As this story is being written, everything that can unfold has unfolded, and I am now ready to tell the story of the most horrifying experience of my entire life. The one that caught me off guard, led me on a twisted quest for answers, and a heavy case of PTSD in the process.
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My story starts on the 16th of April 2011, on a library in Denmark. I went to this library often in my late teens (I was 18 at this point) to read about birds, literature and history. My interests were a bit peculiar, but I enjoyed them none-the-less. I remember picking out a book titled “The Birds and Their Offspring”, an odd title but an interesting book. There were sofas and tables, and so I sat down to study. I also remember hearing rumbling behind the counter of the library, where the librarians scan the books. Behind the counter was an “Adult Section” as it was titled. It contained pornography, of course, but also R rated movies, mostly old VHS tapes and a few educational DVD's.
I had no real interest in borrowing an ancient piece of shit movie to watch on a far outdated device that would most likely fry halfway through and destroy the tape. But for some reason, I wanted to go check it out. I had recently turned 18 too, so I could be there legally. I decided to go check it out, just for shits and giggles, and maybe a bit of nostalgia if I was lucky. I went behind the counter, and looked at the librarian to make sure I was allowed. She made no signs, so I proceeded.
I went to a dark, kind of smelly but otherwise very neat room, stacked to the edge with tapes. They were organized alphabetically. Almost all of them were dusty, I can't imagine them being very popular. I went to the pornography sections firstly, not with the intention of renting anything, but the get a cheap laugh out of the obscure titles and covers of old school porn movies, the kind my dad probably watched.
I found one called “Ultimate Sluts II,” it had a heavily airbrushed girl on the cover, and a creepy dude with a porn-stash fucking her in the ass. Pretty funny stuff, but it quickly got old. I wanted to get out soon, the darkness and dust had begun to affect my breathing a bit, but I shuffled along in the “L” section, hoping to find a classic like "The Lion King" or "Life of Brian". Sure enough, I found "The Lion King". I took it out from the shelves, but was quickly distracted by a clear cover, with a black VHS cassette inside. I put it back and took this one out. I could see a yellow-ish torn mark on the tape. On thick black marker was written:
“1962 SKØNHEDEN 06”
Which translates to: "The Beauty from Danish". The marker was barely readable. Upon first inspection, I thought it was a porn movie, but then I remembered that pornography was illegal until 1969 in Denmark. Perhaps it was an illegal porn movie, which I would find both disturbing and interesting. No matter what it contained I was intrigued and confused, but I decided to rent it and, if nothing else have a cheap laugh at a bad movie.
I went out of the dark room, into light again, and was met by a stare from the librarian. I suppose she thought I was there to rent porn. I went over to the bird book I left behind, took it and went to get my things scanned. The librarian scanned my book first, and when she looked down to grab the tape, she froze and let out a horrible gasp. She looked straight at me with bloodshot eyes and a tremble.
“Where in the world did you get this from?” she yelled at me. The entire library turned their heads towards us.
“Relax, it was back there. I wanted to see what was on it,” I calmly told her.
I was very scared by her reaction.
“Why is it here, why is it here?” she continued to yell as she slowly began to sob. She threw the tape away and cried loudly. One of the other librarians ran over to her and calmed her down, looking down at me like it was my fault.
“It's okay, it's okay,” she reassured her, but she kept screaming and crying. I was in utter shock.
“I think you should leave,” she told me, and I was more than willing to do just that, but my curiosity got the best of me. While everyone was taking care of the sobbing librarian, I snatched the tape and ran out of the library. No one seemed to catch me in the act. I felt excited and scared.
I got on a bus and went to my apartment. I had lived there for only a few months; I bought it when I turned 18. Amongst many other things I brought from my parents' house was an old VHS player. I did not know what to do with it, but figured VHS would have a comeback some day, like LP's, and being kind of a hoarder, I decided to keep it.
The first thing I did upon returning was get a glass of water, as I was still pretty shocked by the reaction to this tape. What could it contain that would bring an old lady to tears? I hoped it was something legal, and not some fucked up child pornography or animal sex, but I got the VHS player out, blew dust from it, and plugged it in. It seemed to work, so I took the tape out of the cassette and inspected it a little bit to see if there were any malfunctions that would make it unplayable. It looked fine, so I put it into the VHS player, sat down on a chair, and in the darkness of the living room, saw the black and white antwars turn into a still image.
There was no intro, not trailers, nothing. I assumed it to either be a really crappy amateur movie or a professional movie that had been taped over.
The first scene of “The Beauty”, as I am going to refer to it as, was a shot of a large cornfield, with bright blue skies and clouds. In the background was a grassy meadow and a few trees, blowing from the wind. There is no sound.
