As we are approaching one of the most mystical celebrations of the year, Halloween, I decided to dedicate at least one post to the sentiment of the supernatural and esoteric.
I have always been interested in the catacombs. The idea, that there are tunnels, man-made passageways and hallways carved underneath entire cities evokes a sense of utter fear and fascination in me. Often these are also connected to underground cemeteries, creating a subterranean necropolis.
The first burial galleries to be referred to as catacombs lie beneath "San Sebastiano fuori le mura", in Rome. No one knows today with certainty, if the word itself described the cemetery or the location. There is no doubt however that the San Sebastiano catacombs are the first to be referred to as such. Today, the term signifies networks of caves, grottos, or subterranean galleries that were used in medieval times as refuges during wars, as worship places and for burial of the dead.
Besides the Italian catacombs, the most famous ones lie beneath the city of Paris; the Catacombs of Paris or Catacombes de Paris. Created over a large period of time, these underground galleries were originally quarries, where building material was extracted. This eventually led to hollowing out a city below and creation of the catacombs as they are known today.
Part of the subterranean tunnels also form a very large underground ossuary. This is most probably why the Paris catacombs are classed as one of the most haunted places in the world. The history of this macabre place goes back to the late eighteenth century, when the city's cemeteries were running out of space. It was therefore decided to create three new large-scale suburban cemeteries and to condemn all existing within the city limits; the remains of these would be moved discreetly to a renovated section of Paris's abandoned quarries.
The network of tunnels located beneath Paris is approximately 300 kilometers long and frequently follows the streets and passages above, even carries the same names. Those who have visited the tunnels and even some security guards have reported hearing strange voices. There have been hundreds of reports of people feeling presence of something or someone when moving around in the tunnels, even the feeling a touch of someone, or something. There is also a tale of a young man who explored the tunnels alone, leaving behind his video camera and a tape of him running from something. It is said that he has never been found...