soup spilled all over the floor, a huge mess your puppy made and much more, there are no limits to how cursed images can be created.

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Are you enjoying these confusing and slightly disturbing pics, pandas? They may not be as adorable as photos of puppies or kittens, but these cursed pics can certainly pique your interest. Keep upvoting the photos that perplex or intrigue you, and let us know in the comments below what your thoughts are on these posts from Low Quality Stories. Then, if you’d like to dive even deeper down the rabbit hole of cursed pics, we recommend checking out this Bored Panda article next! 

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