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TikTok horror series Spooky Lakes will scare you out of the water

Dive into haunted lakes, waterfalls, and underwater caves

Mount Saint Helens in 1934 Photo: CORBIS/Getty Images
Nicole Clark (she/her) is a culture editor at Polygon, and a critic covering internet culture, video games, books, and TV, with work in the NY Times, Vice, and Catapult.

Large bodies of water are spooky places — the ocean covers just over 70% of the Earth’s surface and not even half of it has been explored. We just don’t know what’s down there, and it might be a long time until we find out. And while lakes, waterfalls, and other water deposits may appear smaller at first, you never know what depths or mysteries they might contain.

TikToker ​​Geo Rutherford (geodesaurus) has created a series about the spookiest lakes. During these 31 days of “haunted hydrology,” she’s done short form deep dives (pun intended) into some of the eeriest bodies of water. These TikToks range from mysteries of the natural world to places of great peril — some of these bodies of water simply look extremely spooky or have mysterious floating debris that defy logic, while others have claimed human lives.

In each entry of the series, Rutherford picks a body of water, and then explains the geological phenomena that led to its formation, or the circumstances that make it so scary. These are supplemented with lots of video and images — some of the TikToks have a content warning for viewers who have certain phobias. She ends the video by rating the body of water on a scale of 1 to 10 “spookies.”

Rutherford is an artist whose works often focus on the Great Lakes and our relationship with the natural world, and an arts adjunct at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The TikToks in her haunted hydrology series are all genuinely spooky, especially for anyone who already fears the water (raises hand). But they’re also an incredible way to learn more about the natural world — and in some cases, the creation of sewer systems.

There’s Blood Falls, a glacier in Antarctica that emits a blood-red tinted waterfall, as a result of the iron rich saltwater with extremely high salinity. Trapped in the glacier roughly 2 million years ago, these falls are full of primordial bacteria which essentially evolved independently. Highly spooky, if you ask me.

There are also legitimately dangerous natural formations, like the Nyiragongo Volcano and the massive amount of lava at its peak — which Rutherford refers to as the “lava lake” at its center.

Rutherford’s series includes lake-related natural disasters like the eruption of Mount St. Helens which affected Spirit Lake, the popular gathering spot.

And the breaking of the Niagara Falls Ice Bridge, in 1912.

One of Rutherford’s most streamed TikToks in the series, at more than 2.4 million streams, covers Jacob’s Well in Texas. The idyllic looking lake has an extensive and extremely dangerous cave system.

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