Catacombs are underground tunnels that were previously used for some purpose but are no longer needed. For example, the Catacombs in Paris were once used for stone mining but have since become an intricate system of tunnels filled with bones. For this list, we’re going to be focusing mainly on two different major catacombs with a few photographs from other creepy tombs. The most well-known catacombs are the ones under Paris. Another well-known location for finding creepy bodies on display underground are the catacombs in Sicily, Italy.
These catacombs were created after the cemeteries in the area began filling up too much and people decided there needed to be a new way to honor the bodies of their lost loved ones. The two well-known catacombs kind of went the opposite way in terms of what was decided they should display below the earth. The catacombs in Paris moved bodies from the cemeteries and put the bones underground. The catacombs in Italy housed more mummies than just old skeletons. They began to get so popular, too, that only limited people could be put on display after they died.
Both catacombs are filled with some pretty terrifying images, and we’ve put together a list of the fifteen scariest here for you today. Which do you think is the most shocking sight on the list? Would you visit these catacombs? Here are 15 Chilling Photos Taken In Catacombs Around The World:
15 Small Tunnel Where A Camera Was Found
The image above is a still taken from a camera that was found in the Paris Catacombs. Some explorers were walking around when they stumbled upon a camera someone had left behind. When they started reviewing the footage, they found that the person’s last footage was him running away with his breathing speeding up. He eventually dropped the camera, and in the footage, you can hear his footsteps running away. No one has ever come forward to claim the camera, and nobody has ever been found. There’s a chance that it was a hoax since nothing has been found following up the found footage. Nevertheless, it’s still terrifying to watch the last few images. You can see from the picture above that the person who took the video was crawling around small tunnels in the last few moments of moving around the catacombs. It’s even more terrifying thinking that he had to crawl through piles of bones on the ground!
14 When The Catacombs Were Being Built
In the old photograph you can see above, a man is pulling what looks to be a large container of bones. What he’s doing is exactly that. This picture was taken during the construction of the Paris catacombs when people started moving bodies from the graveyards to the tunnels below. Not every single body was moved in the nicest of ways. They were often just tossed in containers and stored on shelves somewhere down under. It was a massive project that took years. It’s horrifying to think of all of the bodies and bones being moved around. These were all real people at one point with friends and family members who mourned their loss enough to bury them in nice clothes and caskets. They ended up just being tossed into a container and being forgotten about except by people looking for a good, old-fashioned scare.
13 A Shadow Person In The Catacomb Halls?
Although the catacombs are filled with dead bodies, not many people really believe them to be haunted. Most who believe in ghosts think that the souls stay where the people died rather than where their bodies rest. It’s all fiction anyway, so you can believe whatever you want and twist your thoughts to fit your logic. The people who captured the photograph above definitely believe that they saw what they believe to be a shadow person in the halls of the Paris Catacombs. They state that there wasn’t anyone else down there or walking in front of them at the time they captured the picture. They only noticed the dark figure when they were reviewing their photographs. The way the shape of the person is transparent and undefined makes us question whether or not it could've even been a real person. Of course, this picture has its skeptics, but you never know! What do you believe?
12 Perfectly Preserved Child
The little girl in the glass casket in the photograph above is Rosalia Lombardo. She was just two years old when she died of pneumonia. Her father was so grief-stricken that he had her taken to an expert taxidermist who stated he would do his best to preserve her body. He succeeded, and one hundred years later, barely any sign of decomposition is visible. She’s been moved around the catacombs of Sicily a few times in order to ensure that she stays perfectly preserved. Whatever they did to keep her body so perfect, it worked really well. She remains in the catacombs as one of the most perfectly preserved bodies. We’re curious to see what the best-preserved body in the world is if this isn’t the top one! She looks like a little doll made out of plastic. In fact, if we hadn't known the true history behind this chilling photograph, we might've thought the picture was indeed of a plastic doll!
11 A Tourist Who Got Lost And Died
There are catacombs in Ukraine that aren’t as terrifying as the others on the list. These catacombs aren’t stuffed with bodies and skeletons like the ones in Paris or Sicily. Instead, they still exist from a time when mining ruled the city. They later turned into an intricate system of tunnels for criminals to use to do their business. Now, the confusing maze that exists below the city is nothing other than a place for bored teens to wander and scare themselves in. Unfortunately, one person found herself lost in the darkness of the tunnel, and her body was found by a group of teens. The tunnels are pitch black and miles long, so without proper light, you would definitely get lost. You could also go weeks without being found, and unfortunately, that’s what happened to the unidentified person in the photograph above. She probably got separated from a group of friends and wound up starving or freezing to death, her body preserved in the tunnel.
10 Child Mummies
The child in the photo above looks like a statue. Everything about it looks like it was carved in stone. Unfortunately, it’s actually a real child that was mummified and enclosed in a glass casket. These remains are on display in the catacombs of Italy in a special children’s display next to Rosalia's coffin. Whenever a child dies, it’s always a tragedy. It makes sense that the parents of these children would choose to preserve the child. Decades later, long after the child’s family dies out, we’re left with nothing other than a tragic reminder of the child's death. Children die all the time, but these were selected by their parents to be placed on display long after the parents are around to check in on their child. It’s really a strange custom when you think of it, but no one can ever understand the tragedy parents feel when they lose a child unless you’ve gone through it yourself.