The camera panned out, and focused on a single straw of grass, there was a ladybug walking up the straw. Once it reached the top, it flew away, and the camera, once again, panned out over the field. This time, a young girl, maybe 19 or 20, in old clothes, is walking in the field, towards the camera. There is a lot of static noise and a few cuts in the footage. Suddenly, the movie cuts to a scene from inside an old house. An old man is sitting by a table, he's very big and he has a beard. What I presume to be his wife is standing by the kitchen, with two wooden bowls. She walks over to the table and hands over the bowl to the old guy. They begin to eat. At this point, the static overwhelms the footage and the film cuts to black. A quick flash of the old man yelling at someone behind the camera appears, and then it quickly returns to black again.
I was not that scared, mostly a little disturbed by the lack of sound, and the statics, those were a little freaky, but nothing to break down crying over. I continued to watch the film.
After a few seconds, the black disappears, and I am met by the image of a bed, presumably inside the same house. The young girl from the field is laying in the bed, knitting. She knits for what seems like an eternity, almost five minutes I believe. She looks around confused, like she awaits an order. When she finally stops knitting, she appears to become a little scared by something behind the camera, maybe someone yelled at her to continue. That is exactly what she does, she hesitantly starts knitting again. This goes on for a few more minutes, maybe two, before she throws the yarn to the ground, and yells something to the man behind the camera.
The movie again cuts to black, but is disrupted by quick flashes of the girl yelling. The first thing that made me very uneasy was one quick flash of footage in between the darkness, of the girl appearing to fight off a figure from behind the camera. It turns completely to black for about half a minute, before cutting to a new scene, this time on a beach.
Suddenly, I could hear the sound of the waves and the birds, as if the sound had suddenly begun to appear, so I turned up my volume. On the beach is a man with a dog. He appears to have a rifle slung over his back, and he is looking down at the ground. The footage quickly cuts to the man's point of view, and what he was looking at shocked me. In the ground was the young girl, inside a hole. She was bound and gagged, and appeared to be crying. The man with the dog proceeded to cover up the hole with sand, her still in it. Although I figured this was a part of the movie, it was still very uncomfortable to watch, especially her getting sand in her eyes, and being completely covered with sand before the scene cut to black. How an actor could survive that, I had no idea, and that was my first notch to turn it off and return it, but I continued.
After another half minute of darkness, it cut to a dark room, with the man who was on the beach, sitting in a wooden chair. He says something to the camera, but it was too heavily distorted for me to figure out what he said. His rifle was laying on the side of his chair, and he takes it, aims just beside the camera, and fires about six shots. The loud sound of the rifle made me jump each time. The man began to laugh manically. This went on for a few seconds before cutting to black.
Again, I wanted to take out the tape and return it, but my curiosity got the best of me. I continued.
Next scene was on the beach once again. The man had his dog with him again. But he disappeared as it cut to a new scene, also on the beach, of the young girl and the old man from the house walking and talking. This time, I could hear what they said.
“Father, why must I marry a man I do not love?” asks the young girl.
“You will fall in love eventually, I promise you that, my dear,” says what I presume to be her father.
“I am already in love with Esben, father!” she yells, before beginning to cry.
After this, heavy distortion begins again, and I am unable to hear what the father says to her. It cuts to a scene of the father arguing with someone behind the camera, he is pointing at the girl. The distortion stops and I can hear them speak again.
“This has nothing to do with the scripts, I don't want to say it,” says the father to the man behind the camera, while a small, dark voice tries to reassure him and cut him off.
There is once again a bit of distortion, but I could make out the father walking off the set and the young girl looking quite scared and uncomfortable. At this point, I had no real idea what I was watching. It seemed neither scary or disturbing, but not very good either. Like a horribly edited amateur movie with heavy distortion. Then came the next scene, which made me audibly gasp and jump.
The father was laying on the ground inside the house. You were able to see only his back and his body, his head was not visible. The camera then cut to a shot of his face. His eyes were open and filled with fear, his mouth open and blood coming from it. His forehead was covered in blood, and he had a visible opening to his skull, it looked like he had been bludgeoned with a hammer. This was simply too realistic to be fake by the standards of 1962. I was scared and a little shocked, but I had watched many videos online before, so I was not new to this thing. I had seen people have their heads cut off and arms being ripped from the torso with trucks. But it just seemed so more shocking to see actual snuff on VHS.
I decided to keep watching, I honestly figured the librarian was perhaps exaggerating, and being old, was not used to the level of violence my generation had been exposed to. I continued knowing that it could not be that bad, but I was wrong.
The scene of the dead man lasted for a few minutes before a figure approached his body. The scene pans out, as it someone moves the camera back. The figure is covered with a black cloth. He carries a knife in his hand. He says something to the camera, but it is too heavily distorted to make out anything. Like I said, I was a little shaken but nothing too serious, that was, until the masked man walks behind the camera, pulls the young girl into the shot of the camera, along with a small child. The girl is bound and gagged, and appears to be screaming and twitching. The masked man carries the small child on his shoulder. He hits the young girl, which makes her fall to the ground.
