Thursday, October 27, 2011

Paris Catacombs

The Paris Catacombs or l’ossuarie municipal contain over 6 million bodies that are placed along underground tunnel walls spanning more than 186 miles. These bodies were placed here starting in the late 1780s because the cities cemeteries were overcrowded and were condemned because people who lived close by were becoming ill. These catacombs have been a tourist attraction for over 100 years and not surprisingly are considered to be very haunted.

The Paris Catacombs came into being because the city was built from limestone that was quarried from underground tunnels. Over the centuries these tunnels became a large complex network that supplied Paris’ ever expanding building needs. In the 18th century the weight of several buildings built above these hollowed out tunnels began to collapse. In April of 1777 sections of these tunnels deemed dangerous were closed off.

A second problem arose for Parisians in the 18th century, as the city grew its graveyards became very full. The “Cemetery of the Innocent” alone held more than thirty generations of human remains. At first this problem was solved by establishing “chariers” which are mass graves built above ground for the poorer residents of Paris.  These mass graves rose ten feet above the ground.

For the people who lived close to these graveyards the smell became intolerable. This problem worsened when several of these mounds broke open literally spilling rotting bodies into nearby roads. Disease started to spread among the living in the vicinity. People began dying from the pestilence spread by the corpses.

The decision was made to start emptying the cemeteries and place the bones in the cities underground tunnels. In 1785 the first bones were placed underground in these established quarries. These quarries became known as the Paris Catacombs. It is a universal belief that disturbing the dead is taboo. It is felt the dead should be left in peace. In this case like many places around the world the living took precedence.

These disturbed spirits haunt the catacombs today. In fact the Paris Catacombs are listed as one of the top ten haunted places in the world. Visitors have claimed unseen hands have touched them, some state they felt the sensation of being followed. Yet others had felt cold spots. More unfortunate visitors have claimed they were strangled and there has been cases where people have even had hysterical breakdowns as a result of what they experienced while in the catacombs. 

No comments: