With the movie As Above, So Below bringing international fame to the French catacombs for people that hadn’t heard of them, this further increased its fame and raced ahead from Italy’s lesser known haunted catacombs.
The Italian catacombs, also known as the Capuchin Catacombs, Catacombe dei Cappuccini, Capuchin Monastery Catacombs or Catacombs of the Capuchins, are a bone-chilling display of skeletons in the the city of Palermo in Sicily. Originally designated strictly for the corpses of monks, the catacombs also because a show casing place for the rich to display and preserve the corpses of their loved ones so they could visit them.
The haunted catacombs consists of around 8,000 corpses and many have been preserved with advanced techniques to keep them as ”fresh” as possible. One specific corpse is that of the last body that was taken there in 1920 by the name of Rosalia at the age of just 2-years-old. The techniques kept Rosalia looking so well preserved that she’s been dubbed ”Sleeping Beauty.”
The preservation techniques were lost for decades when the doctor who administered the secret techniques died. The process included using formalin to kill bacteria, alcohol to dry the body, glycerin to keep her from overdrying, salicylic acid to kill any fungi that may have grown and to keep the bodies’ rigidity, zinc salts were used.
The techniques worked so well that Rosalia and a few other corpses that reside at the haunted catacombs are displayed in open crypt, complete with their hair, eyelashes and near-perfect skin.
Unlike the catacombs under the streets of Paris, the Capuchin Monastery Catacombs showcase the bodies in a much more elegant way. Though there are nearly 1,000 times more corpses under the streets of Paris and is undoubtedly more haunted, the Italian catacombs reign supreme as a tourist attraction for those looking to find a classic display of skeletons and preserved corpses.
Have you hear of the haunted catacombs of Palermo? Would you visit? Join the discussion and let us know in the comments below.
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