With the young girl looking up at the masked man and the small child, I could feel my boundaries of violence being pushed with each passing second. The masked man suddenly hurls the small child at the wooden floor, making the young girl scream hysterically. The distorted, bloodcurdling screams from the girl, along with the cries of agony from the child eventually got to me, and I decided to turn the volume down and pause the tape. I was more shocked than I had ever been in my life. I sat for a second to ponder what to do, but for some reason, I decided to carry on. I pressed play again.
I had paused right before the scene switched to black. It was like that for a few seconds before cutting to the beach we had previously seen the girl being buried in. I realized there was no timeline, and that the clips were apparently randomly put together. Could explain the distortion. Where the girl was buried, the masked man, whom I presumed to be the man with the shotgun and dog, had put up a stone. On the stone was a bad carving job, it looked like a tombstone. There was a close up on the tomb, which revealed the text:
“Here lies the most beautiful girl in the world. God is an artist, and I am a God."
Next scene shoved the entire beach, which revealed the father and what I presumed to be the mother laying on the sand. The masked man begins digging a hole in the sand. It goes on for a few minutes before cutting to black. After only a few seconds of darkness, a heavily distorted scene from a dark bathroom appears. In the bathtub lies the child. I could feel myself getting ill, as the masked man approached the bathtub with a knife and a hammer. I covered my eyes, and listened as the man mutilated the still living child.
I took a short peek, which revealed the man stabbing the child in the eyes with the tip of the blade. Its arms and legs had been crushed with a hammer, and the tub had been covered in blood. I felt like puking, and I almost started to cry. When the baby stopped crying, I uncovered my eyes, gasping and whimpering. The masked man threw his tools into the tub, and started crying. The distortion turned his cries into bloodcurdling shrieks. The scene cut to black.
The black lasted longer than usual. It cut to a scene of a field after a few minutes. From behind the camera, the masked man walks towards the field. He seems taller and more muscular than he previously did. He stops about halfway, with his dog. The masked man starts yelling at someone behind the camera. He is shot in the head, and falls heavily to the ground. The dog flees, but another masked man steps out from behind the camera, firing at the dog. He shoots three times before hitting. Heavy distortion then fills the screen, and it cuts to a shot of the beach. This time, a young, muscular man lies next to the father and mother. All three of them lie dead next to each other. The masked man pulls out a red can, and proceeds to douse the dead bodies in the liquid, presumed to be gasoline or something similar. When the can is empty, he smashed it into the face of the mother a few times, making her mouth bleed and her eye pop out of the socket.
The masked man strikes a match, and lights the three bodies on fire. Although there is some distortion, the burning flesh is very easy to see. Their clothes burn off and melt onto their bodies, their skin turns to a charred black, and they smoke profusely. The masked man, now with a shovel, proceeds to hack off pieces of the dead bodies, scoops them up with the shovel, and dumps them into the grave he dug earlier. He takes about ten minutes to smash and dump every body, which he covers up with sand. At this point, I was beyond shocked, I was terrified and scared and I felt nothing. The final scene of this movie was a long shot of the beach. The waves in the water, the sun and the trees in the background. The masked man takes of his mask and walks away from the camera.
After thirty to forty minutes of shock and terror, the movie cuts to black and pops out of my VHS machine. I sat there for what felt like an eternity, trying to process what I had just seen. I needed some answers, so I got up, turned on my laptop, and opened the Tor browser. Like I said, I was no stranger to gory videos, so I knew of a forum that discussed and shared these things. Some people even collected snuff and gore movies, so maybe someone had a copy and could give me some background into this story, as I had never heard of anything like this happening in Denmark.
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The forum was called “The Gore Mafia”, a black site with red text, real scary and gory, but I had been there before. I started by searching for “Skønheden”, but it returned nothing, no discussions or mentions. I had no idea what the original title was, so I decided to make a forum post, which I will copy and paste here:
Hey guys. I just rented a movie from my library. The librarian cried when I showed it so I stole it lol. Anyways, the footage on there was really fucked up, and I suspect it of being real. It had no cover but it had a white marker with the title 1962 SKØNHEDEN 06 (translates to 1962 The Beauty 06 to english) have you guys heard of it? There is no mention of it here.
Five minutes after posting, my post was removed. I had copy pasted it, so I tried again. This time, it was removed after less than a minute. It made me pretty scared, but I noticed a message in my inbox, so I clicked it.
