20 Terrifying Booby Traps That Will Make You Gasp

For centuries, humans have employed booby traps for one reason or another. Much of the time, people have used them for defensive purposes. Hunters also utilize booby traps to catch their prey.

Other than being cheap, booby traps are usually very effective and easy to design and use. Pretty much anyone can make one (Kevin McCallister from Home Alone would definitely approve the aforementioned statement.)

Many booby traps are not designed to kill; however, some booby traps have the ability to kill not one, not two, but a whole military unit of men. If you don’t believe me, this list of 20 Terrifying Booby Traps That Will Make You Gasp will definitely convince you.

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Explosively Formed Penetrators


An explosively formed penetrator (EFP), is a type of charge specially designed to penetrate armor effectively. As the name suggests, the explosive charge is meant to deform a metal plate into a slug or rod shape and accelerate it toward a target.

They were first developed as oil well perforators by American oil companies in the 1930s and were deployed as weapons in World War II.


The Snake Pit


Anyone who’s familiar with Indiana Jones movies definitely knows what we’re talking about here. However, if you’re afraid of snakes, you might want to skip this entry.

So, what is a snake pit all about? Well … it’s a hole filled with snakes. They have been used for centuries as a trap or a place of horror, torture, and even death in Medieval Europe and also in many Asian countries.

The Viking warlord Ragnar Lodbrok is believed to have been thrown into a snake pit and died there once his army had been defeated in battle by King Aelle II of Northumbria.

Any fans of The Vikings TV show here?


Zippo Lighter Bombs


The Zippo lighter bomb was one of the many “contributions” of the Viet Cong. Packed with just enough explosives to decimate a hand, they made the supposedly relaxing activity of smoking a nightmare for American soldiers.

The scariest part was that it was nearly impossible to tell the difference between sabotaged lighters and normal ones. We wonder if many American soldiers quit smoking during the Vietnam War.




One of the most recognized and well-known booby traps is the “mantrap.” From the name alone you can tell that it’s designed by men for men.

This mechanical physical security device was first used for catching poachers and trespassers. Throughout the years, mantraps have taken many forms, the most usual being a large foothold trap, the steel springs armed with teeth that closed upon the victim’s leg.

Since 1827, they have been illegal in most parts of Europe and the U.S. (except in houses between sunset and sunrise as a defense against burglars).




Spring Snare


Spring snares have been used for centuries. They are particularly popular among hunters, as they are much more effective than just a snare.

With a spring snare, ideally, the trap pulls the prey up by the neck. This makes it far more difficult for the animal to chew through.

Sorry, animal lovers and activists … I know you didn’t enjoy this one much.

SEE ALSO: 25 Worst Earthquakes In History »

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