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Macabre destinations around the World

by Kaveri Yadav
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Have you heard of the Island of Dolls in Mexico? Well, I’m sure you must have, it’s one of the most famous and creepy places on the planet. Same goes for the Bran Castle in Romania which is famous as the Dracula Castle. These places are closely associated with the dead and the dark. They are often visited by people who want to experience the weird in the world. If you are one of those fanatics, here is a list of macabre places you must visit.

Spooky Sedlec Ossuary, Czech Republic

When you visualize a church, it usually has peaceful aura, beautiful infrastructure and maybe a graveyard outside. Well, the Sedlec Ossuary is not your conventional chapel. This centuries old Roman Catholic church is a home to the remains of around 40,000-70,000 people. Legends suggest that Abbot Henry of Sedlec visited the Holy Land (the Grave of Jesus in Jerusalem) in the 13th century and brought back a handful of sacred soil from there. He sprinkled the soil all over the cemetery and since then it was considered to be a sacred burial ground. In the 14th Century Europe was struck by plague (famous in history as Black Death) and over 30,000 people were buried here. After the Bohemian wars of the 15th century many more dead bodies were added to the lot.

A church with a crypt was build in the area in 1400s.This crypt acted as an ossuary for the bones that were dug out while making the church. Later, in 1870 the Schwarzenberg family assigned Francis Rint to make something worthwhile out of the bones and he has done a terrific job. He very artistically arranged the bones all around the church after bleaching and carving them. The most fascinating piece of art here is the Sedjec Ossuary’s Pièce De Résistance. It is a grand chandelier which has almost every bone of the human body. A detailed family crest of the Schwarzenbergs and the signature of the artist ‘in bones’ is also present in the church. The bony-details in every nook and corner gives the church a macabre aura. So, take an hour train ride from Prague and experience the creepy vibes and fascinating art of the Church of Bones.

Creepy Capuchin Catacombs, Palermo, Italy

Exhibition of skeletons is the most apt description I can give you of these burial chambers. Capuchin Catacombs is one of the most grotesque places around the world. It all began in the 1600s when the cemetery was full and there was no space to bury Brother Silvestro of Gubbio. So, the Capuchin monks decided to mummify him in the crypt below the cemetery. Later, the monks decided to allow such burials for the people of Palermo. The bodies were dehydrated on piles of ceramic pipes and washed with vinegar. The dry atmosphere of the catacombs helped in the process of preservation. The bodies are properly dressed and placed in certain positions to add more life to this place of the dead. The family members visit the catacombs to reminiscence their loved ones. Hence, this place clearly diminishes the wall between the alive and the dead.

There are exclusive rooms for professionals, priests and monks, officers, virgins, women, men, children and infants. A certain dress code is also followed, monks are dressed in their priestly vestments and public officials and military officers are dressed in their uniforms. In 1920, the two year old Rosalia Lombardo became the last person to be embalmed here. Her body was preserved using formalin, alcohol, glycerin, salicylic acid and zinc salts. She still looks very much alive and seems to be sleeping in her chamber. The 8000+ corpses placed in these catacombs give a macabre feel to the place. It is frequently visited by people from around the world. Make sure you don’t click pictures in case you’re planning to visit the Capuchin Catacombs.

Macabre Murambi Genocide Memorial, Rwandan

The Murambi Genocide Memorial is not just macabre, but extremely disturbing. The 50,000 graves of this place scream the brutal story of the Rwandan Genocide. Murambi was a part of Gikongoro, which has a elaborate history of execution of the Tutsis. Back in 1994, as the genocide was unfolding, thousand of tutsis took refuge in a church. But, the Bishop and the mayor deliberately misguided them to go to the Murambi Technical School to seek protection of the French Troops. Around 65,000 tutsis traveled to the school on April 6, 1994. They were deprived of food and water and constantly attacked. Tutsis tried to defend themselves with stones but couldn’t resist for long, they were brutally massacred by Hutu Interahamwe  troops on April 21. Around 45,000 people died at the school and the rest were hunted down soon, only 34 tutsis survived this genocide.

The memorial was built in 1995. Thus, the school is now a museum of thousands of skeletons and bodies mummified in lime, all belonging to the barbaric Murambi Genocide.

Well, this doesn’t end here, the world is filled with such spooky creepy places. The stories behind these places are indeed blood-curdling. Apart from giving you those chills, they have much more in store. From fascinating stories to incredible architecture to historical significance, these places are totally worth a visit. So, update your travel goals with a visit to one of these places. Go get the chills!

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