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Scary Places: Catacombs of Paris

Once again, it is one of my favorite times of the year – Halloween. Or, at least the lead up to Halloween. Each October, I like to do a special blog series on scary places. Unfortunately, I’ve only been to one (the Whaley House in San Diego), but I have many more on my to-do list (the Winchester House and the Hotel Chelsea).

On my quest to find yet more scary places, I realized – what could be scarier than a underground burial chamber that you can walk through? Yes, I am talking about the Catacombs of Paris. I’ve never been there, but I am certain this must be one of the creepiest places on earth.

The Catacombs were established in what was left of Paris’ stone mines in the late 18th century. By 1867, it was open to the public to view some of the remains of about six million people. When you visit, you go through a series of tunnels underground and the skeletal remains of these people have been placed in a rather creepy, yet almost eye-catching manner.

Where did these six million people come from? They were exhumed from local cemeteries because improper burial practices had started causing health issues. Plus, Paris is a very crowded city and the cemeteries were running out of room.

Now they didn’t just dig up these people and dump them in the mines. The transfer began with a blessing and the bones were only moved after dark and accompanied by priests.

Tours of the Catacombs last between 45 minutes and an hour and a half. It’s cold because it is underground, but I am sure that just adds to the creepiness of it all. Children under 14 can’t visit without an adult, but I am think anyone that takes a child under the age of 18 is probably looking at some serious therapy bills later in life.

And, just in case you were wondering, Paris doesn’t have the lock on the catacomb business. There are catacombs all over the world in Austria, Australia, the Czech Republic, Egypt, England, France, Ukraine, Italy, Malta, Peru, Spain, and Slovenia.

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About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and Families.com gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).