9 The Wealthiest On Display
Once the cemeteries were getting too filled in Sicily, they decided to start stacking bodies underground and putting them on display. It was a new way to mourn the loss without taking up all the space. These catacombs started filling up as well, however, so it became harder to get bodies in. You either had to be of a high religious status or just really wealthy. The wealthiest would go on display after being dried out and cleaned up. It was then time for the family of the wealthy to step in and make sure that the body stayed clean and that their rent for space was paid. Paying rent when you’re alive is bad enough, but imagine making your relatives pay the rent for the space of your dead body! If rent wasn’t paid, the bodies were stacked away on shelves until the people who maintained the catacombs got the money.
8 All Wrapped Up
We understand respecting and honoring those that have died, but how can we not be terrified when we see someone like the guy in the photograph above? He doesn't look like he was making the happiest of faces in his final moments. It also looks as though he’s wearing a straitjacket. Why would a dead guy need to be restrained? His bandages look fairly clean, which makes us wonder if, after all these years, someone was still taking care of his body. Some of us complain when our moms make us talk to relatives we don’t want to on the phone, but imagine her making us go and clean up their dead bodies and make sure that they still look as good as they did on the day that they died. For some of us, that might actually be a little bit easier than hearing about the lives of our distant relatives over landline phones.
7 A Baby Skeleton Inside Its Mother's
The photograph above found inside the Paris catacombs is absolutely tragic. It’s a little hard to tell, but if you look at the pelvic bones of the female skeleton in the picture above, you can see what looks to be the skeleton of a child. This poor baby didn’t even get a chance and lived and died inside its mother’s womb. Since the bodies were moved from one place to the next when the Paris catacombs were being constructed, it’s interesting to discover that those who moved them respected these two skeletons enough to keep the mother with her baby. They'll forever be bonded now with their skeletons protecting one another. A sight like this could tell hundreds of stories of what happened to the mother and her baby before they died. We’ll always know how the story ends, unfortunately.
6 Eternally Resting
If you had to pick one position to be in for all eternity, it’d be laying down, right? Who would want to stand or sit forever? The best place in the world is laying down in your own bed, so a similar situation for the afterlife is ideal -- unless, of course, you’re these guys taken from catacombs in the Czech Republic. Sure, they’ll be resting for all of eternity -- but with bricks as pillows? This is also definitely a confusing sight as we have to wonder why there are some bones just piled up beside a casket in the middle and then some bones actually laying out on the bricks on the other side of the wall. It’s always interesting to think of the people responsible for these positions in the first place and what they all went through in their decision-making process to create the scene that we’re looking at today.
5 On Display
The men are kept in a separate room than the women at the Sicilian catacombs. Even if you wanted to get displayed with your spouse, you probably wouldn’t and would be separated for all of eternity. A lot of us think that our resting place is important for determining what might happen in our afterlife. If you believed that, why would you want to be put in a room with a bunch of dead strangers? For these people, they most likely probably just cared about the social status that came along with being placed inside these catacombs. They also mostly chose what they were going to be placed in before entering the tomb. As you can see, some chose to be put in tuxedos, while others stuck with their traditional robes. Corpses were also sometimes made to wear the robes given to the deceased for penance when they were placed in these tombs.
4 Hello, Sir
We can assume -- or at least we can hope -- that the image above is a statue protruding from a wall. It’s a very strange statue and one we wouldn’t want to run into when making our way through the creepy and confusing tunnels of the catacombs. The weirdest part about it is the placement. This wasn’t put somewhere on display with a bunch of other statues. It’s mostly just in a random spot in the middle of nowhere. Why did the artist choose to put this particular statue in this particular spot? Was it placed there to remember someone special, or is it a tactic by a troll artist who hopes to scare anyone not using proper lighting in the tunnels? Imagine getting lost in the maze that exists underneath Paris only to smash into this statue on the hunt for your group of fellow explorers. No thanks!
3 Long Fingers And Dark Eyes
Like we already discussed, it’s not really the nicest to comment on people’s appearances after they've died. It’s not like they can really help it. Their bodies are literally rotting away. Regardless, we just have to point out how creepy this guy is in the photograph above. The length of his fingers is especially jarring. Not to mention, the look on his face isn’t very friendly either. Are we only scared of sights like these because of the perceptions we’ve created of death, or is there a natural human instinct inside of us that makes us fear those who look as though they’re rotting? Were we born like this, or do we only have zombie filmmakers to blame? No matter what the case is, do you think you could ever visit a place like this that has so many dead bodies on display? It isn’t something easy for anyone to do.
2 So Many Bones
The catacombs in Paris are filled with millions of people, which makes many more millions of bones. It’s scary to think of just how many people are stored down under the beautiful streets of Paris. In the photograph above, you can see what looks to be an insane amount of bones. This is just one section of the endless tunnels of the catacombs. There are just bones stacked on bones stacked on bones. It’s also chilling that bones are the only things left over! Why do they take so long to decompose compared to the rest of our bodies? All of these bones belong to so many different people as well. Imagine trying to find all the matching pieces of someone’s skeleton! That’d take a lifetime. Instead of matching them together, all the bones will all just sit stacked in a corner for eternity.
1 Sitting In A Row
The bones of the deceased are also separated in the catacombs of Italy by keeping virgins separate from everyone else. In the photograph above, you can see some of these virgins. Imagine going your whole life as a virgin but then having everyone know it for all of eternity while your mummy sits on display at a tourist attraction! Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a virgin; however, it just feels a little off that we’d keep people separated and on display specifically because of this factor. Certainly, they were more than just virgins! Why not separate artists or people who like specific types of music? Anything seems better than placing people in rooms depending on how many people they slept with in their lives, right? It’s strange thinking of all the customs people have had throughout the history of mourning people. They always seem weird now but were probably expected things at the time.