The Merriam-Webster definition of a catacomb easily explains why the underground structures are such a creepy and frightening place; they’re “a subterranean cemetery of galleries with recesses for tombs—usually used in plural,” according to the proper definition. In the simplest form, it is a cemetery deep underground.
It may seem strange to most that catacombs would be a popular tourist attraction, but they are in all their creepy glory. London, New York City, Paris, and Rome all are home to catacombs that bring people from around the world to take a macabre tour through them. These aren’t the only catacombs, and with a little further research you may be able to find a few more. For some it is a creepy visitation of the dead, but for others a stroll through the catacombs is like reaching back into time and it’s a somewhat religious experience.
London has many mysteries underground, from tunnels to catacombs. The London Bridge catacombs are filled with crypts, passages, and vaults full of amazingly creepy things to look at. From each dark corner and dark shadow you’ll feel a sense of fear. Skulls and bones are the creepiest of all. London offers different tours of the subterranean side of their city. You can even see the underground dungeon.
Many of the older churches in New York City have catacombs beneath them where the dead are buried. This old tradition may be falling by the wayside, but those creepy crypts will remain. New York City has more than the dead underground though, with lots of tunnels of their own.
The catacombs in Paris are chilly and home to 2000 years of history, first as a limestone quarry and then as an ossuary. The Paris catacombs are an awe inspiring sight. Frightening for some and breathtaking for others, the walls are almost entirely made out of human bones and skulls.
The catacombs of Rome have their own history. Christians did not have their own cemeteries so they were buried in underground. If they owned their own land they could bury their family members there. A quick glimpse at the Catacombs of St. Callixtus in Rome shows a much less frightening version than that of the Paris catacombs.
If you have a fear of the dead or of human bones, a tour may not be something you’d want to go on unless you like being scared. If you get claustrophobic or have a fear of the underground this is also not a tour for you. Try watching the movie As Above, So Below instead, which was filmed in the Paris catacombs.
Have you ever been to a catacomb? What was your reaction, creepy or cool? Tell us about it!