Sunday, 22 August 2010


If you are of a nervous disposition or easily upset I advise you not to read on. I'm serious.

My friends regard me as strong-stomached. Its true. I can indulge in 'toilet humour' whilst having a meal without any difficulty. In fact if someone were to vomit next to me I would carrying on eating - and yet.........

I vividly remember going to watch 'The Exorcist' in 1974. As I left the cinema I felt waves of utter disgust at what I had seen. I had a strong feeling of revulsion and I remember thinking that whoever had made the film had done so with the single intent to shock the viewer. In my case it worked. That was the moment when I parted company from the whole genre of the horror film. The experience is branded on my soul. I wish I had never seen the film. In the 36 years since that day I have never felt that way again despite seeing and reading all manner of disgusting things........until now.

I have always been a strong supporter of 'the open Internet'. I am aware that there are some horrors on it such as disgusting pornography for instance, but as far as I know, these items are only available on closed sites for which you have to subscribe. Like the pin-up magazines on the top shelf, they are out of our reach and our eyes shouldn't alight on them unless we're searching them out. Not so.

When I read that an international conference was taking place behind closed doors to discuss the future of the Internet, I was worried. However, after my recent experience I now feel that the Internet does need to be policed to prevent certain images being freely available.

I stumbled upon a news report from 2009 of a missing 6 year old girl in Sri Lanka. She had been abducted from her school and brutally murdered. Her remains were found in a bag near the roadside and there were vivid photographs of her little body which had just started to decompose. Her arms were taped behind her back and her ankles taped together to prevent movement. The same strong tape had been used to cover her eyes so that she could not see and her mouth so that she could not scream and her nose too so that she could not breathe. If this description disturbs you, imagine what seeing the actual photographs did to me.

I wish I had not seen these images and I firmly believe that they should not have been placed on a freely available internet news site.

One other thing is clear. The emergency service personnel who have to deal with this as part of their job, deserve our greatest respect and our sincere thanks.


  1. And what's worse is stumbling upon those images in a flickr account of some pervert who's other photos were little girls, including potty training pictures. Talk about sickened. I had to take a shower afterward. Thankfully, flickr responded quickly to our concerns and killed the account. But I shudder to think where the guy went.

  2. Hi Tony,

    Like you I was also totally freaked out by The Exorcist when I saw it as a teenager. Like, REALLY freaked out. Couldn't sleep properly for days, even though I knew it was only a film with some powerful special effects. I'm glad I haven't come across those images you describe - I would hate to see them. Spurred on by the publicity at the time, I made a deliberate choice to subject my senses to the scenes in The Exorcist (though of course I could have walked out), whereas to come across something like that, unexpectedly, on my computer screen - something utterly horrific from REAL LIFE (or real death) - is, in my opinion, unpalatable and unacceptable.

    Perhaps there should have been a 'warning' splash screen to buffer viewers from the images, to give them a chance to make a choice whether to view them or not.

    I don't believe in internet censorship as such, but those placing sensitive or unwholesome content on their sites - especially a site branded as a 'news' outlet - have a moral duty to act responsibly, to take into account the effect the content will have on their site's visitors.

  3. Tony, that must have been an awful image for you to have witnessed. that poor child. I only pray that her family were spared those images of her like that.
    the internet can be a wonderful place, but it also can be a dark and sick place too. Its about time they got it sorted.

  4. Publishing images like these should be completely banned; there are some very sick people in our world. I used to work for the CPS and saw some pretty disturbing images myself when having to browse through files of murderers and rapists and the like. Some of those images are still with me.

    CJ xx

  5. I have a job where I regularly am subjected to things that other people do not get to hear. I'm in court when little girls - and sometimes boys - are giving evidence about what someone has done to them, and then I have to look after that offender. I see pictures of abuse, of severe violence, of injuries to people. I also listen to convicts in the back of the van telling tales of casual brutality. Some things stay with you for a long time but I chose to do my job and that is a part of it.

    I think disturbing images on the internet should be labelled but I don't agree with censorship otherwise.

    Perhaps some things you're just meant to see because they make you appreciate your own life all the more, however hard that is.

  6. Tont I never did see the Exorcist and don't think I will.

  7. I saw the Exorcist, I bunked off school, lied about my age and got into the cinema.

    I found it very disturbing and saw that little girl in my room, in my mind for weeks after. People were taken out of the cinema by the St Johns Ambulance it was that awful for us.

    My kids have all watched it on DVD (grown up kids) and they didn't flinch once..

    What does that say huh! How times have changed..