The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire

We've moved! Please check out, the new home for our 'Tales of supernatural horrors!'

Saturday, February 25, 2006

More spooky vacation ideas: European catacombs

(photo of Palermo Ossuary by Hugues Leblanc) I know that in the past I've waxed poetic about my TiVo - and I'm gonna have to do so again, so just bear with me. A couple of nights ago, my TiVo recorded (unbidden, mind you - God! I love that machine! Okay, that wasn't too much waxing, was it?) Incredible Catacombs on the Travel Channel, and I've got to say, there were a couple of places mentioned that I'd never heard of... They did the obvious, covering sites we've talked about on MotHV before: the Parisian catacombs, the early Christian catacombs outside Rome (including one that was the scene of a massacre - Roman soldiers attacked an early Mass, killing everyone in attendance, including one of the early Popes), the vaults and closes under Edinborough's streets, the chapel and ossuary at Sedlec. They covered the Wieliczka salt mines outside of Krakow, with its beautiful chapels and shrines, and whimsical grotesqueries. But they also included a couple I'd never heard of. The first was a subterranean city in central Turkey; built by early Christians fleeing Roman persecution, the crypts could house up to 50,000 people! While this was cool (and the ancient volcanic landscape quite surreal and striking), of more interest to you, our loyal readers, would be the Capuchin ossuaries of Rome and Palermo. While both contain the bones of centuries-worth of monks, some displayed in bizzare tableaux, the Palermo one contains thousands of mummies. Evidently, it was a fad among the wealthy in the 1800s to have your corpse soaked in vinegar or arsenic and placed in the dry limestone niches and crypts in Palermo's Capuchin catacomb. Dehydration would do the rest... So if you get a chance, give the show a whirl - it airs again on Sunday, March 5th. I know my list of places I should see has definitely grown. (Special Saturday Bonus: the photographer and writer responsible for the 'Dark Italy' site where I got the photo also have a great 'Dark Mexico' site... Check 'em both out - they're quite cool.)


Post a Comment

<< Home