“Stop. Go to this link: .... Your Profile is: 6dyv19Ids. Your password is: 188hdypa9O,” said the message. There was a .onion link, which I clicked. It took a very long time to load, but when it finally did, I was met by a black webpage with a login option. I used the profile and password I was given to log in, and it seemed to work. I was redirected to yet another black website, which had a red link named “-> CHAT <-”, I pressed it, and a chat system popped up. My name was changed to “Beholder”, and a user named “Beauty” started typing a message:
“Greetings, Beholder. We know of the tape you have seen. Skonheden 1962 is the only snuff movie in existence that authorities refuse to acknowledge. Since yours said 06, that means you have the last existing copy of this tape. Six were made by Thomas Merkel, five were destroyed by Thomas' lawyer/father. Thomas' father was a high ranking Nazi sympathizer in the war, and was granted immense power for his information on Nazi Germany. When Thomas committed these crimes, his father got him out of trouble. Nowhere in public can this tape be known, mentioned or discussed. Skonheden 1962 and the crimes within it is protected by a network of snuff movie makers, dating back to the 18th century, they have power within the police, military and branches in every part of the world. They are technically a religious satanic cult, brainwashing their members who are family members into having no morals, ethics or sympathy. This breed of humans who are born into psychopathy idolize the situation of Skonheden 1962 and have been known to kidnap and kill the few people who are unlucky enough to encounter and report this tape.”
I could not believe it. What seemed like the most unbelievable thing to me had just been told. I felt like I had been told the secret to the universe, or met a member of the Illuminati or something. It was so unreal, but I had never felt more curious in my life. I responded.
“Holy shit. Can you give me some background on this tape? I am shocked to my core, and I need some answers. Is there any way for me to be safe after viewing this tape?” I wrote.
“Yes. Thomas Merkel was a young man, born into a rich family. He had an undying love for Cecilia Albrecht, she plays the young girl in Skonheden. Cecilia was an aspiring actor, who was also married to a man named Christian and had a young child, the poor child in the video. Cecilias decision to have a child with Christian drove Thomas to insanity. Thomas invited Cecilia to make a movie based on the old novel “Hosekremmeren”, which is about a young girl named Cecilia who kills her boyfriend. Thomas threw together a whole crew of actors, and began filming on a secluded Danish island. The father and the mother were simply innocent bystanders to Thomas insane murder spree. Everything you see is real. Thomas was arrested and put on trial, but his father saved him and destroyed five tapes and gave the last tape to Atrox Insania (the snuff movie network). They swore to keep Thomas crimes safe for money, which made them very rich. Listen, you have the last known copy, I am very interested in buying it, I have been on Gore Mafia for four years looking for someone who has the last tape. You have the holy grail of human atrocities.”
I thought for a bit. Either, I could be meeting with a member of Atrox Insania, and be tortured and killed, I could also be payed an insane amount of money for the possibly rarest movie in existence, or everything could be bullshit and someone is messing with me. I had faith in the first, and gave him an address to an airport in Denmark. “Beauty” agreed to pay me 25 million Danish kroner for the tape, a chance I could not pass, but was terribly sceptical of. “Beauty” would be flying to Denmark in the morning, and meet me in a parking lot. I put the tape into the cover, and wrapped it in a towel, to keep it safe and unnoticeable. I went to sleep shortly after, but got very little sleep.
The scenes from the movie, along with the information I had received filled my mind's eye the entire night. I got about two hours of sleep, before waking up and driving to the airport. I had the tape on the passenger seat. I pulled into the parking lot a few minutes early, and was met by a black toned car. Out of it stepped a heavy man in a suit, he had a beard and wore glasses. He smiled at me, and I got out of my car. We walked towards each other, and he wanted to shake my hand, which I let him. I asked him if he was Beauty, and he nodded. He seemed so excited and eager to see the tape, so I showed it to him, and let him hold it. His eyes lit up like a child on Christmas.
“I have the money in the car, I'll go get them for you,” he said. He gave me back the tape and ran to his car. He pulled out a briefcase and opened it before reaching me. It was filled with 1,000 KR Danish banknotes, and I honestly didn't care if there were 25 million or not, I just wanted a lot of money. I took the briefcase and gave him the tape. He thanked me from there and until he was in his car again.
After returning home, I honestly felt terrible. I had taken 25 million from a clearly disturbed man, who was after a horrible, but not unbelievable snuff movie in horrible condition. I tried to shook everything I had experienced off, and when I was home, I put down the briefcase and sat on my bed.
The next thing I remember is waking up. I had no recollection of anything hitting me, or becoming tired. I had a headache, and when I looked at my watch, I saw that four hours had passed. My apartment was messy, and the briefcase was missing. In my confusion and fear, I saw a note on my desk. I stumbled over to my desk, and started reading the note:
Thank you for locating our lost tape. We gladly appreciate your efforts. You know what not to say and do, we trust you will only act in your best interests.
I have never told anyone of this experience. I went to see a psychiatrist after this incident because of anxiety and nightmares, and he diagnosed me with PTSD. This was many years ago, and I have since then moved, been medicated and mostly recovered.