Every year, thousands of tourists flock to the Roman Catholic Sedlec Ossuary in Prague. They don’t come to pray or do penitence. Instead, they view the church’s macabre decorations that are made from over 40,000 skeletons.
Why is this church piled high with remains of the dead? Between the 11th and 14th centuries, the church graveyard was a well-known burial site. Later, when the Black Death struck, many more were buried on the grounds. In 1400, new construction unearthed a number of mass graves.
Church officials weren’t sure what to do with the exhumed skeletons. In 1511, they tasked one man, a half-blind monk, with collecting the bones and arranging them into neat piles.
After he died, others continued his work. For the next 300 years, the bones kept piling up.
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In 1870, the powerful Schwarzenberg family took over the collection. In a bizarre and misguided effort to honor the dead, they hired a woodcarver to turn bone heaps into church furnishings and decorations.
The result was nothing short of gruesome.
One of the most unsettling pieces is this bone chandelier.
The Schwarzenbergs also commissioned a copy of their family crest made entirely from skeletal remains.
Cherubs are randomly placed among the bones. I guess they are supposed to be calming, but they have the opposite effect.
The woodcarver also left behind his calcified signature.
No one knows exactly how many skeletons are in the Sedlec Ossuary. Estimates say it’s anywhere between 40,000 and 70,000.
It might not be the most peaceful resting place, but it certainly is unique. With over 200,000 yearly visitors, these spirits never have to worry about being lonely!
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Would you like to visit the Sedlec Ossuary? Let us know in the comments! Personally, I’m convinced that the place is haunted.