As we move closer to All Hallows’ Eve, we think it’s time you got your fright on and paid heed to a few spook-tacular destinations. So, we’ve dug up these awesome graveyards and catacombs from around the world… and put them into this post!
Greyfriars Kirkyard – Edinburgh, Scotland
With its origins in the 1560s, you can be assured that there are lots of ghosts haunting this place! One of the most famous (and scary) is the MacKenzie Poltergeist. Various visitors to this graveyard have not only seen the ghost, but have reported Poltergeist attacks that have (apparently) resulted in scratches and broken bones.
- Scary Fact: Greyfriars has also become well known for its location next to the Elephant House Café, where J.K. Rowling came to write her first Harry Potter novel, and some say the graves in Greyfriars inspired many names and characters in the books, including that of Tom Riddell.
Catacombes de Paris – Paris, France
We all know about the infamous catacombs of Paris, but it’s not until you walk alongside the skull-lined crypts that you begin to understand how creepy this place really is! The catacombs rest 20 metres underground and create an amazing 2km labyrinth-like journey beneath the city. It is home to around 6-7 million bodies.
- Scary Fact: Did you know that the catacombs are actually situated in a series of old quarries? These quarries once produced the stone that was originally used to build the city of Paris.
Okunoin Cemetery – Kōyasan, Japan
Situated in the midst of a beautiful forest, Okunoin Cemetery is the biggest in Japan and was founded by the monk, Kobo Daishi. As a sacred mountain and temple, this marks a must-visit spot for many pilgrims. Lots of wonderfully old gravestones can be seen here, as can a variety of Japanese statues and sculptures.
- Scary Fact: Mt. Kōya and Okunoin became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004.
Roman Catacombs – Rome, Italy
Did you know that Rome is home to hundreds of kilometres of underground catacombs and tunnels? Perhaps the most well known, the Roman Catacombs have their origins in the 2nd century AD and hold the bones of around 4,000 monks, many of which have been arranged into disturbing wall displays and murals. The tombs here also include many stunning examples of early Christian and Jewish art.
- Scary Fact: Alfredo Barbagallo, an Italian archaeologist, believes that the Holy Grail 05/be buried in these catacombs.
Highgate Cemetery – London, UK
At Highgate you’ll find tombstones nestled in amongst shrubbery, and the Gothic tombs and graves here are well worth a peek. Highgate originally opened in 1839, but it wasn’t until the 1960s-70s that people began to claim having seen ghosts and even a vampire in the cemetery. The vampire became known as the Highgate Vampire and he singlehandedly sparked a mass Friday 13th hunt here in 1970. Sadly, everyone came up empty handed.
- Scary Fact: The novelists Douglas Adams (who wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and George Eliot (who wrote Middlemarch and more) are buried here, as is Karl Marx.
Old Jewish Cemetery – Prague, Czech Republic
With around 12,000 crooked, crumbling tombstones and 10-12 layers of graves, this is one of the most fascinating sights in Prague. The Jewish Quarter of Prague, known as Josefov, is where you’ll find this haunting cemetery, with the oldest tombstone dating back to 1439. To see the cemetery, you’ll need to pay for a ticket to the Jewish Museum and Jewish Town.
- Scary Fact: Judah Loew ben Bezalel, the famous scholar who apparently created the famous Golem of Prague, is buried here.
Capuchin Monastery Catacombs – Palermo, Italy
Above ground, Sicily is one of the most beautiful places in the world. But beneath ground, it’s scary! The Capuchin Catacombs in the capital city of Palermo feature around 8,000 bodies in open coffins, the majority of them mummified and embalmed. This practice began as early as 1599, and in 1920, a two-year-old child was the last to be embalmed and buried here. She has become known as the ‘Sleeping Beauty.’
- Scary Fact: Entry to these catacombs will cost only €3, but note that taking photos is not allowed.