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Scary Places 6 :: Capuchin's Catacombs

What is Capuchin's Catacombs?

One of the most gruesome, gory tourist attractions in the world is the Capuchin's Catacombs in Palermo, Italy. There are about 8,000 dead bodies lined up on the wall, sitting down, lying in coffins and on shelves. It all began in 1599 when local priests mummified a monk so they could pray to him after death. Locals wanted to remember their loved ones the same way, and soon there were hundreds of corpses.

What do the Mummies of Capuchin's Catacombs look like?

Some of the corpses lost their flesh a long time ago and are nothing but skeletons. Others have mummified flesh, hair and even eyes. Almost all the bodies are wearing the clothes they died in. Several of the mummies look like they are silently screaming. Time and gravity have caused the body to look this way. It's very creepy. Body parts, like hands, jaws, parts of the skull have fallen off some of the corpses over time.

Famous Frights at Capuchin's Catacombs?

One of the last corpses to make it to the catacomb before authorities stopped the practice was three year-old Rosalia Lambardo. She died in about 1920 and is nicknamed Sleeping Beauty because she looks like a large sleeping doll. Dr. Salofia was the only one who knew the method used to preserve Rosalia and he took his secret with him to the grave.

What's it like Inside the Capuchin's Catacombs?

You'd think a place with about 8,000 wrinkled, shrively dead bodies would reek, but not so. There is no smell at all. Not even a musty smell. You can view the bodies by categories: Men, Woman, Children, Priests, Monks and Professionals. Some of the children are posed, like the two children sitting together on a small rocking chair. Others are in hundreds of coffins, some with the sides cut open so you can see the bodies. The catacomb is open to the public but beware, it's not for the faint of heart.

What scary sights have you seen? Have you been to a catacomb, seen dancing ghosts in graveyards or heard noises in the night?

Related Stories:

  • Scary Places Part One: The Tower of London
  • Scary Places Part Two: The Abby of Lucedio
  • Scary Places Part Three: The Queen Mary Ship
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